Hale ‘Aina Happenings: Here’s What’s New with Hawai‘i Restaurants in June 2019

An iconic restaurant changes owners, a chef is honored and three other foodie specials at some of our best restaurant award winners.

Pai Honolulu’s Second Anniversary

Pai Honolulu's 90-day Dry-aged Strip Loin
Pai Honolulu’s 90-day dry-aged strip loin is an option on the special anniversary six-course prix fixe meal available Thursday.
Photo: Courtesy of Pai Honolulu


To celebrate Pai’s second year in business, the downtown restaurant is offering a favorites dinner June 13. Guests can choose a four-course option that includes jellyfish somen, the popular agedashi XO turnip cake, barbecue brisket gnocchi and dark chocolate haupia for $85. The six-course adds seared foie gras; nabeta with quinoa, English pea ragu and spiced carrots; and a glass of sparkling wine for $125. Wine pairings are available.  


Thursday, June 13, 5–10 p.m. Harbor Court, 55 Merchant St., Suite 110, (808) 744-2531, paihonolulu.com


SEE ALSO: 2019 Hale ‘Aina Award Winners: The Best Restaurants in Hawai‘i


Chef Mavro Under New Ownership

Chef George Mavrothalassitis and Jeremy Shigekane


After five years of working together, chef Jeremy Shigekane has taken the ownership reins of Chef Mavro, while founding chef George Mavrothalassitis continues to collaborate in the kitchen. For the month of June, the award-winning restaurant offers $20 off the new Summer in Provence five-course menu created by the two chefs. The discount can be applied to the grand tasting menu for guests who add the word “gift” to their reservation. “It’s a rare opportunity to continue a legacy. I’m building on what Chef Mavro has established and enhancing the details that guests love about our restaurant,” says Shigekane. Some of his initial changes include: a dramatic increase in O‘ahu-grown produce from tiny local farms in Waimānalo, the North Shore and Wai‘anae; doubling the table size and increasing space between tables; a focus on lesser-known family-owned boutique wineries; and “a renewed focus on flavorful creative vegetarian and vegan dishes.”


Open Tuesday through Saturday, 6–9 p.m. 1969 S. King St., (808) 944-4714, chefmavro.com


SEE ALSO: Chef Mavro Celebrates 20 Years of Promoting Local Food


Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar’s Vino Sociale Event

Appetitos cured meats
Photo: Courtesy of Appetito


This week includes the second Friday of the month, June 14, which means Vino Sociale (pronounced so-shee-ah-lay), which translates to “wine social” in Italian, or a more casual version of a wine tasting that whisks guests to an outdoor patio. They’ll find a flight of wine paired with a rotating selection of off-menu specials by chef de cuisine Naomi Ito on a grazing table, followed by heartier entrée dishes as well as an array of signature Neapolitan-style pizza and a small bite of dessert. 


$55 per person or $100 for two. Friday, June 14, 6–10 p.m., 150 Kai‘ulani Ave., (808) 922-1150, hnltix.com


SEE ALSO: First Look: Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar


Taormina Sicilian Cuisine’s Mango Dishes

Taormina's mango dishes
Photo: Courtesy of Taormina Sicilian Cuisine


Mango season means a food-and-drink menu dominated by Hayden mangoes after June 20, from regional executive chef Hiroyuki “Hiro” Mimura. Dishes include: raw Fanny Bay oysters ($24) with a mango mignonette sauce that features ’nduja (spreadable pork salami from Calabria, Italy), along with sea asparagus and ogo seaweed; carpaccio di pulpo (Spanish octopus topped with mangoes, a chili pepper vinaigrette and microgreens, $22); and cheesecake espuma ($16) with fresh mangoes. This year’s mango cocktails include a mango Bellini ($14), mango mojito ($14) and the nonalcoholic Mango No-jito ($12).


Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 227 Lewers St., (808) 926-5050, taorminarestaurant.com


SEE ALSO: Alan Wong University: Where are his alumni now?


Chef Alan Wong Honored

Chef Alan Wong
Photo: Steve Czerniak


The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i will honor chef Alan Wong at its Sharing the Spirit of Aloha annual gala on Saturday, June 22 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort Coral Ballroom. The Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine-founding chef is one of the five people who will be recognized for dedication to the arts and culture, commitment to promoting Japanese culture and contributions to the community. 


$250 per person, Saturday, June 22, 5 p.m. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort, 2005 Kālia Road. Call (808) 218-6728, or go to jcch.com for tickets.