HONOLULU Bite-Size News: 8 Places to Check Out Now
Here’s a quick-bite guide to the latest foodie news around the Islands.
Hawaiian plate from Highway inn.
PHOTO: STEVE CZERNIAK
If you’ve gotten into a dining-out rut and want to break out of your comfort zone and try something new this month, we’ve got a few recent pings on the Honolulu foodie radar that have piqued our interest, from menu revamps to a totally new spot.
Raising Money for an Ahupua‘a
Care for the Windward O‘ahu watershed, eat a farm-to-fork dinner and drink fresh cocktails from a Mason jar, all at the same time? Sign us up for the second annual makai-to-mauka fundraiser, “Celebrating 20 Years of Caring for Ko‘olaupoko,” Nov. 14 at Kualoa Ranch. The dinner is a collaboration between chefs Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Group; and Kealoha Domingo of NuiKealoha.
Other activities include a stream-restoration Jeep tour, live entertainment by Ka‘imi Hanano‘eau & Keale, an open beer-and-wine bar and a silent auction highlighting Hui o Koʻolaupoko’s commitment to 20 years of watershed protection.
For more information, visit huihawaii.org or call 277-5611
A new menu: Gokoku Sushi
Photo: Courtesy of Gokoku
Fresh Japanese fish, elaborate kaiseki dinners, a whole spectrum of sake (from high-end bottles that use extremely polished rice to novelty, lychee-flavored varieties): No, you’re not in Tokyo, you’re in … Hawai‘i Kai? This sushi and kaiseki restaurant in Koko Marina opened last year, complete with all the bells and whistles for an upscale Japanese dining experience. Now, it has even more of a little something for everyone, with a new kaiseki menu targeted for diners looking to try it all—and we mean all. The Instagram-worthy meal comes on a massive, carved tray toting seven teeny dishes of tempura, seafood-stocked soup, poke, unagi, steamed fish and more. For the kaiseki-curious, it's a fine mix of both foreign and accessible flavors, and will set diners back a reasonable $38.
7192 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, 888-7777, gokokuhonolulu.com
A new location: The Bishop Museum Café by Highway Inn
First, the West Side, then, Kaka‘ako—now, Kalihi. Highway Inn has been spreading its ‘onolicious wings recently and the latest stop on its islandwide road trip is in the old café spot at the Bishop Museum. Opened last month, this location’s menu is a bit of a departure from what you can expect at the other Highway Inn locations, with sandwiches and wraps served alongside poke bowls and hearty Hawaiian plates of kālua pork, sweet potato, mac salad and, of course, haupia. And, stay tuned, this is just the beginning for the Bishop Museum and Highway Inn partnership. The museum is already gearing up for a brand-new café space, and diners will able to find a more extensive menu at the Kalihi location in the coming months.
1526 Bernice St., 847-3511
A new restaurant: Noi Thai
Begone, images of pad-thai-filled Styrofoam containers and rolls stuffed into cellophane bags. Time to level up. One of Royal Hawaiian Center’s latest additions, Noi Thai, is an upscale take on the beloved Thai dining tradition. It features beautifully presented dishes created by top-tier chefs from Thailand, including fresh rolls, pad thai and soups, all in the elegant dining room. (Try the tom yum, which comes with a tableside presentation, or one of the delectable curries.) Noi Thai marks the first Hawai‘i location for the Bai Tong restaurant group, which is based in Seattle. The meal will cost you a fair bit more than your normal takeout, but there’s happy hour, every day from 3 to 7 p.m., to sample a portion of the menu, including crispy rolls and curry, without breaking the bank.
Noi Thai, Royal Hawaiian Center, 664-4039
Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop
A favorite of Honolulu brunchers recently started serving dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Its online menu is not yet updated, but we hear good buzz about the ceviche tacos, the bacon-wrapped lamb chops and the horseradish-crusted beef short ribs.
1030 Smith St., 536-1669, scratch-hawaii.com
A Cup of Tea in Kailua
This place has launched its Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, which serves malts, old-fashioned sodas, banana splits and an assortment of other desserts. The parlor is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
407 Uluniu St., Suite 101, 230-8832, acupoftea.com
Hank’s Haute Dogs
Photo: Courtesy of Hank's Haute Dogs
After two months, Hank’s has opened its doors in a new location, at 324 Coral St. The new digs, complete with the launch of a new breakfast menu, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and until noon on weekends.
324 Coral St., 532-4265, hankshautedogs.com
Photo: Courtesy of Teaspresso Bar
Teapresso Bar has opened another location. Like its Bishop Street shop, Teapresso Bar 2, at 510 Piʻikoi St., Suit 100, offers customers freshly brewed tea, coffee made with premium beans and snacks inspired by the owners’ favorite street foods.
510 Piʻikoi St., Suite 100, 532-4265, teapressobar.com