Food Finds: West Oahu

1) Monkeypod Kitchen

After putting the day away golfing or floating around Ko Olina's tranquil lagoons, grab a bite at Monkeypod Kitchen, Chef Peter Merriman's first O‘ahu eatery. Taking root at Ko Olina Resort in West O‘ahu, Monkeypod Kitchen offers an open-air setting with more than 36 beers on tap to quench your thirst and Chef Merriman's personal twist on local favorites.

If you haven't sampled the original Monkeypod on Maui, we'd recommend going with some of our favorites. The fish and chips are crisp and tasty and come with a pinch of freshly made kimchi, while their saimin has a light smoky broth. And even if pumpkin doesn't float your boat, we find their delicate pumpkin ravioli so delightful it will send your taste buds soaring.

To kill time in the late afternoon, swing on over for Monkeypod Kitchen's daily happy hour which runs from 3 - 5:30 p.m. and includes drink specials and half off select pupus (appetizers). If you're a true blue beer connoisseur you'll want to try out the restaurant's "Blizzard" beer system, which serves beer at a perfectly chilly 29 degrees. A cold beer on a hot Hawaiian afternoon has never tasted so good.



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2) Tanioka's

If a long drive gets your tummy a rumbling, stop by Tanioka's on your way through West O‘ahu for a drink or quick meal. Here you'll run into employees on their lunch break grabbing a quick snack, scooping up orders of Tanioka's plate lunches and pounds of poke.

With Tanioka's bargain bento starting at $5.50 for a Family Bento (which includes mochiko, fried or garlic chicken, teri-hot dog, teri-spam and steamed rice), ranging to the "pricier" Deluxe II Bento for $7.50 (includes beef teriyaki, mochiko, fried or garlic chicken, a fish patty, musubi and mini sushi cone) it's hard not to get bento-ed over! Tanioka's is well known for their poke (raw, cubed fish), which is prepared fresh daily. If fresh fish isn't your speed, Tanioka's also offers diners local favorites such as fried chicken, ahi patties, inari and maki sushi as well as other okazu options.

An O‘ahu favorite since 1978, Tanioka's is still owned and managed by the local Tanioka ‘ohana (family) and almost any visit will guarantee a friendly face from one of the original owners' band of children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews. Situated just north of Pearl Harbor off of Farrington Highway, Tanioka's tends to blend in with the surrounding shopping area - so keep your eyes peeled. And since there aren't any tables or chairs, you'll want to grab your favorite Tanioka's plate lunch or bento to go to enjoy at a picnic at Ko Olina or in the car as you roll back to your hotel.


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