The sun glistens across the ocean as the sound of waves crash in the distance. This picturesque image greets diners at BluWater Grill—tucked within the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center—as they recline on the restaurant’s waterfront patio. Owner Tanya Phillips––a 20+-year veteran of the restaurant industry––and chef Harold Beltran crafted the lengthy lunch and dinner menus, which include dishes made with fresh Hawaiian fish and local-style ribs in addition to a variety of pupus including ginger chicken wings, spiced calamari, and BBQ kālua pork quesadillas. Couples who prefer air-conditioned cool to ocean breezes can sit inside the dining room and get cozy in a booth, order cocktails from the fully stocked bar, or stare up at a flat-screen television and count its pixels. BluWater Grill sates appetites seaside throughout the week, as well during Sunday brunch.
The enthusiastic wave-tamers at Hawaiian Surf Adventures infuse students with their waterlogged passions for surfing, standup paddleboarding, Adventure boat tours along the southeast shore, and Hawaiian canoeing . With access to areas such as the uncrowded waters of Maunalua Bay, instructors give their students the space needed to learn how to balance atop a board while riding the backs of white-crested, aqua-blue waves or vacationing Loch Ness monsters. Whether cruising their Navy SEALs Special Forces adventure boat, paddling surfboards, hanging ten, or navigating a Hawaiian canoe, the team makes adventures easy for beginners and informative for more seasoned watersports enthusiasts.
Within Monica Ra Salon & Day Spa, Peggy Balagia works her magic in transforming looks with cuts, color treatments, and Brazilian blowouts. With the help of products such as Pravana keratin treatments and Babe hair extensions, her clients waltz out the door with bouncy blowouts and shiny locks.
Hawaiian performer Chief Sielu is on a lifelong quest to educate and entertain the world about Polynesian traditions, a passion that has taken him to appearances on the BBC, MTV, and the Late Show with David Letterman. Dubbed the "coconut man," the chief immerses all comers in island culture at spectacular luaus. On stage, he and his tribe balance revelry and education with high-energy ritual and knife-dancing performances, participatory dances and art making, and a large supper of Hawaiian staples such as poi and braised surfboard fillets. If you can catch his ear, Sielu might have a lot of stories to share: in the course of his ambassadorial travels, he's lit the Olympic torch in Salt Lake City by throwing a flaming spear and been the subject of the documentary film Chief, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
For more than 30 years, the chefs at Lung Fung Chinese Restaurant have been bringing China’s freshest, most vibrant flavors to the stomachs of Oahu residents. General manager Eddie Ma regularly updates the menu with popular Hongkongese and Chinese dishes that he learns about during his travels to those countries. He's fully integrated these new, inventive dishes with time-honored classics to create a seamless and hearty menu of traditional chop suey dishes, savory noodle soups, and seafood-based specialties. The restaurant’s banquet menu, meanwhile, accommodates customers planning large events, such as company lunches or clown-college reunions.
Chef Alan Takasaki's career began kind of how you'd expect: washing dishes. From there, his journey split from the beaten path. Sure, he worked in esteemed restaurants across the world. But he also had all his belongings stolen in Europe, a twist of fate that forced him to move back to Hawaii. When he finally opened Le Bistro, it was just before September 11, 2001—an unfortunate time for businesses everywhere, but especially new ones. The chef persevered and eventually became celebrated in Niu Valley.
When Wine and Dine Hawaii asked Chef Takasaki about his style of food, he simply answered, "I don't really know what it is." Free from the burden of having to pigeonhole his cooking, he's created an eclectic menu of traditional French dishes with a Hawaiian twist. Sure, he whips up bistro classics, such as escargot and steak in cognac sauce, but he also highlights the island's Japanese influences with entrees such as teriyaki chicken and hibachi-style grilled beef skewers.
You've heard the phrase a diamond in the rough, but in this case, the rough is the Niu Valley Shopping Center. With fancy script scrawled above its double doors, Le Bistro hints to passersby that it's more refined than the neighboring fast-food restaurants. Inside, its crisp white tablecloths and dark-wood trim infuse the space with just enough opulence. And that's exactly what Chef Takasaki was shooting for. "I just want this to be someplace that's friendly and comfortable," he told Honolulu Pulse.