Show and Tell Hawai'i

Vanishing restaurants: 10 more, and you add 10, too?

August 23rd, 2011

OK, OK. We all cherish what we can’t get anymore.
Since blogging about restaurants that have disappeared over time, I got a bunch of emails challenging me to add at least another 10 to the list already shared. For certain, there are scores more places that have come and gone.
Here’s the deal: I’ve come up with 10 not previously mentioned, so now you do the same. In the end, we’ll have a mounting list of places that live only in memory. Maybe we can go another round later.
Here we go ...
• The Third Floor, the stellar iconic restaurant of the Hawaiian Regent Hotel (now the Marriott Waikiki Beach). This one set the high water mark for the likes of Alan Wong and Roy’s to follow; loved everything here; and this was where I discovered the joy of naan bread.
• Matteo’s, the fine dining Italian place, on Seaside Avenue, across the now-gone Waikiki Twin Theatres #1 and #2,
• Trattoria, the late Sergio Battistetti’s restaurant originally ensconced on Nohonani St. in Waikiki, relocating to the Edgewater Hotel before its closure to make way for what now is the Embassy Suites hotel at Waikiki Beach Walk.
• Captain’s Table, the eatery at the former Hawaiian Waikiki Beach Hotel, boasted a lounge that also featured music and comedy (Frank DeLima was among the lasting troupers). The space now is Tiki’s; the hotel is the Aston Waikiki Beach.
• Suehiro, the old-style Japanese restaurant, on King St., where Gyotaku now continues a modernized Japanese menu. Pork and chicken tofu were staples; and the ahi belly was one winnah, too.
• Wisteria, another old-fashioned Japanese (and American menu) eatery, where the hungry liked the hearty sukiyaki and pork tofu fare; 7-Eleven now occupies the space, at King and Piikoi Streets.
• Tree Tops, the early restaurant (and catering operation) at Paradise Park; it was just fun to dine amid greenery and chirping birds, in Manoa Valley. This was a case of the place making the good taste better.
• Chez Michel, the French wonderment by the late Michel Martin, at Eaton Square. He also operated Michel’s in Wahiawa and later at the Colony Surf Hotel, and was the go-to guy for French nourishment.
• Shanghai Bistro, the short-lived restaurant of Li May Tang, at Discovery Bay. The eclectic food fused flavors and traditions of China, Hawaii, Japan and Europe, depending on the selection, and the chic, hip décor was a hit...while it lasted.
• Duke Kahanamoku’s, the restaurant, nightclub and celebrity spotting hangout, in the International Market Place. The place was named for the renowned Olympian athlete and operated by the late impresario Kimo Wilder McVay; the dinners actually played second fiddle to the room’s top banana, entertainer Don Ho in all his glory, and it was a spot to catch a glimpse of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli and other glitterati of the era eager to sing and sway to “Tiny Bubbles” and swoon to “I’ll Remember You.
You remember these? Share your list of 10 more faves that have vanished.

8 Responses to “Vanishing restaurants: 10 more, and you add 10, too?”

  1. Aaron:

    My list of 10:

    1. Bob's Big Boy, Mapunapuna - never did reopen under that name after the fire a few years ago. Good comfort food. One of the few places where you could get a plate lunch, chimichanga, and a 1lb burger all on the same tab. it's been just a breakfast and lunch place for the last year or so and is scheduled to reopen under a new name later this fall.
    2. King's Bakery, Kaimuki and King St. locations - I practically grew up at the Kaimuki location, and continued to eat there when it became Columbia Inn. King's Cave, which moved into the King St. spot after King's Bakery (Now Kochi) was not bad, too.
    3. Golden Dragon, Hilton Hawaiian Village - casualty of the high cost of union labor.
    4. Bea's Drive Inn, Kapiolani - now Izakaya Gazen, Bea's had a very good selection of plate lunch fare and lots of seating.
    5. Aotani's, Tanoue's, Ebisu, Keneda's, and all the other okazu-yas that are now long gone.
    6. Kengo's, Kapiolani - they had both a buffet and a regular dine-in restaurant. Both were very local and very good.
    7. Bueno Nalo, Waimanalo and later Diamond Head.
    8. Hall Saimin, Kalihi.
    9. Big Island Steak House, Aloha Tower - this was the go-to steak house for a lot of locals.
    10. Kelly's and South Seas Restaurant, Airport/Mapunapuna - both a little before my time, but my parents and grandparents raved about them all the time.

  2. migloto:

    Chunky's, where 1st hawaiian bank now stands in moiliili. Sarrento's, top of the Ilikai. Nickolas Nicholas, Ala Moana. John Dominis. KC Drive-Inn. Orchids in Restaurant Row. The Yum Yum Tree. Jolly Rogers in Kahala. Diners in Moiliili, next to the post office. Chicken Alice's, who can forget that place?!?

  3. 22Tokyo:

    Byron's at Ala Moana Shopping all time favorite...

  4. touchthestick?:

    1. Ewa Tavern
    2. JBs (Diamond Head)
    3. Chris Hemmeter's at Hemmeter Center
    4. Cafe DeLisle (Kapahulu)
    5. G'rillas (King and Bethel)
    6. Padovani's in Alana Hotel
    7. Meeting Place (replaced by Onjin's)
    8. Onjin's
    9. Roxanne's at Ward Center
    10. And number 1 most missed never been replaced place, Aioli's (across from Holiday Mart)

  5. Annoddah Dave:


    1. Bagwell's at the Hyatt
    2. Canlis Broiler on Kalakaua
    3. Little George's in Kakaako
    4. Mark Lan Chop Suey across McKinley High Field
    5. Angelica's at Gentry
    6. South Seas by Spencecliff (Waikiki and Airport)
    7. The original Lau Yee Chai
    8. The original Wo Fat
    9. The Empress Restaurant in Cultural Plaza
    10. The Bistro on Kapiolani

  6. cocobean:

    1. Torii's lunch room
    2. Blue Bird Drive Inn
    3. Burger Land
    4. Hale Nanea
    5. Fisherman's Wharf
    6. Perry's
    7. Miyako
    8. Columbia Inn
    9. Chuck Wagon
    10. Village Inn

  7. al:

    yacht harbor tower restaurant...unbelievable food/service/bob nelson on piano.
    popo's waikiki...authentic mexican food from sonora, mexico.
    the lunch to torii store. they made for two wonderful friendly rivals.
    trader's vic...ward ave and intl mktplace.
    red vest...
    mon cher ton hotel

  8. al:

    saving the best for last....kuhio grill.

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