5 Reasons to Eat Out During Restaurant Week Hawai‘i 2018
The 10-day culinary food fest starts Nov. 9.
Shiitake mushroom lasagna is one of the dishes on the prix fixe menu at Pai Honolulu for Restaurant Week, which starts Nov. 9.
Photo: Courtesy of Pai Honolulu
Like we need an excuse to eat.
But Restaurant Week, in its 11th year, always gives us more reasons to eat out. The 10-day culinary event, which runs from Nov. 9 to 18, features more than 60 restaurants offering special menus and discounts. A portion of proceeds raised from every dining meal purchased all week with go toward the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, which supports the six culinary programs within the UH system.
Here are our top 5 reasons to ditch dinner at home and head out to eat next week:
SEE ALSO: Participating eateries and restaurants listed in the HONOLULU Magazine's Restaurant Guide
1. Try Someplace New
The local ‘ahi tuna crudo tostada is one of Mi Almita’s signature appetizers, with avocado, sour orange mayo, mango and slices of watermelon radish.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox
The best part about Restaurant Week is it can inspire you to get out of your foodie comfort zone and try a new restaurant.
Mi Almita Cantina, which opened at The Street, a Michael Mina Social House this summer, is offering a yet-to-be-determined Restaurant Week menu. The restaurant, which faces Kūhiō Avenue on the first floor of the International Market Place, is the first brick-and-mortar location in Hawaiʻi by James Beard Award-winning Houston chef Hugo Ortega. The menu is full of traditional Mexican fare using Hawaiʻi-grown ingredients.
SEE ALSO: Get Authentic Mexisan Food and Quality Burgers Now at The Street
Yield, a quaint brunch spot in Chinatown, opened this summer and will be participating in its first Restaurant Week, too. The menu hasn’t been finalized, but we’re sure it will be heavy on local ingredients.
SEE ALSO: First Look: Yield in Chinatown
2. You Can Only Dine Out During Lunch
The bistro cheeseburger at Merriman’s Honolulu is available on the lunch menu during Restaurant Week.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox
You’ve got a family at home or you’re tight on cash? We got you. Many of the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week are offering lunch menus, too, that are more affordable.
Merriman’s Honolulu, which opened this year in Kaka‘ako, is featuring its popular Big Island grass-fed bistro cheeseburger for just $5. (The regular price is $14. What a deal!) It comes with caramelized onions, a slice of vine-ripened tomato and melted gruyere cheese on a house-baked bun. (The restaurant is also offering a three-course dinner for $49.95.)
Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar in Waikīkī has a three-course lunch menu for $24, which starts with a kale and farro salad and ends with Italian gelato. For your main entrée, you can choose from fresh fettuccine tossed in a tomato cream sauce with garlic and crab meat, shrimp alla genovese in a fresh pesto sauce, or prime hanger steak grilled with rosemary and garlic.
3. You Love Wine Pairings
The fried truffle arancini from Arancino at The Kāhala can be paired with wine during Restaurant Week.
Photo: Courtesy of Arancino at The Kāhala
Some of the restaurants are offering the options for wine pairing with its menus.
Pai Honolulu, which earned our Hale ʻAina for Best New Restaurant, Editor’s Choice award, is serving a creative dinner menu at $55 with wine pairings for an additional $25. Dishes include bay scallop crudo with jellyfish and cherry tomatoes, foie gras and beef torchon with local greens and a shiitake mushroom lasagna.
SEE ALSO: 35th Annual Hale ʻAina Awards: The Best Restaurants in Hawai‘i
For $13.95 more, get wine curated by master sommelier Chuck Furuya at Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar. The dinner menu, which costs $39, features chilled jumbo prawns, fresh fish with squid-ink linguine, red wine-braised short rib and chocolate panna cotta.
Arancino at the Kāhala’s $68 dinner menu can also be paired with wine. The dishes include your choice of antipasto—we’re enthralled by the fried truffle with foie gras and mozzarella risotto croquette—a dish of pasta or pizza, a main entrée of osso buco and dessert.
And d.k. Steak House in Waikīkī is offering wine pairings for an additional $14 with its $65 prix fixe dinner menu, with dishes including torched peppered avocado, roasted garlic kabocha ravioli and a 15-day dry-aged boneless rib-eye steak with herb-smashed, twice-cooked fingerling potatoes and a medley of roasted local mushrooms.
4. You Love Dessert
Just about every dinner menu offers dessert—and sometimes the restaurants save the best for last.
Stage Restaurant’s three-course dinner menu ($55) ends with a Guinness Stout chocolate ganache cake, with Jack Daniel’s Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, spiced caramel, applewood-smoked toasted house-made marshmallow and candied cocoa nibs.
Alan Wong’s, one of the original restaurants to participate in Restaurant Week, finishes its four-course prix fixe menu ($69.95) with a slice of liliko‘i chiffon pie with toasted meringue.
And ending the $45 dinner at Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar is a house-made green tea cheesecake with a strawberry sauce and fresh fruit.
5. It’s For A Good Cause
Restaurant Week Hawai‘i supports the construction of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, the state’s first four-year culinary program. The first $25 million phase of the 7.8-acre facility was completed last year, with four single-story buildings, an outdoor cooking area and two parking lots. Other phases will include the building of a 200-seat teaching restaurant, a 100-seat auditorium for cooking demonstrations, and two more baking and patisserie labs.
Restaurant Week Hawai‘i takes place Nov. 9–18. See the menus at restaurantweekhawaii.com.
READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX