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.
The chefs at Raging Crab make seafood however their customers like it. All of the clams, crabs, shrimp and other seafood delicacies they make come in sundry seasonings, with spices ranging from hot ghost chili pepper to as mild as a sitcom starring a former professional athlete. Raging Crab’s main courses are served with sides such as cajun fries and rice, plus seasonings that include garlic butter, lemon pepper, spicy raging cajun, or a combination of all three.
The elegant tangles of Chinese lettering run alongside nearly 200 items on the bilingual menu at Mini Garden Orient & Vegetarian Cuisine. Chefs clatter through the kitchen as their knives flick against cutting boards and steam rises from pan-fried onion pancakes, noodles with roast duck, and squid with pickled vegetables. A range of vegetarian dishes brim with bitter melon, lychee, ong choy, and other produce found only in traditional Chinese dishes and Marco Polo’s vacation slideshow.
For more than 30 years, the chefs at Maple Garden Restaurant have sourced recipes from northern China to share authentic Sichuan dishes with hungry visitors. Sichuan cuisine traditionally showcases hot flavors in its many forms, from a mild spice to a peppery kick to just a twinge of passive-aggressiveness. Specialty plates of scallops with hot garlic sauce, peking duck, or diced chicken with button mushrooms can be prepared for relaxed dinners in the restaurant’s dining room or for takeout orders.
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.
Part swanky lounge with plush leather seating, part neighborhood burger joint with scrubbed wooden tables, Sway Restaurant and Bar is a mecca for creative fusion. The cuisine follows suit with American classics that receive an Asian makeover. Tacos are stuffed with Korean kalbi short ribs and salmon is marinated in miso and served atop buckwheat soba noodles. Hawaiian grass-fed beef goes into the burgers, which include a version inspired by traditional Vietnamese banh mi.