Hale ‘Aina Happenings: Here’s What’s New with Hawai‘i Restaurants in February 2020

A new late-night happy hour, the place to be for brunch in early March and your last chance to raise a toast to a favorite bar and speakeasy.


Cornbread waffle from Cafe Kaila
Café kaila’s cornbread waffle with strawberry-honey butter is just one of the dishes at our third brunchfest.
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet for our big brunch-around in a few weeks, move fast. Fewer than 50 tickets are left for this year’s BrunchFest presented by American Savings Bank. Hale ‘Aina award-winners Café Kaila, Over Easy, The Nook, Smith & Kings and others will serve all the dishes you can hold while juggling your mimosa or bloody mary. Dig into a cornbread waffle with strawberry-honey butter, cajun fish on jalapeño grits and Meyer lemon cheesecake pancake with hibiscus tea syrup. Pause to play lawn games and take a photo in front of Best of Honolulu-winning Purvé Donut Stop’s doughnut wall. The fun is for people 21 years and older. Before you ask, yes there is a VIP section and yes, it’s sold out.

$55. Sunday, March 8, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., Ho‘okupu Center, 1125 Ala Moana Blvd. hnltix.com


SEE ALSO: [Photos] BrunchFest 2019 Presented by American Savings Bank


Chef Kunio Tokuoka Special Events at 53 By the Sea

Small Japanese dishes for the Taste of Kyoto event.
courtesy: 53 by the sea


When the executive chef of one of the most beautiful restaurants in Japan comes to town, it makes sense that he would serve dishes in a place with one of the best views in Honolulu. Kunio Tokuoka is the head of Kyoto Kitcho, a restaurant chain started by his grandfather in Osaka 90 years ago. Tokuoka will create three menus for three special events at 53 By the Sea. Prices range from $150 for the omakase lunch to $900 for the nine-course kaiseki-style dinner with tableside service by the chef. There is a slight discount for tables of 10, so gather nine of your other fine-dining friends before signing up.

Five-course Chefs’ Omakase Lunch, Wednesday, March 11, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Ten-course Evening Extraordinaire, Thursday, March 12, 6–9:30 p.m. Kaiseki-style The Kyoto Kitcho Experience, Friday, March 13, 6–10 p.m. 53 By the Sea, 53 Ahui St. (808) 536-5353, 53bythesea.com/tok/


New Late Night Happy Hour Menu at Moku Kitchen

Moku Kitchen pizza
get the hāmākua wild mushroom pizza for $10? Yes, please!
photo: Olivier Koning


It’s not just the cream pies. Moku Kitchen has been a favorite place for our pau hana since we discovered the half-off small plates deal. But getting an order in before 5:30 p.m. can be difficult for us office dwellers. Fortunately, last week Moku Kitchen launched a late-night happy hour, offering the same half-off specials from 9 to 10 p.m. Drink specials, including $2 off beer and wine by the glass and $9 cocktails, continue until 11 p.m., along with the $10 pizza. So if you are stuck at work after 8:30 p.m., at least you’ll know where to go to drown your sorrows.

Happy hours are 3–5:30 p.m. and 9–10 p.m. Drink specials and $10 pizzas continue from 9–11 p.m. Salt at Our Kaka‘ako, 660 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 145, (808) 591-6658, mokukitchen.com  


SEE ALSO: 40 Local Dishes and Drinks That Put the Pow in Pau Hana


Modern Italian Wine Ovation Dinner at Stage


Sous chef Joy Yamane takes charge for this month’s dinner at Stage restaurant. To go with wines selected by Sky Cameron of Chambers and Chambers, the four-course menu features twists on Italian classics including a caprese macaron, crispy lasagna with osso bucco and house-made spaghetti with Manila clams, sake, chile threads, shiso and katsuobushi. 

$65, add $35 for wine pairings. Tuesday, Feb. 25, 5–8:30 p.m. 1250 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 237-5429, stagerestauranthawaii.com/ovation-dinners/


Closing Soon: Pint + Jigger




It’s T-minus 39 days until this favorite bar closes down, for now. Pint + Jigger along with its adjoining Harry’s Hardware Emporium will close at the current South King Street location at the end of March—it says March 29 on Instagram, March 27 on Facebook. The building is slated to be torn down and rebuilt. (Side note, that means that the 26-year-old Jimbo Restaurant is also on the way out.) On the plus side, while Pint + Jigger looks for a new location, it is trying to use up its inventory with specials of as much as 50% off some of its pours including High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram and Yippee Ki-Yay. Other bottles will be offered at cost as daily specials. One shot per person per day.

1936 S. King St., (808) 744-9593, pintandjigger.com


SEE ALSO: Drink Beer and Cocktails on Tap at Mō‘ili‘ili Gastropub, Pint + Jigger


Pau Hana-ish Menu at Alan Wong’s

Chili glazed fish at Alan Wong’s


If you can’t make it to Alan Wong’s for its happy hour deal before 6 p.m., no worries. This week, the Pau Hana-ish deal started. Any time after 5 p.m. you can choose one of three appetizers including the mini ‘ahi sashimi and avocado salsa stack with crispy won ton, either a petite filet or chile-glazed fresh island fish with togarashi miso butter sauce and end with liliko‘i bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. The deal comes with fewer choices than the pau hana menu that’s only available from 5 to 6 p.m. but it is also $5 less. 

$65, $95 with wine pairings. 1857 S. King St., Third Floor, (808) 949-2526, alanwongs.com


Upcoming Hale ‘Aina Events:


Feb. 22–Beer Week special dishes at Off the Wall

Feb. 23—Cioppino Sunday Supper at 12th Ave Grill

Feb. 26–Roy’s Favs Dinner at Goen Dining+Bar