Izakaya Nonbei

Overall Review: CorkCork

Service: Izakaya Nonbei used to be one of our all time favorite Japanese restaurants in Hawaii, however, last year it was sold and has changed substantially. One of the past owners is still working for the restaurant and she assured me that the cook was the same (although the main chef was her father so we are not sure how they could be if they moved?). When the food arrived about 30% of the dishes where as good as we remembered but the rest of the food was disappointing. When we asked to return a horribly overcooked fish she took it back to the kitchen and then returned it to us saying “the chef touched it and said its moist inside”…. first and foremost no one wants to hear that someone touched there food and then expect them to continue to eat it! secondly we know overcooked fish when we see and taste it. It was disappointing service for sure. Specially when the past owners where so nice and the food was impeccable.

Food: The food was so so. Someone who has never been to the Old Nonbei may think its great, but after years of patronage we feel the food has suffered in the transition. Some of the items are still good so if you are in the neighborhood and in the mood for sushi or Japanese by all means go….. but if you have been an old Nonbei fan say so long and just move onto another Japanese restaurant. Even the green tea was different – must be a cheaper brand.

Favorite Dishes: Karei Karaag (Cabbage & Small fish) Eggplant & Mushrooms, Miso Rice Cake, Small Fried Shrimp Appetizer and the ice Otokoyama sake of course!

Atmosphere: The new Nonbei ambiance is kind of modern inside. They have ground floor tables as well as regular tables and the inside is very small (about 5-6 tables total) plus the small sushi bar. The real killer is that they have a huge flat screen TV on the wall which really detracts for the restaurants classiness. Honestly who wants to go to a nice restaurant and have to watch TV? its distracting and doesn’t belong in this restaurant at all.

Consistency: Well the old Nonbei was incredible consistence for years, however, this new location isn’t going to get a second chance from us anytime soon. If we do for some reason feel generous we will go back and update this restaurant review!

Parking: Nonbei has a small parking lot out front with about 10 spots in total. When full it can be super hard to get in and out but at least they do have some parking. Otherwise you can always park across the street at Safeway and walk across the street.

Price Range: Low-Medium ($6-$25) per Entree
Corkage Fee $20 per Bottle
Reservations Accepted & Recommended
Take Out Available

3108 Olu St.
Honolulu, HI 96816
Tel: (808) 734-5573

Hours of Operation:
Dinner Mon, Wed-Sun 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Closed Tuesday

Izakaya Nonbei - fried flounder fish hawaii

Whole Fried Flounder

Izakaya Nonbei restaurant review fish

Fried Shrimp

Izakaya Nonbei cold tofu dish

Cold Tofu

Izakaya Nonbei Eggplant & Mushroom

Eggplant & Mushroom

Izakaya Nonbei Small Fish & Cabbage

Cabbage & Small Fish

Izakaya Nombie miso rice cake

Miso Rice Cake


Sushi Izakaya Gaku

Overall Review: corkagecorkagecorkageCork

Service:The service as Gaku is exceptional. The staff is not only helpful but extremely professional. Each time we go to Gaku we are welcomed into the restaurant with smiling faces and the type of service which you hope to receive every time you go out.

Food: The food is absolutely Delicious! they have a wide assortment of Japanese treasures including sushi, hot appetizers, tempura, and many other classic meat and seafood dishes. The specials are always excellent so ask your waiter whats fresh – each waiter tries all the specials on the menu daily and are well versed on each dish.

Favorite Dishes: Tuna Baked King Crab (OMG soooo delicious), Onyasai vegetables, Hamachi Tartar, and Cold Glass of Sake

Atmosphere: Gaku has a wonderful ambiance. It’s a small restaurant, with intimate lighting. You feel like you are in Japan, a magical place where anything could happen. The only down side is that this intimate restaurant only has about 10 tables and it is very popular so you will have to wait to get a seat almost any day of the week. They do take reservations before 7pm each night but you still need to call a few days in advance.  Also something to note is that half of the tables are ground seating which is fun but not so good if you have a bad back (Tip: when you make a reservation request one of the 3 tables in the front room.)

Consistency: Each time we go to Gaku we are left full and happy. The food is excellent and always consistent. Only one or two times has a dish varied in flavor.

Parking:Parking is free at Gaku, however, there are only a few stalls in the back (about 10). When your driving to Gaku for the first time be on the look out for the restaurant on the right hand side of the street because if you miss it you have to backtrack around the block because king street is one-way. The parking is located directly after the door to the restaurant. If the lot is full you can park on the  street and walk after rush hour.

Price Range: Medium ($10-$22) per Entree
Corkage Free $25 per Bottle
Reservations Accepted Before 7pm & Recommended
Take Out Not Available

Sushi Izakaya Gaku
1329 South King Street
Telephone: 808.589.1329

Hours of Operation:
Lunch served 11:30 am – 4:00 pm Monday – Saturday
Dinner served 4:00 pm to late, Monday – Saturday