Field Guide: Monsarrat Avenue

We strolled down this popular Diamond Head street to revisit old favorites and discover new spots.

Health Bar employees Cali Reed and Zoe Kalaugher.

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar

This Monsarrat Avenue mainstay serves fresh-made awa, one of the few places on the Island that does so. The best time to sip the root beverage is on Awa Nights, featuring live, local music, on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 10 p.m. The health bar is also known for its açaí bowls and offers three versions.  3045 Monsarrat Ave., Suite 5, 732-8744,

Pioneer Saloon

It looks like a saloon out of the Old West, but walk inside and it’s a bustling plate-lunch joint. Owner and chef Nori Sakamoto opened Pioneer Saloon in 2009, after the former restaurant, Mi Casa Taqueria, closed. He says the locally sourced ahi plates, such as the Cajun ahi and the ahi katsu, are popular, but we also liked the mochiko chicken. And the Western theme? “People always ask me about it,” says Sakamoto with a laugh. “There’s no reason, I just like it.” 3046 Monsarrat Ave., 732-4001.

Nori Sakamoto makes a mean ahi plate lunch.

Bogart’s Café

The lines for breakfast may be long, but your food isn’t made until you order it, whether it’s crab eggs Benedict, bagel sandwiches or an avocado chicken salad. Manager Cuppy Duyao says the café is planning to debut a dinner menu sometime next year. “We’re working on it,” she says. “We also recently added a Philly cheese steak sandwich.” It’s been a big hit, she says. 3045 Monsarrat Ave., Suite 3, 739-0999.

Bikini Snack Shop

To set herself apart from all the other Brazilian bikini stores around town, Bikini Snack Shop owner Margo Powell recently started offering not only the latest in women’s swim wear, but shave ice, ice cream, gourmet popcorn and more. Bikini tops and bottoms range in price from $80 to $120 for a set, and you can mix and match. The most popular style right now is the bandeau top with removable strings. The small boutique also carries Ipanema slippers, coverups and jewelry. 3118 Monsarrat Ave., 739-9112.

Shopper Tristi Judd hunts for a new bikini.

Did you know?

The space formerly occupied by the Unity Church of Hawaii’s Namaste Books and Gifts is now home to Twice Blessed Thrift Store. “We’ll still carry a lot of books, though,” says store manager Susanne Sims. You’ll also find clothing, jewelry, house wares and more.

Gayle Ikeda and Le Muse owner Lea Higa inside the Monsarrat boutique.

Le Muse

Whether you’re a teenage girl, a career woman or a grandmother, you’re bound to find something at Lea Higa’s eclectic boutique. Le Muse has been tucked in a corner of the Monsarrat shopping center since 2001, a reincarnation of the old Herbert Hee’s Sports Wear in Liliha. Higa took over the shop in 2005. The boutique specializes in sensible cotton blouses and stylish dresses, but shows off its funky side with accessories such as resin jewelry from Germany and silver jewelry from Paris made from recycled flat wear. Many of Higa’s customers drop by to shop, but end up staying to chat. 3045 Monsarrat Ave., Suite 8, 739-1277.

Happy Valley Pasta & Pizza

The Italian fusion of the newly opened Happy Valley Pasta & Pizza brings new twists to old classics. Take the margherita pizza, for example. Happy Valley’s version is a cheesy pie topped with swirls of pesto sauce instead of basil leaves and tomato slices. It’s simple, but satisfying. The menu’s array of pasta dishes is organized by sauce: tomato, cream and oil, as well as Japanese style. We recommend the homemade  meatball dish. 3106 Monsarrat Ave., 737-0080.