Restaurants in Honolulu

Posh hotel restaurant and lounge. On Friday and Saturday nights, the W hotel's Diamond Head Grill transforms into the Wonder Lounge, a multi-bar club with DJs and dancing.

A hole in the wall in nearly every sense of the word, Mitsu-Ken Okazu & Catering is, essentially, a nondescript, off the beaten path, shack.

Specializing in the traditional Japanese noodle dish, oden, Hakkei is an outpost of an onsen ryokan (hot spring inn) restaurant of the same name located in the town of Yubara, Japan. The original restaurant in Japan is overseen by chef Seiya Masahara, a Japanese culinary giant,

Owner Ed Kenney composts with a worm bin, then uses the fertilizer on the greenery outside of Downtown.

D.K. Kodama, a third-generation Japanese American, founded this Asian-fusion restaurant, whose name translates in Japanese to “third generation.” Know for its eclectic cuisine and inventive sushi, Sansei opened in Maui in 1996, and has now expanded to four locations throughout Hawaii.

Quirky, family-owned hole-in-the-wall Irifune is one of the best finds (and best values), Japanese or otherwise, in Waikiki.

Blending cuisine and wine, Vino is the brainchild of two of Hawaii’s most influential culinary personalities, restauranteur D.K.

Chef-owner Shingo Chibana makes his house-specialty soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) from scratch six to eight times a day at Matsugen. The master is frequently seen cutting the noodles by hand in the middle of the dining room.

European transplants Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani shuttered their eponymous local restaurants before teaming up in 2008 to open ’Elua, whose name means “two” in Hawaiian. The concept: two distinct, seasonal French and Italian menus for mixing and matching.

Located inside the Kahala Hotel & Resort, Hoku’s has earned critical praise for its inventive and upscale Pacific Rim cuisine, crafted by chef Wayne Hirabayashi.

In January 2011, Hanohano was converted into an exclusive lounge for Sheraton Club Level guests.

A unique, alternative to the abundant Hawaiian fare on Oahu, the 12th Avenue Grill serves modern twists on classic American dishes. The small restaurant has only 14 tables filled with diners who come for its inventive menu. Popular selections include grilled Maui Cattle Co.

On an island where space is the prized commodity, strange couplings occur. Like karaoke and fried chicken. Side Street Inn, a chef’s hangout in Honolulu, has come into local fame (which is spreading since Anthony Bourdain stopped by in 2009) for its frying rap sheet.