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Hawaii Restaurant News Archive

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A member of what is considered the second wave of Hawaii Regional cuisine chefs, Goran Streng has opened a charming café on the ground floor of one of Honolulu's new luxury condos. Tango features a range of dishes influenced by Streng's Scandinavian background and informed by his many years on the Islands. Guests will find value-priced salads, soups and entrées nicely prepared and served by a friendly staff. The café is currently open for lunch and dinner with breakfast offered on the weekends. Tango, 1288 Ala Moana Blvd., Hokua Building, Honolulu, 808-593-7288.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar recently expanded to the Big Island. Located in Queen’s Village at the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Sansei brings to the Big Island its sushi and Asian fusion cuisine, already popular at its sister restaurants on Maui and O’ahu. The menu will also feature dry-aged steaks. The 6,200-square-foot restaurant is the largest Sansei on the islands. Sansei Waikoloa, Queen’s Village, Waikoloa Beach Resort, Waikoloa.

Livening up the dining scene in the beach town of Kailua is the newly opened Formaggio Grill, a sister restaurant to the original Formaggio in Honolulu. Formaggio Grill exudes a casual vibe albeit at a rather substantial price tag. Martinis start at $12 and entrées range from the mid-twenties and up. The menu is a confusing mish mash of cuisines and we'd recommend this spot primarily for the convivial scene as opposed to the food. Formaggio Grill, 305 Hahani St., Kailua, 808-263-2633.

Beach Bums Bar & Grill recently opened at the Shops at Ma’alaea. Located in the former Blue Marlin Harborfront Grill & Bar space, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and features casual (and kid-friendly) fare including sandwiches, burgers, fish tacos and more. Beach Bums Bar & Grill, Ma’alaea Harbor Village, 300 Ma’alaea Rd., Ma’alaea, 808-243-2286.

Ono Gelato Company opened shop in the heart of Pa’ia town. Its gelato is made from natural and organic ingredients from local farmers, and includes flavors such as Maui pineapple, liliko’i (passion fruit), and Kula strawberry. Ono Gelato Company, 115D Hana Hwy., Pa’ia, 808-579-9201.

E.W. Drive In has opened up in the former Fiesta Time location on Wailuku’s Lower Main Street. The menu, highlighting East-West flavors, includes plate lunches, seafood, spaghetti, sandwiches, Asian-style noodles and more. Two of its owners, Harold Sambrano and Shawn Villamor, come from Ming Yuen, a notable (and sadly, long closed) Chinese restaurant. Co-owner Jocelyn Kanaele from the Four Seasons Hotel creates desserts and pastries including mini-tarts and pies made-to-order. E.W. Drive In, 1132 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 808-243-8800.

Wei Wei Bar-B-Q & Noodle has opened a second location. Located in the Pukalani Terrace Center, the restaurant brings its homemade noodles, roast duck and char siu to upcountry Maui. In addition to the regular menu, the Pukalani location offers a brand-new buffet, which allows customers to create their own combination plates. Wei Wei Bar-B-Q & Noodle, Pukalani Terrace Center, 55 Pukalani St., Pukalani, 808-573-8838.

Island Cuisine, a casual eatery featuring local-style fare, has opened in Pa’ia. Owner Kit Kalajakawan, originally from Thailand, uses Maui-raised beef and locally grown produce, and also creates all sauces from scratch. The menu includes Thai-inspired dishes such as curry chicken, papaya salad and barbecue chicken, and also reliable plate lunch standbys such as loco moco, fish tacos and barbecue short ribs. Outdoor seating is available. Island Cuisine, 65 Hana Hwy., Pa’ia, 808-579-9491.

Real Fruit Ice Cream Hawaii has opened on Front Street in Lahaina. Owners Hailey McPhee and Jake Ramey utilize a unique soft-serve ice cream-maker they discovered on a trip to New Zealand. The ice cream machine combines the customer’s fruit of choice with Maui-made Roselani vanilla ice cream to produce a soft-serve dessert (and no fruit chunks). The fruit selection includes mango, liliko’i (passion fruit), strawberry and more. Real Fruit Ice Cream Hawaii, 819 Front St., Lahaina, 808-250-1801.

Honolulu is not home to many Greek restaurants so the opening of a spot which offers up Greek food is a welcome event. The Fat Greek has very limited parking and diners will have to brave traffic to order from the menu which features Greek standards at not-so-inexpensive prices. Fat Greek, 3040 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, 808-734-0404.

Breakfast lovers were happy to see the opening of another outlet of the IHOP chain in Pearl City, located in the Times Square Center. IHOP, 98-1262 Kaahumanu St., Pearl City, 808-486-4467.

Mala Wailea, located in the old Hula Moons restaurant space at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, had a soft opening in mid-January. Breakfast, featuring a hearty buffet or entrées such as eggs Benedict or huevos rancheros, is currently being served. Dinner service features similar fare to its sister restaurant, Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina. This includes local ingredients and organic products. The restaurant, led by Shep Gordon and partner chef Mark Ellman of Maui Tacos fame, has had a slew of celebrity backers including Alice Cooper, A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss, and Hollywood producer Dick Donner. Mala Wailea, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 3700 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 808-875-9394.

Beachhouse has opened with executive chef Rodney Uyehara in the kitchen sending out Modern American cuisine. While the concept is a fine-dining steak and seafood house, the use of local ingredients and Uyehara's deft hand at creating fresh riffs on classic steakhouse dishes ensure an only-in-Hawaii experience. The newly refurbished dining room at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort is coolly elegant in hues of surf and sand with a soaring cream ceiling. Prefer an ocean view? Choose the expansive lanai and watch the sunset fade into a lush tropical night. Regardless of where you sit, you'll hear the ocean and dine very well indeed. Beachhouse, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort, 2365 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki, 808-923-2861.

Kapalua Adventure Center Café has opened in the former Vino restaurant space. Open for breakfast and lunch, the café offers healthy, light fare including organic salads, sandwiches and hot entrées. The café is part of the new Kapalua Adventure Center, where visitors can book on-resort activities such as a zipline tour, a ropes challenge course, and hiking tours. Kapalua Adventure Center Café, 2000 Village Dr., Kapalua, 808-665-4386.

Pizza Madness, a new pizzeria and sports bar, has opened in the heart of Kihei. Open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., the menu features a variety of pizzas and beers on tap along with three large screens to watch the latest game. Pizza Madness, 1455 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-270-9888.

Home Maid Bakery & Deli, known for its crispy manju and other island-style baked goods, opened up a second location. Located in the former Sub Paradise, the bakery is conveniently closer to the Kahului Airport, making it easier for visitors to pick up Maui baked goods to bring back home. Home Maid Bakery & Deli, 395 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 808-877-8779.

Merriman’s Kapalua is scheduled to open in June at the oceanfront site of the former Bay Club at the Kapalua Resort. Led by chef Peter Merriman, one of the pioneers of Hawaii Regional cuisine, Merriman’s Kapalua will be a “Farm to Table” restaurant featuring locally-grown, raised and caught foods, with a majority of organic produce coming from nearby Kapalua Farms. The wine list will feature more than 250 selections, including organic and biodynamic wines. Chef Merriman is also planning to open two restaurants in Kauai in 2009. Merriman’s Kapalua, Kapalua Resort, Kapalua.

The popular husband and wife chef team Michael and Dana Pastula has brought Café O’Lei back to its original home of Wailuku. Located in the new Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Pono Center, the restaurant will be serving breakfast and lunch, including familiar favorites such as baked Maui onion soup en croute and blackened mahi mahi. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant will be a boon to the area, which has been undergoing revitalization. This is the third Café O’Lei location, with the other two in Kihei and the Dunes in Kahului. Café O’Lei, 62 Market Street, Wailuku, 808-986-0044.

Featuring upscale dining with ocean views, Pulehu Restaurant is now open in the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. The restaurant will offer a breakfast buffet and a la carte selections, and for dinner, fresh island fish, meats such as steak, chicken and lamb prepared with your choice of sauce, including port sauce, mushroom cognac cream, and mango fennel chutney. Diners can watch the chef action in the show kitchen, or sit outside next to the lush koi ponds. Pulehu Restaurant, Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Dr. Lahaina, 808-667-3200,

Shangri-La By The Sea lunch special

Maui finally has an Indian restaurant with the opening of Shangri-La By The Sea, located in the Menehune Shores condominiums. Shangri-La offers authentic Indian cuisine for lunch and dinner. Specialties include chicken tikka masala, palak paneer, and lamb saag. They also have a tandoor oven for baking fresh naan bread and tandoori meats. Shangri-La By The Sea, 760 S. Kihei Road. Suite 109, Kihei, 808-875-4555.

Four new eateries, including one named after former Van Halen singer (and part-time Maui resident), Sammy Hagar, are planned for the Kahului Airport, according to restaurant group HMSHost. Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill is scheduled to open in early 2008, while Jamba Juice, California Pizza Kitchen ASAP, and Burger King are currently under construction. Kahului Airport, 1 Kahului Airport Rd., Kahului.

A number of eateries are planned for the new Lahaina Gateway Center, including the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant, Outback Steakhouse, and Genki Sushi. The restaurants are scheduled to open in early 2008. Lahaina Gateway Center, Honoapi’ilani Highway at Keawe St., Lahaina.

The Little Oven, a boutique bakery concept, has opened in the Ala Moana area of Honolulu. It has unusual hours for a bakery–it is open from 6 p.m. to midnight Wednesdays through Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The idea behind the hours is to take advantage of the lively night scene in the neighborhood. Early reports suggest trying the parfaits which feature exotic flavored katen (Japanese-style jelly sweets) or a slice of the malt ball cake. The Little Oven, 1467 S. King St., Unit 1-A, Honolulu, 808-947-6836,

The popular South Maui block known as the “Kihei Triangle” welcomes a new restaurant in the former Tastings location. Fat Daddy’s Smoke House offers barbeque fare like ribs, beef brisket, BBQ beans, cornbread and more. Fat Daddy’s Smoke House, 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-879-8711.

The latest addition to the Tony Roma’s chain is now open on the second story of the historic Kishi Building in Lahaina. The famous family-style ribs restaurant features a shaded patio overlooking Front Street, a full bar and an interior dining room with booths and Hawaiian artwork, and ocean views throughout. Tony Roma’s, 736 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-7600. 

Ka`anapali Bar & Grill is now open in the former Mango Café spot. They are open daily from 6 a.m.-8 p.m., offering American food with island accents, in an open-air dining room with shaded patio overlooking the golf course. Kaanapali Bar & Grill, 2290 Kaanapali Pkwy., Kaanapali, 808-667-7480.

Uncle's Fish Market & Grill at Pier 38 is a restaurant venture from one of the state's foremost suppliers of fresh fish, Fresh Island Fish, so it's no surprise that the menu centers around fresh fish. Uncle's Fish Market & Grill, Pier 38, 1135 N. Nimitz Hwy., 808-275-0063.

Nobu Waikiki is the spot to see and be seen in Honolulu this summer. Visitors and local residents alike are flocking to the first Hawaii outpost of celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's chain restaurant. Many of Nobu's standard dishes are similar in flavor to what locals have known for years, but the quality of ingredients and execution raises the bar.

Hawaii's own celebrity chef with a chain of restaurants, Roy Yamaguchi, has opened Roy's Waikiki at the new Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street. Diners will find the classic dishes the Roy's chain is known for as well as new creations from executive chef Jason Peel. Roy's Waikiki, 226 Lewers St., 808-923-7697.

Ed Kenney, co-chef/co-owner of Town in Kaimuki, has opened a new spot in downtown Honolulu on the first floor of the Hawaii State Art Museum. He calls this lunch-only eatery Downtown and the menu features the same clean, contemporary cuisine, made primarily with locally grown and organic ingredients, as his first restaurant.

One of Honolulu's most noted sushi chefs, Manabu Kikuchi, has opened his own place, Gaku Sushi Izakaya (1329 S. King St.). Kikuchi gained a loyal following during his years as head sushi chef at Imanas Tei. Gaku Sushi Izakaya allows diners to experience Kikuchi's innovative take on sushi and Japanese cuisine.

One of the original 12 Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs, Philippe Padovani, has joined forces with Donato Loperfido (you may recall Loperfido as the chef-owner of the Manoa spot, Donato's, which closed in 2006) to open a restaurant and wine bar in the spot recently occupied by L'Uraku (1341 Kapi'olani Blvd., Honolulu). The new restaurant will be called 'Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar. The chefs have come up with a unique strategy—Padovani and Loperfido will not be working together in the kitchen, but will alternate cooking responsibilities. This approach allows both to pursue their other business interests. In Padovani's case it is his gourmet chocolate business with outlets in downtown Honolulu and the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa and a promised gourmet coffee line. In Loperfido's case it is a quick-service Italian restaurant called Pasta et Basta at Restaurant Row. Pasta et Basta is a good outlet for Loperfido's growing import business which features gourmet foodstuffs and wines from Italy. In case you were wondering, 'Elua means "two" in Hawaiian. Targeted opening date for 'Eula is early May.

The Dog & Duck Irish Pub has opened in Kihei’s Kalama Village. The pub will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and will also serve brunch on the weekends. The Dog & Duck Irish Pub, 1913 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-875-9669.

DUO has opened in the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, to replace Pacific Grill. The poolside restaurant features chef Noel Badillo’s inventive menu of fresh seafood, Prime steaks and local produce, paired with a distinctive collection of wines by the glass. DUO, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, 3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 808-874-8000.

Nobu Waikiki, the Rockwell Group-designed restaurant of celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, has opened at the Waikiki Parc Hotel. Japanese cuisine-master Matsuhisa creates his innovative dishes with indigenous delicacies, global flavors and classic Japanese techniques. Waikiki Parc Hotel, 808-921-7272.

All of Honolulu has been buzzing since chef George Mavrothalassitis, owner of the renowned Chef Mavro, announced he was opening a casual bistro-style spot to be called Cassis Honolulu in the Harbor Court space recently vacated by Palomino. The cuisine? Mavrothalassitis is talking about "Hawaiian bistro classics" described as classic fare with a Hawaii regional cuisine twist–think steak with curried frites and li hing mui tarte Tatin. The kitchen will be helmed by Ben Takahashi who is a longtime protégé of Mavrothalassitis from his days at La Mer. Most recently Takahashi was executive sous chef at Mauna Lani Resort at Kalahuipua'a on the Big Island. Takahashi will be assisted in the kitchen by Nolan West who has spent the past four years in the kitchen at Chef Mavro. The expansive venue boasts stunning views of the harbor and Mavrothalassitis has brought in noted kama'aina designer, Mary Philpotts, for the renovation. When will Cassis Honolulu open? If the project stays on schedule, Monday, April 30 is the date to mark on your calendar. Cassis Honolulu, Harbor Court Building, 66 Queen St., Honolulu, 808-545-8100.

Alan and Diane Beaurline, former owners of Kihei Wine & Spirits, have opened a wine and gourmet goods store, Wailea Wine Shop, in the Wailea Town Center. Their new venture also offers a limited selection of cheese and seafood, including diver scallops and ceviche. Wailea Wine Shop, Wailea Town Center, 161 Wailea Ike Pl., Wailea, 808-879-0555.

Dante’s Italian Eatery has opened in the Lahaina Cannery Mall. They have family-style salads and pastas cooked by former Carelli’s chef, the Italian-born Mauro Gramuglia. Dante’s Italian Eatery, Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina.

The Yard House Restaurant

The Yard House is the first in a series of notable restaurants to open this year in the Waikiki Beach Walk, a brand-new 94,000-square-foot shopping and dining complex. Yard House is most noted for its vast selection (the list approaches 200) of draft beers and its classic rock music. Yard House, Waikiki Beach Walk, 226 Lewers St., Waikiki, 808-923-9273,

A tea boutique has opened in Kahului, just behind the Latitudes lighting store. China Tropics Teas & Collectibles honors all varieties of loose-leaf teas, with special emphasis on traditional teas and the tea drinking ceremonies of China. Owners Colin Kimura and Marie De Lima also plan to host midday tea tastings on Saturdays, starting in March. China Tropics Teas & Collectibles, Kahului, 808-873-8028.

Ruth's Chris Steak House will open their second location on Oahu in the Waikiki Beach Walk on March 19. This new 6,000-square-foot space will feature an expansive U-shaped bar and lounge area and a variety of seating options from roomy tables to comfortable banquettes for dining. The interior pays homage to the old Waikiki and Hawaii with artwork featuring vintage prints of hula dancers and surfers. This marks the fifth location statewide since the first Hawaii Ruth's Chris Steak House on Restaurant Row in Honolulu opened in 1989. Additionally, there's a Ruth's Chris Steak Houses in Lahaina. The Big Island Ruth's Chris Steak House in Kamuela opened in October 2006. Ruth's Chris Steak House, Waikiki Beach Walk, 226 Lewers St., Waikiki, 808-440-7910.

E&O Trading Company (Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina, 808-667-1818) opens July 20. They will offer dinner Tuesday-Sunday, serving pan-Asian cuisine drawing on flavors from India, Southeast Asia and Northern Asia.

Philly’s Blue Plate Diner (Azeka Makai, Kihei) is now open in the former Cevoli’s Motorcycle Café location. They will highlight Chef Francis “Phil” DeMott’s American comfort food with a southern flair.

Ma’alaea Grill (300 Ma’alaea Rd., Ma’alaea, 808-243-2206) now returns to its previous location at The Place, as former owners Michael and Dana Pastula take over their old spot. They plan on featuring live entertainment and a menu that includes rotisserie duck, island fresh seafood and local ebi burgers.

Zack’s Deli & General Store is the new gourmet deli at Keawakapu Beach, featuring 450 wines and 25 gourmet cheeses, specialty meats, salads and hot deli take-out items, as well as Kosher foods. It’s owned by Simon Vodjani, whose other Maui eateries include Five Palms Beach Grill and Canoes and run by chefs Rey Baysa and Romeo Paet (the former executive chef of Wailea Marriott). Zack’s Deli & General Store, Mana Kai Resort, 2960 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-879-1561.

Matteo’s Pizzeria is now open in the former Lobster Cove/Harry’s Sushi Bar location. Chef-owner Matteo Mistura comes from Italy and worked previously as chef at Ferraro’s. Partner Mike O’Dwyer, originally from Ireland, is also owner of Mulligan’s on the Blue. Matteo's offers an Italian-Irish menu for lunch and dinner, featuring pastas, meatball sandwiches and pizza. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Sundays. Matteo’s Pizzeria, 100 Wailea Ike, Wailea, 808-874-1234.

Aaron Placourakis—owner of upscale Maui restaurants Nick’s Fishmarket, Sarento’s and Son’z at Swan Court—has opened Blu in the old Café O’Lei location. Chef George Gomes’ protégé Maka Kwon heads the kitchen at this oceanfront, two-story establishment which features such Mediterranean and Indian fusion delights as naan bread with curry hummus and tandoori chicken. Blu, 839 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-9591,

Nobu Waikiki, the Rockwell Group-designed restaurant of celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, is slated to open in December at the Waikiki Parc Hotel. Japanese cuisine-master Matsuhisa will draw on local culinary tastes. Waikiki Parc Hotel, 808-921-7272.

West Maui Baking Co. (Emerald Plaza, Lahaina, 808-661-6699) has opened its west side location across from the Cannery Mall, featuring a full selection of breads, pastries and coffee drinks. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mulligan’s On the Blue (100 Kaukahi St., Wailea, 808-874-1131) now has a sister restaurant, Mulligan’s at the Wharf (Lahaina Wharf Cinema Center, Lahaina, 808-661-8881), in the old Pancho & Lefty’s spot on the second floor.

Bohemia Café is now open next to the Bohemia consignment boutique, at Kahului’s old train station. It offers picnic lunches in the courtyard, with eclectic snacks and sandwiches based on a Camelot theme, like the King Arthur: Brie, avocado, tomato pesto and melted mozzarella on a French baguette. 101 Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, 808-893-2500.

, a branch of the hot-spring inn in Japan, has opened in Honolulu, featuring oden, or Japanese comfort food, with ingredients such as pumpkin, tofu, Japanese fish cake and turnips simmered in a broth. À la carte items are also available. 1436 Young St., 808-944-6688.

Fiesta Time (Hana Hwy., Paia) is planning to open its third location the second week of February in Paia, across from Charley’s.

WM (3350 L. Honoapi’ilani Rd., Honokowai, 808-667-7898) opened October 28 in the former A Pacific Café location in Honokowai Marketplace. After a multimillion-dollar renovation, the 8,000-square-foot restaurant will host live music nightly, along with a late-night menu. Expect metropolitan delicacies like white truffle custard with black truffle ragoût and fresh kajiki with grapefruit and tequila sauce.

Fire Dragon Bistro Orient and Design Shop (3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., Waliea) is expected to open in the Shops at Wailea mid-December. Restaurateur Walter Bissett and designer Bernard Tristan Foong hope to create a unique fine dining experience fashioned after old-style Hong Kong noodle houses, accented with Asian textiles.

Hyatt Regency Maui

Son’z Maui will open in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. Tri-Star Restaurants, which includes Sarento’s and Nick’s Fishmarket in Wailea, is planning to open Son’z in November. Son’z will feature an extensive appetizer menu, classic entrées like steak, lobster and fresh fish, as well as an impressive wine cellar and the Hyatt’s romantic waterfall and swan lake surroundings. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka’anapali, 808-661-1234.

Spago’s former executive chef Adam Condon and bar manager Ted Woody will open Ted and Adam: The Place in Ma’alaea, serving “eclectic” cuisine with Mediterranean and European influences, along with rotisserie items and hand-tossed pizza. Ted and Adam: The Place in Ma’alaea, 300 Ma’alaea Rd., Ma’alaea, 808-243-2206.

Also soon to open in Kihe is Café O’Lei at the Rainbow Mall (1280 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-891-1368), as well as Fred’s Mexican Café (2511 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-891-8600) in the old KKO spot on December 15, while just upstairs, Moose McGillycuddy’s is scheduled to open in February.

Mulligan’s owner Mike O’Dwyer will open The Wailea Pizza Company late November/early December at the soon-to-be-constructed Wailea Town Center (Wailea Ike Pl., Wailea, 808-874-1234). The new Pizza Co. will feature Italian pizzas, breads and pastas.

Lahaina Store Grille & Oyster Bar (744 Front St.) is opening at the end of October. A two-floor restaurant offering Maui's only rooftop dining and a 47-foot raw oyster bar, Lahaina Store will also feature an exhibition kitchen with four chef's tables and a total of 350 seats, with a prime location right in the heart of bustling Lahaina Town.

Chef Mark Ellman, the man behind the late Avalon and Maui Tacos, is back with Mala - An Ocean Tavern. Ellman mixes crowd pleasers like Kobe-style beef burgers, local produce and small-plate servings to create a casual waterfront restaurant and a Lahaina hot spot. Mala, 1307 Front St., Lahaina, Maui, 808-667-9394.

Three new restaurants have opened on King Street in Moilili. Leading the pack is Spices (2671 S. King St., 808-949-2679), a casual pan-Southeast Asian spot where Lao chef-owner Pony Norindr is wowing a multicultural crowd with his Laotian curry (infused with dillweed) and Burmese khao soi soup noodles. A couple doors down is Bistro Sun (pictured), "Italian Fusion Style" (2671 S. King St., 808-946-7580). This offshoot of a 32-year-old Osaka restaurant serves an eclectic menu of Japanese (kikuni), Italian (spaghetti carbonara) and French dishes (escargots) along with some hybrid concoctions that defy labeling (like the Gorgeous Antonio pilaf topped with roast beef and cheese). Nearby is Aki-no-no (2633 S. King St., 808-947-1001), a traditional Japanese restaurant that doesn't mess with the cuisine.

Chef-owner Ed Kenney's Town is heating up the Kaimuki dining scene. Teamed with chef de cuisine David Caldiero, a Queens native who worked at Manhattan '90s hotspot Moomba, Kenney (pictured) serves Mediterranean-leaning dishes made with local ingredients. In a sleek room that takes design elements from the duo's favorite restaurants (including Wylie Dufresne's wd-50), diners choose from a daily changing menu that might include mussels in a flavorful broth with a hint of Cinzano and locally-raised grass-fed North Shore Cattle Co. beef—the strip loin is the closest Honoluluans get to a steak frites. Caldiero's house-made pastas are the best in town. Don't miss his gnocchi served in a sage brown butter dotted with spanking fresh sweet peas. And yes, that is former Waikiki hula queen Beverly Noa (and Ed's mom) greeting you at the door. Town, 3435 Wai‘alae Ave. (Ninth Ave.), 808-735-5900.

Shokudo has the most impressive room in town (it was designed by Tokyo star Yasumichi Morita, who did Manhattan hot spot Megu), but it's really a luxe cafeteria, serving affordable contemporary (and sometimes wacky) Japanese izakaya dishes, nabe, noodles and a slew of other things. Weird but good: sukiyaki topped with mashed potatoes. Think of shepherd's pie with an eastern edge. Shokudo, Ala Moana Pacific Center, 1585 Kapiolani Blvd. at Kaheka St., 808-947-9486,

The new E&O Trading is the Honolulu branch of a fledgling chain started in San Francisco by Chris Hemmeter, Jr. (yes, the son of the late developer of the Hyatt Regency). Taking cues from Southeast Asia and India, chef Barney Brown (he made his name at San Francisco's Betelnut restaurant) delivers Pan-Asian Lite in a Spice Route-meets-Disneyland setting—just the way J. Crew catalog shoppers like their Asian food. A fun cocktail menu is where you'll find pomegranate

margaritas—E&O is already a pauhana hotspot. Pictured are executive chef Brown, partner Daniel Torres, Chris Hemmeter, Jr. and partners Kenwei Chong, Mike Hadley and Micah Broude. E&O Trading, Ward Centre, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., 3rd Fl., 808-591-9555.

Honolulu has seen a slew of new restaurants—from stylish to super casual—open recently, spicing up the dining landscape. Kapahulu has always been a food zone with old favorites like Ono Hawaiian Foods and Helen's Chinese Kitchen, but two new arrivals make it a destination. First there's 808 Kapahulu (808 Kapahulu Ave., 808-737-8081), a design oasis serving contemporary plates in a sexy setting. Just weeks old is Yakiniku Toraji (949 Kapahulu Ave., 808-358-3970), the first Hawaii offshoot of a Tokyo chain. This isn't your grandpa's yakiniku; following in the footsteps of Momomo and Kai, Toraji puts a stylish, contemporary spin on familiar foods, in this case, Korean-style grill-at-the-table yakiniku.

In Discovery Bay, right across from the Ilikai, is Shanghai Bistro (1778 Ala Moana Blvd., 808-955-8668), a sleek room of wall-to-wall teak. While the restaurant touts "contemporary Chinese," the food is really just well-done Hong Kong and Chinese-American dishes like whole fried sea bass and kung pao chicken. A great drinks menu makes the front of the room one of the best cocktail lounges in town.

Choon Chun Chicken BBQ (1269 King St. at Birch St., 808-593-4499) is a humble corner joint with two flat-screen TVs on the walls showing Korean soap operas and talk shows—a big hint that the food will give you a real taste of Seoul. The specialty is dak kalbi, or barbecue chicken. It’s really a giant at-your-table stir-fry of the said bird and a mountain of fresh vegetables. The hot sauce will have you ordering more Hite Premium beer and soju.

Downtown, Betty Pang is giving diners a taste of Malaysian nonya cooking at the cubbyhole called Green Door Café (1145 Maunakea St., entrance on Pauahi between Maunakea and Smith Sts., 808-533-0606). It's just Betty (and sometimes her partner, Oahu Country Club chef Glenn Nitta) at the stove, so it can take a while to get your order. So come when you're not in a rush and indulge in extra-rich chicken curry—get an order of roti canai to dip—or specials like fried pomfret (monchong to locals).

A new hotspot has opened in Chinatown. Soul de Cuba (1121 Bethel St., Honolulu, 808-545-2822) has taken the dining scene by storm with its warm ambience, Latin music, colorful Santeria-themed artwork and humble yet satisfying home-style Cuban fare. The owner, Jesus Puerto, is partner in another Soul de Cuba, but that one is in New Haven, Connecticut.

Right next door to Soul de Cuba, restaurateur Dave Stewart (Indigo, Bar 35) will open his new venture, Du Vin, by early September. Essentially a wine bar, Du Vin will serve Mediterranean-inspired tapas to complement what is expected to be one of the most distinctive wine lists in town. Du Vin promises to be a stunner with a 4,000-square-foot space featuring three distinct areas including an open-air courtyard that evokes the feeling of a backstreet café in Provence. We will keep you posted on this one!

Arguably Hawaii's favorite steakhouse, Ruth's Chris will open its first location on the Big Island in September at the Shops at Mauna Lani (68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr., Kohala Coast, 808-887-0800).

Kailua-Kona is the first American outpost of one of Tokyo's most intriguing restaurants, Fujimamas. Opened in 1998 by Texas-born chef Mark Vann and restaurateur Lisa Smith, Fujimamas created a dining sensation in Tokyo with its Asian fusion dishes. While Fujimamas Kona (75-5719 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, 808-327-2125) is not a clone of its sister restaurant, the two share a style and culinary philosophy that emphasizes modern flavors, artful presentation and fun in dining.

Pearl, an upscale nightlife venue and fresh seafood purveyor, is coming soon to the Ala Moana Center. The three-story space will include bar, entertainment, dance and terrace areas while the kitchen will turn out the signature “Seafood Plateau” dish of fresh catches and an array of pupu-style choices. Inventive cocktails will include “Hibiscus Love Potion #5,” a mix of vodka, hibiscus tea and Pearl’s homemade lemongrasss syrup. Pearl will be open 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Thursday and 4 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. $10 cover charge on the weekends. Pearl, Ho’okipa Terrace, Upper Level 3, Ala Moana Shopping Center.

One of Hawaii's most prolific restaurateurs, Fred Livingston (the list has included Crouching Lion Inn, Matteo's, Trattoria and Tahitian Lanai amongst others over the years) was unable to resist the urge to open another restaurant. His new place, Tower Grill, will be open daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The menu will feature fresh fish, steaks and, for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, offerings once served at Tahitian Lani—popovers, Belgian waffles and a Monte Cristo sandwich. Tower Grill, 1 Aloha Tower Dr., Aloha Tower Marketplace, Honolulu, 808-537-4446.

MAC 24/7, which stands for "Modern American Cuisine open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” will offer American and local standards from steak to omelet’s to saimin when they open at the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio Hotel in early November 2006. Chef de cuisine Pedro Rivera will be in charge of the kitchen and we understand that everything on the menu will be available around the clock. Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio Hotel, 2500 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, 808-922-0811.

If you've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Nobu at the Waikiki Parc Hotel slated to open late autumn 2006, you'll have to wait a bit longer. The new hoped-for date is in spring 2007. Waikiki Parc Hotel, 2233 Helumoa Road, Honolulu, 808-921-7272.

Chin's Kahala is another entrant on the upscale Chinese dining scene in Honolulu. Some of the principals involved in this venture are originally from Hawaii, but built their restaurant business in Southern California where there are more than 10 Chin's Szechwan Cuisine restaurants, before venturing back to the Islands. Chin's Kahala, 4230 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, 808-737-7188.

Big Island carnivores will be happy to know that Ruth's Chris Steak House has opened on the island. This is the fourth Ruth's Chris in the state. The Mauna Lani management team is headed up by general manager Charly Yoshida who was with Alan Wong's for years. Word is that Ruth's Chris' new Waikiki location, inside the Beachwalk development, will open in early 2007. Ruth's Chris Steak House, The Shops at Mauna Lani, 68-1330 Maunalani Dr., Kamuela, 808-887-0800.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro opened in early September and by all accounts is doing a very brisk business. One big plus in their favor is that they take reservations unlike some of the other popular national chains. The restaurant is located in the brand-new condo development, The Hokua. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, 1288 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, 808-596-4710.

Paia Flatbread Co., featuring all-natural wood-fired pizzas, is now open in the former location of SandBar & Grill. Paia Flatbread Co., 89 Hana Hwy., Paia, 808-579-9115.

Market Street Café has debuted in the former location of Squeaky’s. The newly renovated restaurant features an eclectic menu of Asian lettuce wraps, opakapaka Provençal and Thai chicken pizza, and is being run by Leslie Lai, the previous owner of Hana Hou Café. Market Street Café, 197 N. Market St., Wailuku, 808-244-4100.

Satura Cakes, a small bakery enterprise with roots in Silicon Valley (their tag-line reads "Never another ordinary bite"), has brought its Japanese-style pastries, cakes and baked goods to two locations in Honolulu. Satura Cakes was founded by a young Japanese engineer who was distressed at the poor quality of American cakes and pined for the European-influenced treats of his homeland. Custom wedding cakes are a specialty. Satura Cakes, Harbor Court, 55 Merchant St., Honolulu, 808-537-1206; and Ward Center, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, 808-537-1206.

The Waikiki Prince Kuhio Hotel is home to MAC 24-7. MAC stands for "modern American cooking," and with its round-the-clock service, it joins the rather small handful of full service 24-hour restaurants on the island of Oahu. The entire menu is focused on comfort foods designed to appeal to tourists and locals including pancakes, seafood pasta dishes and classic diner favorites like the ubiquitous mac 'n’ cheese. 24-7, 2500 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, 808-921-5564.

For those traveling on Kamehameha Highway bound for the North Shore or the Leeward Coast, there is a new restaurant in Pearl City. Souvaly Thai features well-prepared Thai dishes in a casually elegant setting. Owner Souvaly Khamphoui is ethnically Laotian, so you will find a few Laotian offerings as well as the ever-popular Vietnamese beef soup, pho. Souvaly Thai, 803 Kamehameha Hwy., Pearl City, 808-455-5888.

News Bytes

Ice Cream for a Cause
Last October, Roselani Ice Cream of Wailuku, Maui, launched its 75th anniversary flavor in honor of National Breast Cancer month. Once available only by the scoop in ice cream shops around the island, the new flavor, Aloha Cherry Truffle, is now available by the carton in grocery and retail stores around Hawai’i. A portion of this year’s sales of the flavor will benefit the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation’s fund to promote breast cancer awareness and education. For more information, visit

More Brews for Maui
Maui Brewing Co. recently expanded their production brewery in Lahaina, adding new equipment to meet the increased demands for Maui’s local beer. The brewery, which has a restaurant location in Kahana serving bar and grill fare, purchased items from a recent Maui Land & Pineapple cannery equipment auction last fall. Maui Brewing Co., 4405 Honoapiilani Hwy., Kahana, 808-669-3474.

New Face for Chinese Mainstay
Maple Garden, one of Honolulu's most enduring Chinese restaurants, is undergoing a major change. Original owner and dining room mainstay Robert Hsu passed away last year and the restaurant has been sold. The restaurant closed at the end of March for renovation and will re-open in a month or two with the same name and, hopefully, some of the same dishes like the garlic eggplant.

Coffee & Wine Only
Changes are a-happenin’ at Wailuku’s Café Marc Aurel. The café is no longer serving lunch, and will only be open for morning coffee (7 a.m.-10 a.m.) and evening wine and cheese (4 p.m.-closing) seven days a week. Founder Marc Aurel has also brought on a hui, or collective, of new owners to take over as he returns to his passion for traveling around the world. Aurel will stay on as co-owner and strategic financial advisor of the café’s hui, and will be making annual visits to Maui in the future. Café Marc Aurel, 28 N. Market St., Wailuku, 808-244-0852.

Fish & Poi to Change Name
Husband-and-wife chef team Michael and Dana Pastula of Café O’Lei fame have sold Fish & Poi restaurant in the Outrigger Napili Shores to Michael Lowney and partners. Lowney, formerly of Tommy Bahama, plans to change the name to Napili Tavern once remodeling is complete. The changes, which are scheduled to be finished by May, will include the addition of an open-air lounge and a brand new menu. Fish & Poi, Outrigger Napili Shores, 5315 Lower Honoapi’ilani Rd., Lahaina, 808-442-3700.

Welcome to Lanai City
Henry Clay’s Rotisserie at Hotel Lanai is now the Lana'i City Grille. Open Wednesday to Sunday for dinner only, the restaurant features a menu created by Maui chef Beverly Gannon. The hotel’s new owners, Mary Charles and husband Tom Kiely, contacted the chef, who also owns Joe’s Bar & Grill and Hali’imaile General Store, to consult on the restaurant’s makeover. Lanai City Grille, Hotel Lanai, P.O. Box 520, Lanai City, 808-565-4700.

Mexican Shuffle
El Corita, a Mexican take-out eatery in Wai’ehu, has moved to the Shops at Ma’alaea and changed its name. The restaurant will now be known as Juca Mexican Restaurant, and is located in the former Fiesta Time location. Juca Mexican Restaurant, Ma’alaea Harbor Shops, 300 Ma’alaea Rd., Wailuku, 808-244-5993.

Ten Years of Dining Excellence
Chef Mavro, arguably Honolulu's finest restaurant, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The restaurant kicks off the celebration by bringing back, just for the month of April, the dish of onaga in a Hawaiian salt-crust with spring spinach and a tomato-ogo-herb sauce. Offerings on Chef Mavro's new spring menu include a diver scallop escabèche with green tomato gazpacho and, from pasty chef Hiromi Okura, chilled rhubarb soup over blanc manger with rosewater and shaved strawberry ice. Chef Mavro, 1969 S. King St., Honolulu, 808-944-4714.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Restaurants Reopen
Several restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua have reopened. The upscale resort underwent an extensive six-month $160 million renovation. The Banyan Tree, the hotel’s signature restaurant, has been updated with a new lounge and a private dining room. Chef de cuisine Jojo Vasquez offers Hawaiian-inspired dishes utilizing seasonal ingredients. The Terrace restaurant features an updated plantation-style design. The Lobby Lounge is now the Alaloa Lounge, and in addition to an extensive drink menu, offers casual lunch fare. Finally, Kai Sushi, with chef Tadashi Yoshino creating traditional and creative Japanese fare, is now located in a beautiful new space across from the Alaloa Lounge.

Honolua Store Expands Food Offerings
The landmark Honolua Store in Kapalua reopened their dining area after expanding and upgrading their kitchen and deli. New executive chef Romeo Arruiza is at the helm, and in addition to gourmet deli entrées, grilled items, plate lunches and a coffee bar, the eatery also offers dinner service. Chef Arruiza and his culinary team can also prepare meals in your hotel room or villa. Honolua Store offers organic produce and an extensive wine collection, as well as sundries, Kapalua logo items, and other island-style gifts.

Christmas Day Fire Damages Charley’s
An early Christmas Day fire damaged Charley’s Restaurant in Pa’ia (142 Hana Hwy.). The restaurant was closed at the time and no injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at $350,000, and temporarily shut down the establishment. The restaurant re-opened at the end of January.

Name Game
David Paul’s Lahaina Grill has a new name. Now, it will simply be known as Lahaina Grill. According to owner Jurg Munch, the restaurant’s eight-year licensing agreement with chef David Paul Johnson has ended. The restaurant will continue to offer the same menu. Lahaina Grill, 127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina, 808-667-5117, 800-360-2606.

Giada Features Maui Restaurants
Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis was recently on Maui filming an episode of “Giada’s Weekend Getaways.” The episode, which will air on the Food Network sometime in late January, will feature local restaurants such as Plantation House Restaurant, DUO, Hali’imaile General Store, and Mama’s Fish House.

New Dinner Menu at SeaWatch
The SeaWatch Restaurant in Wailea has introduced a new dinner menu which includes Thai beef martini, Surfing Goat cheese and beet salad, and osso buco. A favorite entrée is the Huikau Eke’, featuring the catch of the day, scallops and tiger prawns cooked with vegetables in a parchment paper packet. The Seawatch Restaurant, 100 Wailea Golf Club Dr., Wailea, 808-875-8080.

Getting Raw
Market Street Café now has new ownership and is adding “& Sushi” to its name. Taking over is sushi chef Ben Kim, also of Makawao Sushi on Baldwin Avenue, who plans to add a sushi bar to the cozy café. Otherwise, the eclectic island menu, with items like chicken curry and macadamia-nut crusted mahi, will remain the same. Market Street Café, 167 N. Market St., Wailuku, 808-244-4100.

Save Your Appetite
A Taste of New York Deli & Steakhouse is closed for dinner until the second week in December. They are in the midst of revamping the dinner menu to include more entrées. While they will still offer the steaks for which they are known, the new menu will provide additional choices for those not craving beef. A Taste of New York Deli & Steakhouse, 1137 11th Ave., Honolulu, 808-737-3354.

A Dog By Any Other Name
Hank's Haute Dogs just keeps rolling out the gourmet dogs to keep up with the seemingly insatiable demand. Who knew that Honolulu had a hankering for such fare? The latest to join the list of daily dog specials is the "Lobster Dog," a quarter-pound sausage that is a combination of lobster, shrimp, scallop and fish with scallion, garlic, carrot and spices topped with a garlic aïoli, pickled radish and a dollop of that classic Chicago bright green relish. This dog is only available on Fridays and will set you back $10.50. Made in-house, allow a bit of time for preparation as it is only cooked (in butter) after you order it. Wash it down with a hibiscus lemonade and you'll be in hot dog heaven. Hank's Haute Dogs, 324 Coral St., Honolulu, 808-532-4265.

Josselin Fans Rejoice
One of the original 12 founding members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, Jean-Marie Josselin, has been without a restaurant in Hawaii for a few years following the closing of his highly-regarded Kauai eatery, A Pacific Café. We can report that he has signed a lease for a space in Honolulu on Kapahulu Avenue and plans a fine-dining restaurant. No word on when he expects to open, but given the delays and challenges of permitting, build-outs, etc. in Honolulu these days, fans of Josselin should exercise patience.

Downtown Choices Delight Diners
The hot neighborhood in Honolulu for restaurants right now is downtown. Long gone are the days when choices were limited to Japanese, Chinese and the odd Vietnamese spot. The list is growing, but notable new entrants include Ed Kenney's contemporary Downtown@HiSAM (that stands for the Hawaii State Art Museum); George Mavrothalassitis' take on the modern French-Pacific bistro, Cassis by Chef Mavro; and Mix Café, a new Euro-café offering such items as spicy crab pasta, a roast pork and veggie sandwich and a rotating selection of locally made gelato–all at most affordable prices. Downtown@HiSAM, 25 S. Hotel St., Honolulu, 808-536-5900; Cassis by Chef Mavro, 66 Queen St., Honolulu, 808-545-8100; Mix Café, 35 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, 808-537-1191.

Music & Dinner
Mulligan’s on the Blue will once again host the acclaimed dinner show, “Wailea Nights” on Fridays. Award-winning local performers Eric Gilliom and Barry Flanagan provide Hawaiian music and stories as accompaniment to a three-course dinner, starting with your choice of Greek salad, ahi poke or cream of asparagus soup. Choose from entrees such as fresh catch-of-the-day, grilled chicken Alfredo or slow-roasted New York steak, and finish with classic baklava or lilikoi-coconut parfait. Mulligan’s on the Blue, 100 Kaukahi St., Wailea, 808-874-1131.

The Early Sizzle
Ruth’s Chris Steak House is featuring a “Sizzlin’ Prime Time Dinner Special,” with three-course dinners for $40. Seatings are 5 p.m.-6 p.m. Entrees include petit filet, veal chop or fresh catch, along with a side of your choice, as well as salad and dessert. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 808-874-8880 and 900 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-8815.

Morning Gorgings
Blue Lagoon is featuring an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on the weekends. From 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday and Sunday, diners can enjoy all the traditional favorites like pancakes and eggs benedict, along with some island favorites and, of course, champagne. Blue Lagoon, Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-8141.

Theme-Dining a Deux
Capische is introducing a new dining concept in their private room, called “Il Teatro.” Capische chef/owner Brian Etheridge, along with former Thomas Keller chef Chris Kulis, features tableside preparation with a customized theme menu and wine pairing, in a private dining room overlooking the garden. They will be opening this special dining room by reservations only, Friday through Sunday nights. Capische, Diamond Resort, 555 Kaukahi Rd., Wailea, 808-879-2224,

What’s New at Blue
Blue Lagoon Tropical Bar & Grill, at Lahaina’s Wharf Cinema Center, is introducing its new menu, which will include baby-back ribs with a pineapple barbecue sauce, kalua pork sandwiches and four different kinds of pancakes. Blue Lagoon Tropical Bar & Grill, 658 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-8141.

Do the Demi
David Paul’s Lahaina Grill is re-introducing its “Demi Menu” from Sunday through Thursday nights, starting at 6 p.m. Diners who sit at the bar and want to partake of smaller portions of signature entrées now have the option (at half the price) to “sample” from a menu of tequila shrimp and firecracker rice, Kona coffee-roasted rack of lamb with coffee-Cabernet demi-glace, or sautéed mahi mahi with pancetta and Chardonnay beurre blanc. David Paul’s Lahaina Grill, 127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina, 808-667-5117.

Attention Luau Lovers
Maui Beach Hotel is introducing its new Pale Kai Luau, with Tahu Productions doing the music and hula, and Maui Beach Hotel chefs serving up kalua pig, teriyaki beef, local fish, Asian noodles, lomi lomi salmon, poi, sweet potatoes, desserts and tropical drinks. Pale Kai Luau, Maui Beach Hotel, 170 Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, 808-877-0051.

Hats Off to Tips Up!
Bocalino Bistro & Bar has been sold to Randy Albright of Wisconsin, who has no immediate plans to change anything but the name—to Tips Up Tavern & Grille. Tips Up Tavern & Grille, 1279 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-874-9299.

Thinking Pink
A new craze for Pinky Vodka is sweeping the island. The top-notch vodka, blended with wild strawberries, rose petals and botanicals, is now being poured in special Pinky martinis at Café O’Lei, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Capische, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sarento’s on the Beach and Tommy Bahama.

Brigit & Bernard Add Breakfast
Brigit & Bernard’s Garden Café (335 Hoohana, Kahului, 808-877-6000) will open for breakfast at 8 a.m. European-style breakfasts will feature items like weisswurst, omelets, croissants and beer, including Spaten on tap, Erdinger and Becks.

Luau Season
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (1 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua, 808-669-6200) will feature a special Oceanside summer luau series through July and August.

Beyond Steak
Ruth’s Chris Steak House (900 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-8815; 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 808-874-8880) has added new items to its menu, including lobster bisque, veal osso buco ravioli and dessert of warm apple crumb tart with vanilla bean ice cream. Diners can also now add complements to their famous steaks, like blue cheese crusts, sweet and hot peppers, jumbo shrimp or lobster tail, or go Oscar-style with crab cake, fresh steamed asparagus and Bernaise.

Buffet Italiana
Bocalino Bistro & Bar is now offering a buffet for their themed “Victor Victoria” Monday nights. For $10 advance or $15 at the door, you can fill up with Caprese salad, cheese ravioli with basil-pesto sauce, linguine meatballs marinara, Italian sausage with roasted peppers, chicken cacciatore and lasagna al forno with meat sauce. Bocalino Bistro & Bar, 1279 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-874-9299.

Chez Paul French restaurant has expanded its Sunday brunch offering to Saturdays, as well. 820 Olowalu Village Rd., Olowalu, 808-661-3483.

Canoes Restaurant now has a sushi bar, featuring chef Vinny Pharakhone. The new sushi bar is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 1450 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-0937.

Tin in the New Year
Tin Ying Chinese Restaurant (1088 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 808-242-4371) has a new lunch buffet served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The buffet houses more than 35 hot and cold items, including soups, salads, dim sum, Peking chicken, barbeque short ribs and tapioca. Cost is a $9.99 for adults and $6.99 for kids. Also, Tin Ying will feature a special menu in honor of the Chinese New Year on Jan. 29.

Bring on the Buffets
Mango Café Grill & Bar (2290 Ka’anapali Pkwy., Ka’anapali, 808-667-1929) has a new buffet on Sundays, from noon to 9 p.m. They will feature traditional fare and comfort foods, such as creamed corn, meatloaf and roast turkey.
Blue Lagoon Tropical Bar & Grill (658 Front St., Lahaina, 808-661-8141) also has a new buffet for breakfast, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. It costs $14.95, which includes juice or Champagne.

Tap into Tapas
Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar (2000 Village Rd., Kapalua, 808-665-1201) now serves lunch, with a good deal of their most popular dinner items, like the phyllo-dough crab cakes with uzu-artichoke aïoli, grilled eggplant lasagna, fried calamari and crispy fried rock shrimp. They’re also debuting their new dinner menu this month, including chef du cuisine Keith Endo’s award-winning braised short ribs crusted with Maui onion, parmesan, horseradish and mushrooms, served with Maui onion gnocchi.

New Menu at the Tropica
Tropica Restaurant & Bar (The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali, 808-667-2525) has a new menu, featuring hibachi-grilled Asian skewers, Pacific seafood paella and pan-seared foie gras.

On the Rocks for Lunch
Huggo’s on the Rocks is now offering a new lunch menu, which features dishes such as spicy grilled mahi mahi taco plate with chipotle aioli, Kalua pork and tomatillo tostada and the grilled kalbi rib plate with rice. Expect to be able to lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Located on Oneo Bay in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii's Big Island.

Prince Court

Prince Charming
Prince Court is now featuring a seasonal menu created by chef Greg Gaspar and his culinary team, with new variations on traditional entrées such as oysters Rockefeller and rack of lamb.

Say Cheese
Café Marc Aurel (28 N. Market St., Wailuku, 808-244-0852) is showcasing Mahon cheeses in November. Mahon is the name given to all cow’s milk cheeses produced on the Mediterranean isle of Menorca—an island characterized by a mild climate, abundant sea winds and high humidity, creating a milk that is highly acidic and slightly salty.

Best of the Bar-B-Que Festival at Dixie Grill

Both locations of Dixie Grill feature the annual barbecue festival September 7 to 27. The special menu showcases Southern-inspired dishes such as Savannah smoky wild American shrimp and cheesy grits, and slow-smoked—then fried!—baby back riblets, Memphis barbecue pot roast, and grilled pepper-crusted T-bone steak. Helping out with the event is Ravenswood winery, so also on the menu are St. Louis-style ribs glazed with a sauce spiked with Ravenswood Zinfandel. There are also daily specials like salt and pepper beef ribs on Wednesdays and blackened Mississippi catfish on Fridays. Dixie Grill, 404 Ward Ave., Honolulu, 596-8359 and 99-016 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea, 485-2722.

Mexican Kitchen
In the past year a slew of taquerias—Baja Tacos, Diego's Taco Shop, South Shore Grill—have opened in Honolulu, transforming the city's sorry Mexican-food landscape. The latest may be best of all. Brand-new Mi Casa is the casual eatery of Ken and Angelica Selvidge. The couple owned a restaurant of the same name in Spokane, Washington, and when they had the chance to sell last October, they took it and moved to Hawaii. Angelica, who's from Jalisco, Mexico, hand rolls masa flour to make the thick, almost spongy tortillas that make Mi Casa stand out from the pack. Carnitas, carne asada and fresh grilled fish are on the menu. Mi Casa, 3046 Monsarrat Ave., 808-737-1562.

Café Sistina: Little Italy
Now that he has completed his reproduction of scenes from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescos, Café Sistina owner Sergio Mitrotti is hosting a chamber quintet on Wednesday nights from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. His goal is to create a total Italian cultural experience with food, wine and art. Have some "Four Seasons" with your penne alla pirata. Café Sistina, 1314 S. King St., Honolulu, 808-596-0061.

Dinner Only at Hoku's
The newly renovated Hoku's (The Kahala Hotel & Resort, 5000 Kahala Ave., Honolulu, 808-739-8780) will no longer be open for lunch beginning in September. Dinner hours will remain unchanged.

Philly Adds the Faves
The new Philly’s Blue Plate Diner (1280 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-891-2595) is adding local favorites such as Portuguese bean soup and chicken katsu to chef Mark Payne’s comforting Southern-style menu.

Vegan options at Zuihao
Zuihao is updating their offerings with Cantonese roast duck and a full vegetarian menu, which transforms just about any of their regular entrees into a veggie version. Zuihao, 900 Front St., Lahaina, 808-667-9020.

Banyan Tree Boasts New Menu
The Banyan Tree has introduced a new menu by Chef Jojo Vasquez, featuring items like house salad with hearts of palm and surfing goat dairy cheese and a coconut, sweet corn, lemongrass and crab soup. The Banyan Tree, The Ritz-Carlton, One Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua, 808-669-6200.

Spicing Things Up at AK's
AK’s Café has added a full bar and exhibition kitchen to their dining room. Chef-owner Elaine Rothermel has veered away from her signature healthful slant and is incorporating items such as curried deep-fried oysters with garlic-chive sauce, Hunan lamb chops in five-spice and steamed lobster tails in Tahitian lime sauce. AK’s Café, 1237 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 808-244-8774. would like to congratulate Son'z Maui at Swan Court for its selection to our Top Ten New Restaurants.

Ritz Planning Redo
If you're planning to visit The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua this summer, you'll find yourself out of luck. The hotel, restaurants and all facilities will close for major renovations on July 2, 2007. The property will re-open just in time for the Christmas and New Year's holiday season on Dec. 16, 2007. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, 1 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua, 808-669-6200.

New Menu at Du Vin

Du Vin is now serving food. A simple brasserie-style menu is available all day as well as a handful of specials. Helming the kitchen is Scott Nelson who was most recently at Ruth's Chris in Maui and previously at the now-closed Café Monsarrat. Du Vin, 1115 Bethel St., Honolulu, 808-545-1115.

Nobu to Open in ‘07
Delays seem inevitable in Hawaii when it comes to restaurant openings. The much-anticipated Nobu Waikiki opening date has been pushed back to sometime in the spring of 2007, more than six months later than first announced. Nobu Waikiki will be located inside the Waikiki Parc Hotel (2233 Helumoa Rd.), which is just across the street from its sister hotel, the legendary Halekulani.

Chef Shuffle

Jason Iwamoto is the new executive chef at Roy’s Bar & Grill Kihei. Chef Iwamoto was the sous chef at Roy’s Kahana Bar & Grill and also worked at David Paul’s Lahaina Grill. Roy’s Bar & Grill Kihei, Pi’ilani Shopping Center, 303 Pi’ikea Ave., Kihei, 808-891-1120.

Mia Gaines-Alt, formerly of Feed the People restaurant in Oakdale, Calif., is the new chef at the Hula Shores restaurant in the Hotel Moloka’i. Chef Gaines-Alt, best known for her stint on the second season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” cooking show, brings comfort food to the menu of local favorites. Hula Shores, Hotel Moloka’i, Kamehameha V Hwy., Kaunakakai, 808-553-5347.

Longtime Maui chef and resident Romeo Arruiza is now the executive chef for Honolua Store in Kapalua. Honolua Store recently expanded their breakfast and lunch menus after the store renovated and upgraded their kitchen and deli. Chef Arruiza has more than 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, and was most recently the lead cook and menu creator at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas.

Craig Erickson is the new executive chef at Napili Kai Beach Resort’s signature oceanfront Sea House Restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sea House, Napili Kai Beach Resort, 5900 L. Honoapiilani Hwy., Napili, 808-669-1500.

Beverly Gannon has taken over as chef at Henry Clay’s Rotisserie at Hotel Lanai. The hotel’s new owners, Mary Charles and husband Tom Kiely, contacted the acclaimed chef, who also owns Joe’s and Haliimaile General Store, to consult on the restaurant’s makeover. Henry Clay’s Rotisserie, Hotel Lanai, P.O. Box 520, Lanai City, 808-565-4700.

Paul Luna is the new chef at Ferraro’s in the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Chef Luna hails from Sassari, Sardinia, and plans to keep his menu clean and simple, as well as incorporating foods from Sardinia, Corsica and the Greek Islands. Ferraro’s, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, 3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 808-874-8000.

The closing of Vino on Maui has brought chef de cuisine Keith Endo to the Vino in Honolulu. Look for his Italian-focused cuisine which is designed to complement the extensive wine list (many by the glass) selected by master sommelier Chuck Furuya.

That didn't last long. Diamond Head Grill once again has a new chef; previous chef Eric Sakai was there less than six months. In the kitchen now is Mariano Lalica, one of the owners of long-closed Meritage. Most recently he was the executive chef at The Plaza Club. The menu is in flux, but a focus on French and Italian dishes with an emphasis on seafood is the reported direction.

Former Four Seasons chef Judah Secunda will be joining the kitchen at Mulligan’s on the Blue, 100 Kaukahi St., Wailea, 808-874-1131.

Executive chef Michael Gallagher has left Sea House Restaurant in order to pursue cookbook publishing and wholesale food distribution. Sea House Restaurant, Napili Kai Beach Resort, 5900 Honoapiilani Hwy., Napili, 808-669-1500.

Diamond Head Grill in the W Honolulu—Diamond Head has yet another new chef in the kitchen. The position has changed hands so many times in the past few years, we have lost count. It is to be hoped that the new chef, Eric Sakai, a CIA graduate and devotee of the Alice Waters school of culinary thought, will be there for a good long time. Though only 24-years-old, his previous employment was at notable San Francisco restaurants Acquerello and Rubicon. The menu has shifted to Regional Italian under Sakai's direction. Diamond Head Grill, W Honolulu—Diamond Head, 2885 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, 808-922-3734.

Stella Blues Café welcomes a new pastry chef, Michele Tarquinio, who bakes fresh herb bread daily and is adding chocolate bread pudding and sour cream apple crisp to the menu. Stella Blues Café, 1279 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 808-874-3779.

Chef Joey Macadangdang returns to Roy’s Kihei (303 Pi’ikea Ave., Kihei, 808-891-1120) after his stint running Pineapple Grill (200 Kapalua Dr., Kapalua, 808-669-9600).

General manager/owner Ted Woody and executive chef/owner Adam Condon have moved on from Ted & Adam’s The Place, now simply called The Place. Principal owner Tanya Dorn remains and plans to continue the restaurant with the same menu and hours. 300 Ma’alaea Rd., Ma’alaea, 808-243-2206.

Chef Guillaume Burlion is jump-starting the W Honolulu Diamond Head hotel's once tired Diamond Head Grill. The classically trained Frenchman (he worked at Paris landmarks Le Pré Catelan, Maxim's and Hôtel de Crillon) had rave reviews as the chef of Nashville's Wild Boar. Now he turns his attention to Hawaii's local ingredients in dishes such as pineapple tomato salad in a shiso vinaigrette and potato-crusted opah. W Honolulu Diamond Head, 2885 Kaläkaua Ave., 808-922-3734.

New Chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Fresh from The Seasons Restaurant in Berlin is new executive sous chef Drew Deckman who will oversee Four Seasons' award-winning Pahu i'a restaurant. The Washington, DC native brings with him extensive European experience. His culinary wanderings have taken him to the kitchens of the Auberge du Lion d'Or in Switzerland, Paul Bocuse's Collonge-au-Mont d'Or in France, and Jacques Maximin, also in France. In Berlin, Deckman, 34, won the Berlin Veneto Gastronomie Competition in February 2004. Combine his classic technique with Big Island bounty and the result is a menu of dishes such as "evolution of ahi" (tataki, tartare and an ahi roll that includes Dungeness crab and jellied tomato water), Keahole spiny lobster with smoked duck breast in a blood orange vinaigrette, bouillabaisse with Hawaiian chile rouille, Moroccan-spiced Kona lobster and venison saddle with fried foie gras and sage brown butter. Pahu i'a, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu, 100 Kaupulehu Dr., Kaupulehu-Kona, 808-325-8000.

The longtime pastry chef for Alan Wong's, Mark Okumura, has left the restaurant to take over the bakery operation at Raymond Siu's 99 Ranch Market location. The bakery supplies pastries and baked goods to Continental Airlines as well as walk-in customers.

Doug Lum, long-time executive chef of the popular Neiman Marcus restaurant Mariposa, has moved to Oregon. Chef de cuisine Jason Kagihara is helming the kitchen in his stead. Mariposa, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, 808-951-3420.


The Wailuku (1132 E. Main St., Ste.) and Ma’alaea (300 Ma’alaea Rd.) locations of Fiesta Time are now closed. The owner, Raul Jaimes, is focusing on the remaining location in Pa’ia, which continues to dish up quick Mexican food.

Watchers of the local restaurant scene were saddened but not surprised by the sudden closing of Cassis by Chef Mavro after being open for less than a year. The restaurant never attracted enough diners to make it a viable business venture for chef-owner George Mavrothalassitis, whose first restaurant, Chef Mavro, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

E&O Trading Company in Lahaina closed its doors after being open for less than a year. The Honolulu location, offering Pan-Asian fare, is still open and going strong. E&O Trading Company, Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina, 808-667-1818.

The Maalaea restaurant Blue Marlin Harborfront Grill & Bar is now closed so that the owner may pursue other interests. Blue Marlin Harborfront Grill & Bar, Maalaea Harbor Village, Old Maalaea Rd., Maalaea, 808-244-8844.

L'Uraku, which enjoyed nearly a decade of success, has closed its doors. The restaurant was never quite able to find its way after chef Hiroshi Fukui left in 2005 to open Hiroshi's Eurasion Tapas. Taking over the location after remodeling and renovation will be the new 'Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar.

Perhaps as a result of so many openings, we are seeing a growing number of restaurant closings. Notable closings include action star Jackie Chan's restaurant Jackie Chan's which was in the Ala Moana Shopping Center and both T.G.I.Friday's, one was located at the corner of Ward Ave. for nearly 18 years and the other was in Waikiki. 808 Kapahulu closed last year.

The sun has finally set on Sunset Grill. The restaurant stayed afloat for a number of years under its original ownership. When it was sold a couple of years ago there were hopes that it would find favor with the dining public again. It did not.

The Bistro at Century Center was a bastion of classic French fine-dining in a town long dominated by Hawaii regional cuisine when it comes to high-end restaurants. So the precipitous closing of The Bistro startled many and the ensuing battle between the owner of the restaurant and the building's board members, which has been carried out in an unusually public fashion, captured the attention of people who would never have noted a restaurant closing. Rather than recite the "he said, he said" nature of the disagreement, we'll just say that we hope the restaurant finds new digs soon.

After just over a year in business, the strikingly decorated, modern Cantonese noodle house known as Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop in the Shops at Wailea has closed its doors. Along with it, the upscale dance club Lotus also says goodnight.

Although it reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation, Chinese restaurant Zuihao has closed its doors after only six months, due to high rent and poor sales in Maui’s notoriously slow seasons.

Kihei Wine & Spirits (300 Ohukai Rd., Kihei, 808-879-0555) has closed but plans to reopen in the Wailea Towne Center (161 Wailea Iki Pl., Wailea) this month.

Reilley’s Steak and Seafood closed its doors on March 31.

The Kapalua Bay Hotel closed on April 9, including its restaurants Gardenia Court, Plumeria Terrace, and The Bay Club

Padovani's Restaurant & Wine Bar has closed as of the end of the year 2005. The location in the Alana Doubletree Waikiki Hotel has just been too much of a hard sell (Roy's also failed in that spot years ago). Philippe Padovani will concentrate on his chocolate business.

The ambient tapas restaurant Bamboo Chi (100 Wailea Ike Dr., Wailea) closed its doors after six months, ending its reign as the latest “it” lounge in Wailea.

Swan Court in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa closed, and is being gutted for a new restaurant to take its place.

Kai Ku Ono (2511 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei) and Ma’alaea Grill (300 Ma’alaea Rd., Ma’alaea) closed at the end of September.

The Ocean View Inn, the oldest restaurant in West Hawaii, on the Big Island, has closed its doors after 70 years.

WM—The Restaurant (3350 L. Honoapiilani Rd., Honokowai, 808-667-7898) has closed its doors.

Kyo-ya, Honolulu's most elegant Japanese fine dining venue, will close its doors permanently at the end of March 2007, after 50 years of serving customers. It is renowned for its kaiseki (multi-course seasonal dinners) that faithfully adhere to the principles of classic Japanese cuisine. Reservations are recommended. Kyo-ya, 2057 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, 808-947-3911.

(Updated: 11/16/10 CT)

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