Your Top 5: The Most Popular Honolulu Restaurant News in 2021

Our most-read stories, and a few updates, that left us all hungry for more in 2021.


As we celebrate the start of a new year, we always love looking back at the headlines that made us hungry in the past 12 months. We found a mix of new pop-ups, rediscovering new items and a story that made us think about the ramifications of reservations during a pandemic. Here is a look at the five restaurant posts that we all ate up in 2021.


No. 5: Chinatown’s Best Hidden Courtyard is a Thai-Laotian Gem


Olays Kapoon curry Rice Noodles

Photo: Mari Taketa


You can get your favorite Thai dishes to-go at Olay’s Thai-Laotian Cuisine on Hotel Street, the downtown outpost of the popular North Shore eatery. But you will be missing out on two things that make this Chinatown restaurant truly special. We have more on that and the five dishes you likely have not tried that you should in 2022.





No. 4: Smashed Hawai‘i Is the Newest Smash Burger to Hit Honolulu


Smashed Hawaii Big Smash Burger Credit Thomas Obungen 2

Big Smash. Photo: Thomas Obungen


Don’t wait to try this smash burger joint: ‘Ohana Hale Marketplace is slated to close its current location this spring. Future plans are in the works, but for a taste of the burger that “looks like a Big Mac (in its rebellious, edgy teenage years),” get there before March 30.




SEE ALSO: Your Top 5: The Most Popular Honolulu Food Roundups in 2021


No. 3: Get Your Greek Fix in Tantalus


Greek Aloha Kitchen Greek Fries Credit Thomas Obungen 3

Photo: Thomas Obungen


Lamb is not the menu, but this pop-up run by a pastry chef and her husband, who moved from Greece to Hawai‘i this year, delivers big on Greek flavors. Just one more thing: baklava chocolate chip ice cream. You’re welcome.





No. 2: These 10 Restaurants Had 0 to 50 No Shows on Saturday Night


Piggy Smalls Patio Diners Lianne Rozzelle

Photo: Lianne Rozzelle


During the summer, we began hearing of a big problem at our local restaurants: large numbers of people making reservations then not showing up. It was a big blow for the businesses still operating with fewer seats to accommodate pandemic restrictions. We’re glad so many paid attention to this post and learned about the real impact of a no-show.





No. 1: 33 Restaurants to Watch for in 2021


chopsticks hold up thick biangbiang noodles coated in spicy Szechuan sauce and garnished with fresh scallions

Photo: Thomas Obungen


We shouldn’t be surprised that this was our most read post of 2021. We took a few minutes to update our list so you can see which of the more than 30 places are now open, which are still in the works and which were so delicious we just had to write about them. And yes, we are working on our roundup for 2022. Stay tuned.