What’s the dish? Well, of course it’s fish! Especially in Hawaii where most restaurants list locally caught fresh island fish on their menus. From ahi poke to farm raised moi to mouth watering butter fish, Hawaii is home to some of the best fish dishes found anywhere. In a fishy mood? Check out the top five fish restaurants in Hawaii.
Hoku’s: Wok Fried Whole Fish
At first glance this dish is almost too striking to eat, more like a masterpiece than an edible creation. The Wok Fried Whole Fish is Hoku’s featured fish. The whole fish of choice is typically snapper, but this can change daily to feature onaga, opakapaka, or ehu. The fish is crisped whole and served with Asian wok fried vegetables, fried rice and three dipping sauces. The impressive dish is meant to be shared and is generally tackled by more than it’s intended two.
Hoku’s is located at the Kahala Hotel & Resort www.kahalaresort.com, 808.739.8888.
Pahu i’a: Big Island Moi
Pahu i’a at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is an enchanting oceanfront dining room steps from the Kona coastline. Pahu i’a is the Hawaiian word for aquarium so it’s fitting that upon entry, a nine by four foot aquarium greets guests. Chef Jacob Anaya is the main man at Pahu i’a. The self-trained mastermind concocts some seriously innovative recipes with fresh island ingredients. Naturally, there’s a large selection of fish found on the menu, namely the farm fresh moi (threadfin) that comes straight from the resort’s own agricultural pond. The Big Island Moi is cooked to crispy perfection and served with local green beans, garlic quinoa, eggplant and tomato-black bean sauce. Other menu highlights include the Kona cod, planked Hawaiian snapper and Keahole lobster.
Pahu i’a is located at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai www.fourseasons.com/hualalai, 808.325.8000.
Nico’s Pier 38: Furikake Pan Seared Ahi
Nico’s Pier 38 brings fine French cuisine to laid back Hawaiian-style plate lunch. Boasting fine dining experience from notable local restaurants such as Michel’s, Chef Mavro and the former Bistro at Century Center, Chef Nicolas “Nico” Chaize strives to offer a diverse, delectable menu featuring fresh island fish. Caught fresh daily, Nico cooks up Furikake Pan Seared Ahi, fish and chips, fried ahi belly and ahi poke salad to name a few. The catch of the day “depends on what’s biting,” declares Nico.
Nico’s Pier 38 is located at 1133 N. Nimitz Hwy., www.nicospier38.com, 808.540.1137.
Azure: Potato Scaled Hawaiian Moi & Kona Abalone
This dish is so ultra-special you can only have a taste if you book The Royal Papa’aina menu. Moi and Kona abalone are two of Hawaii’s most sustainable gems. The preparation of this plate is oh-so creative. Potatoes are cut into fish scales and placed on the fish one at a time by hand to resemble a real scaled fish. Potatoes are then crisped to taste like potato chips delivering a delicious contrast to the buttery moi atop abalone, both of which are spiked with Azure’s signature bouillabaisse sauce.
Azure is located at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, www.royal-hawaiian.com, 808.921.4660.
Orchids Restaurant: Oriental Style Steamed Onaga
Orchids at the haute Halekulani Hotel serves up the Oriental style Onaga (the Hawaiian word for ruby or long tail snapper) as their signature fresh fish dish. Originally created in the ’80s to showcase the islands’ fresh local fish, chef de cuisine Darryl Fujita first crafted it to give a nod to Hawaii’s strong Asian influences. The result is a delectable one. Orchids’ traditional Chinese dish is steamed with grated ginger and finished with shoyu (soy sauce), sesame oil and sizzling peanut oil. Then, the flavorful fish dish is paired with a side of sauteed Chinese vegetables.
Orchids Restaurant is located at the Halekulani Hotel, www.halekulani.com, 808.923.2311.