Oahu - Restaurants

Akasaka (tel. 808/942-4466): The spicy tuna handroll, hamachi sushi, clam miso soup, and sizzling tofu and scallops here are among life's greatest pleasures. This tiny sushi bar with its petite tatami room is hidden among the shadowy nightclubs of Honolulu's Kona Street--off the beaten track, yet always jumping with regulars.

Alan Wong's Restaurant (tel. 808/949-2526): Master strokes at this shrine of Hawaii Regional Cuisine: warm California rolls made with salmon roe, wasabi, and Kona lobster instead of rice; luau lumpia with butterfish and kalua pig; and ginger-crusted fresh onaga. Opihi shooters and day-boat scallops in season are a must, while nori-wrapped tempura ahi is a perennial favorite. The menu changes daily, but the flavors never lose their sizzle.

C&C Pasta (tel. 808/732-5999): This place jumps with Italian food lovers who line up for a chance at Carla Magziar's mushroom risotto and excellent house-made pasta, lasagne, and gourmet salads and pizza. Bruschetta, ravioli, and a spate of specials (including a world-class bread pudding and tiramisu) are perfectly flavored, and the aromas of truffle butter and garlic scent the room.

Chef Mavro Restaurant (tel. 808/944-4714): Honolulu is abuzz over the wine pairings and elegant cuisine of George Mavrothalassitis, the culinary wizard from Provence who turned La Mer (at the Halekulani) and Seasons (at the Four Seasons Resort Wailea) into temples of fine dining. He brought his award-winning signature dishes with him, and continues to prove his ingenuity with dazzling a la carte and prix-fixe menus.

Jimbo's Restaurant (tel. 808/947-2211): From broth to noodles to tempura and vegetable toppings, only the finest ingredients from Japan are used. Noodle lovers delight in the flawless broth with its smoky, toasty undertones, and the homemade udon noodles topped with shrimp tempura and mirin-soaked shiitake mushrooms. The Japanese-style curries are also big sellers, but noodles are king.

Olive Tree Cafe (tel. 808/737-0303): This temple of Greek and Mediterranean delights is the quintessential neighborhood magnet--casual, bustling, and consistently great. Owner Savas Mojarrad has a following of foodies, hipsters, artists, and all manner of loyalists who appreciate his integrity and generosity. Standards are always high, the food reasonable, the dishes fresh and homemade. Order at the counter and grab a table inside or out (the place is small). Bring your own wine, and sit down to fresh fish souvlaki, excellent marinated mussels, and spanakopita made with special sheep's cheese. Mojarrad even makes the yogurt for his famous yogurt-mint-cucumber sauce, the souvlaki's ticket to immortality. And don't miss the chicken saffron, a Tuesday special.

Padovani's Restaurant & Wine Bar (tel. 808/946-3456): Chef Philippe Padovani's elegant, innovative style is highlighted in everything from the endive salad to pan-fried moi at his two-tiered approach to fine dining. Downstairs is the swank dining room with its Bernaudaud china and Frette linens; upstairs is the informal Wine Bar, with excellent single-malt Scotches, wines by the glass, and a much more casual, but equally sublime, menu.

Roy's Restaurant (tel. 808/396-7697): Good food still reigns at this busy, noisy flagship Hawaii Kai dining room with the trademark open kitchen. Roy Yamaguchi's deft way with local ingredients, nostalgic ethnic preparations, and fresh fish makes his menu, which changes daily, a novel experience every time. Yamaguchi's special dinners with vintners are a Honolulu staple.

Sushi Sasabune (tel. 808/947-3800): Sushi chef Seiji Kumagawa offers "trust me" sushi for the purists who sit at the sushi bar. The specials of the day are fresh as can be, with no Western mutations such as mayonnaise, avocado, and the resultant California roll. This is Japanese all the way, with halibut, salmon, scallops, oysters, and seafood from around the world, flown in fresh that day and served with warm rice. Sit at a table if you want to order; at this sushi bar, you must be submissive and receive what the chef serves.