The son of a Californian flamenco dancer, Greg ?The Salsaman? Henry was captivated by dancing early on. At the age of 3, he joined in on performances with his mother?s dance troupe. Years later he went on to found the Hot Salsa Dance Company, which puts on interactive latin-dance shows throughout Hawaii and California. Henry and other company members also lead the company?s instructional arm, Hot Salsa Hawaii, teaching group classes to beginning and intermediate dancers.
In these classes, you can learn the basic steps of Dominican Republic?style merengue, a more energetic version than its Haitian counterpart. You can also work toward mastering the sideways footwork of the bachata. Classes are limited in size to ensure that each student gets plenty of attention from the instructor.
Tsunami's is a flurry of light and energy, both beneath the vibrant lights of its chic lounge and amongst the chefs in its bustling kitchen. In the latter, Executive Chef Aaron Fukuda—former chef of the renowned Sam Choy's kitchen—darts between simmering woks and grills, overseeing his kitchen crew members as they whip up a Honolulu magazine-lauded menu of modern Asian meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes. Out in the lounge, bartenders whip up Asian-inspired specialty cocktails beneath the glow of hanging lanterns instead of a burning ceiling fan. Next door, a game room hosts rows of glimmering dartboards. On weekend nights, DJs fill the room with vibrant music after the staff clears away tables and chairs to expose dance floors.
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 friendly staff at Lisa's House pairs cold beer with pupu platters and fresh seafood—all served in a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Diners can fuel up before limerick-style rap battles with an array of poke plates, including spicy Korean salmon poke ($8.75) and fresh Hawaiian-style ahi poke (market price). Lisa's House also serves chicken ($7.75–$8), pork ($8.75 each), and steak dishes, including the house-specialty New York steak awash in ginger-cilantro pesto ($9.75). Patrons who are concerned about sinking their steeds during dolphin rides can dine on lighter fare, diving into more than 15 pupus, including kim chee kamaboko dip ($7.75) and portobello fries ($7.75).
Behind an inconspicuous door tucked into Kona Street hulks The Beast, devouring slabs of kiawe wood and breathing flames that reach temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the chefs' affectionate nickname for the pizza oven at the center of Inferno?s @ The Lounge, and fortunately it has its friendly side: just a few minutes after it's taken a pizza into its maw, it's melted the cheese, made meats and veggies tender, and blistered the thin crust.
The oven doesn't do all the work, however. Chefs hand-stretch the dough and apply fresh mozzarella, and, as important, buyers search surrounding farms for fresh produce and pork. The extensive menu allows for traditional or inventive routes?you might choose clam and white sauce, guava smoked barbecue pork, or simply sopressata. Inferno?s stays open until 4 a.m. every night of the week, making it easy to stop in for a snack and a nightcap or symbolize the end of the day by consuming something clock-shaped.
When Antonio “Trigo” Da Silva moved to Hawaii in 2007, he found a community of people who wanted to learn more about their own Portuguese heritage. That’s why he opened Adega Portuguesa Restaurant in Chinatown. There, visitors can sample traditional dishes such as Portuguese-style bean soup, Northern Portuguese–style codfish, or bitoque—a dish made by crowning a new york strip steak with brown gravy and a fried egg.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the eatery’s cooks also prepare Brazilian dishes such as feijoada, a medley of black beans, beef, pork, sausage, and bacon stewed with farofa and sliced orange. Beer, cocktails, and imported wines wash back each bite. In addition to tasting traditional foods, guests can dance to live Portuguese music or learn the native tongue in Portuguese language classes.