Editor's Page: Our Guide to Better Dining

In an age of information overload, magazines cut through the chatter to bring you the best.

Photo: Linny Morris

The August issue is always one of our biggest of the year, thanks to our Annual All-Island Restaurant Guide. Readers love our dining coverage, and we love providing it. Through dining, one can talk about so many aspects of life in the Islands. Good food and good times, definitely, but also culture, trends, even the economy. Plus, we get to try some of the best food in town; can’t complain about that!

The Restaurant Guide has changed a lot over the years. When I started at the magazine in 1994, the guide contained more than 300 listings of restaurants in very fine print, in addition to feature length articles. In the ’80s, it contained pages of charts, looking something like an Excel spreadsheet dump. These days, that sort of information works better online, and readers can use our Restaurant Finder at honolulumagazine.com, or even download our iPhone app. Need directions? Checking hours? On the road in search of a quick recommendation? The Finder and some other databases, such as Best of Honolulu, or the Hale Aina Awards, will do the trick, wherever you may be.

So what good is a magazine Restaurant Guide these days? The stories become more important than ever. First, there are articles in which we hit the streets to steer you toward the best dining experiences in town. Examples this year include “Ooey, Gooey Cheese” and “Sinful Chocolate Desserts.”

Then there are stories that give readers inside information on how the restaurant industry works. For example, in “9 Things Chefs Wished You Knew,” chefs vent about difficult requests that diners make—difficult because the diner may not realize what madness ensues in the kitchen on their behalf. Then there’s “The Big Squeeze,” which explains something you’ve no doubt noticed: Restaurant tabs are getting more expensive. Dining editor John Heckathorn, using the access only an experienced reporter on the beat can get, talked to chefs about the pressures driving them to raise prices.

All in all, it’s information you will not find on Yelp.

Outside of the Restaurant Guide, we have a full-size August issue, too. In particular, I’d recommend this month’s “Theatres of Hawaii,” a photo essay of late, great movie houses in the Islands, excerpted from a new book of the same name. I had a chance to interview the author for an accompanying Q&A. If you miss the Waikiki Theatre, or remember catching movies at the Cinerama, you’ll love this serving of nostalgia. I believe it pairs well with this month’s “entrées,” a feature celebrating all things Kahuku, and one that takes us into the world of Hawaii’s newest immigrant community, the Micronesians.