The Best New Restaurants on Oahu to Visit

By Olena Heu

Waikiki Yokocho. Photo: Brant Songsong.

Oahu is bursting at the seams with new restaurants for every palate; from ramen to molecular gastronomy here’s a roundup of some of the best eateries to visit right now.

Senia

Poke Cracker at Restaurant Senia. Photo: Brant Songsong.

The anticipation was so thick for Senia to open you could practically cut it with a knife. After the dynamic pairing of Chefs Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush in the heart of downtown Honolulu/Chinatown was announced, guests were chomping at the bit to get a taste of the “gastronomic journey” being cultivated in the kitchen.

Dubbed “New American” cuisine, Senia offers ala carte dining in addition to the chef’s counter and chef’s tasting menus. The imaginative blend of cultures and backgrounds creates a montage of culinary delights, tastings and whimsy, which has already been nominated for a James Beard award just two months after opening.

75 N. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 200-5412
Open 5:30 pm – 10 pm (closed Sunday).

Waikiki Yokocho

Grilled fish chazuke at Nana’s Green Tea Honolulu in Waikiki Yokocho. Photo: Brant Songsong.

Not just one restaurant but a “gourmet alley” of restaurants will peak your fancy when you’re hungry and craving something delicious to eat. Waikiki Yokocho is situated in the heart of Waikiki, so deep it’s literally below ground level of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza. With 16 restaurants, this upscale dining experience features restaurants previously noted by Zagat and Michelin.

Aimed at redefining authentic Japanese cuisine in Hawaii, Waikiki Yokocho showcases sushi, tempura, various styles of ramen, steak, crepes and green tea specialties. Being in “Ramen Alley” feels just like being in Japan. This casual concept is a fun place to grab a bite or perhaps take someone out for a date.

2250 Kalakaua Avenue
Lower Level 100
Honolulu, HI 96815
Open daily: 11am – 12 am

Moku Kitchen

Poke tacos (raw ahi, ginger, shoyu, cabbage, avocado cream, crisp wonton shells) at Moku Kitchen. Photo: James Kimo.

The latest iteration by award-winning Chef Peter Merriman is a welcome addition to the Kakaako neighborhood. Located in the newly opened SALT, Moku Kitchen showcases 36 beers on tap, a wood-burning pizza oven, fresh local ingredients highlighted by scratch-made dumplings, burgers, salads and small plates. Dishes are meant to be shared.

This venue is also extremely popular for it’s specialty happy hour (served daily 3 pm – 5:30 pm) and live entertainment. This modern take on Hawaiian Regional Cuisine is new, fresh and fiercely popular with the after work and business crowd.

660 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 591-6658
Open daily: 11 am – 11 pm

Rain

Scallops on a Kahuku Corn Purée at Rain. Photo: Lanai Tabura.

On the outskirts of downtown Honolulu, amongst the grab-and-go plate lunch eateries on Fort Street Mall, sits a newly imagined culinary gem. Rain takes worldly comfort foods, elevates the ingredients and adds a local twist. This posh new restaurant has a jovial vibe providing innovative cocktails with crave worthy dishes to share and enjoy.

Chef Brooks Hart, relocated to Oahu from Chicago, and Mixologist Joey Luna (who makes his own flavored liqueurs/cellos) partner to create a contemporary, welcoming, dimly lit atmosphere that’s perfect for a casual night out, drinks with friends or a delicious meal. The menu consists of southern comfort foods including chicken and dumplings, asparagus hummus and massive martinis complete with sidecar.

1138 Fort Street Mall
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 200-0910
Monday – Saturday 4:30 pm – 11 pm

Tonkatsu Tamafuji

Egg katsu pot. Photo: Tonkatsu Tamafuji.

It’s crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside and oh so tender. Fans are saying the best tonkatsu you’ve ever tasted will come from this brand new restaurant off of Kapahulu Avenue (in Hee Hing Plaza). Tonkatsu Tamafuji is noted for its famous katsu served golden brown, succulent and tender in Sapporo, Japan. Now in Hawaii, happy eaters from around the island are elated to see the katsu phenomenon in the islands and prepared in the authentic fashion.

The teishoku-style dinner is a complete meal served with miso soup, premium Japanese rice, pickled vegetables and of course your choice of dipping sauces. The sweet and sour sauces compliment the crunchy, salty goodness that is a fine katsu perfectly prepared. Some are saying this is the hands-down favorite when it comes to satisfying that katsu pork loin craving.

449 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 922-1212
Open 5 pm – 9:30 pm (closed Tuesdays)

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