Uahi Island Grill: Excellent Casual Dining!
We decided to give Uahi Island Grill a try for dinner when some friends were in town visiting. We knew nothing of the place before walking in and were pleasantly surprised with the service and food. I highly recommend it.
I had the Mandarin Duck and I also tasted our friend's Lemongrass Lamb and the vegetarian curry "Tempeh Kare". Everything was excellent and all six of us were raving about the food during and after dinner.
I haven't been there for lunch yet, but the menu posted in the window makes it clear that they serve less expensive Hawaiian plate lunch and sandwiches before 5pm.
The dining room is small and cozy -- I guess it seats about 30 people at most so you might want to call ahead.
As of this writing they don't have a liquor license yet, but you can bring your own wine and beer in. There are two stores within a quick walk of the restaurant that sell alcohol -- Foodland supermarket and Longs drugstore. The staff opened our beer bottles and provided extra glasses, too, at no charge.
Note that the restaurant moved to its new location on Hekili street recently. It is no longer on Uluniu St.
Favorite Dish: Everything.
- Food and Dining
Cinnamon's: Best Breakfast
This a local establishment with long lines for breakfast on weekend mornings... we heard that people drive over the mountains from Honolulu to eat here. Get there around 7am if you don't want to wait.
Its probably most famous for two dishes, the guava chiffon pancakes and the red velvet pancakes. Both are good. The guava chiffon is fruity and tart, the red velvet is sweet and chocolatey. We also tried a frosting covered cinnamon roll, which was excellent.
The menu is fairly diverse with standard breakfast fare including several kinds of pancakes, french toast, omelets, eggs benedict, and a touch of Hawaii and Mexico thrown in. They serve lunch after 11am and offer a wide range of salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, and a potpourri section including meat loaf, fish, pasta and hawaiian plate lunch.
Favorite Dish: Kalua pork eggs benedict is my favorite dish. In fact, I'll probably have a hard time ordering anything else on subsequent visits. Its just like regular eggs benedict except they've substituted the ham for salty-smoked pulled-pork (Kalua pork).
Teddy's Bigger Burgers: Satisfy Your Burger Craving
Don't be put off by the solid, primary color Formica decor -- Teddy's is the place to go for a high-quality, fresh and tasty burger with lots of options. There are three burger sizes to choose from -- big (5oz), bigger (7oz), and biggest (9 oz). They offer toppings such as bacon, avacodo, mushrooms, several types of cheese, grilled onions, onion rings, pastrami, jalapeño peppers, and even peanut butter. But why mess with a classic? -- my preference is to just stick with cheddar cheese and maybe add grilled onions.
By default each burger is cooked "medium" and comes on a bakery fresh bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions and their special sauce. You must ask for, and pay for, the other toppings.
To accompany your burger you can get regular, spicy, or garlic fries, or onion rings. And if you're not in the mood for a burger the menu also includes salads, sandwiches (chicken, fish and pastrami), and fish and chips.
Drink options include the usual array of sodas and ice tea, plus seven flavors of thick milk shakes.
Teddy's is comparable to In-N-Out but with more menu options, and a bit more expensive -- expect to pay about $10.00 per person or more, depending on your order.
Favorite Dish: #1 combo with cheddar cheese.
Boots & Kimos: Macadamia Nut Pancakes!
Boots & Kimos is a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch and is best known for its pancakes covered with macadamia nut sauce. You can get the pancakes with or without bananas. I'm not a big banana fan so I don't order them, but I've heard that other people really like it this way. The pancakes are light and fluffy, the sauce is sweet and creamy, and they come with macadamia nut pieces sprinkled on top. It is delicious!
The interior of the restaurant is decorated in sports memorabilia with Wheaties boxes and jerseys of well-known players hanging on the walls, and each table top is finished with a different team logo.
Be prepared to wait, we went on a recent Sunday at 8am and waited an hour to be seated! The waiting area is outside and is not covered, so you will usually be sitting in the sun or maybe getting rained on while you wait. Also, they do not serve coffee while you wait as some breakfast establishments do. Also, Boots & Kimos takes cash only -- no credit cards!
Favorite Dish: The pancakes with macadamia nut sauce.
- Food and Dining
Steak Rave (Oneawa Market): A Great Steak Plate
The best cheap food in Kailua -- got out the door with the plate and a large soda for $7.50. This is one of my favorite local dives. They serve a mix of plate lunch and Korean BBQ. Its a popular place with good, tender beef and a diverse menu that includes chicken, fish and shrimp. The staff is very friendly.
I've heard the garlic shrimp is good but I haven't tried it yet.
Steak Rave is inside the Oneawa Market, so when you go there look for the market.
Steak Rave is much better than Blazin' Steaks which is nearby.
Favorite Dish: Steak plate. After getting your order, douse the steak and rice with the Korean BBQ sauce located in the large plastic bottle on the counter (looks like teriyaki sauce). Yum!
- Food and Dining
Baci's, Kawapalai, Prima, The Grove etc.: A list of Top Restaurants in Kailua
With six years of eating out in Kailua, I have had the chance to sample almost all of little town's Restaurants. While it is possible that I've missed a good one or two, I'm pretty sure I know the top tier. And here they are in my favorite order:
1. Baci's: Their food has stepped up a notch over the last year and their service is both impeccable and attentive. THey have an innovative wine list and a rotating special entree. Definitely get the tomatoe salad and a glass of malbec. You can eat outside and bring your dog on a nice night.
2. Kawapalai Cafe: The newest and most innovative restaurant on the scene, they have an expanded wine list and a very creative menue. The staff is young and hip, and knowledgeable about the food, which is always well done. It can be nice to eat outside with your dog, but inside can get a little noisy.
2. Primas: Italian fusion with a rotating wine list and brick oven for pizza. It's slightly expensive but the menu is refreshed often with creative dishes like french toast foie gras. It's small and fills up quickly despite its supermarket parking lot location.
3. The Grove: American/Californian cuisine with excellent seafood and outdoor seating.
4. Cactus: possibly the only South American restaurant on Oahu of any note, this is the newest restaurant in town. It has a lot of potential once they get their act together.
5. Assagio's: Italian. Not real Italian like you'd get in New York, Baltimore or even Waterbury Connecticut, but tasty food nonetheless.
6. Saeng Thai: Thai. When I ordered an asparagus dish and they were out of asparagus, they ran to the store to get some.
7. Casablanca: Only go here with a very empty belly as the tasty Moroccan cuisine will fill you up. Yo must bring your own wine.
8. Formaggio: Go here for the extensive wine list, but not the food!
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Wine Tasting
Morning Brew Coffee House and Bistro: Coffee and Wi-Fi
If you need a place to set up your laptop and grab a cup of coffee and a cranberry scone, give Morning Brew a try.
They're open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and have free WiFi. Their menu also includes salads, pizza, and sandwiches.
If you're lucky, you may even spot cast members from the TV show, Lost, who have been known to hang out there.
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
Bob's Pizzeria: Presidential Pizza
Bob's Pizzeria makes REALLY good Boston-style pizza -- thin, crunchy crust -- that won't break your budget.
The six of us had just come from Buzz's Steakhouse, where we had had drinks and appetizers that cost us about $80. We ordered two large pizzas from Bob's that cost us a little over $40. So good! We even had enough money left over to complement our pizza with a six-pack from the store next door.
Note: A few weeks after we ate at Bob's, the Obamas also ate there. We're trend-setters, whooo hooooo!
Favorite Dish: I liked the mushroom and spinach pizza.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Boots and Kimo's (aka - Kimo's): Breakfast in Kailua - Kimo's Banana Mac Nut Pancak
The food is really the only reason you go to this "local kine" joint, and specifically the banana macadamia nut pancakes. The service is fair to crummy, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is great if you want to be reminded of the Denver Broncos while in the 50th state(?!?) - but who cares when you are in pancake heaven. These are deadly good and should not be attempted with a weak heart. Kimo's "Mac Nut Sauce" on the pancakes is, well let's be frank, it's butter. Specifically, whipped butter with some crushed macadamia nuts. Everything else is fine (omelets ect,), but go for pancakes. You will not be disappointed. Plan to wait a while outside before getting a table on the weekends and don't bring your Starbucks mocha - they'll make you throw it away.
Favorite Dish: You must go all out and try the banana mac nut pancakes. Two will be enough to bump your cholesterol up about 50 points, but it is worth it. Kimo's is the perfect place to soak up all of your Boardrider's sins from the night before. I wouldn't eat these before a day of surfing as you'll likely leave a bit of "slick" when you paddle out.
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
Formaggio Grill: Upscale Dining in a Beach Town
Friends who live in Kailua say that Formaggio is their favorite restaurant, and after eating dinner with them there, I can see why. The staff recognized them and greeted us warmly, the service was professional, and the food was excellent.
It's expensive to eat here, but worth it. I had the fresh mahimahi and jumbo scallop poached in coconut milk with kaffir lime for $24.99. It was very good. Others in my party had the beef bourgignon for $21.99 and couldn't stop exclaiming about how tasty it was.
There are also lighter things to choose from on the menu, like salads, paninis, pizza, and pasta. Check the website, as the menu changes.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
Bob's Pizzeria: Boston style pizza
I had just been spoiled by being in Europe for three weeks and being able to have delicious, cheap pizza pretty much any time I wanted it a month before I was in Hawaii. One day we were on the Windward side and I was craving a thin Euro slice bad. Thinking I wouldn't be able to find it, we drove around Kailua a bit and I spotted Bob's Pizzeria set in a little strip mall. It had tables outside with checkered tablecloths, and pizza, so we went in. Slice range in price from $4 and up, which seemed a little bit high until we got our slices and saw that “a slice” is actually two huge slices, almost the size of a quarter of a pizza! The crust is thin and crispy, not soggy at all, which is so nice. I'm a sauce lover, and this sauce was tasty and there was enough of it. I hate it when there's hardly any sauce on pizza, and that was not a problem here. Lots of toppings and cheese. It was so good we went back a couple days later.
- Budget Travel
Buzz's Original Steak House: Mai Tai Central
We came here for the mai tais, which our friends told us were not to be believed. I had never had a mai tai before but had some vague mental picture of a sweet, syrupy drink with a paper umbrella in it. Imagine my surprise when I read on the drinks menu that it was basically pure rum! I wimped out and ordered the version mixed with pineapple juice, and even that almost knocked my socks off.
If we hadn't ordered plates of spring rolls and ahi poke to give us some ballast, I would never have been able to walk home.
Some of the staff here need to work on their tableside manners a bit - we were treated less than enthusiastically -- but the location across the street from Kailua Beach and the palm trees and blazing torches made up for it. And after one of Buzz's killer mai tais, everyone's your friend.
Big City Diner: Great Breakfasts
Big City Diner is a great place for breakfast. They serve American breakfasts with a local flair: guava juice, fresh papaya, macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, veggie tofu omelette, fresh fish and eggs.
There's a cool Keiki (kids) menu and a Senior special, so there's something for everyone in the family. You can take a look at the menus on the website.
I had Uncle Danny's Fried Rice and Eggs, which was great, and my husband enjoyed his eggs with Portuguese sausage. I wish now that I'd asked for kim chee with the eggs. We ate here twice, and I was especially impressed with the professionalism of the wait staff.
There are four other Big City Diners on Oahu.
- Family Travel
Los Garcias: Mexican in Kailua
If you're in the mood for Mexican food while in Kailua, Los Garcias is not a bad choice. My wife really likes the food and I thought it was good, but a friend of mine who is somewhat of a Mexican food aficionado says its 'generic, ho hum' food.
I had the taco salad, which is a salad served over beans and rice in a crispy tortilla bowl. My wife enjoyed the taco and enchilada combination served with beans and rice.
The restaurant does not have its own parking lot and space is limited out on the street. Drive around the block following the public parking signs into the covered lot. Bring quarters since each space has a pay meter. The meters are enforced 24/7.
CHIP AND COOKIE: CHIP AND COOKIE
THIS A ONE OF THE FAMOUS STORES OF WALLY AMOS..WHO MADE FAMOUS AMOS ..COOKIES SO GOOD AND FAMOUS !!!!
THE STORE WAS CREATED ACTUALLY BY HIS WIFE CHRISTINE AND TOGETHER THEY MAKE SOME AWESOME STUFF. ..ESPECIALLY COOKIES..: ) BUT THEY BOTH (AMOS AND CHRISTINE) HAVE A HEART TO TEACH CHILDREN THROUGH READING!!!!!!!
Chip & Cookie are two lovable, chocolate chip cookie plush characters dolls created by Christine Harris-Amos. They embody the warmth , love and positive feelings children o f all ages associate with chocolate chip cookies.
Chip & Cookie are "Ambassadors of Reading" encouraging adults to read aloud to children so they may become readers and enjoy learning.
Favorite Dish: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES ARE SUPER !!!! BUT CAN'T PASS UP THE MACADAMIA NUTS IN ANYTHING !!!!! THEY ALSO SELL DOLLS AND BOOKS ...
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