Hoot Blog

A taste of Honolulu

A taste of Honolulu

Everyone raves about Honolulu’s shopping, but the food on offer is also the main event.  Hawaiian cuisine is a fusion of different cultural influences including Japanese and Polynesian, touches from Portuguese, plus the essential and much-loved Spam, introduced by the military after WWII.  One of our Hoot team recently visited Honolulu and is sharing their picks from budget Poke to high-end Japanese.

Let’s start with breakfast.  The standout for beautifully and simply presented, wholesome food is Mahina & Sun’s in the SurfJack Hotel at 412 Lewers Street, Waikiki.  With its recently refurbished retro décor, the café by the pool provides a very cool start to the day.  And if it’s caffeine you need, their Olive & Oliver café does a fabulous coffee, Aussie style.

For lunch, you can’t go past Poke, but don’t blink or you’ll miss the fabulous Ono Seafood which is tucked away at 747 Kapahulu Ave, Kaimuki about 10 minutes in a cab from Waikiki.  It’s tiny and always packed with seating outside only.  You shuffle along the counter choosing the size of your dish, type of rice and toppings for as little as US$10 and it’s delicious.  But be warned, they aren’t afraid of using chilli if you ask for the hot one!  Must be the Portuguese influence!

For a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up, spoil yourself at Duke’s at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, 2335 Kalakaua Avenue, with their iconic Hula Pie.  With a chocolate cookie crust and lashings of macadamia nut ice cream and hot fudge, you might need to walk it off afterwards along beautiful Waikiki beach.

And for dinner there are two favourites, the first being a mid-range and unusually named restaurant in Chinatown called The Pig and the Lady, at 1200 Ala Moana Boulevard.  It’s not traditional Chinese, rather very imaginative Vietnamese with international influences, and served tapas style.  The décor isn’t what you’d expect in Chinatown either.  It’s very contemporary with exposed brick and industrial fixtures.  We sat at the bar, which just happened to be where the chefs were preparing deserts so were teased throughout our meal which only served to ensure we left room to enjoy one, or two before we left.

For a more decadent and amazing dining experience, it has to be Nobu, with its very stylish mid-century interior with timber wave ceiling.  Internationally acclaimed, it lives up to its reputation for “new style” Japanese with stunningly presented food with delicate and mysterious flavours.  To get a sense of what Nobu is all about, go with the Nobu Classic menu with favourites being the Yellowtail Jalapeno and Chilean Seabass with dry miso.  But what really stands out is the knowledge of the staff, the warmth of their service and the pride they take in their work.   At 1118 Ala Moana Boulevard, it’s a bit hard to find as aerial maps are outdated and don’t show the new building in which it lives.  You enter on Auahi Street, opposite the Ward 16 Theatres.