I have sworn to myself to not use the ALL CAP/SCREAMING method of typing. It just looks so ridiculous...but this case is different. YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS PLACE OUT! Marukame Udon in Waikiki is so good, I want to scream it from the roof tops and do somersaults and marry it.
The restaurant is cafeteria-style. So you get in line at the door and wait to grab a tray and order from them limited (but insanely good) menu. All of the udon for the dishes are made fresh. Amy opted from the standard with dashi broth and egg. I had to pig out and order the curry udon and the cold udon with tempura. After the udon station, there is a tempura bar and onigiri bar. Where if you look past the security glass into the tiny kitchen, you see two people frying their asses off.
As you can read by now, I was enamored with how good the food was. Amy and I both proclaimed this the best udon we've ever had. Simple as that....you have to go. It's easily the best meal we ate on our honeymoon and one of the cheapest.
Maui Brewing Co.
4405 Honoapiilani Hwy
Lahaina, HI 96761
First stop after a flight and checking into the hotel...Amy and I looked for a place to grab a cold one. At the pool bar, we tried a great beer and asked where it came from. The bartender educated us about the Maui Brewing Company. We vowed to check it out...both due to it's proximity to the hotel and the quality of beer.
We seated ourselves, as indicated on the signage. Then were promptly ignored by the 2 bar backs and 2 waitresses for a good 10 minutes. I was annoyed by this, but Amy did point out the coolness of the interior (very industrial/brewery vibe). After our initial wait, the server came over and took our order. She did apologize, so I let it go. I ordered a Macadamia Nut Porter that was good. Amy had a Pineapple Wheat Lager that she liked. We also got a salad and some wings.
Amy's salad was okay. My wings were bland. The wing sauce was made with the blonde beer on tap...good concept, but the sauce was really lacking.
I agree with the posts I see on Urbanspoon...go check out the beers and skip the food.
Hali'imaile General Store
900 Haliimaile Rd
Makawao, HI 96768
Amy and I were very excited to check this place out. We had heard nothing but good things about this shop and Bev Gannon is kind of a big deal. We drove about an hour to get to Upcountry and were shocked at how nice/polished this restaurant looks. Inside and out...it definitely looked the part of a James Beard nominated chef's restaurant. The inside even had merchandise for sale like a general store. It was cute.
They even had a vegetarian menu...which normally means that Amy and I are in for a gorge-fest. And after the Hawaiian meals of meat with a side of meat and gravy, we had our hopes waaaaay up there. Amy ordered the Vegetable Slaw Tostadas and the Grape/Brie Quesadilla. I ordered a Sashimi Pizza for starters.
The vegetable slaw tostadas were inedible. It was simply sliced cabbage and carrots on STALE chips with a drizzle of hoisin sauce for decoration. Very dated Asian fusion vibe and it definitely wasn't good.
The grape/brie quesadilla was probably the best item we had. The brie and the grape worked well together and Amy and I both enjoyed it. The amount of cheese was overpowering creating a drastic strength in brie flavor that towered over the grape. In the end, it was a bit one-note with brie flavor.
The sashimi pizza was a hot mess...well, not hot, so more of a cold mess. The thin crust pizza was topped with fresh tuna and dressed with fried onions, a pink mayo sauce, fresh sprouts and masago caviar. For some reason, when combined, the flavored tasted like Chinese "thousand year egg"...otherwise known as Pi Dan. It was just weird. I tried all the pieces individually and it was okay. But when eaten as a pizza...BAM! Pi Dan flavor. I like Pi Dan, but the whole sensation and expectation threw me for such a loop that I could not eat it. (Also, I cannot eat an entire pizzas worth of Thousand Year Egg.)
In the end, Amy and I decided to skip entrees and left. We were disappointed at the meal. But to be fair, the service was great and the restaurant itself was very clean and neat.
Amy and I thought we could walk over to this local favorite only to find it was way further than we expected. Cafe Maharani has some amazing reviews and we were looking to get our Indian fix.
The spot is small and kinda beat up, but that's never deterred me from a restaurant. Also, they are a BYOB establishment so stop by the grocery store across the street or bring a bottle from home.
2509 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96826
Afghan naan...way larger than expected.
Coconut rice and vegetable korma. Rice was good and the korma was a bit one-note...but tasty.
Kashmiri naan - very good. Tawa Chicken - too sweet for my liking
After Indian, Amy found a place a short walk away called Bubbi's Ice Cream. Do yourself a favor...GO THERE. A small ice cream shop that makes Mochi Ice Cream Balls! We didn't know how good we had it until we left Oahu and couldn't get it anymore.
Look at all the flavors!
Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream (University Avenue)
1010 University Ave
Honolulu, HI 96826
Wally Ho's Garage and Grill
While visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, we found this fun little place where a lot of military and locals eat at. It's a former gas station that was turned into a restaurant. There is still a working garage attached to the side of the restaurant. The front hald of the restaurant is set up like a gas station convenience store.
Gimmick aside, the food we had was very good. The Loco Moco (rice with gravy, hamburger and eggs) was very traditional. They made their own burger patties and their own gravy. My biggest complaint was that the food was overly salty. (a common problem in most of the meals we had on the island) The Garlic Korean Chicken was AMAZE tho! Salty but amazing.
Wally Ho's Garage & Grill
98-381 Kamehameha Hwy
Aiea, HI 96701
I am pretty sure I drank about 2 liters of water after this meal.
Amy's Least Favorite Meal
Ono came highly recommended by a few of the locals we met. It is considered really traditional Hawaiian food. This place was small and the staff wasn't rude, but they definitely knew that if we didn't like it, there's 10 people waiting to take our spots.
There was NO/none/zero options for vegetarians...so Amy got a boiled taro for dinner. I ordered the Combination plate with Kalua Pig and Laulau.
My meal came with a host of sides, like raw onions with sea salt, pickled peppers with chili water, poi (mashed taro root paste with water), pickled tomatoes, rice and coconut cake.
The kalua pig was my east favorite. It was simply salty although it had a nice aftertaste. The laulau was SUPERB though. Easily my favorite Hawaiian food item...perhaps ever.
Laulau is pork wrapped in taro leaves and steam/baked in underground ovens. The leaves gave the over salted pork some flavor profile besides salt. The meat falls apart and the juices left from the steamed/baked leaves/pork fat is divine. Sure, it may look like a giant booger, but it's damn tasty.
Amy found the poi to be inedible and I thought it tolerable at best. The tastelessness of the mashed taro mixed with water really made the consistency hard to swallow. (literally!)
All in all, it was a great learning experience in traditional Hawaiian food and how to eat it. I enjoyed the laulau and Amy enjoyed her boiled taro. Lesson learned.
I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to try real Hawaiian food. Just don't be a vegetarian.
Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Another local favorite we tried was Leonard's Bakery. They specialize in malasadas (Portuguese style donuts) that are slightly crispy on the outside but still soft/fluffy on the inside. This particular bakery is known for making them fresh on the spot.
We got half a dozen, 2 cinnamon, 2 li hing sugar, and 2 macademia custard filled – it was warm and good but considering we had high expectations it was a bit of a letdown. Honestly, it was nothing special. I would say that this is a pass.
I did learn that li hing sugar is tho...sugar mixed with li hing mui (dry salted plums), so the mixture is sweet and tart.
933 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
So I got married 2 Saturdays ago and we immediately left for vacation that Sunday night. Arriving in Hawaii at 4am, we basically started eating immediately and didn't stop til we arrived back in Cleveland. Here's proof of our gluttony...
Breakfast on 1st day
Egg and Cheese Crepe
Mango and Fresh Cream Crepe
They are a chain, but it really started the trip off proper.
Crepe House - Waikiki
2490 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 6
Honolulu, HI 96815
Gotta try the Poke Salad...I got it extra spicy and it was slammin'! The inside seating was a bit too Hawaiian cheesy to me (and it stank a bit like mildew and fish sauce)...so we enjoyed our snack outside.
Hawaiiana Cafe - Waikiki
260 Beach Walk
Honolulu, HI 96815
BACK ALLEY FOOD STAND?! I'm all in!
While we were wondering thru Chinatown, I came across a back alley food court...and I went bonkers on that shit. There were Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian and Filipino foods represented. Plastic chairs and tables galore!
Sweet and sour pig knuckles (top left)
Hawaiian chicken stew with carrots and potatoes (top right)
Filipino style adobo pork (lower left)
The food court entrance was on Maunakea St. You have to walk thru a mini bazaar to to get to it. (NOTE: they are mostly open during lunches and close around 4-5pm.)
Obviously with my Carni-meal over, we had to find something for Amy for have. On our way back tot he hotel, we stopped by Ruffage Natural Foods, which specialized in organic vegetarian/vegan meals. Amy got the Veggie Burrito. She devoured it...so it must have been good.
Ruffage Natural Foods
2443 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
Two days later, we went back for breakfast. Amy and I shared a Vegetable Sammy and a Peanut Butter Smoothie. Both were excellent. The preparation and presentation was simple but packed a ton a flavor. Definitely worth a try!
I have been craving a proper Japanese breakfast since my last visit to Japan. (8 years ago?!?) So when given the opportunity to try out a decently rated spot near our hotel, I jumped at the chance.
Amy ordered the Japanese Breakfast with only a soft scrambled egg. They gave her a salad as well and she really enjoyed the combination of pickled vegetables and the egg with rice.
I ordered the Grilled Salmon breakfast that is considered pretty traditional. I also added a side of natto with raw egg, so I could really put this baby over the top. The salmon was grilled well and the pickled vegetables added the perfect amount of saltiness and sourness to cut the oily fish. The natto was good. Not great. You could tell it was the frozen type but the with the right amount of green onions and nori, it still came together.
Yoshitsune (inside the Park Shore Hotel)
2586 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815