Sunset Smokehouse, which has been operating out of a truck in Sunset Beach, will soon have expanded hours at their Wahiawa brick-and-mortar on Kamehameha Hwy. 

26 new and coming restaurants May 2018: Foodmap

Map out your summer eating plans with these new spots
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When I mapped out 23 new and coming restaurants last December, I wasn't expecting Oahu's dining scene to balloon any further, but as of today there are at least 26 new restaurants to add to your list. That's insane. 

From a new global cuisine spot by Kelly Degala at the 808 Center to a Texas barbecue food truck's coming brick-and-mortar in Wahiawa, you're bound to have a busy summer just keeping up.  



Alii Coffee Co.

Where: 35 S. Beretania St., Downtown

What: Cafe

The scoop: There's a new coffee shop at the top of Fort Street Mall serving cold brew coffees on tap and original coffee-tails that are really piquing my interest. This spot was once home to Mix Cafe and Let Them Eat Cupcakes. Now it's Alii Coffee Co. and it looks like they're serving light food alongside their coffee concoctions.

When: Opened in May


Bean About Town in Kaimuki

Bean About Town

Where: 3538 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki

What: Cafe

The scoop: Bean About Town is a cute new cafe that popped up between 11th and 10th avenues in the space that was home to the Curb. They focus on ethically sourced beans and serve espresso drinks and a smattering of pastries, namely canele from Salt Lake's Soleil Hawaii Bakery. 

When: Opened in May


Butcher and Bird

Where: 691 Auahi St., SALT at Our Kakaako

What: Butcher shop

The scoop: You may remember Chuck Wakeman from The Pig and the Lady, when he broke down half-cows and whole hogs for the restaurant's primal pig's head feasts. After a stint on Maui, Wakeman is back on Oahu to open his first butcher shop above Mr. Tea Cafe. 

When: Opening June 2018


Egghead Cafe 

Where: 1210 Dillingham Blvd., Kapalama Shopping Center, Kalihi

What: All-day breakfast spot 

The scoop: Egghead's Espresso Bar just opened in Kailua near Cinnamon’s Restaurant. They're also opening a full-blown restaurant in July in Kalihi, where they’ll be serving the signature pancake trios and eggs bennies that you knew at their old spot in Kakaako. 

When: Opening in July


Gala Hawaii shishito peppers

GALA Honolulu

Where: 808 Sheridan St., 808 Center, Keeaumoku

What: Global cuisine restaurant

The scoop: When Kelly Degala opened Basalt and Dukes Lane as corporate chef of ABC Stores last year, I found his influential Filipino roots and decades of experience in top Seattle and Bay Area restaurants in almost every part of that concept. At GALA Honolulu, it feels like we're at home with his family. Degala runs the kitchen, while wife Kirsti and daughter Ariel work the dining room. The menu includes excellent small plates like charred shishito peppers in shichimi and lemon and seared wagyu dressed in blood orange oil and hijiki, as well Two Lady Farms lechon over arroz caldo (rice porridge) and fall-off-the-bone duck confit. The wine list and breezeway locale make you want to linger.

When: Opened in May


Gochi Grill

Where: 1111 Bishop St., Suite #112, Remington College, Downtown

What: Elevated local plate lunch 

The scoop: Downtown can always use a new concept to boost lunchtime morale, and Gochi Grill brings just that. Expect elevated plate lunch and bento like zaru saimin (cold saimn with dipping sauce) and meatloaf with mushroom gravy and baked potato croquette, plus salads, sandwiches and a bunch of other rotating specials. 

When: Opening early June


Half chicken karaage

Izakaya Danji

Where: 1095 S. Beretania St., Makiki

What: Izakaya featuring cuisine from Japan's Kyushu island

The scoop: With a rather extensive menu of Kyushu-style dishes ranging from fried ramen to sesame tantan gyoza hot pot with a decent alcohol list to complement, Danji is a distinctive addition to Honolulu's izakaya scene. We love the kicks of spice from the fried rice with mustard greens and the slurpable champon-inspired fried ramen, and we'd totally get the karaage fried chicken again and again. 

When: Opened in May


Island Vintage Wine Bar

Where: 2201 Kalakaua Ave., Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki

What: Wine bar 

The scoop: Expanding on their success in Waikiki, Island Vintage is opening a fourth concept that will focus on wines from around the world. In addition to their natural food market and shave ice counter, Island Vintage has been pumping out lattes and blending coffee drinks since 2012 and shows no sign of slowing down. 

When: Opening in July


Kona Kai Sushi

Where: 3579 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki

What: Sushi bar

The scoop: New ownership means that Kona Kai, now under renovation, will once again open its doors, probably later this summer. 

When: Opening this summer


Le Radici

Where: 888 Kapiolani Blvd., 3rd floor of Velocity car dealership, Kakaako 

What: Italian restaurant

The scoop: Le Radici is to Italica as Maserati is to Alfa Romeo. Both are collaborations of chefs Maurizio Roberti and Gianpaolo Raschi, but Le Radici will be completely different from the Italian cafe downstairs. Le Radici means "the roots" in Italian; since Raschi's own roots include a Michelin star for his Ristorante Guido in Rimini, Italy, expectations are high.

When: Opened in May


Machete's Mean Sandwiches

Machete's Mean Sandwiches Kalihi

Where: 1210 Dillingham Blvd., Kapalama Shopping Center, Kalihi

What: Sandwich shop 

The scoop: Machete's Mean Sandwiches satisfied my burly appetite with their namesake sandwich, aptly named because you'd need a machete to cut the darn thing. It's the biggest, baddest and meanest sandwich on the menu. Sliced down the middle and wrapped in butcher paper, it's easily divided into two meals. Between slices of fresh bread baked in-house is half a pound of cold cuts and a smattering of veggies, making it extra thicc. Although they deliver in town, this second location in Kalihi's Kapalama Shopping Center makes parking less of a hassle. 

When: Opened in May


Maguro Brothers Waikiki

Where: 415 Nahua St., Waikiki

What: Poke and seafood shop 

The scoop: I'm a regular at Jun and Ryo's shop in Chinatown's Kekaulike Market, but I hardly made it to their window in Waikiki when it was on Lewers. After their lease was up, they found the perfect spot a stone's throw from International Market Place on Nahua Street. While the Chinatown spot is open during the day, Waikiki is open during the evening and has a slightly different menu, although I'll still be getting my favorite chirashi and ume shiso ahi poke.

When: Opened in May


Merriman's Honolulu

Where: 1108 Auahi St., Anaha, Kakaako

What: Farm-to-table restaurant by Peter Merriman

The scoop: This is the first restaurant in Honolulu owned solely by Peter Merriman, a Hawaii Regional Cuisine icon who opened his Waimea flagship in 1988. The executive chef at Merriman's newest restaurant will be Jon Matsubara, formerly of Bloomingdale's Forty Carrots, Jean-Georges and Tabla. Word is the space will bring casual and upscale dining under the same roof (and under Anaha's glass-bottomed pool). 

When: Opening in June


Chef Hugo Ortega's Caracol in Houston
If Mi Almita is an ounce like Hugo Ortega's Caracol in Houston, I would be very happy. This is the chile relleno before I licked my plate clean. 

Mi Almita Cantina

Where: 2330 Kalakaua Ave., International Market Place, Waikiki

What: Mexican fare from a James Beard Award-winning chef

The scoop: Hugo Ortega is the first Mexican-born James Beard Award-winning chef. Based in Houston, Ortega recently teamed up with Michael Mina to bring his cooking to Mina's The Street food hall. If Ortega's food at Mi Almita, which will start with street tacos and quesadillas, is as good as his restaurant Caracol in Houston, I'm down. 

When: Opening in June


Old Spaghetti Factory

Old Spaghetti Factory

Where: 3 Aloha Tower Dr. #1106, Downtown

What: Spaghetti restaurant

The scoop: Trolleys, Mizithra cheese, spumoni and childhood memories are back! Ward Warehouse's demolition meant Old Spaghetti Factory's relocation to Aloha Tower, but the move meant we had to wait more than a year to once again carbo-load on spaghetti topped with Mizithra cheese. The three-course meals remain more popular than ever, not just because of taste – it's pure nostalgia.

When: Opened in May



Where: 413 Seaside Ave. 2nd floor, Waikiki

What: French restaurant 

The scoop: The folks who brought us the quirky trio of Aloha Table, Googy Cafe & Dine, and Heavenly are opening another restaurant in a repurposed house on Seaside not far from the Ala Wai Canal. The second floor Paris-Hawaii, right above the same group's new Zigu Hawaii farm-to-table izakaya, is slated for later this summer and will focus on French cuisine.

When: Opening late summer


Pioneer Saloon Kakaako

Pioneer Saloon Kakaako

Where: Salt at Our Kakaako

What: Plate lunch

The scoop: The Japanese plate lunch spot on Monserrat Avenue is opening a second location at the Salt complex. The owners tell me permits are finally in place so they can begin cooking next month in the space below Treehouse Camera on the Auahi Street side of Salt. 

When: Opening in June


Purve Donuts

Purve Donut Shop

Where: 1234 Kona St. 2nd floor, Ala Moana

What: Gourmet donuts

The scoop: What do s'mores, lemon cheesecakes and mint Oreos have in common? They're some of the crazy donut varieties coming out of a second-floor shop at the Iolani Center on Kona Street. Donuts are about $3 and on the small side but are just enough to satisfy a craving. Owners Briton Zablan and Nick Cornford are also serving Kai Coffee espresso and cold brew. 

When: Opened In May


Rainbow Drive-In Kalihi

Where: 1339 N. School St., Kalihi

What: Local plate lunch drive-in

The scoop: You read that right! After eons on Kapahulu Avenue, Rainbow's opened their second location across town on North School Street in the former Kamehameha Bakery location. You can expect your favorite plate lunch options like loco moco, chicken cutlet and teri beef and yes, you can get gravy all over. As a longtime fan, I'm most excited about the possibility of more parking behind this spot.

When: Opened In May


Restaurant XO

Where: 3434 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki

What: New American comfort food with a Chinese twist

The scoop: Former Senia chefs Kenny Lee and Aleina Chun pool their collective talents at Restaurant XO in the old Hung Won space. Melissa Chang got a preview of the new concept and went nuts over the buttermilk fried chicken covered in adobo butter sauce. The menu of elevated comfort dishes, many with a Chinese-American twist, is geared for sharing so you'll want to bring some friends along. 

When: Opened in May


Sunset Smokehouse

Sunset Smokehouse

Where: 23 S Kamehameha Hwy., Wahiawa

What: Texas barbecue smokehouse

The scoop: If you ask Texan pitmaster James Kim what his bloodtype is, I'm sure the answer would be SMOKE. Kim and wife Modesta smoke up fine beef brisket, ribs and pulled pork out of a truck named Sunset Q at the Sunset Beach Texaco on weekends from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Now they've taken over the old Molly's BBQ space in Wahiawa. Plans are to open the new Sunset Smokehouse restaurant during the week and to serve the Kims' signature smoked barbecue meats by the pound.

When: Opening in June


Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan

Where: 2201 Kalakaua Ave., Royal Hawaiian Center, 3rd floor

What: "World's cheapest Michelin-star restaurant," serving dim sum

The scoop: Expectations were high when Hong Kong dim sum specialist Tim Ho Wan, billed as the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, opened its second U.S. outpost at Royal Hawaiian Center this May. The Hawaii Chinese Dinner Society taste-tested much of the menu. Early kinks in service and consistency seem to be improving.

When: Opened in April


Toriton Nabe

Where: 2334 S. King St., 2nd floor

What: Nabe (hot pot) restaurant

The scoop: Details are scarce about this new hot pot spot in Moilili. We just know that owners are securing permits for the new restaurant above Tori Ton, the yakitori izakaya at Old Stadium Mall. 

When: Opening late summer or early fall 2018


TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie

Where: 2201 Kalakaua Ave., Royal Hawaiian Center, 3rd floor

What: Udon noodle shop

The scoop: If you saw the line for Marukame Udon on any given night, you'd think they were giving out free money. TsuruTonTan is looking to capitalize on Waikiki's craving for thick, slurpable udon noodles with a second U.S. location, right next door to Tim Ho Wan in Royal Hawaiian Center. TsuruTonTan's Union Square spot in New York opened to rave reviews for dishes like fried chicken and caviar and nabeyaki udon, which comes with a choice of thick or thin noodles. 

When: Opening June 2018



Where: 1110 Nuuanu Ave., Chinatown

What: Juice bar and brunch by day, restaurant and cocktail lounge by night

The scoop: Kale Furuya, son of master sommelier/restauranteur Chuck Furuya, is following in his father's footsteps with his first restaurant in Chinatown. The younger Furuya, a tropical plant expert, will incorporate his experience creating cold-pressed juice into YIELD. With help from Patrick Sugiyama, Shane Tonokawa and Ian Yang, the restaurant will feature local fruits and vegetables with some local fish and livestock. Brunch is expected to kick off soon. 

When: Opened in May


Zigu Hawaii


Where: 413 Seaside Ave. 1st floor, Waikiki

What: Izakaya

The scoop: Zigu's kanji translates to "eat local," the core ethos of Zetton Inc. restaurants Aloha Table, Goofy Cafe & Dine, and Heavenly. Dining on the patio is nice and breezy; it also seems to enhance dishes like applewood-smoked Waimana egg potato salad (above) and bright and refreshing kale udon tossed with local basil pesto and sweet watercress. A growing list of sake, signature drinks and beer cocktails make this a non-traditional but solid izakaya choice. 

When: Opened in May