A more than 50-year-old throwback to the gastro-glories and tiki traditions of Hawaii's past, La Mariana solves its visitors' palate puzzles with the help of a broad menu encompassing some of the best of both surf and turf. Amidst a festively decorated interior heavy on natural materials and whimsical lighting, guests can enjoy the fork-ready finery of steak and prime rib, "local-style" curries, and a multitude of fresh seafood while chatting with the tiki-faced cups containing their mai tais, zombies, and other cocktails. Sandwiches, such as the shrimp and avocado sandwich, are $8–$13, and entrees, such as grilled mahi mahi, are $7–16.
Featured on the Food Network, Da Pokeman Fish Market dishes out a menu of Hawaiian flavors from recipes passed through generations for more than 70 years. Succulent cubes of ahi tuna dive into tangy shoyu soy sauce or limu algae in the quarter-pound bowls of poke ($9.95–$11.95). The Squid Luau plate snugly bundles two bales of rice beside poi and lomi ($7.95), and the Hawaiian Combo plate's exclusive guest list includes laulau, kalua pig, chicken long rice, lomi salmon, rice, and poi ($9.45). Ordering à la carte, diners can pair a helping of kalua pig ($6.95/lb.) with a side of pickled ogo ($6.95/lb.). Patrons can get carryout to enjoy meals in an oversize aquarium castle.
The staff at Banzai Sushi Bar serves fresh, flavorful fish in a down-to-earth atmosphere, earning accolades in the Star Advertiser's Ilima Awards for several years running. Nestled in a corner of Haleiwa's North Shore Marketplace, the restaurant cossets diners in a covered open-air deck constructed of rustic dark wood, with floral floor cushions for Japanese-style dining or conventional seats for settling the bill with games of musical chairs. Raw seafood is laid bare atop nuggets of sushi rice in nigiri or wrapped tightly between layers of rice and seaweed in maki rolls such as the hawaii roll, whose bundle of shrimp tempura and cucumber is topped with spicy tuna and macadamia nuts.
Launched in Florida in the early 1970s, Tony Roma's has since established itself as a cross-country franchise with a knack for cooking up a mean slab of ribs and serving an extensive menu of chicken, seafood, salads, and burgers. The original rack of pork baby backs ($16.99–$23.99) smothers itself in the restaurant's signature sauce, the Hawaiian Coconut Shrimp ($19.99) comes hand-breaded and paired with a culinary bathtub of orange marmalade, and the Ultimate Combo ($28.99) delivers a culinary gift basket of a half-slab of St. Louis ribs, a skewer of grilled shrimp, and a quarter barbecued chicken. Beef buds can savor the flavors of the whiskey-barrel steak, a thick New York strip streak grilled and topped with a Maker's Mark–based sauce ($31.99), served with a choice of side or poem written by Alan Alda. If a hunk of bone-in meat isn't enough to appease the appetite, supplement dinner with Roma's triple-play sampler ($12.99), which includes red-hot buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and potato skins, served up with a trio of sauces for dipping.
Menus and pricing may vary slightly between Chuck's Restaurants's three locations—Ko 'Olina, Waikiki, and Waikiki Beach—but all three meld upscale cuts and catches with a casual atmosphere, obviating the awkward sight of a tuxedo jacket thrown over a Garfield-print aloha shirt. Open lava-rock grills send meaty aromas to gallantly guide diners to the all-you-can-eat salad bar offered with every entree. On any given night, an array of veggies might be escorted by soupy sidekicks such as seafood chowder, french onion, or tomato vegetable. A herd of aged USDA Prime–grade steaks graze with the teriyaki sirloin, which soaks for 48 hours in a house-made marinade before reaching your plate. Chuck's fish-finaglers hook the catch of the day from local waters, presenting a line of island fish such as hebi, opah, or ahi, served grilled or sautéed (market value). Several variations on surf 'n' turf unite feuding sectors of the culinary kingdom by wedding prime rib (starting at $28.75) to lobster tail (market value), and sirloin (starting at $24.50) to scallops ($28.50). Most meals range $20–$40.
According to psychologists, the color red makes people hungry. So it's no wonder that Rakuen Lounge’s combination of vibrant, crimson tabletops and artistically plated sushi consistently incites stomach rumbles. Here, the chefs design their quirky specialty rolls with organic ingredients and a knowing wink: their caterpillar roll arrives adorned with jewel-toned red eyes and micro greens doubling as antennae, creating a presentation that was oohed and ahhed over by Non Stop Honolulu’s Tracy Chan. Bartenders congregate in the center of the dining room at a square-shaped bar where they shake up signature martinis with sake and yuzu, fresh fruit juices, and other seasonal ingredients procured from local vendors rather than intergalactic grocery store chains.