In Hawaii, sushi is like the ocean — a serious staple in every day life. You can get it nearly everywhere from an haute spot like Sushi Sasabune to 7-11 so you can imagine why it’s such a basic in our daily diets. Narrowing down the Haute 5 spicy tuna rolls in Honolulu was not an easy task as I’d venture to say we have a few dozen noteworthy and seriously scrumptious sushi spots. I did not forget Yanagi, Mitch’s, Cal Rockin’ or Kozu to-go. Here is a select sampling of good old “hole in the wall” and über haute sushi restaurants that are sure to fill your spicy tuna cravings in Oahu.
1 Imanas Tei
Tucked away in a back alley, Imanas Tei is literally a hidden gem. Whenever an haute visitor asks me to recommend an authentic local sushi spot I always encourage a trip to Imanas. Although non-descript on the exterior, the interior design is contemporary and cool versus a traditional hole-in-the-wall. Get interactive with the chef at the sushi bar, sit in one of few intimate nooks with a date, or snag a low to the ground table plus pillow seats for larger parties . Along with the spicy tuna roll, the seafood dynamite, hamachi kama, spider roll, and soft shell crab are all musts. Make a reservation! Imanas is always jam packed with in-the-know locals and visitors alike.
Named one of America's top eight sushi restaurants by Travel and Leisure magazine, Sansei delivers some of the freshest fish and innovative sushi in Oahu. This place does more with tuna than just give it a spicy flair. The panko crusted ahi roll is famous along with the mango crab salad roll and seared foie gras nigri sushi. In addition to its Waikiki location, Sansei's can be found in Kihei and Kapalua, Maui along with Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort and Spa
3 Tokkuri Tei
Craving a classic hole-in-the-wall sushi spot? This is the place for you. The moment you walk through the front door you know you’re in a true Izakaya restaurant. Celebrity pics and hand-written cards from customers expressing their love for all things Tokurri Tei cover the walls. Instead of being greeted with edamame, guests get a bowl of boiled peanuts. The inside out spicy tuna rolls are a must along with the salmon skin salad, spider poke, and miso butterfish roll. Tokkuri Tei is small yet welcoming and lively. If you’re seeking an authentic yet cheeky experience, this is it.
Doraku is all about inventive sushi creation and preparation. In addition to the regular spicy tuna and spicy tuna avocado rolls, you’ll find tons of other artistic options, almost too striking to eat. The Red Dragon Roll consists of spicy tuna, shrimp tempura and avocado topped with unagi, nori and spicy aioli. The Kagu-Tsuchi Roll “God of Fire” is a spicy tuna roll with cucumber and jalapeno topped with tuna sashimi, habanero tobiko, and spicy garlic aioli.
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
2233 Kalakaua Ave
International fave Nobu Matsuhisa opened his first Hawaii location a few years ago in the midst of bustling Waikiki. Since it's such a staple here in Hawaii, it took a while for locals to warm up to the idea of such haute sushi. But after a successful launch, it was apparent that Nobu cooks from the heart and sincerely respects the islands indigenous cuisine. Along with spicy big eye tuna indulge in the ahi sashimi salad, buttery miso black cod, to-die-for toru tartare and oysters with caviar.
Waikiki Parc Hotel
2233 Helumoa Rd