Oahu, Hawaii & Honolulu Restaurant Reviews

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

Oahu, Hawaii & Honolulu Restaurant ReviewsHanauma Bay

We visited Oahu, Hawaii and chronicled our eating journey throughout the island including downtown Honolulu. It was her first time back in decades and we found the food much improved. Our May 2020 trip was during the pandemic, so many spots only offered takeout.

Kalua Pig

Ka’aha’aina Cafe, Waianae

Ka’aha’aina Cafe is a hard-to-find restaurant located above a hospital in Waianae, Oahu, Hawaii. Drive up the mountain to Waianae coast comprehensive health center, there is another small driveway that continues further up the mountain.

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for take out.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

Locals came there to eat, so we know it was a good value. Hidden gem.

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing.

Minuses – None

Food Picks:

Kalua Pig ($10) had a big portion of juicy pig on a bed of rice. Small salad and a seafood ceviche.

Great price and very well done.

Just OK:

Skip:

None

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Excellent

Would we come back – Yes

 

Ka’aha’aina Cafe

86-260 Farrington Hwy

Waianae, HI 96792

https://www.yelp.com/biz/kaahaaina-cafe-waianae

===

5/5/2021

Lao Sticky Rice

Lao Sticky Rice, Waianae

Lao Sticky Rice is located in a strip mall in Waianae, Oahu, Hawaii. Rated 5/5 on Yelp. It is  between Jeans Warehouse and the Chinese takeout place at Waianae Mall. There is also a lot of parking. They ran out of mango

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for take out.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

Locals came there to eat, so we know it was a good value. Hidden gem.

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

Maui Gold Pineapple Ice Cream Float ($7) was full of real pineapple chunks. Sweeter than we would like, but still very good. 8/10

Blue Papillon Flower Tea ($6) was very blue and also a bit sweet.  7.5/10

Papaya Salad Medium heat ($6) was still very spicy. Good portion size. 8/10

Shrimp Thai summer roll ($8) was well done with several large shrimp. 7.5/10

Pandan Mochi with Coconut filling (3 for $5) was very good. Wrapped up in a banana leaf. 8/10

Sticky rice with banana (3 for $5) was a bit off. 7/10

Cassava Mochi ($5) was a bit more neutral and the first time we tried this. 7.5/10

Just OK:

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Excellent

Would we come back – Yes

Lao Sticky Rice

86-120 Farrington Hwy Waianae Mall

Waianae, HI 96792

 

https://www.yelp.com/biz/lao-sticky-rice-waianae

==

5/6/21

Piggy Smalls

Piggy Smalls is an Asian Fusion restaurant in downtown Honolulu. Piggy Smalls is the second restaurant from award winning chef Andrew Le and his team at The Pig & The Lady. In keeping with Andrew’s culinary philosophy, this new iteration will have a unique and eclectic menu different from the main restaurant in Chinatown.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for take out.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing. Out door seating

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

CHOPPED CHICKEN LIVER TOAST ($9) seasoned with aged black garlic balsamic, parsley, calabrian chili, lemon zest, on Breadshop sourdough was fantastic. Reminds us of Girl and the Goat in Chicago. 9/10

LE FRIED CHICKEN WINGS ($14) our famous twice fried LFC, mint, makrut, peanuts, pickled red onion, money sauce was recommended and hit the spot. Crunchy, sweet, savory. 9/10

BURMESE TEA SALAD ($13) cherry tomato, green papaya, crispy mung bean & garlic, preserved lemon, fermented lahpet dressing is as good as Burma Superstar in SF. 9/10

VEGAN PHO ($16) spiced vegetable & kombu broth with fresh rice noodles, enoki mushroom, okra, tomato, kabocha, fried shallots, lime, black pepper, scallion + cilantro + onion is the best vegetarian one we have had. Broth was very rich. 10/10

BÚN MĂNG VIT ($17) thin vermicelli noodles with earthy duck & bamboo shoot soup, poached duck meat with a ginger dipping sauce, shiitake mushrooms, a herb mixture of shiso, rau ram, green onion, mint, red cabbage, banana blossom, lime was the noodle soup of the day. Lots of goodies in a neutral broth. 8/10

 

 

Just OK:

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Very Good

Would we come back – Yes

 

Piggy Smalls

1200 Ala Moana Blvd Ste 665

Honolulu, HI 96814

(808) 777-3588

https://thepigandthelady.com/piggysmalls

 

https://www.yelp.com/biz/piggy-smalls-honolulu

=======

Don e Don, Honolulu

Don e Done is a Korean restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is near Don Quixote and the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Don E Don is different from most traditional Korean BBQ restaurants, as most of its dishes are cooked in the kitchen and delivered to the table ready to eat.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for indoor dining.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

Don e Done is pretty authentic and priced reasonably. Good spot to hit if you want Korean Food.

 

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing. Reasonable airflow

Minuses – No contact tracing.

 

Food Picks:

Galbi ($24.99) was a good sized portion, easily double in price at most spots.  Good quality. 8/10

Vegetarian Tofu Soup ($13.99) came out piping hot and had good flavors. 8/10

Kimchi Fried rice in stone pot ($17.99) was sorta like bibimbap, but not crispy crust but good quantity. 7.5/10

 

Just OK:

None

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Good

Value – Very Good

 

Would we come back – Yes

 

Don e Done

919 Keeaumoku St Ste 101

Honolulu, HI 96822

 

https://www.yelp.com/biz/don-e-don-honolulu-2

====

Diamond Head Market and Grill

Diamond Head Market and Grill is a casual taken out restaurant not far from Diamond Head. We were looking for some casual take out dinner.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for take out.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

Diamond Head Market and Grill had many folks waiting for their orders, definitely a popular eatery. The food was reasonably priced and the quality decent.

 

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

Hamburger Steak Plate ($10.00) Hand-made hamburger patty, topped w/caramelized onions and smothered with made-from-scratch brown gravy had a good size patty topped with their homemade gravy. Side salad with White dressing. 8/10

Loco Moco ($10.00) One (1) sunny side up egg, brown gravy, house made hamburger, rice (salad not included) the mark for this classic dish, good size patty along with a nice runny egg. 8/10

Side order of portobello mushroom ($7.50) is a signature dish. Cooked very well on a bed of onions and a brown gravy. 8/10

 

Just OK:

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Excellent

 

Would we come back – Yes

 

Diamond Head Market and Grill

3158 Monsarrat Ave

Honolulu, HI 96815

808-732-0077

http://www.diamondheadmarket.com

https://www.yelp.com/biz/diamond-head-market-and-grill-honolulu

====

The Ripple of Smiles

The Ripple of Smiles in Honolulu that specializes in Vietnamese vegan food, while offering regular items also. It is rated 4.5 stars on Yelp.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for outdoor dining.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

The Ripple of Smiles is the place to go if you’re a vegan. If you’re not, the Vietnamese food is very good also.

 

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing, outdoor dining.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

A3 Papaya salad ($13) Shrimp, our salad sauce, pickles, vinegar, sugar, fried onion, peanut, basil, served with fish sauce is well done, and comes comes in ample quantity. 8/10

Lemongrass salmon with vermicelli ($16.75) Garlic, chili, lettuce, beansprouts, pickles, cucumber, peanut, onions, served with fish sauce is a solid dish with very fresh fish. 8/10

Small beef pho noodle soup $10.00 Unavailable for take-out beef, cilantro, onions, pepper, beansprouts, basil, jalapeno hits the mark with their long boiled broth. A little too much pepper, but very quality meat and noodles. 8/10

Thai Tea Vegan ($4.44)

 

Just OK:

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Very Good

Would we come back – Yes

 

The Ripple of Smiles

3040 Waialae Ave

Honolulu, HI 96816

808-354-2572

https://www.therippleofsmiles.com/

 

https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-ripple-of-smiles-honolulu

===

5/8/21

PAI Honolulu

PAI Honolulu is a New American, Asian Fusion high end restaurant. It was our splurge meals for the trip. 4.5 stars on Yelp.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for outside dining.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

PAI Honolulu did not live up to our expectations. The food was okay, but nothing special.

 

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing, outside tables.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

FOIE GRAS PÂTÉ ($32). blood orange & sake gelee, fennel sourdough crisps. The best dish of the night. Way to larger a portion though! 8.5/10

CANDY CANE BEETS ($14). ginger wasabi dressing, lentils, ricotta, beet crouton (v/gf) look like real ahi. It is a good dish for vegetarians. 7.5/10

 

Just OK:

120 DAY DRY-AGED BEEF TRUFFLE DAN DAN NOODLES 31. 120 day dry-aged beef dan dan ragu, black winter truffle, peanut, Korean chili, garlic chive, bean sprout, handmade noodles, pecorino cheese. Mishmash of flavors, textures. Nothing holding it together. _7/10

 

5 SPICE PORK BELLY 38. roasted fuji apple, bacon & lup cheong jam, Chinese mustard potato gratin, pork jus (gf). Just did not work, the pork belly was 75% fat. The potato gratin was an odd choice.   7/10

 

MAITAKE CONFIT 35. maitake confit, truffle, cauliflower, pickled shimeji mushroom, rosemary, sourdough crisps (v/gf) looked like a really nice vegetable dish, but it also did not add up. 7/10

 

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Very Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Fair

 

Would we come back – No

 

PAI Honolulu

55 Merchant St Ste 110

Honolulu, HI 96813

(808) 744-2531

 

https://www.paihonolulu.com/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/pai-honolulu-honolulu

===

5/6/21

Musubi Cafe Iyasume

Musubi Cafe Iyasume is a fun inexpensive Japanese restaurant specializing in spam musubi. They have several locations.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for take out.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

Food takes a long time to come.

 

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

Teriyaki Spam Musubi ($2.18) could have used a lot more spam! Good rice but too much. L&L has even more rice!

Avocado Bacon Spam ($2.88) was not as weird as it sounds.

Seaweed RiceBall ($1.98) hit the spot.

 

Just OK:

Mustard Leaf RiceBall ($1.98) was not as good as seaweed.

 

Skip:

Cucumber Ume Spam ($2.58) was too salty.

Miso soup was just too salty

 

Overall – Good

Food – Good

Decor – Fair

Service – Good

Value – Very Good

 

Would we come back – Maybe

 

Musubi Cafe Iyasume

2427 Kuhio Ave Fl 1 Aqua Pacific Monarch Hotel

Honolulu, HI 96815

(808) 921-0168

 

https://www.yelp.com/biz/musubi-cafe-iyasume-honolulu

==

5/11/21

Restaurant XO

Restaurant XO is a New American/Fusion Restaurant in Honolulu. They have a prix fixe menu and are doing a la carte take out on certain days. Call ahead.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for take out.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

Restaurant XO has inventive food that works.  Definitely foodie certified.

 

Safety Pluses – Online menu, phone orders, social distancing.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

Beet Lotus, Chimichurri, Shiso, Quinoa – Beautiful and innovative dish that is a must get. 9/10

Crunchy Kale Salad was also a well done kale salad with crispy bits. Wish all veggies tasted so good. 8.5/10

Misoyaki Roasted Cauliflower is charred and also cooked perfectly. 8.5/10

Foie Gras, Salt Roasted Crispy rice looks funny but works. The rice balances out the fatty foie. 9/10

Scallops, XO Spiced King Trumpet had a good quantity of nicely seared scallops. 8/10

Just OK:

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Excellent

Food – Excellent

Decor – Very Good

Service – Very Good

Value – Very Good

 

Would we come back – Yes

 

Restaurant XO

3434 Waialae Ave Ste 5

Honolulu, HI 96816

(808) 732-3838

https://www.facebook.com/RestaurantXO/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/xo-restaurant-honolulu-3

===

5/11/21

Olay’s Thai Lao

Olay’s Thai Lao Cuisine is a restaurant in Honolulu’s Chinatown.

 

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in  2021, we visited them for outdoor dining.

We were trying to support local restaurants, so they can survive. All will get a 4 star review for being open.

 

Olay’s Thai Lao Cuisine had surprisingly good food but really slow service.

Safety Pluses – Online menu, Delivery services available, online ordering, social distancing.

Minuses – None

 

Food Picks:

Pad Siew (Chow Fun Noodles With Soy Sauce) ($10.95) Wok fried chow fun noodles in Mama Olay’s special soy sauce, eggs and Chinese broccoli was just ok. 7.5/10

Nam Khao (Crispy Rice Salad) ($12.95) Deep fried rice balls, fermented pork sausage, peanuts, green onions, cilantro, and mint tossed in fresh house citrus sauce was a fun dish were you wrap the crispy rice salad in the leaves. 9/10

Pad Pak Gad Na (Chinese Broccoli Wok-Fry) ($10.95) Garlic, Chinese broccoli, and oyster sauce. Medium spiciness was really hot! 7.5/10

Mango Sticky Rice ($5.95) was done well. Just a little sweet. 8/10

 

Just OK:

Thum Mak Muang (Green Mango Salad – Seasonal) ($8.95)

Shredded green mangos, tomatoes, fresh lime juice, palm sugar, and fish sauce was a bit odd. Next time we’ll get papaya salad 7/10

 

Skip:

None

 

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good

Decor – Very Good

Service – Poor

Value – Very Good

 

Would we come back – Yes

 

Olay’s Thai Lao Cuisine

66 N Hotel St

Honolulu, HI 96817

(808) 536-5300

Home

https://www.yelp.com/biz/olays-thai-lao-cuisine-honolulu-3

Restaurant Map:


Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

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