The Dish on Neighbor Islands

For people who love dining out, juicy food gossip is almost as satisfying as the stuff you read in supermarket tabloids.

photo courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Maui

A Pirate’s Ship with Wine Casks Was Just Discovered Under the Hyatt Regency

Well, close. One of Maui’s newest restaurants, Son’z, does have the largest wine cellar in the state. The restaurant, in the Hyatt Regency Maui’s Swan Court, has 3,000 bottles, and its inventory is worth about $250,000. What’s good to eat? Try the Surfing Goat Cheese Ravioli, made with Surfing Goat cheese from the Maui-based dairy. 200 Nohea Kai St., Kaanapali. (808) 667-4506.

Spontaneous Combustion!

The Pukalani Country Club Restaurant suffered more than $1 million in damage during a 2006 fire, which was deliberately set, according to police investigators. It’s unclear what the arsonists had against a restaurant renowned for its cream pies. The restaurant is waiting to move back into its permanent building, which is still undergoing repairs. In the meantime, diners can visit its temporary location in the country club. But hey, be careful when lighting your cigarette! 360 Pukalani St., Pukalani, (808) 572-1325.

photo courtesy of Sansei Kapalua

Abducted Restaurants

Sansei Kapalua, D.K. Kodama’s award-winning seafood restaurant and sushi bar, has just moved to a new location; its old building was demolished to make way for a development. The 11-year-old restaurant is now on Office Road near the Honolua General Store. 600 Office Road, Lahaina. (808) 669-6286.

Unfortunately, another Kodama property, Vino Kapalua, is no more. The Italian tapas and wine bar had been open for four years before it was shuttered in June. Maui patrons who crave the Vino taste will have to ferry over to Kodama’s other branch, located at Restaurant Row in Honolulu.

In other closures on Maui, Lahaina’s E&O Trading Company, winner of Best New Maui Restaurant, Gold, in the 2007 HONOLULU Hale Aina Awards, closed last May. “Maui became very expensive and people started eating at home more,” says Mike Hadley, a business partner for E&O.

photo courtesy of The Four Seasons

Super-Skinny Actress Actually Eats!

At the end of March, the Four Seasons Resort at WaiLea, Maui debuted its new restaurant, DUO, located at the former Pacific Grill. The paparazzi was there to snap shots of the celebrities who attended the grand opening, including Christina Applegate, Kate Bosworth, Amanda Bynes and Christian Slater. But we’d rather get whipped into a lather over the menu, which is winning raves for items like free-range veal chops, Keahole lobster and Kobe beef. Even skinny-minnie models can be persuaded to eat a good steak. 3900 Wailea Alanui, WaiLea, (808) 874-2244.

photo by istock

Island Boozes it Up

“We have a new bar menu,” says Mark Zigmond, owner of Pele’s Other Garden. “It may not seem like a big deal, but this is Lanai—it’s big news here!” he says. In fact, except for the hotels, Zigmond’s restaurant is the only place on Lanai that even has a liquor license. So once you’ve ordered up a cocktail or two, check out the new food that goes with it, such as fish and chips, sandwiches, onion rings and calamari. 811 Houston St., Lanai City. (808) 565-9628.



photo courtesy of Merriman’s

Submarine Worker Takes Over Restaurant!

Peter Merriman, of Merriman’s, has found a new chef for his Waimea restaurant: Neil Murphy. Chef Murphy worked in New York for 20 years. Before that? He worked on a Navy submarine. Needless to say, the food from his Big Island kitchen is 20,000 leagues better than submarine grub. Opelo Plaza, 65-1227 Opelo Road, Waimea. (808) 885-6822.

European Expires in Paradise!

The edelweiss is the German name for a flower that grows at the top of mountains. In Hawaii, Edelweiss is one of the Big Island’s top restaurants. Unfortunately, it’s closing in November because its lease is not being renewed. Catch it while you can. Auf Wiedersehen, Edelweiss. 642-1299 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela. (808) 885-6800.

In other news, the Grill & Bar at Kanaloa has replaced Edward’s at The Kanaloa. 78-261 Manukai St., Kailua, (808) 322-1003.

photo by Macario

The Bionic Fish!

According to chef Colin Nakagawa, the family-run Seaside Restaurant & Aquafarm has a recently updated menu that includes farm-raised Kona Kampachi. The fish is a trademarked name by Kona Blue, the aquaculture company that raises them. The wild counterpart is the kahala, but the farm-raised version reduces the risk of getting ciguatera poisoning. Seaside Restaurant also offers a new wine selection. 1790 Kalanianaole Ave., Hilo. (808) 935-8825.

School Serves Students Alcohol!

Fujimamas Kona opened its first Saturday wine school in June. Eighteen students—grown-ups, of course—got to learn about wine, and taste some, too. The restaurant also does beer-tasting dinners, which pair menu items to intriguing brews from around the globe. Fujimamas, you may recall, won a HONOLULU Magazine Hale Aina Award, Best New Big Island Restaurant, Gold, earlier this year. 75-5719 Alii Drive, Kailua, (808) 327-2125.


Big Island Restaurants Overrun by Chickens!

Many chefs in Hawaii are trying to source produce from local Island farms. No veggies shipped in from the Mainland, please. Restaurants don’t usually grow everything themselves, but Kona restaurant Fujimamas and Huli Sue’s BBQ & Grill in Kamuela are both supported by three-year-old Fujifarms, a sustainable farm located in Waimea. The farm just received a batch of 50 chickens, which will supply the restaurants with fresh eggs. The farm also has ducks, sheep and goats.

Sizzling Romance!

At night, the Poipu Bay Grill & Bar becomes Yum Cha Asian Eatery. Chef Romel Begonia, who returned last year from culinary training in Bangkok and Beijing, has stirred up a new menu to keep things exciting. “We have a new sizzling platter,” Begonia says. “It’s thinly sliced, marinated pork cooked in a wok with sweet onions, kimchi and tofu. It’s then placed on a hot aluminum plate and starts smoking. When the servers reach the table, they pour my version of Korean sauce over the dish and it starts sizzling and smoking even more.” 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa, (808) 240-6456.

Former Carnivore Goes Vegan!

The Blossoming Lotus, a vegan restaurant in Kapaa, is beloved by organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Customers, meanwhile, love the food, the organic wines and the mellow vibe. The latest news from the restaurant is that it has a just-published cookbook, 7 Minute Chef, that’s “tree-free”—it’s digital. 1384 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, (808) 822-7678.

Italian Kitchen Stallion!

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa has two new chefs. Italian-born Valentino Luchin takes the helm at Dondero’s. He’s revamped the menu, with dishes such as hand-crafted Black Ink Lasagna with scallops, shrimp, crab and lobster in tomato and béchamel sauce. Kenneth Lum arrived as the new chef for Tidepools, specializing in contemporary Hawaiian cuisine. Lum worked for Chef Mavro at the Halek-ulani and at his namesake restaurant on King Street, as well as at Emeril’s in Las Vegas before coming to Kauai. 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa. (808) 240-6456.

Prodigal Chef Returns!

Kauai’s Mediterranean Gourmet, winner of a 2007 HONOLULU Magazine Hale Aina Award, Gold, for Best New Kauai Restaurant, has just welcomed back Shannon Jones. Jones was part of the restaurant’s opening team. “It’s good to have him back,” says co-owner Yarrow Beydoun. There are also new wine offerings, including samplings from Lebanon. 5-7132 Kuhio Highway, Haena. (808) 826-9875.