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 Sasabune

Overall Review: CorkCorkCorkCorkCork

Service: The service is exceptional at Sushi Sasabune on King Street. The waiters are veterans and always remember the guests who keep on coming back. They are friendly, knowledgeable, polite and quick which is all you can ever ask of a good restaurant.

Food: The food is to die for! the key phrase is “Trust Me” at Sushi Sasabune because you don’t order par-say but rather the chef brings you select items which are the freshest and most delicious he has to offer, dish by dish until you are full. If you are a regular you can also request different dishes (on his tasting menu) but you have to eat a few times to get aquatinted with the food enough to do be able to ask for them by name. The sushi is so fresh it melts in your mouth and is presented on top of warm sushi rice giving it a unique and memorable taste. Each bite is a true celebration. Enjoy!! 

Favorite Dishes: Blue crab hand roll, the squid stuffed with blue crab, the scallop and salmon duo, everything!

Atmosphere: The ambiance is very nice at Sasabune. The restaurant is small and quaint with a sushi bar and about 5-8 tables. The decor is very clean yet trendy for a Japanese restaurant and showcases a few beautiful pieces of artwork and black, red and gold color scheme.

Consistency: Each time you go to Sasabune you can feel secure that it will fantastic. The consistency is top notch and we have never had a dish that wasn’t superb or fishy fish.

Parking: Sushi Sasabune has a small parking lot out back that may be shared with some other restaurants in the area but typically you can always find a spot. If not and its not during rush hour you can find parking on king street.

Price Range: High – Dinner about $125 per Person
Corkage Fee $15 per Bottle
Reservations Accepted & Recommended
Take Out Not Available

1417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814 ‎
Tel: (808) 947-3800

Hours of Operation:
Mon-Sat: 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Tue-Fri: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Sushi Sasabune - squid stuffed crab

Squid Stuffed Blue Crab

sushi sasabune restaurant review hawaii

Scallop & Kelp Salmon

sasabune review

Unagi & Tamago

sushi sasabune restaurant review


Sushi Sasabune hawaii

Tuna Duo

Trust Me Hawaii

Sushi Master

Yanagi Sushi

Overall Review: CorkCork

Service: The staff was nice but not exactly helpful or very fast. In fact, it took over 20 minutes to get our credit card back which felt really strange when we paid. They did fill our water glasses quickly and clear old dishes but it wasn’t like they interacted with us. Typically if you notice a guest didnt eat more than one bit of a dish you would ask if they wanted something else of if anything was wrong with it. They just took it away and brought the check!

Food: The food was very disappointing at Yanagi Sushi on Kapiolani blvd. This restaurant has been a stapil in Honolulu for years and has always had good Japanese food in the past. However, its been at least 5 years since we have been last and the food has really suffered during that time. Out of the 4 items we ordered only one was good or even eatable. The Pork Cutlet (Tonkatsu) was really chewy and cut into super large pieces making it very hard to eat. The shrimp tempura had a tiny thing little shrimp inside and so much batter on its all you could taste. Finally the chicken teriyaki was covered in fat and really grimly tasting. The only thing we even could eat was the butterfish (which was good) and the miso soup. Even the end of the experience was a bummer because the ice cream was very icy and overly sweet. 

Favorite Dishes: Butterfish Miso-yaki and Miso Soup

Atmosphere: The ambiance is nice inside Yanagi Sushi but it is in need of a facelift. The tables are super old and the floor has seen better days. With a little work this place to be polished again. One nice attribute is that the walls showcase famous visitors and friends of the owners and make the restaurant quaint and have a unique family feel.

Consistency: About 15 years ago this was a consistently good restaurant but after the experience we had today we wouldn’t go back for Japanese food ever. There are so many great restaurants like Imanas or Sushi ii you can go for the same price if not cheaper than Yanagi Sushi to have a delicious Japanese feast.

Parking: Yanagi Sushi has valet parking out front which is convenient. All you need to do is pull up, pass over your keys and tip the boys a few dollars when you leave and you are all set!

Price Range: Medium-High ($8.95-$37.50) per Entree or Combo
Corkage Fee $15 per Bottle of Wine or Sake
Reservations Accepted
Take Out Available

762 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96813
Tel: (808) 597-1525
Website: /

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: 11a.m. – 2p.m.
Dinner: Monday – Saturday: 5:30p.m. – 2p.m. Sunday: 5:30p.m. – 10p.m.

Yanagi Sushi restaurant review

Combo Plate

Yanagi Sushi Butterfish Review

Butterfish Miso-yaki

Yanagi Sushi pickles




Overall: corkage corkagecorkage corkage corkage

Service: The service is top notch at Roy’s. From the moment you arrive till your exit from the restaurant you are treated as a prince / princess. The waiters are attentive, courteous, and extremely professional at this 5 start dinning establishment.

Food: The food is modern asian pacific cuisine and items you can expect to find on the menu are Sushi, Salads, Seafood, Meats and of course desserts. The fresh fish is sensational and truly captivates the essence of the islands. The meats are also very tender and the short ribs just fall off the bone. There hasn’t been anything we have tried on the menu that we sent back or didn’t think was terrific. Another nice touch is instead of giving you a big basket of bread to start  you receive a bowl of well seasoned edamame which is a nice light start to your decadent meal.

Favorite Dishes: Beef Carpaccio, Baby Back Ribs, Salads, Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish (OMG delicious!!), Short Ribs (Fantastic!), Chocolate Soufflé, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Atmosphere: The ambiance at Roy’s in Waikiki is stunning. Both the inside and outside seating area’s are and tropical feeling. The art is also asian influenced which ties into the dinning experience very well. The inside area is rather large but has good acoustics. The only negative thing the restaurant was freezing cold. The outside is much more casual feeling and also has a bar which is perfect for some pupu’s or drinks while enjoying Waikiki.The Hawaii Kai location is in Hawaii Kai and has a similar decor. The restaurant is located upstairs and is also lovely.

Consistency: The consistency at Roy’s is fantastic. Each time you come you can be sure to have a delicious dish with the same amount of food, seasoning and taste as you remembered it.

Parking: Roy’s has validated parking at the hotel around the corner on Beach Walk at the Embassy suites for $6 for 4 hours (you can forget about finding street parking! don’t even try… its not happening). At the Hawaii Kai flagship location you can park for free at that Hawaii Kai Towne Center.

Price Range: High ($24-$33) per Entree
Corkage Fee $25 per Bottle
Take Out Available
Reservations Accepted & Recommended

Roy’s – Honolulu (Hawaii Kai)
6600 Kalanianaole Highway
Honolulu, HI 96825
Tel: (808) 396-7697

Roy’s – Waikiki Beach
226 Lewers Street
Honolulu, HI 96815
Tel: (808) 923-7697
Website: http://www.roysrestaurant.com/

Hours of Operation:

Hawaii Kai: Dinner Only
Mon – Thu: 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fri: 5:30 p.m – 10 p.m.; Sat: 5 p.m – 10 p.m.; Sun: 5 p.m – 9:30 p.m.

Waikiki Location: Lunch & Dinner
Daily: 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish Roys Waikiki Restaurant Review

Misoyaki Butterfish

Opah From Roy's in Waikiki Restaurant Review

Chinese Opah


Sushi ii

Overall Review: CorkCorkCorkCorkCork

Service: The service was slow at Sushi ii but only because it was completely packed full of people. They only had one waitress but she was very nice and full of smiles. We also appreciated that as soon as we where seated she alerted us we wouldn’t receive any food for at least 35 minutes regardless if we ordered sushi or hot items which was just fine with us but nice to hear so you are prepared all the same!

Food: The food was very good at Sushi ii. They have a full sushi bar as well as very interesting hot entree dishes like whole fried fresh fish (flounder, Moi or whatever is freshest), lots of protein & seafood items including lamb, scallops, shrimp, oysters, sashimi carpaccio, and soft shell crab, as well as salads and unique desserts. You should have no problem finding something you will love at this restaurant and each dish has a unique twist making it memorable. Do keep in mind that most dishes are fried so its not a place to go while on a diet.

Favorite Dishes: Fried Whole Moi (we ate everything but the spine bone!), Nori popovers with Furikake Butter (best popovers in town even over BLT and Mariposa they are interesting and unique), Ehu Carpaccio, Beet Salad, Mom’s Minoage (Shrimp wrapped in shoe thin potatoes and fried), Scallops, Sushi was also delicious. Banana dream pie dessert (light and fluffy) the only thing we didn’t like was the Soft Shell Crab as it was extremely overcooked… but seems like you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!

Atmosphere: We loved the ambiance at Sushi ii on Keeamoku street! The restaurant is very quaint and only has only about 6-7 tables inside in addition to the sushi bar. The walls are bright orange and it has good acoustics and although packed we where able to hear everyone at the table without yelling over loud music or neighbors conversations…..  it was very enjoyable!

Consistency: We have only been once so far but have many friends who swear by Sushi ii and just rave about its consistence. We promise to update this section next time we go which is sure to be soon!!

Parking: Sushi ii is located in the Samsung Plaza across the street from Walmart. They have free parking with validation. Otherwise you can usually find parking on the street or around the block next to Ross if they are completely full.

Price Range: ($8-$20) per Entree
Corkage Fee $5 per Glass (i.e. $5 for each person who is drinking)
Reservations Accepted & Recommended
Take Out Available

Samsung Plaza
655 Keeaumoku St, Ste 109
Honolulu, HI 96814
Tel: (808) 942-5350

Hours of Operation:
Wed-Sat 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Wed-Sun 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Fried Fish from Suhi ii restaurant

Fried Moi

sushi ii restaurant review

Banana Dream Pie

Sushi ii hawaii mom's minoage

Mom's Minoage



Overall Review: CorkCorkCorkCork

Service: The service at Morimotos is not much to sing about. Both times we have eaten it was slow from taking the order, to receiving our drinks as well as our food. Its fair to say this is a type of restaurant that you go to enjoy a non-rushed lengthy meal, however, some things you don’t want to wait a 30 minutes for including your wine.

Food: The food was good but overall a bit disappointing. Knowing that Morimoto is an iron chef we were expecting some really out of this world dishes but nothing really stands out as the best. The food is artistic and very well plated which makes the experience interesting. The food was overall good but we felt his best dishes were the ones that concentrated more on flavor than jazz.  The only negative thing we can say was that the first time we ate at Morimotos we got sick on the Pastrami Sashimi which was disappointing especial when you pay $20 for the dish.
Download Morimotos Menu In Waikiki

Favorite Dishes: Tofu, Gioza, Bisque, Caprachio, Morimoto Sashimi

Atmosphere: The ambiance at Morimotos is just beautiful. Both outdoor and indoor venues are zen and well designed. The green and dark wood tones are well balanced and the overall feel of the restaurant is trendy. The outside is much more enjoyable with lounge music, couches and fire pits for mingling. The inside has enlarged images of orchids and moss embedded clear tables. we recommend sitting outside because the indoor seating is so loud you can barely hear your dinning companions without screaming.

Consistency:Well the first time we didn’t have a very good experience with getting sick, however, when we went back again for dinner the food was good. I think the dinner menu is more exciting than the lunch menu so we would recommend going for an early dinner and sharing some dishes with friends.

Parking: Parking is complimentary with validation at The New Edition Hotel. Don’t forget to stop at the downstairs bar on the way out for a custom handmade martini! delicious…

Price Range: High ($30-$40) per Entree
Corkage Fee $25 per bottle of Wine or Champagne
Reservations Recommended

1775 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96815
Tel: (808) 943-5900
Website: http://www.morimotowaikiki.com//

Hours of Operation:
Breakfast 6:30am-10:00am
Lunch 11:00am-2:30pm
Dinner 5:00pm-10:00pm (Friday and Saturday until 11:00pm)
Sushi Bar and Bar 5:00pm-10:00pm

Morimotos yellow tail pastrami picture from Waikiki

Yellowtail "Pastrami"

Morimoto Smoked Sashimi picture from Waikiki

Morimoto Smoked Sashimi


Overall: CorkCorkCork

Service: The service is so so at Shokudo. The food is either really fast or super slow and you never know how long it will take for lunch. Its my recommendation to take your time and only go to Shokudo if you are not in a rush so you can really enjoy the food and atmosphere no matter how busy the kitchen is.  The waiters are really friendly and conversational which makes the restaurant a nice place to go.

Food: The Food at Shokudo is very tasty. Its typical Japanese food with a global twist and menu items include Sushi, Tempura, Noodles, Pupus, Salads, and Rice dishes. The food is pretty basic but they do have some “out of the box” items which make this restaurant unique and memorable. The best way to enjoy the innovative cuisine is to share the dishes family style. They also have bento boxes for Lunch at a very reasonable price and the bar is open late night serving food until 12pm on the week days and 1pm on Friday & Saturday night.
Shokudo Menu For Download

Favorite Dishes: Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice (extremely good – instead of cold rice they serve the sushi on puffed cooked rice), Spider Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Fries, Edamame, Tempura, and Fresh Homemade Tofu

Atmosphere: In Japanese Shokudo means “dinning room” and we would have to agree that the ambiance of Shokudo is wonderful. The restaurant has high ceilings and two unique sides and designs with booth seating and regular table seating. The restaurant also has a private room in the back for large parties. Shokudo is a great place to bring a date because its trendy, and you can feel comfortable and in style dressed casually or island chic.

Consistency: The consistency is pretty good at Shokudo. Its a good place to take out of town guests or meet friends for reasonable priced pupus after work.

Parking: Validated parking entrance on Kona Street, behind the restaurant. Or you can park in the Ala Moana shopping center and walk over.

Price Range: Low-Medium ($5-$25) per Entree
Corkage Fee $15 per bottle Wine (no other liquor is permitted to bring yourself)
Reservations Not Required  (but recommended for dinner if you have 3 people or more in your party)
Take Out Available

Ala Moana Pacific Center
1585 Kapiolani Boulevard, Suite 814
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
E-mail: InfoSHOKUDO@hawaii.rr.com
Reservations: (808) 941-3701
website: http://www.shokudojapanese.com/

Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Last call at 12 midnight
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Last call at 1:00 a.m.

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Spicy Tuna Roll

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Shrimp Tempura


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


Overall Review: corkage corkagecorkagecorkageCork

Service: The staff is so nice at Imanas. As soon as you walk through the front door you are greeted and ushered in. They have exceptional service and really make you feel special when you eat there by constantly bowing and smiling.

Food: The food is super good at Imanas. They have almost everything you could ever want from a Japanese restaurant including Shabushabu, Sushi, Sashimi, Grilled and Fried dishes. What they don’t have is a tempura selection or individual meal box selections like many other Japanese restaurants do just an FYI before you plan a visit.  The food is light, refreshing and very moderately priced. We recommend ordering many different dishes and sharing so you can try different items and flavors. (TIP: Order a cold glass of Otakayama Sake, It is sooooo good and makes the food and evening all that much better!)

Favorite Dishes: Thinly Sliced Founder, Spicy Tuna Roll, Avacado & Salmon Roll, Spider Roll (OMG delicious!), Fried Gobo and Seafood, Butter Fish, Seasoned Burdock, Assorted Oshinko,  Fried Tofu with Miso Sauce (TIP: if you like it HOT get this dish its served with hot muster that really pack’s a punch!) and the Beef Shabushabu is also very good but has a minimum of two orders

Atmosphere: The restaurant is absolutely stunning! the tables are beautiful and the entire ambiance is very zen from the second you walk into Imanas. The warm wood colors make you feel welcome and safe almost as if you where at home or a close friends for dinner. The natural elements create dynamic shadows on the floor and walls making the atmosphere absolutely lovely! This is a perfect restaurant for both an intimate date, or family gathering. The sushi bar is also fun to sit at if you are only 2 people and the seats are exceptionally comfortable (or that could be the sake talking).

Consistency: Imanas is wonderfully consistent. we have been going for years and have never been disappointed by any dish we have eaten making this a first class Japanese restaurant to try.

Parking: The restaurant does have a small 10-12 stall parking lot directly in front of it which has free parking but it is extremely hard to find a spot there – specially during key dinner time 6:30-7:30. However, there is also an extremely convenient paid parking lot to the left of the restaurant which is only about $1 per hour (they do not accept validation).

Price Range: Medium ($5-$20) per Entree  (Sushi $3-$9.50 per roll)
Reservations Accepted Before 7pm & Recommended
Take Out Not Available

2626 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96826
Tel: (808) 941-2626

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday 5 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday

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Miso Butter Fish

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Shabu Shabu