Where We Eat at O‘ahu Malls on Black Friday
12 of our favorite places to take a break from power shopping.
Goma Tei's shoyu ramen with truffle noodles.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox
Ala Moana Center
I power shop during the holidays, so when it’s time to eat, I need to sit and relax. Mariposa is my go-to spot for a languid break from browsing racks and standing in line. The lunch menu has some of my favorites: creamy Kahuku corn chowder with monkey bread croutons, lobster club with bacon and roasted peppers, and the signature wagyu burger with melted cheddar and a side of sweet potato fries. Sandwiches run from $18 to $29. Pricey, but you can’t beat the comfy seats and the view. Bonus: The bar is open.—Catherine Toth Fox, food & dining editor. Mariposa, Neiman Marcus, Ala Moana Center, Third Floor, (808) 951-3420, neimanmarcus.com/restaurants.
Whenever I’m at Ala Moana Center or Ward I always eat at Goma Tei. It is always the go-to spot when shopping in town. I get the wakame tan tan and my daughter gets the wakame shoyu.—Alyson Helwagen, publisher. Skip the line, sit at the bar and order the vegetable shoyu ramen. It’s not too heavy and every bit as satisfying as its heartier competitors.—Marisa Hartzell, digital contributing writer. Goma Tei Ramen, Ala Moana Center, street level near Macy's, (808) 947-9188. Ward Villages, (808) 591-9188, gomatei.com.
For a quick pick-me-up I usually beeline for Carousel Candyland for a fluffy bag of buttery freshly popped popcorn. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about my go-to, the furikake-and-kakimochi Hurricane flavor. Mmmm. The sweets shop also offers a handful of fun-n-funky flavors including buttermilk, baked potato, Kamakazu (kinako and furikake), spicy pizza and AsianTornado (sour cream, li hing mui and furikake). Tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, ask about the gummy bears with lemon peel—the CC staffers told us that it’s the hot new snack and they can barely keep it in stock.—Brie Thalmann, managing fashion editor. Carousel Candyland, Kāhala Mall, across from Riches and Banana Republic, (808) 734-7799.
Ka Makana Ali‘i
We’ve always had luck finding parking at the Kapolei Mall, yes, even during the busy holiday season. I haven’t tried all the places I want to at Ka Makana yet (especially the way Catherine Toth Fox writes about the chicken at Limon Rotisserie) but one place my family’s returned to multiple times is Magnolia Ice Cream & Treats. Rich scoops of ube, haupia, lychee, mango, halo halo, thai tea and other ice cream flavors in old-fashioned cake cones make us all feel like kids. Or, blend up Magnolia’s flavors into a milkshake for ultimate indulgence.—Christi Young, editorial director. Magnolia Ice Cream and Treats, Ka Makana Ali‘i, Ste. 418, (808) 628-4899, magnoliatreats.com.
I always end up eating at Cheesecake Factory. Wait time can go up to an hour but you can shop at a few nearby stores in the meantime. My favorite part of the meal is obviously dessert. Oreo cheesecake is the best!—Dayni Watanabe, account coordinator. The Cheesecake Factory, Ka Makana Ali‘i, Ste. 1300, (808) 670-2666, thecheesecakefactory.com.
I’m going ol’ school and recommending Anna Miller’s. The family-style restaurant is right below Pearlridge and has ample parking with stalls opening up frequently with people coming and going to Starbucks and Jamba Juice. Its 24-hour breakfast options include fried rice omelets and from-the-griddle pancakes, both of which offer comfort after a long day of holiday shopping. And, saving room for a slice (or two) of pie is automatic. The strawberry is the obvious pick, but the apple and chocolate cream are forkin’ good.—Stacey Makiya, senior fashion editor. Anna Millers, located outside of Uptown across from Bed, Bath and Beyond and Down to Earth, (808) 487-2421.
Agu Ramen's Hot Mess.
My family and I love Agu, A Ramen Bistro for the Hot Mess and fried mimiga (thinly sliced pig ears), California Pizza Kitchen for the chopped salad (always add beets) and very reasonable kids meal, especially with the 99-cent sundae. But what I really want to try this weekend is the new location of Beer Lab Hawai‘i. The small bar area popped up under the up escalator in the center of the Uptown side (the wing with Macy's and Ross). With a BYOF (bring your own food) philosophy, I would love to take a break with a locally brewed beer and jalapeno Auntie Anne's pretzel, which is right across the way.—Christi Young, editorial director. Agu Ramen, Pearlridge Downtown by Hot Topic and across from Aloha Salads, (808) 797-2933, aguramen.com. Beer Lab Hawai‘i, Pearlridge Uptown near Center Court next to the elevator, beerlabhi.com.
Can’t waste precious shopping time so Brug is great when you want to eat on the go. I always get a savory and sweet pastry to snack on throughout my shopping trip. Tip: Ask them to warm up your bread so it’s soft and fresh!—Dayni Watanabe, account coordinator. Brug, Pearlridge Uptown in the wing near Ross, (808) 487-2200, brugbakery.com.
We like to go to Ward Village for Maile Meyer’s new Nā Mea Hawai‘i book/art/crafts/fashion store, to park for the movies and for Piggy Smalls at lunch, so this isn’t just a place we eat at because we’re here. They used to do an amazing Banh Mi pastrami sandwich that was the best in town.The Pho French Dip Banh Mi ($18) is almost as good, thanks to the succulent brisket and creative mix of chimichurri and spicy hoisin sauce. The LFC Wings can be ordered by the piece ($3.50, minimum order of four), which is great if you have an odd numbered crowd or just, like, really dig those wings. We do.—Don Wallace, senior editor. Piggy Smalls, Ward Villages, Suite 665, (808) 777-3588, thepigandthelady.com/ward-village.
A quick bite option is old-school Maruki-Tei in the food court, which serves a variety of bento, sesame chicken and saimin. Still, our family favorites are the cone sushi and musubi, which we can grab and keep going. Need a full break at a sit down restaurant? Head to Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ where the decor feels like a friendly cave where you cook your own food on the table grills. There are lunch specials that start about $8. —Robbie Dingeman, editor at large. Maruki-Tei, Windward Mall, in the Pa‘ina Food Court, (808) 235-4445, marukitei.com. Gyu-Kaku, on the first floor across from 24 VII Danceforce, (808) 744-2157, gyu-kaku.com/windward-mall.