Tag Archives: waikiki

New to Town: Chef Chai Opens in Waikiki

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz
Chef Chai Chaowasaree. Photo courtesy Chef Chai.
Chef Chai Chaowasaree. Photo courtesy Chef Chai.

 The world-class Chef Chai Chaowasaree is famous for his unique gift of blending Hawaii’s freshest ingredients with the exotic flavors of Asia. His dishes reflect Hawaii’s diverse people, history, and culture. This hard working chef is best known for his flagship restaurant, Chef Chai at the Pacifica Honolulu, which was named Honolulu’s “Hottest Restaurant” by Zagat, and the winner of multiple awards as the “Best New Restaurant” in Honolulu. If that wasn’t enough to keep his plate full, “Chef Chai” is also the executive chef for Hawaiian Airlines, and recently opened a brand new restaurant concept, Chai’s Waikiki Café & Market. We tracked him down at his Waikiki location to see what we can look forward to on and off the menu.

WM: Congratulations on the opening! What’s the inspiration behind the new concept for Chai’s Waikiki Café & Market?

CC: Waikiki has quite a few fine dining restaurants to choose from, but I noticed there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to having an affordable meal without going the fast food route. That’s how I came up with the idea. I wanted to offer “local-style” recipes made with the island’s freshest ingredients and flavors. You’ll get gourmet quality food, but at a reasonable price. The café’s menu features a variety of local favorites along with healthy choices like fresh salads and vegetarian options. I really wanted it to have a casual atmosphere… a place where you can come in from the beach and pick up a ready-to-eat snack, or order a meal from the counter for lunch or dinner. Enjoy your food at one of the tables in the café or take it “to-go” for your day’s activities.

Kobe Beef Loco Moco - grilled Kobe beef patty with steamed rice, topped with gravy and sunny side up eggs.
Kobe Beef Loco Moco – grilled Kobe beef patty with steamed rice, topped with gravy and sunny side up eggs.
Ahi Poke Bowl - Hawaiian-style fresh, seasoned, yellowfin tuna, served raw over steamed rice.
Ahi Poke Bowl – fresh Hawaiian-style seasoned ahi (yellowfin tuna), served raw over steamed rice.
Garlic Chicken Bahn Mi Sandwich - garlic chicken, pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, and soy gochujang aioli in a french baguette.
Garlic Chicken Bahn Mi in a Toasted French Baguette – garlic chicken, pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, and soy gochujang aioli.

WM: Can you tell us more about the “market” in the café, and what we can find there?

CC: I enjoy going to the neighborhood farmer’s markets for all of those unique local products you can’t find anywhere else, and wanted to bring some of my favorites to Waikiki, available everyday. In my market you’ll find premium quality, all natural, made in Hawaii products, from assorted flavors of 100% Hawaiian raw organic honey to my signature Golden Pineapple Cake Bars made with local pineapple. It’s a great way to share a taste of Hawaii with friends and family back home.

Chai's Market delights: 100% Hawaiian Organic Honey, Golden Pineapple Cake Bars, locally made chocolate, dried fruit, and more.
Chai’s Market delights: 100% Hawaiian Organic Honey, Golden Pineapple Cake Bars, locally made chocolate, dried fruit, and more.

WM: Your Pineapple Cake Bars are pretty irresistible. Are they sold elsewhere, and what’s the secret behind them?

CC: When I was young, my mother used to make the absolute best pineapple filled cookies. I started tinkering with her recipe and added local ingredients, and that’s how the Golden Pineapple Cake Bars came to be. Maybe the fresh local pineapple and honey are the secrets, but if you want to try them, you’ll have to come visit me across the street from the Hilton Hawaiian Village!

Open Daily from 11:00am – 9:30pm

For more info, visit:

  Chai’s Waikiki Café & Market



[ pau ]

© 2014 Waikiki Menus


Movers & Shakers: Executive Chef Matt Young

Hula Grill Waikiki introduces their new Chef and the Aloha Friday lunch

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz
Executive Chef Matt Young of Hula Grill Waikiki
Executive Chef Matt Young of Hula Grill Waikiki

Hula Grill Waikiki offers the quintessential oceanfront experience along with excellent food, welcoming service, and fair prices. The vibe is family-friendly, but also “date night” worthy, and uniquely local. This may have something to do with the fact that the team at Hula Grill is serious about food sourcing; they have also been known to visit, volunteer, and donate to many small farms on the Island.

New to the culinary team is Executive Chef Matt Young, who has been with the parent company TS Restaurants for six years, and is familiar with its core values and goals. One of the primary tasks on Chef Young’s plate is introducing Hula Grill Waikiki’s first lunch offering, the Aloha Friday Hawaiian Luau Plate. As part of the only lunch service at the restaurant (it’s normally only open for breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunch), you can catch this new dish on Fridays, 12pm – 3pm. We took a minute to sit down and “talk story” with Chef Young to see what’s happening, and what we can look forward to at Hula Grill Waikiki.

WM: Congratulations on the launch of the new Aloha Friday Hawaiian Luau Plate. What makes this dish, and the day, so special?

MY: This is an opportunity for guests from out of town to try some traditional Hawaiian food right on the beach in the heart of Waikiki. It’s also a killer Hawaiian lunch on Fridays for locals working in Waikiki. There’s live music and hula dancers, even lei making lessons in front of the restaurant… it’s really a fun afternoon.

WM: Hula Grill has always been at the forefront of working with and showcasing local farmers, ranchers, and fisheries.  What does this relationship mean to you as a chef?

MY: This is the number one priority for me when writing new menu items, or adjusting current recipes. Farm to table has recently become the popular “thing-to-do” over the last few years, but Hula Grill has been committed to it from the beginning because it’s important for our environment, community and economy. That is the backbone of our concept and we take it seriously. We recently started working with Makaweli Meat Company on Kauai, and are buying whole cows direct from their farm and using the whole animal for many applications in the restaurant. This is just an example of how we want to buy local and not create waste.

The Hula Grill Waikiki Aloha Friday Hawaiian Luau Plate - Lau lau, kalua pig, pipikaula, lomi tomato, ahi poke, Okinawan sweet potato, poi, rice with furikake, li hing mui pineapple, and a haupia-sweet potato pie dessert.
The Hula Grill Waikiki Aloha Friday Hawaiian Luau Plate – Lau lau, kalua pig, pipikaula, lomi tomato, ahi poke, Okinawan sweet potato, poi, rice with furikake, li hing mui pineapple, and a haupia-sweet potato pie dessert.

WM: What is your absolute favorite dish on the menu at Hula Grill?

MY: Oh man… tough question. We are known for our fresh fish and we always have nightly specials so the options are always changing. But I would say our Ahi dish right now is pretty great it’s served with coconut black rice, spicy hearts of palm and mustard miso sauce.

WM: Are there any other new plans in the works for Hula Grill in the near future? 

MY: There are always new things on the horizon for us. We do a few special dinner pairings throughout the year featuring local brewers and artisans, with one in the works as we speak. Besides that, we are constantly introducing new dishes through three to four menu updates a year, which is a great way to give our return guests something new and exciting to try.

For more information, visit:  Hula Grill Waikiki

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[ pau ]

© 2014 Waikiki Menus


Comfort Food: Winter 2014


A look into dishes worth savoring this winter season, and what inspires the chefs who create them

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz

Pictured: The S.O.S. at Uncle Bo’s

The concept of comfort food is universal, yet its definition is unique to each and every one of us. Geography, culture, family, and age all play a part in shaping our palates. While we may consider the American diners from yesteryear nostalgic, young people today are growing up in a culinary world like never before, with wider diversity and greater emphasis on farm-to-fork movements. In the spirit of the holiday season, we asked a handful of talented chefs from Waikiki’s top restaurants to show off some of their very own comfort-style cuisine. Take a peek into what this concept means to them, and how it translates into their cooking. If there’s one thing we all can agree on, when it comes to comfort food, there can never be too much!


Chef-Owner Bill Granger

Favorite Dish:  Kim Chee Fried Rice

Ricotta Pancakes & Scrambled Eggs, Bills Sydney
Pictured: Ricotta Pancakes & Scrambled Eggs, Bills Sydney

After twenty years in the restaurant business, Chef-Owner Bill Granger’s newest Bills Sydney location in Waikiki is his first venture into the U.S. Impeccably designed with modern form, natural wood accents, and an atmosphere of comfortable sophistication, the two-story building offers a beach bar cafe downstairs, and a casually elegant restaurant upstairs. While the menu is inspired by tropical produce and a fusion of international cuisines, all of Granger’s dishes reflect a quality that is intentionally simple, but executed with the greatest attention to detail. Renowned for their signature Ricotta Hotcakes, Granger explains, “The ricotta hotcakes were my vision to create the perfect pancake. The addition of ricotta adds lightness and good hit of protein while beaten egg whites bring an almost soufflé like quality to the pancake. We serve the hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter which melts to create a sauce.” Garnering praise from The New York Times as the ‘egg master of Sydney,’ Granger hints that the secret is “utilizing fresh local organic eggs with very little done to them, they are creamy and sublime.” Besides breakfast, Bills Sydney offers a variety of unique salads, refreshing pastas and flatbreads, and heartier dishes like pork ribs and yellow fish curry for lunch and dinner. There are no boundaries when it comes to ingredients, but the unifying idea that “Bills is all about comfort food,” Granger says, “casual food of the home that reassures but with a fresh twist to also excite.”



Executive Chef Joseph “JJ” Reinhart

Favorite Dish: Red Curry Seafood Medley

Pictured:  Diver Scallops, Bali Steak & Seafood
Pictured: Diver Scallops, Bali Steak & Seafood


The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s premier restaurant, Bali Steak & Seafood, offers guests the highest quality steaks and seafood along with an uncompromising view of Waikiki Beach. Enjoy a sunset in the relaxed South Pacific décor with cocktail in hand and one of Executive Chef Joseph “JJ” Reinhart’s signature dishes. When asked about “comfort food,” Reinhart has a menu of options, since this notion speaks to who he is as a chef. His signature style incorporates the simplest, quality ingredients prepared with heartfelt elegance. Take the Diver Scallop appetizer, for example, where the citrus-salted scallops are presented over ginger rice porridge, topped with a Hamakua mushroom ragout and heart of palm salad, and surrounded by house made chili oil. “Every culture in the world has some sort of porridge dish,” explains Reinhart, but this one leaves an unforgettable impression. The aromatic rice offers an explosion of flavor, paired perfectly with the delicate scallops, achieving both depth and balance of flavor and texture. For Reinhart, “Comfort food is something that takes you back to being a kid, like something that made you feel better no matter what… but personally, I always like it when it’s given some sort of twist.” With such an appreciation for the intricate details that make every bite one to savor, enjoy a truly memorable culinary experience, and be sure to make a reservation at Bali Steak & Seafood.



Executive Chef Ron Vasquez

Favorite Dish: Oolong Marinated Sea Bass

Pictured:  Salt & Pepper Prawns, P.F. Chang's Waikiki
Pictured: Salt & Pepper Prawns, P.F. Chang’s Waikiki

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When it comes to Chinese-American cuisine with an upbeat, modern attitude, there’s no better place than P.F. Chang’s Waikiki at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Featuring a refreshing menu filled with new and classic favorites, P.F. Chang’s prepares each dish to order, stressing quality and style. While Chinese food is somewhat of an American past time, Executive Chef Ron Vasquez explains, “The perfect comfort dish is uncomplicated, yet filled with lots of flavor.” The Salt & Pepper Prawns are both sweet and spicy, seasoned with salt and pepper, ginger, black beans, whole red chili peppers, and served with a mustard vinaigrette dipping sauce. Choose your weapon (chopsticks, fork, or fingers), and attack these crispy sensations for lunch or dinner. If your comfort is of the five-o-clock variety, check out P.F. Chang’s happy hour from 4pm to 6pm daily for discounted small plates and specialty drinks like the famous Waikiki Chang’s Mai Tai.



Executive Chef Diego Pacuruco

Favorite Dish: Ribeye Steak with a slice of thick cut sizzling Canadian bacon

Pictured:  Phenomenal Porterhouse Steak for Two, Wolfgang's Steakhouse
Pictured: Phenomenal Porterhouse Steak for Two, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

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Wolfgang’s Steakhouse offers a no-frills attitude about what to expect from this celebrated American restaurant, which may explain the constant line of customers at the door. Without question, the star of the show is the phenomenal Porterhouse Steak for Two, Three, or Four. This enormous cut of USDA Prime beef features both filet mignon and New York strip steaks, and is dry aged in-house to achieve peak flavor and tenderness. Executive Chef Diego Pacuruco hails from the original Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in New York, and moved to Hawaii five years ago to open the Royal Hawaiian Center location. His knowledge and passion for the craft of fine steaks is clearly apparent in each dish, because for Chef Pacuruco, “there’s nothing more comforting than a simple, juicy, high quality steak,” and after tasting the Porterhouse, we would have to agree.



Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay

Favorite Dish: Cacciucco di Mare

Pictured:  Linguine All' Aragosta e Granchio, Fresco Italian Restaurant
Pictured: Linguine All’ Aragosta e Granchio, Fresco Italian Restaurant

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Perched on the second floor of the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s historic Rainbow Bazaar, Fresco Italian Restaurant welcomes guests into an atmosphere of relaxed, clean modern design with the familiar aromas of a hearty Italian kitchen. Known for utilizing fresh ingredients whenever possible, Fresco fuses old-world recipes with Hawaii’s local produce. Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay explains, “In Italy, what you’ll find on dinner tables is a reflection of the ingredients available at the market, at the dock, and at the butcher. Comfort food is about cooking with what’s a part of your culture.” He adds, “If you ask me, basically all Italian food is comfort food!” Letting flavors simply stand out is key in Ibay’s mouth-watering Linguine All’ Aragosta e Granchio. The rich lobster and crab are slowly cooked into the thick tomato sauce, made from both local and D.O.P. tomatoes imported from Tuscany, and served with linguine prepared al dente. Simple, savory, and unmistakably “Fresco.”



Executive Chef Rey Baysa

Favorite Dish: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Pictured:  Original Legendary Burger, Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu
Pictured: Original Legendary Burger, Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu


With unique music, jaw-dropping memorabilia, and Waikiki’s only giant guitar wave, there’s no place in town quite like Hard Rock Cafe. If there’s a special place in your heart for a juicy burger stacked high with all the fixings, then be prepared to fall in love with the Original Legendary Burger. This two-hander is made with a ten ounce beef patty topped with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, a crispy fried onion ring, lettuce, vine-ripened tomato, and pickles, all on a brioche bun. According to Executive Chef Rey Baysa, this all-American classic embodies what is essential to comfort food. “It’s not simply a particular dish or cuisine, but also the memories and nostalgia associated with it. Comfort food should bring you back to your youth, no matter your age.” So go ahead, and let your inner child rock out with this truly legendary burger, a side of hot fries, and maybe that decadent hot fudge brownie sundae for dessert.



Working Sous Chef Richard Arakaki

Favorite Dish: Poke Bar (Tuesdays) & Ceviche Bar (Wednesdays)

Pictured:  Mango BBQ Pork Ribs & Traditional American Barbecue, Kuhio Beach Grill
Pictured: Mango BBQ Pork Ribs & Traditional American Barbecue, Kuhio Beach Grill

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Kuhio Beach Grill is well known for excellent buffet selections, especially the succulent, four hour roasted, tender prime rib. Working Sous Chef Richard Arakaki who has been with the restaurant for 32 years claims, “we have the best prime rib in town.” It is cut to order every night, and paired with a live chef action station that varies depending on the day of the week, allowing guests to have a new and unique experience each time they visit. Thursday’s dinner selections are themed around a traditional American spread, including irresistibly sweet and savory, fork-tender mango BBQ pork ribs, boneless, skinless fried chicken, bacon baked beans, corn on the cob, and all the accompaniments you’d expect from a backyard barbecue. “Our American theme is all about comfort food,” Chef Arakaki adds, “to me, comfort food is home-style cooking, just like a Sunday night dinner with family and friends.” And what’s a family dinner without dessert? Top off your Thursday night at Kuhio Beach Grill with their Sundae Station and build your very own sweet creation starting with a fresh made waffle cone.



Executive Chef Danny Chew

Favorite Dish: Shrimp Bao, Curry Banh Mi, Korean Fried Chicken, Thai Tacos  (He couldn’t choose just one)

Pictured:  Kalua Pork Nachos and Korean Fried Chicken, RumFire Waikiki
Pictured: Kalua Pork Nachos and Korean Fried Chicken, RumFire Waikiki

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One of Waikiki’s most iconic oceanfront hot spots is getting a makeover this November. RumFire Waikiki will undergo a complete renovation, while remaining open and fully operational. Look forward to brand new high-end-chic design concepts, the addition of a second bar with a full ocean view, and private cabanas with VIP service. The new menu will focus on Executive Chef Danny Chew’s unique take on contemporary street food. “The vision is to take street food from around the world and rework it into a casual restaurant environment,” says Chew, who has a knack for fusing traditional American comfort foods with an unexpected twist of Asian influence. His succulent Kalua Pork Nachos are topped with melted cheese sauce made from pepper jack, Maui onion, habaneros, Sambal, and fish sauce. The in-house pickled Serrano chilies add both a sweet and hot kick. Also tempting, the “KFC,” or Korean Fried Chicken, is first brined in buttermilk over night, then steamed, chilled, floured, deep fried, and finished in the wok with a spicy gochujang vinaigrette. The rich, piquant chicken falls right off the bone. Pair with a cold beer or a fiery rum cocktail, and be sure to catch a sneak peek during renovations, and don’t miss RumFire’s big reveal by 2015.



Chef Richard Inay

Favorite Dish: GP Garlic Shrimp

Pictured:  Pastrami Reuben, Giovanni Pastrami
Pictured: Pastrami Reuben, Giovanni Pastrami


Football season is here, and Giovanni Pastrami has exactly what you need to cheer on your team. Waikiki’s best sports bar offers each guest the best seat in the house with wall-to-wall high definition TVs, and all-star American classics like the #1 selling Pastrami Ruben Sandwich. Sink your teeth into the thinly sliced hot pastrami, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss on grilled rye, and discover how to tailgate gourmet-style. Chef Richard Inay explains that “Giovanni Pastrami is much more than a typical sports bar,” as the entire menu features high quality ingredients, without compromising on quantity. For example, “Our pastrami comes from the same purveyors that supply many top delis in New York, Chicago, and California,” says Inay, and the restaurant serves over two thousand pounds of the prized meat each month. Have your pastrami in an eggs benedict, as a topping on a burger, in sliders or sandwiches, or mixed with fried rice. As if the pastrami wasn’t enough, Inay also serves up a ten-page menu filled with a huge selection of breakfasts, sky-high deli sandwiches, half-pound burgers, as well as fresh pastas, Round Table Pizza, and other stadium favorites.



[ pau ]

© 2014 Waikiki Menus


ON THE BLOCK: Uncle Bo’s


Q&A with Chef-Owner Bo Pathammavong of Uncle Bo’s

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz

Along bustling Kapahulu Avenue, there’s a small, unassuming yellow building that’s home to one of Oahu’s favorite hidden gems, Uncle Bo’s. Boasting an eclectic menu packed-full of local favorites, we wanted to sit down and “talk-story” with the man behind the menu, Chef-owner “Uncle” Bo Pathammavong.

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WM: This winter, we explored the concept of “comfort food” quite a bit and how it has shaped different chefs and their menus. Can you give us some insight about what comfort food means to you?

UB: It’s such a universal concept that regardless of where you’re from, you can appreciate comfort food! Whether you’re brought up on mac and cheese, chicken soup, or Hamachi sashimi, we all have those certain triggers that bring us a wonderful sense of well being and nostalgia. For me, it’s a great big hot bowl of pho, which is basically a hot broth made from soup bones, various spices, herbs, combined with rice noodles and assorted local veggies. I grew up in Laos and lived in a refugee camp in Thailand before I became a U.S. citizen as a teenager. Most people think pho is purely a Vietnamese dish, but it’s very popular throughout Southeast Asia. As a child my mother would make us pho almost daily… and I hated it growing up. I guess knowing we were eating pho because we had to (it’s relatively inexpensive to make), instead of because we wanted to, made me unappreciative of my mother’s hard work. But as the years passed by and my culinary world expanded, I have come to deeply appreciate the simplicity of a dish that culturally was so important to so many people. It provided warmth and sustenance to my family during the hardships of enduring our refugee camp, and now every time I have a bowl of pho, I enjoy every slurp!

WM: You’ve told us that the “S.O.S.” is one of your favorite comfort dishes at Uncle Bo’s. We’ve heard a few rumors about where the name comes from, but can you tell us what it really stands for?

UB: S.O.S. stands for “Soup Or Stew.” Our guests often ask, “Is this a soup or stew?” and our answer is simply that it’s a little bit of both… It’s thicker and more hearty than a soup, but still soothing, rich and comforting.


WM: What’s the inspiration behind the dish?

UB: I was in New Orleans for a layover and had an opportunity to try some fantastic Cajun cooking. I loved the different spices and aromas; so unique, yet flavorful and delicious. So when I got back home, I decided to play around with some recipes to recreate some of the fun unique flavors from New Orleans, but with my own spin. What we came up with is the “S.O.S.!!!” It’s loaded with lots of seafood; chunks of lobster meat, shrimp, crab, scallop, and fresh clams. It’s a combination of savory, velvety, and decadent all in one. If you’re a seafood lover like me, THIS is your dish!

WM: What is your personal, hands-down, favorite dish on the menu?

UB: Hands down my favorite dish is our Thai Steamer Clams… It’s what put Uncle Bo’s onto the map! We use a whole pound of fresh sweet Manila clams sautéed with choy sum and tomatoes. It’s one of the original dishes that we had on our menu 8 years ago when we opened Uncle Bo’s on Kapahulu Avenue, and to this day it is still one of our most popular dishes.

WM: Uncle Bo’s is eight years in, congratulations! What new things can we look forward to in the near future? 

UB: We are incredibly excited to announce the future opening of Uncle Bo’s Haleiwa in the beautiful north shore of Oahu! We are hoping to open within the next few months. The grand opening date hasn’t been set yet, so until then you can always check us out right here at the original Uncle Bo’s on Kapahualu!



559 Kapahulu Ave.   |   808.735.8311



[ pau ]

© 2014 Waikiki Menus


On the Block: Chefs of the Moana Surfrider

The First Lady of Waikiki elevates her culinary creativity with new local talent

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz
Executive Chef Ryan Loo (left) and Executive Sous Chef Brooke Tadena (right) of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Executive Chef Ryan Loo (left) and Executive Sous Chef Brooke Tadena (right) of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

When Ryan Loo found out that his friend and former culinary associate, Brooke Tadena, had recently joined the Moana Surfrider, the opportunity to return to Oahu and work with a strong team was too tempting to resist. Since the two chefs first met in the kitchens of the Kahala Mandarin hotel, each has spent more than a decade leading notable food and beverage operations here and across the Pacific. Most recently, Loo held the position of Executive Chef at the W Seattle, and Tadena was the Executive Banquet Chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Today, Executive Chef Loo and Executive Sous Chef Tadena take pride in designing meals that demonstrate Westin’s core value, “feeling better when you leave than when you arrived.” They utilize local ingredients and offer superfood-inspired dishes at each of the Moana Surfrider’s outlets, from in-room dining to the resort’s signature steak house and sea grill, Beachhouse at the Moana.

“Beahhouse Chopped” their signature salad, with market fresh longbeans, baby kale, Big Island hearts of plam, edamame, summer corn, smoked bacon, chicken breast, and Maui onion vinaigrette.
Crab cakes made with fresh lump crab, red pepper rouille, over a yuzu-infused guacamole, served with frisee salad and Big Island hearts of palm

Being committed to using locally-sourced products whenever possible means both incorporating these ingredients into traditional recipes, as well as creating menu items that are elegantly local-style. Chef Loo explains, “visitors come to Hawaii to taste Hawaii, and what makes Hawaii special are the different people, cultures, and cuisine.” Beachhouse’s prime steaks may be the focus of the restaurant, but look for items like “oxtail” dumplings, luau (coconut creamed) spinach, Okinawan sweet potato fries, and Pacific oysters and seafood for a touch of what makes Beachhouse unique. Chef Loo highly recommends the ‘poke’ and the ‘catch of the day,’ suggesting, “even if everyone at the table is having a steak, I encourage guests to share a local fish done in a preparation that is always changing.”

Next on their plate, Chef Loo says we can look forward to some new twists at the hotel’s piano bar, Bin1901. Currently offering a variety of eclectic wines, specialty cocktails, and small plates, the team plans to unveil a new menu with bourbon-friendly foods and suggested pairings this summer.

More Info: Beachhouse at the Moana

Waikiki Foodie: Summer 2014

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A Fresh Look at Some of Waikiki’s Unique Finds

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz

Hawaii enjoys a rich history of welcoming people and cultures from around the globe in the spirit of Aloha.  Nowhere is this more evident than in local cooking.  From family kitchens to five-star restaurants, find an eclectic mix of cuisines, flavors, and ingredients that make Hawaii a one-of-a-kind foodie destination.  Waikiki is home to the Island’s top chefs, serving up a variety of dishes and dining experiences unique to Hawaii.  We hope you enjoy everything Waikiki has to offer, and make memories in the sun and especially at the dinner table.


Truffle Burger


The Burger, Executive Chef Danny Chew

RumFire offers panoramic oceanfront views, fiery drinks, and Executive Chef Danny Chew’s “street-food-chic” creations at Sheraton Waikiki.  Chef Chew, originally from Taiwan, fuses traditional American food with Asian influences.  His street-style Korean fried chicken is done with a sweet and spicy “kochujang” vinaigrette and “namul” (Korean vegetables, in this case, watercress, bean sprouts, and sesame oil).  On the chic side, sink your teeth into The Burger’s truffle boschetto cheese melted over a charbroiled Black Angus patty, topped with Nalo Farms’ spicy greens and carmalized Maui onions.  Rediscover local comfort food at its finest at RumFire.

More Info: RumFire Waikiki

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Cacciucco Di Mare, Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay

Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay’s signature Cacciucco di Mare is a seafood lover’s dream come true.  Live Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, Manila clams, scallops, and the fish of the day are brought together with a spicy local tomato broth.  Bold flavors and spices compliment the fresh seafood with ease, showcasing Chef Ibay’s passion for introducing local ingredients and character to old-world Italian cuisine.  Indulge in all of the unique specialties at Fresco Italian Restaurant, overlooking Duke’s Lagoon from the second floor of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Bazaar.

More Info: Fresco Italian Restaurant

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Prosciutto al Papaya, Executive Chef James Donahue

Stroll through the Royal Hawaiian Center to experience restaurateur Wolfgang Zweiner’s Italian trattoria, Il Lupino.  Executive Chef James Donahue adds his personal touch to new and old favorites throughout the menu.  The new Prosciutto al Papaya is paper-thin, house-cut Parma prosciutto surrounded by locally grown papaya, and drizzled with candied Marcona almonds and Big Island honey.  This sweet and savory starter is a local play on the classic Italian prosciutto and melon combination, and just a taste of what you’ll find at Il Lupino.

More Info: Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar

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Kiawe Grilled Steaks, Executive Chef Erwin Manzano

The unmistakable aroma of sweet, smoky kiawe wood meets every guest as they enter through the ornate doors at Hy’s Steak House.  The centerpiece of the dining room is a custom built, glass-enclosed, brass and copper cauldron, where Executive Chef Erwin Manzano broils each entree over native Hawaiian kiawe wood flames.  Although famous for outstanding USDA Prime steaks, Chef Manzano also prepares house specialties, from chops to fresh seafood, with the kiawe fire adding its unique local flavor to each dish.  Take a bite of that juicy steak, sip your cognac, and savor the traditional gentlemen’s club atmosphere that is Hy’s Steak House.

>> Pictured: Hy’s kiawe grilled Porterhouse t-bone, Delmonico, New York strip, and filet mignon.

More Info: Hy’s Steak House

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Bagna Cauda, Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto

One look at Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto’s beautiful Bagna Cauda, and you might begin to wonder what other culinary creations await at Arancino at the Kahala.  The flowerpot arrangement is a clever disguise for a base of fresh bread beneath an assortment of fresh vegetables, which are planted into a layer of baked and ground cremini mushrooms.  The Bagna Cauda, or “hot bath” in Italian, refers to the heated bowl of anchovy, garlic, and olive oil provided for dipping.  Relax in the bistro-chic atmosphere of Arancino’s newest location, and design your very own three or four-course meal with beautiful and innovative Italian dishes like this one.

>> Pictured: Arancino’s Bagna Cauda veggies – baby rainbow carrots (Maui), baby candy cane beets (Oahu), baby zucchini (Maui), watermelon radish (Oahu), cherry tomato (Oahu), English cucumber (Maui), fingerling potato, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, purple cauliflower, Romanesco, haricot vert beans (Maui), sugar peas (Oahu), and boiler onion.

More Info: Arancino at the Kahala

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Awabi and Uni Gelee Martini, Executive Chef Hideaki Kishishita

Kaiwa, a dining experience designed to engage the senses, combines traditional cooking methods with local ingredients to create exquisite and modern Japanese cuisine.  From teppan to sushi, Executive Chef Hideaki Kishishita presents layers of flare, a taste for fusion, and attention to every detail.  His Awabi and Uni Gelee Martini features a Hawaiian seafood delight alongside a classic delicacy from Japan.  Steamed whole Big Island abalone and fresh Uni sit atop a light daishi gelee, and are complimented with red ginger, wasabi, shiso leaf, and fresh lemon.  Enjoy the best of Japan with a touch of Hawaii, in a style and sophistication that is uniquely Kaiwa.

More Info: Kaiwa

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Matsu Entree, Teppanyaki Chef Anson Ikehara

Make your summer, and your dinner, sizzle at Tanaka of Tokyo.  Teppanyaki Chef Anson Ikehara dazzles guests with knife juggling, shrimp tail acrobatics, and a fire breathing onion volcano, all while expertly preparing your selected entree to perfection.  Choose the “Matsu” and enjoy a complete meal highlighted by Premium Angus Beef sirloin, chicken, and lobster tail hot off the grill.  The food is excellent, but the show and the atmosphere make for one of the best Japanese teppan experiences in the world.  Check out any of Tanaka of Tokyo’s three locations, all in the Waikiki area, for a dining experience filled with fun, excitement, laughter, and amazing flavors.

>> Pictured: Tanaka of Tokyo’s Matsu entree includes Teppanyaki grilled Premium Angus Beef sirloin, chicken, and lobster tail with tossed green salad, grilled shrimp appetizer, teppanyaki vegetables, steamed rice, pickled vegetables, miso soup, Japanese green tea, and dessert.

More Info:Tanaka of Tokyo