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stumphurple
January 4th, 2006, 06:36 PM
when treating friends from hawaii i usually take them to nyc to try some of the great japanese restaurants there. that had me thinking, hawaii definitely has some connections as far as japanese haute cuisine is concerned. i havent been around lately so what are the best japanese restaurants? ive heard some good things about gyotaku. you can also nominate separate categories for yakiniku or sushi bar.

Vale46
January 5th, 2006, 12:44 AM
Not sure if price ranges are major factors but if you're going just on 'wow' factor, a few must-eat places I can suggest off the top of my head:

Irifune on Kapahulu Ave.-Garlic Ahi and the daily specials are to die for

Imanas Tei in Pucks Alley-Japanese Izakaya with ala carte menu. Awesome pupu style portions and if you're really hungry, the shabu shabu is unreal.

Yakiniku Million near Ala Moana Walmart-Hole in the wall establishment but ono meats

Zippys Sushi bar-Yes, that Zippys. Surprisingly good sushi with reasonable prices.

glossyp
January 5th, 2006, 07:44 AM
Oahu does not lack in good Japanese restaurants. Personal favorites for me are based on neighborhood mostly. If I'm in the Kapahulu area I like Mr. Ojisan. Aiea has Tadashi which is excellent as well as Kabuki. My favorite sushi spot is Mitch's, a real hole-in-the-wall in the Airport Industrial area but he has what many consider the most traditional and best sushi master (Mitsui Hideo) behind the counter. Other good sushi places (all pricey) are Sasabune and Yohei.

Paul Ogata
January 5th, 2006, 10:14 AM
Yamachan on S. King next to Flyin' Hawaiian Balloons is great. The food is good, of course, but rice is extra-ono! I can't explain it, you just have to eat it and see for yourself.

I'm with glossyp on Tadashi in the Pearl Kai Shopping center. Last time I ate there I ran into Ben Vegas and also Rodney Villanueva. They give plenny food! Very busy, make reservations if you can.

For sushi, Kyo-Ya has the freshest, thickest slices of fish on their sushi that I have found in Hawaii. Expensive. But gooood!

And of course, hit Sansei for a great variety of brokdamout sushi, and go after 10pm for 50% off. You can't beat that kind of discout! (Be aware that they automatically add service charge/gratuity to your check during discount times.)

Donna
January 5th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Imanas Tei is one of my favorites, but already mentioned. Here are a few others that I enjoy:

Okonomiyaki Chibo Restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. My favorite Japanese restaurant! Worth the drive, parking validated in the parking structure. Go for lunch - great lunch specials, but you gotta try the okonomiyaki! (My favorite combination: bacon with mochi & cheese!)

Miyako Japanese Restaurant in the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel.

Okonomi Kai Cuisine - izakaya style

tutusue
January 5th, 2006, 12:37 PM
[...]Last time I ate there I ran into Ben Vegas and also Rodney Villanueva.[...]
Jeez...Tadashi's shoulda had a cover charge that night! :D

Vale46
January 5th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Imanas Tei is one of my favorites, but already mentioned. Here are a few others that I enjoy:

Okonomiyaki Chibo Restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. My favorite Japanese restaurant! Worth the drive, parking validated in the parking structure. Go for lunch - great lunch specials, but you gotta try the okonomiyaki! (My favorite combination: bacon with mochi & cheese!)

Miyako Japanese Restaurant in the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel.

Okonomi Kai Cuisine - izakaya style

Ah yes! Kai is another awesome place. Very unique with a fun, modern ambience and great service. Kinda neat that you can 'design' your own okonomiyaki. Possibilities are endless! Good call Donna:D

Donna
January 5th, 2006, 03:36 PM
Vale46: I like the "exotic" appetizers they have at Kai. Have you tried the Renkon Cheese Yaki? Ooooh, brok' da mout! It's one of my favorites.

Another place I forgot is Minato. They have "kaiseki" on Monday nights. You have to call to make reservations, but it's really a unique experience as it's the "chef's choice". Aside from the Monday kaiseki, they have great Japanese food on their regular menu as well!

Sayuri
January 5th, 2006, 06:58 PM
The best Japanese meal i've had here was at Kyo Ya in Waikiki. Big bucks but worth it. Other favorites are Sushi King, Yagura, Yanagi's, Bozu's, California rock n sushi, and Gyotaku.

Vale46
January 6th, 2006, 01:31 AM
Vale46: I like the "exotic" appetizers they have at Kai. Have you tried the Renkon Cheese Yaki? Ooooh, brok' da mout! It's one of my favorites.

Another place I forgot is Minato. They have "kaiseki" on Monday nights. You have to call to make reservations, but it's really a unique experience as it's the "chef's choice". Aside from the Monday kaiseki, they have great Japanese food on their regular menu as well!

The renkon cheese yaki was the next thing i wanted to try when i go back! :)
Must try it now that you've suggested it. So many yummy looking things on that menu that its gonna take a while to master.:D

BTW, whats champuru.net? Okinawan site?

Pomai
February 18th, 2007, 09:47 AM
So I took my lady to Musashi (1 of 4 feature restaurants there) in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki for our belated Valentine's Dinner.

She picked there since she's friends with Kevin Matsuda, famous Teppanyaki chef who was featured recently on the Food Network's FLYING KNIVES (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_cc/episode/0,2495,FOOD_20077_47929,00.html) challenge.

Photos...

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/172/394386347_b50d1e3aca_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=394386347&size=o)
Front sitting area. Gotta' love those Samurai armor statues (shown is 1 of 2). 2nd photo are the PRIME BEEF (not choice) New York Strip Steaks. These were actually the last item to be cooked on the menu. You can't see the detail in the photo, but these babies were beautifully marbelized!

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/162/394386350_638fbcdf10_o.jpg
Chef Kevin Matsuda, showing off the famous "volcano onion" (not steaming yet). Look at all those white and Shiitake mushrooms. My fave! Notice the Japanese Zucchini with "Musashi" on the right, and in front, my name "Pomai" carved in by the chef himself. Next to mine was my girlfriend's name +, which I edited out. How romantic, Chef!

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/141/394386356_d26a4ed221_b.jpg
This is pretty much the entire spread. Teppanyaki is all about chef grilling everything right in front of you. Your plate is kept near the grill-side so that he can serve you dynamically, so there's there's no organization, but that's OK, each and every bite tastes oishii desu!

The Nigiri Sushi alone (with Shiso Leaf and pickled Ginger) were gems. These are all about quality. Sorry Kozo, you guys are good for $5, but this partial of $50 dish was SUPERB. Accompanied with everything was also the Tsukemono (Japanese pickled vegetables, Miso Soup (awesome!) and steamed white rice.

At Musashi, you can choose to sit on a private table and order from the main menu, or go Teppanyaki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teppanyaki) (think Benihana) as we did, where you sit around a Teppanyaki flat-top stainless steel grill manned by a a Teppanyaki Chef (Kevin on this sitting), surrounded by a low table you sit in front of, shared by other patrons.

There are various items on the menu that you can choose for the chef to prepare, from seafood to meats. $50 max/person (our choice), which includes steak and lobster. A deal, considering the showmanship by the chef, attention to service by the staff and overall experience. Kevin's personality is so awesome. I felt like I knew him for years. We were "wala'auing" the whole time, and everyone sitting around us also had a good time. It was nice that we were all locals, so it was like we all spoke the same language, joking around with Chef Matsuda.

The items off the Teppanyaki grill were sugoi oishii desu (very delicious!). Tender, lightly seasoned with just salt and pepper and just a subtle use of sauces, not drowned out in teriyaki like I thought it was going to be. Nice. Steaks, Lobster, Scallops, Mushrooms.. I'm not complaining!

On top of that, Kevin is a real character, putting on a magic show, and pressuring me to propose marriage to my girlfriend. I hate that! Kidding.

Teppanyaki with Chef Kevin Mastuda at Musashi in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki = HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

cynsaligia
February 18th, 2007, 10:45 AM
Yakiniku Million near Ala Moana Walmart-Hole in the wall establishment but ono meats



just wanted to point out that Million is korean yakiniku, not japanese.

hata's on south king by times is great for homey, grandma's style local japanese food. john dominis has great sushi (having stolen one of the sushi chefs from sushi king) and a lovely selection of sake. we also enjoyed kai near walmart. for noodles, jimbo's is soooo good. i've not been to natsunoya tea house but i've heard from many that it is a wonderful tea house experience.

cynsaligia
February 18th, 2007, 05:22 PM
just wanted to point out that Million is korean yakiniku, not japanese.

hata's on south king by times is great for homey, grandma's style local japanese food. john dominis has great sushi (having stolen one of the sushi chefs from sushi king) and a lovely selection of sake. we also enjoyed kai near walmart. for noodles, jimbo's is soooo good. i've not been to natsunoya tea house but i've heard from many that it is a wonderful tea house experience.


sorry to quote myself, but for some reason, the edit button's missing from my previous post.

i just wanted to mention hakkei as well--it's supposed to be like eating at a japanese hot spring inn of the . they specialize in oden--hot pot cooking. honestly, it's kinda pricey, they serve kabocha which was simmered then deep fried with crispy rice-y things outside of it. mmmmm! sublime!

the chef at hakkei was one of the few who beat iron chef morimoto, if that helps describe what an experience the food would be.

speedtek
February 18th, 2007, 10:08 PM
I like Yanagi Sushi and Sushi King. Might give Musashi a try! Thanks

montrachet
February 21st, 2007, 10:53 AM
I like Yanagi Sushi and Sushi King. Might give Musashi a try! Thanks
If you go to Musashi, just go for the teppanyaki stuff. The sushi is not one of their strong points.

craigwatanabe
February 21st, 2007, 11:18 AM
I like Yanagi Sushi and Sushi King. Might give Musashi a try! Thanks

I remember the night I went to Yanagi and when I entered the owner greeted us. I told her someone parked their Mercedes across two parking stalls and there were people trying to find parking there and couldn't because of this asshole's magnificant parking abilities.

She quickly ran out and moved her car.:eek:

alohabear
February 21st, 2007, 11:53 AM
I would have to say in Hilo The Nihon Resturant and Cultural Center is a good deal....
Frommer's Review

This restaurant offers a beautiful view of Hilo Bay on one side and the soothing green sprawl of Liliuokalani Gardens on the other. This is a magnificent part of Hilo that's often overlooked because of its location away from the central business district. The reasonably priced menu features steak-and-seafood combination dinners and selections from the sushi bar, including the innovative poke and lomi salmon hand rolls. The "Businessman's Lunch," a terrific deal, comes with sushi, potato salad, soup, vegetables, and two choices from the following: butterfish, shrimp tempura, sashimi, chicken, and other morsels. This isn't inexpensive dining, but the value is sky-high, with a presentation that matches the serenity of the room and its stunning view of the bay.In a town with very little choice, this is the best IMO.

oceanpacific
February 21st, 2007, 12:17 PM
just wanted to point out that Million is korean yakiniku, not japanese.

hata's on south king by times is great for homey, grandma's style local japanese food. john dominis has great sushi (having stolen one of the sushi chefs from sushi king) and a lovely selection of sake. we also enjoyed kai near walmart. for noodles, jimbo's is soooo good. i've not been to natsunoya tea house but i've heard from many that it is a wonderful tea house experience.

I've seen HATA RESTAURANT on South King Street while driving by and have wondered about trying them out. The only neggie has been the lack of available street parking. Maybe I'll try again within the next two weeks.