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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.
Updated Jul 21, 2011
Address: 131 Hekili St. #102 Kailua, HI 96734
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).
Updated Jun 20, 2011
Address: 315 Uluniu Street, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Phone: (808) 261-8724
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.
Written Aug 1, 2011
Address: 539 Kailua Rd., #101 Kailua, HI 96734
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.
Written Sep 2, 2011
Address: 151 Hekili St Kailua, HI 96734
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!
Updated Sep 9, 2011
Address: 49 Oneawa St, Kailua, HI 96734
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!
Updated Mar 1, 2013
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.
Updated Jan 17, 2010
Address: 600 Kailua Road
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.
Updated Jan 30, 2010
Address: 130 Kailua Road
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.
Updated Aug 7, 2005
Address: 119 Hekili St
Phone: (808) 263-7929
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.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 305 Hahani St.