Foodmap: 23 new and coming restaurants

Honolulu's red-hot dining scene continues to ignite
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Just when we thought Honolulu's dining scene couldn't get any hotter, it continues to ignite. November alone saw the openings of Waikiki's Appetito Craft Pizza and Wine Bar, Opal Thai in Chinatown, the bento shop Oh! Sozai by Kuru Kuru in Kakaako, and San Francisco-based Limon Rotisserie in Kapolei. Yes, it's all over the map, and that's a good thing. 

We've got the scoops on these restaurants and more that are opening soon. 

Appetito Craft Pizza and Wine Bar

Where: 150 Kaiulani Ave., Waikiki

What: Italian restaurant/pizza place and wine bar

The scoop: Taormina's casual outpost in the Outrigger Ohana East, Appetito is another Japanese take on Italian food. Although pizza's in the name, the restaurant is still waiting on final inspections for its recently installed pizza oven and expects to begin full service by year's end. Right now, you can enjoy happy hour from 3 - 6 p.m. daily with $5 wines by the glass, and full-size appetizers at a discount. Pasta dishes are fantastic for sharing and cooked al dente, the way they should be. 

When: Opened in November


Bluetree Juice Cafe - Kakaako Makai

Where: 601 Auahi St., Kakaako

What: Organic cafe and juicery

The scoop: Aoki Group, which owns and operates several restaurants including Doraku Sushi, will open a second Bluetree Cafe in Kakaako at The Collection condominium. The first Bluetree Cafe at 1009 Kapiolani Blvd serves cold-pressed juices, coffee, kombucha and gluten-free pastries. Two additional concepts, Qing Mu and 1938 Indochine, are planned for The Collection at the corner of Keawe and Auahi streets. 

When: Opening spring 2018


Photo courtesy Chuck Wakeman

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 at SALT above Mr. Tea Cafe. 

When: Opening January 2018


Ice Monster

Where: Waikiki

What: Snow/shave ice shop

The scoop: Taiwan's Ice Monster plans to open its first U.S. location in Waikiki by year's end. For nearly 20 years, Ice Monster has been the top shop in Taiwan when it comes to shaved ice snow, similar in texture to cotton candy. With flavors like milk tea and the chain's signature mango shaved ice (which in its early stages was very similar to pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka's mango shave ice), the chain sometimes has lines topping three hours at the busiest locations. I can't wait to dig in! 

When: Opening this winter


Izakaya Uosan

Where: 1221 Kapiolani Blvd., Ala Moana

What: Izakaya and sake bar

The scoop: For the past few months, I've been eyeing the development stages of this new izakaya coming to the Blackfield Building on Kapiolani Boulevard. Uosan can translate from Japanese as "fish three," so we are primed for specialties from the sea.

When: Opening January 2018


J+P Café

Where: 444 Kanekapolei St., Waikiki

What: Cafe and sake bar

The scoop: This Japanese-owned gem grand-opens Dec. 5 behind the former Makino Chaya buffet in the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel. You'll find smoothies, acai bowls, avocado toast and other healthy options in a relaxed setting, plus an extensive selection of sake and wine. Jonathan Mizukami, formerly of Chef Mavro, Vintage Cave and Thomas Keller's French Laundry, will be assisting the opening with a few bites of his own. 

When: Opening Dec. 5


Limon Rotisserie 

Where: 91-5431 Kapolei Pkwy, Ka Makana Alii

What: Peruvian restaurant and cocktail bar 

The scoop: If you thought Peruvian food was for the adventurous eater, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how familiar it all tastes. A mashup of Japanese, Chinese, Greek and Spanish cuisine, modern Peruvian food fuses the best parts of each cuisine. Westsiders have been awaiting this opening since Ka Makana Alii opened a year ago and boy, was it worth it. Plates like the juicy half rotisserie chicken and tender seco de costillas braised short ribs ($18.95 each) are perfect for sharing, as are appetizers like crispy-gooey Oaxaca cheese empanadas (2 for $8.95). Whatever you get, don't forget to dip everything in their signature creamy aji (pronounced "ahi") amarillo huacatay sauce –– it's too good to waste a single drop. 

When: Opened in November


Mina's Fish House 

Where: 92-1001 Olani St, Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

What: Seafood restaurant 

The scoop: Fish House was already a notable addition to the Four Seasons lineup, but the resort is taking it to the next level with Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina and his team. I never thought I'd see the likes of Mina anywhere near Kapolei, but then again this is the Four Seasons. The restaurant aims to be Oahu's premier line-to-table seafood destination and with Mina driving the concept, I can see that happening. 

When: Opening this winter


Rendering courtesy Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

Momosan Waikiki

Where: 2490 Kalakaua Ave., Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

What: Izakaya

The scoop: Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is coming back to Waikiki! After departing The Modern Honolulu one year ago, the flamboyant Japanese chef is ready to make his mark on Oahu once again, this time with two restaurants at the Alohilani Resort. The first is Momosan, a casual ramen noodle and yakitori concept that will feature breakfast, lunch and dinner izakaya-style menus full of small dishes meant to be shared. If his ramen dish from last year's Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Hungry Monkey event is any indicator, I'm already hooked. 

When: Opening December 2017


Morimoto Asia Waikiki

Where: 2490 Kalakaua Ave., Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

What: Fine dining pan-Asian restaurant

The scoop: Morimoto Asia Waikiki will be the anchor restaurant of the Alohilani Resort. With views of the ocean and palm trees lining Kalakaua Avenue, this second floor restaurant will feature only dinner with dishes inspired by cuisines across Asia. Think Peking duck, sticky ribs, lo mein, Korean kalbi, lobster chow fun and more, all with Morimoto's signature twists. 

When: Opening December 2017


Oh! Sozai by Kuru Kuru

Where: 400 Keawe St., Kakaako

What: Japanese bento shop

The scoop: Frolic's Kelli Shiroma is a regular at Kuru Kuru Sushi in Pearl Kai and stumbled upon this new concept shop in November. The big surprise is that there’s no sushi here. Instead, an assortment of sozai (small dishes in Japanese) takes center stage. Other items like milk tea ($2.75) and coffee jelly ($1.75) are also available in the cold case. Donburi like the gyudon beef bowls ($9.95) and bento including hamburger steak ($9.95) feature Nanatsuboshi rice from Kakaako's Rice Factory and have an especially authentic Japanese quality. I have since become a regular myself. 

When: Opened in November


Opal Thai

Where: 1030 Smith St., Chinatown

What: Thai restaurant

The scoop: Opel Sirichandhra (no typo, he spells his restaurant name differently from his) moved his Haleiwa restaurant to the Smith Street location of the former Scratch Kitchen and Bakeshop. Thankfully, Opal's location is the only thing that has changed. If you’ve been before, then you know the two-page menu is merely a suggestion: After Sirichandhra welcomes you, he takes the menu away, starts firing questions and customizes your meal based on how you've answered, a quirk that landed him an appearance on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Just pray he'll serve you the insanely good pickle garlic crab meat noodles ($14). 

When: Opened in November


Photo courtesy Qing Mu Noodle Co

Qing Mu Noodle Co

Where: 601 Auahi St., Kakaako

What: Noodle shop

The scoop: Aoki Group plans a spring opening at The Collection in Kakaako for the Hawaii outpost of its Qing Mu Noodle Co. The concept: a take on Chinese regional noodle bowls and side dishes. Diners will have a choice of several "our way" bowls or the option to create your own by choosing ingredients and stocks. 

When: March 2018


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 is opening a 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: Opening January 2018


Real, a Gastropub

Where: 502 Keawe St., Kakaako

What: Gastropub and craft beer bar

The scoop: Kakaako is the craft beer capital of Hawaii. With everything from microbreweries to canning facilities and tap rooms, it's the best place to be if you're in love with the sudsy stuff. Real, a Gastropub was one of the original hangouts for beer aficionados, but closed ahead of the redevelopment of the Marukai Market warehouse. This new home a few blocks away in the Keauhou Place complex will be a welcome resurrection.

When: Opening March 2018


Sushi You

Where: 1296 S. Beretania St., Pawaa

What: Sushi bar

The scoop: When Melissa Chang raves about a restaurant, we listen. Sushi You is a new spot on Beretania Street behind Grace's Inn with choke parking (more spaces than seats inside), and it's got one of the best omakase deals out there. Eighty bucks gets you around 20 courses of appetizers, salad and nigiri and best of all, the restaurant is BYOB! With 10 seats at the bar and two tables in back, it's recommended you make reservations – unless you like eating dinner at 4:30 p.m. 

When: Opened in November


Tamura’s Tavern

Where: 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Waterfront Plaza

What: Gastropub, craft beer bar

The scoop: Tamura's is really onto something. After selling poke, liquor and groceries at their markets and stores for 20 years (close to 100 years at the original Waianae supermarket), they branched out into Honolulu's thriving dining scene with The Edge, a bar and restaurant in Kaimuki. Now Tamura's is back at it again with Tamura's Tavern, a new gastropub project taking shape at Waterfront Plaza. 

When: TBD


The Brilliant Ox

Where: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Ala Moana Center Hookipa Terrace

What: Gastropub, craft beer bar

The scoop: Look out for The Brilliant Ox when you're shopping the post-Christmas sales. Where, you might ask? The former Pearl Ultralounge on the mauka side of Ala Moana Center, near Hookipa Terrace. A new gastropub from industry pros who brought you Raging Crab and La Tour Bakehouse, The Brilliant Ox promises lots of tasty fare, happy hour specials and late night menus. We'll let you know how it is once they're up and running. 

When: Opening late December 2017


Photo courtesy The Hibachi

The Hibachi

Where: 502 Keawe St., Kakaako

What: Market with ready-to-cook items, bento and poke

The scoop: The Kailua spot known for fresh poke, a decent wine selection and ready-to-cook food is coming to the Keauhou Lane condo project in Kakaako along with Uncle Bo's, Real a Gastropub and HICraft Kitchen. Shoppers can have their food prepared for them in the shop or to take it home and make it at their leisure. 

When: Opening March 2018


Tim Ho Wan

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

What: "World's most inexpensive awarded dim sum restaurant"

The scoop: You dim sum and then you dimmm summm. With the arrival of Yauatcha at International Market Place earlier this year, Waikiki entered the world of luxe yumcha. No steam carts and pushy Chinese ladies hard-selling us on har gau here. Expectations will be high when Hong Kong's Tim Ho Wan, billed as the world's cheapest Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, opens its second U.S. outpost at Royal Hawaiian Center this spring. We'll be there to research, of course. 

When: Opening spring 2018


Photo courtesy TsuruTonTan

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 March 2018


Uncle Bo’s Pupu Bar

Where: 502 Keawe St., Kakaako

What: Gastropub

The scoop: With locations in Waikiki and Haleiwa, Uncle Bo is reconnecting with locals in its next endeavor. Uncle Bo's will join Real a Gastropub and The Hibachi at Keauhou Place in the spring, bringing its fun party vibe to Kakaako. I'm salivating just thinking about boca rota cheese breads and Thai-style clams. Pupus are the name of the game here and they come ready for sharing. 

When: Opening March 2018


1938 Indochine

Where: 601 Auahi St., Kakaako

What: Vietnamese 

The scoop: Aoki Group's third new restaurant at Kakaako's The Collection condominium will serve Southeast Asian fare with special attention to techniques and flavors from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia – something I'm very excited to check out. 

When: Opening March 2018