Although some of the island’s seemingly immortal restaurants and bars shuttered their doors this summer (RIP Kenny’s Restaurant, Brasserie Du Vin, Salt), the good news is there are some sweet new spots -- from communal dining destinations to deep-fried kimchi slingers -- ready to join the ranks of Oahu’s best eat & drink spots. Here are 11 new Honolulu restaurants you need to try right now...
Downtown With Pint + Jigger home to one of the best burgers on the island, it makes perfect sense that co-owners Hideo and Grace Simon would open a place dedicated to burgers and beer. Venison and local beef patties are ground in-house, grilled-to-order, and thoughtfully paired with sauces like fried caper mayo, blackberry & raspberry mustard sauce, or blood orange ketchup. Pastas and salads are also offered, but in a place that specializes in gourmet meats, it’s probably best to put your money where the meat is.
Downtown/Chinatown The former pop-up once shared kitchen space with a ramen shop on Kapahulu, then disappeared for a bit before finding a home dedicated solely to fulfilling the island’s tibs, wot, and shira needs. Round up your family or friends and sit down for a communal meal of sautéed/stewed meats and vegetables peppered with the traditional berbere spice: a mix of ginger, red pepper, cardamom, and cumin. Or opt to practice the customary Ethiopian practice called gursha, where people take turns feeding each other with their fingers as a gesture of affection, and get to know your friends a bit better. Just don’t forget your hand sanitizer.
Kaimuki Like its sister restaurants Town and Kaimuki Superette, Ed Kenney’s new tapas and cocktail bar has a casual feel, with its repurposed wood furniture and locally sourced eats. The menu features Asian/Hawaiian-inspired plates, with a changing menu to suit seasonally available produce, so be prepared to see some of your early favorites come and go. With dishes like salted walu croquette, and clams with kalua pig and cabbage, it’ll be difficult not to get too attached, but akin to Kenney’s previous establishments, we imagine this watering hole will keep getting better and better with time.
Makiki Sure, this summer’s record-high temperatures may make slurping down a bowl of steaming ramen noodles seems like a bad idea, but some say eating spicy foods actually helps you cool down faster. But you’re not going to IKKA Dining International’s first ramen bar for a science lesson, you’re going for Chef Masahiro Endo’s creamy, aromatic pork broth paired with custom-made noodles. But still, we think that whole spicy food thing is legit.
Ewa Beach Forget your usual drive-thru breakfast because this Garden Isle brunch institution has made its way to Oahu’s West Side, minus the long lines (so far). The friendly family-run restaurant serves up massive local-style brunch plates the original Kauai location is known for, including its famous homemade cornbread and pancakes the size of a tree trunk.
University/Manoa This new hole in the wall is also known as OMG, but don’t let the texting vernacular scare you. Like the mainland chain Chipotle, this fast-food restaurant lets you build your taco, burrito, or bowl to your liking, only with better ingredients. Here, all meats are steroid-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free; vegetables are fresh; and sauces and guacamole are homemade. Added bonus: parking at University Square is free for one hour with validation, so you can make your dining experience as fast or slow as you’d like.
Downtown Travel back in time for some 19th-century missionary island dishes at the historic Hawaiian Mission Houses Museum’s new café. Those who miss, or missed out on Chef Mark Noguchi’s dishes at the Heeia Kea Pier General Store can check out his latest venture, where he builds a small, rotating menu from locally sourced ingredients. Try the luau stew with pork shoulder, or akule heirloom tomato bruschetta, either indoors or relaxing al fresco under a table umbrella or milo tree.
Kakaako Part wine bar, part gourmet coffee shop, part meat and cheese deli, part artisan café, and part healthy grab-and-go spot, Hide Sakurai’s new self-service restaurant is looking to be your go-to spot morning, noon, and nighttime. Come for taro pancakes and a macadamia nut cappuccino in the AM, then a French dip pizza or a fried quail egg Spam musubi for lunch, and maybe a glass of pinot and pickled vegetables after work. Oh, and whenever you go, make sure to try some of its bread; it's B+B's... well, you know.
Pearl City Leeward Bowl’s new bar and lounge opened early this year, giving Leeward Oahu craft beer and whiskey lovers a break from Uber fees, only to close a few months later. But as of July, the pub returned with an extensive collection of over 100 craft beers, rotating taps, classic cocktails, and a new chef, who’s even set up a prime rib-carving station. Before you eat, slip on your rental bowling shoes and work up an appetite knocking down pins (or cleaning the gutter) next door. Recap the game with friends over an Eight50 Old Fashioned cocktail, and some truffled Parmesan tater tots, and relish in the fact that your beer-loving and whiskey-drinking townie friends can now commute to your neck of the woods.
McCully/Moiliili Pronounced phonetically, this local bar is a Japanese play on words for “oh so yummy,” and it delivers on that, with a dozen beef slider variations, and un-calorie conscious, but affordable bites like fried kimchi, Parmesan pepperoni fries, and fried cheesy Sriracha balls with a side of house-made blue cheese dipping sauce. Wash down these savory bites with the daily happy hour drink specials, or reasonably priced bottled beer, and leave with a full stomach and a happy wallet.
Ward The owner of Maile’s Thai Bistro goes Italian at this modern restaurant in Ward Centre that boasts a trellis ceiling and gray & black tiled interior, plus an outdoor patio screened with bamboo planters that let you imagine you’re dining in a different city -- as long as that city is place where you can get flavored version of the spot's titular cocktail, and share apps like calamari and bruschetta. Still hungry? Heavier fare means Boot-food classics like oxtail osso bucco, and pollo alla pomodoro.
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Summer Nakaishi is a freelance writer who got her master’s degree on the... ugh, mainland, but thankfully moved back to Hawaii. Mostly for the shave-ice.
Each year we scour the city of Honolulu to bring you the most notable, new dining destinations and every year we continue to be utterly impressed. With restaurants from Kaimuki and Waikiki taking center stage this year, here are the 12 brand new spots where you can make up for lost time with everything from tea pairings, tuna pizza, to a hip and trendy taco joint. Here are the best new restaurants to try in the city right now.
11 Cold-Weather Activities That Will Remind You Why Winter in Minnesota Is Actually the Best
Summer is easy to like. It’s got sunshine, water sports, and the built-in nostalgia of time off from school. But winter? That takes some more gumption to appreciate. While other parts of the country are either freaking out over a light snowfall or counting down the days ’til spring, living in Minnesota -- where temps are regularly below freezing and the average annual snowfall is more than 70 inches up north -- means you learn to relish the freezing weather rather than hide from it. With the right mindset, winter is secretly the best time of the year, with plenty of cold-weather activities in the Twin Cities and around the state to keep you active and engaged with your fellow Minnesotans. From dog sledding to ice sculptures to a truly epic foraged tasting menu, we have a little bit of everything here to help you brighten up the coldest months.
Food & Drink
Honolulu's Best New Restaurant of 2017 Makes It Easy to Try Flavors From Everywhere
P AI is a not a big place, with seating for just 34 people at a time, but it never feels stuffed. Just cozy. This downtown Honolulu restaurant offers intimate, world-class dining experiences you can enjoy with or without reservations. It opened this June in Harbor Court tower and has blossomed into Honolulu's new best culinary hotspot by fusing several international cuisines and showing its guests a good time in its wood-paneled space. Flavors from around the world dominate the tightly edited tasting menus at PAI -- think truffles from Australia on a Japanese egg custard, washed down with perfectly paired French Champagne -- but you don't have to shell out $135 to sample the restaurant's offerings.
PAI divides its fine dining experiences into three very different options, from an informal night out, to a structured culinary experience guided by the executive chef and owner himself. Here's what you should know before you go.
The bar and lounge experience, which you can enjoy for Cost: $9-$23 for small bites and shared plates
For casual bites and drinks, you don't need a reservation to relax at PAI's nine-seat bar or 10-seat lounge. There you’ll have the freedom to order a la carte, with four small plates and nine shared plates to choose from. Treat yourself to the 45-day dry-aged beef tartare; the tender beef cubed and garnished with garlic chives and olive oil on a toasted baguette; or share (or not share) a series of tapas like eggplant miso hummus, oyster mushroom tempura, or grilled double-cut bacon. You'll want to pair those with a premium cocktail or three, like the Cyma This, Cyma That -- a drink made with pineapple-infused Knob Creek single-barrel bourbon, macadamia nut orgeat, allspice, and pineapple juice. The bar and cocktail menu may change frequently, so you may need find yourself making multiple trips.