Got foodies heading to Hawaii this spring and beyond? Travel Agent breaks down the hottest culinary news coming out of the Aloha State from a new trendy tap room by the Kona Brewing Company to new “Field to Fork” excursions hosted by Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club to a new, stylish steakhouse in Waikiki.
Here’s what you need to know about Hawaii's latest food and beverage offerings.
The Kona Tap Room by Kona Brewing Company on the Island of Hawaii recently opened in the Hilton Waikoloa Village. On December 4, the new Kona Tap Room began serving up craft Kona Brewing Company beers on draught, including the brewery’s Longboard Island Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale, Liquid Aloha and Nine Stings Ale. Kona Tap Room’s menu also features food-and-beer pairings showcasing its selection of craft brews, inspired by Hawaiian flavors.
Dubbing itself as Hawaii’s first gourmet Japanese food alley, Waikiki Yokocho on Oahu recently opened in December in the basement of Waikiki Shopping Plaza. Sixteen new-to-Hawaii eateries fill a culinary village with three themed alleyways: Ramen Road, Noren Street, Engawa Terrace.
“Aloha Aina: An Immersive Farm Excursion” is the newest addition to Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s culinary offerings. It features a guided adventure of two Waianae farms, MA‘O and Kahumana. The two organic farms will integrate their sustainable practices in an outdoor excursion not found in a guidebook, curated exclusively by the Surfjack. Visitors and locals from town to country will develop a combined appreciation for farming, food and the land.
Tour participants will enjoy scenic views of Oahu’s sunny west side, while gaining insights into Hawaii’s cultural history. The tour of the 23-acre MA‘O Organic Farm will begin with a Hawaiian blessing. Guests will be able to explore and graze on MA‘O’s diverse selection of seasonal and exotic produce from bananas to mizuna to the farm’s famous mesclun “sassy” salad mix.
Located down the road from MA‘O, guests will take a guided tour of the 50-acre Kahumana Organic Farm, before being served their pre-selected gourmet lunch. Some of the dishes that will be offered on Kahumana’s menu are the farm’s Macadamia Nut Pesto, Coconut Curry, Kahumana Salad and a Kahumana daily special served with Kahumana Kooler, an in-house brewed hibiscus tea. Dessert will be a choice of lilikoi cheesecake or a chocolate brownie.
After lunch, guests will learn the traditional Polynesian craft of coconut weaving by weaving the coconut tree’s fronds together. Guests will also have the opportunity to browse through Kahumana’s Country Store, which sells farm produce, crafts, jewelry and natural products made by local artisans.
Tours are conducted on the first and third Thursday of each month. Admission is $125 per person and $90 per child (12 and under), which includes transportation, two guided farm tours and lunch. Gratuity is not included in the admission price. The excursion is open to Surfjack guests and the public. Reservations are required. Sign-up is available through Eventbrite.
The Honu Bar at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the island of Hawaii has returned and is open nightly for handcrafted cocktails, pupu and small plate items. The nighttime gathering spot features live music and a casual resort vibe. Guests seeking evening cocktails or a light dinner will find an extensive menu of island-style favorites and seasonal specials. No reservations are required.
James Beard-award-winning chef Michael Mina opened STRIPSTEAK Waikiki in the heart of Oahu’s vibrant Waikiki district on August 25.
Presenting an evocative and modern twist on the classic American steakhouse, lighter, small plates; healthier seafood options; and sushi, sashimi and poke; complement contemporary steakhouse sides. The 8,600-square-foot restaurant is located at the newly redeveloped International Market Place on the third level Grand Lanai featuring expansive indoor, open-air patio seating for up to 120 guests and a private dining room seating up to 36 guests.
At STRIPSTEAK Waikiki, hand-sliced cuts of prized Japanese and American beef are the main attractions, prepared in chef Mina’s signature preparation–slow poached in butter and finished on the grill. Fresh seafood is sourced on a daily basis for shellfish and raw bar selections. Skewers and small plates, sushi, sashimi and salads, entrées and Michael Mina-influenced side dishes round out the menu and are also influenced by traditional plates from Japan.
Must try items on the menu include the World Wide Wagyu featuring Japanese A5 striploin, American skirt steak and Australian short rib; and Michael’s Lobster Pot Pie with locally-sourced lobster, brandied lobster cream, hamakua mushrooms and black truffle.
Operating in the space of the former Prince Court, 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar on Oahu offers guests its signature views of Ala Wai Harbor and the ocean beyond, as well as first row seats to Hawaii’s sunsets. A new active bar offers fresh smoothies and coffee in the morning, and craft cocktails in the evening will serve as the centerpiece of the restaurant.
The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui has unveiled its new restaurant, Auntie’s Kitchen. The new restaurant has replaced Ocean Pool Bar and Grill in the same venue, poolside off of the resort’s south lobby. Auntie’s Kitchen was designed to celebrate the melting pot of flavors and cuisine that make up Hawaii’s local culinary culture. Auntie’s Kitchen, under the leadership of chef Tanya Doyle and chef Brian Murphy, is offering breakfast, lunch and dinner menus daily, including locally inspired a la carte selections and a daily breakfast buffet.
The former Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Island of Hawaii has returned with a new name, new look and new menu for the new year. The reopened Manta now features a lively open-air bar and lounge area, with indoor and outdoor seating ideal for enjoying handcrafted cocktails and a special bar menu. Jazz music on Wednesdays makes the middle of the week something to celebrate. Manta's new dining room menu elevates island fresh cuisine. And viewing the resort cove's manta rays from Manta Point is still a time-honored Mauna Kea Beach Hotel tradition.
Visit www.maunakeabeachhotel.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest Hawaii news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.