Hale ‘Aina Happenings: Here’s What’s New With Hawai‘i Restaurants in May 2019

Six foodie events and a $5 happy hour deal from some of our award-winning restaurants.

Sunday Dinner at Tūtū’s Kitchen at Highway Inn

Highway Inn Tutus Kitchen Kristin Jackson Tracy Rosado Fernandez Diane Vicheinrut
(Left to right): Dianne Vicheinrut, Traci Rosado Fernandez and Kristin Jackson.
Photo: Courtesy of Highway Inn


Family recipes will be on the menu next Sunday in Kaka‘ako. Monica Toguchi Ryan and the Highway Inn team invite people from around town to serve their favorite dishes at these once-a-month dinners. On May 19, buy a $35 ticket and  help yourself to former Kiss my Grits’ Kristin Jackson’s buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy; former food pro and current financial adviser Dianne Vicheinrut’s mom’s Thai mango sticky rice with coconut cream; and Traci Rosado Fernandez’s grandfather’s Puerto Rican chicken stew. If you can’t make it, the dishes will be on the menu Tuesdays and Thursdays at Highway Inn through the rest of the month. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Les Dames d’Escoffier Hawai‘i Chapter (Jackson and Vicheinrut are on the board), which supports women in the culinary field. The last tūtū dinner for 2019 will be in August.


$35. Sunday, May 19, 5:30 p.m. 680 Ala Moana Blvd., #105, (808) 954-4955, myhighwayinn.com/tutus-kitchen


Highway Inn Tutu Dinner Puerto Rican Chicken Fernandez
Puerto Rican Chicken Stew will be one of three family recipes available at Highway inn this month.
Photo: Courtesy HIghway Inn


Burgundy Tour Wine Dinner at Pai Honolulu

This month, Pai Honolulu’s chef Kevin Lee will create a four-course menu around bottles from the Burgundy region. Every wine is from organic or biodynamic vineyards, including the Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet 2016 and Uliz by Antoine Petitprez Gevrey Chambertin “La Justice” 2016. Three 20-guest seatings are available on May 28.


$145. Tuesday, May 28, 5:45, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Pai Honolulu, 55 Merchant St., Suite 110, (808) 744-2531, paihonolulu.com


Raising the Bar at Azure

Micah Suderman Azure sommelier
sommelier MIcah Suderman
Photo: Courtesy of Azure


Nip at some of the best of Napa with three local sommeliers at this month’s event at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. On May 17, master sommelier Patrick Okubo along with sommeliers Micah Suderman (Azure Restaurant) and Ariana Tsuchiya (The Royal Hawaiian) will pour six wines from Napa Valley paired with small bites from Azure while chatting about the different areas and varietals of grape grown in that region.


$50, $45 per person for groups of five or more. Four hours of valet parking are included. Friday, May 17, 8 to 9:30 p.m. 2259 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 931-7440, royal-hawaiian.com


SEE ALSO: So What, Exactly, Does a Master Sommelier Do?


100 Sails Restaurant & Bar’s New Dinner Series

Sous chef Jared Suekawa will lead off the Prince Waikīkī restaurant’s new Chef’s Table series. Held once a quarter, each Off the Eaten Path event will feature a special eight-course menu from a different chef. Suekawa’s theme is meant to take diners from pre-missionary time to current day, through his dishes. It starts with sour poi on a poi cracker with kalo leaf ash, includes charred tako leg with ogo, plantation-era inspired fish with coconut milk and calamansi, Portuguese sweet bread pain perdu with guava cream and ube custard served with coconut sponge cake and strawberry powder. Each time period also includes a drink pairing, for an additional $35, such as ‘ōkolehao with poha berry juice and liliko‘i.


$125 including tax and tip. Wednesday, May 22, 6 to 9 p.m. Naio Room at the Prince Waikīkī, 100 Holomoana St., (808) 944-4494, eventbrite.com


$5 Happy Hour Alert

Merriman's Honolulu kalua pig quesdilla
photo: Courtesy of Merriman's Honolulu


In case you missed it, Merriman’s Honolulu’s $5 happy hour menu has expanded from a single (smaller) Big-Island grass-fed cheeseburger to four small plates. You can also get a kālua pig quesadilla with house-made kim chee, a Maui onion soup with Gruyére or fresh Hawaiian fish ceviche with Ai Farms Tahitian lime, coconut, jalapeño and cilantro for that price during happy hour.


2 to 5 p.m. daily, dine-in only. 1108 Auahi St., (808) 215-0022, merrimanshawaii.com/honolulu


Other events at Hale ‘Aina-award winning restaurants:

  • May 11: A Bubbly Afternoon Tea at Stage

  • May 12: Mother’s Day Brunch at Stripsteak Waikīkī


Restaurants that have opened:


See our complete list of 35th annual Hale ‘Aina winners here.