Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas/Vino A year ago, star Oahu restaurateur D.K. Kodama opened two high-profile restaurants in Honolulu—at the same address. At Hiroshi, one of Hawaii's top chefs, Hiroshi Fukui, fuses Japanese and European ingredients in dishes like silky kanpachi (young yellowtail) with tomato and tofu. Each meal begins with addictive homemade rice crackers. Next door, at Vino, Chuck Furuya, one of Hawaii's two Master Sommeliers, pours more than 20 wines by the glass. The Italian small-plates menu includes Caprese salad with fried mozzarella, roasted baby asparagus and a quail egg. DETAILS 500 Ala Moana Blvd.; Hiroshi, 808-533-4476; Vino, 808-524-8466.
Shokudo Designed by Yasumichi Morita, who gave Manhattan's Megu its theatrical look, Shokudo is a mod space in a former bank. The restaurant makes fresh tofu throughout the day—at least hourly during the dinner rush, when a young crowd digs into affordable dishes like mashed potatoï¿½topped sukiyaki (a Japanese-style shepherd's pie). This outlet is the prototype for 50 more Shokudos, which are slated to open nationwide in the next decade. DETAILS Ala Moana Pacific Center, 1585 Kapiolani Blvd.; 808-941-3701.
12th Ave Grill Caterer Kevin Hanney brought Hawaiian-inflected bistro cooking to Honolulu when he opened 12th Ave Grill in June 2004. In a room lined with wooden booths and black-and-white images by local photographers, Hanney serves sublime kimchi-marinated skirt steak and brined pork chops with apple chutney. The cake of the day is displayed on an old-fashioned stand at the end of the long red-oak bar. DETAILS 1145 12th Ave.; 808-732-9469.
Town At Café Monserrat, Honolulu chef Ed Kenney prepared dishes inspired by Spain's avant-garde Ferran Adrià. At Town, he's pared things down to well-executed basics. The menu balances Mediterranean flavors (Kenney makes his own mozzarella) with local ones, as in an oxtail risotto dotted with boiled peanuts (a Hawaiian snack). Kenney's mother, former hula star Beverly Noa, is the hostess; chef de cuisine is Dave Caldiero. DETAILS 3435 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki; 808-735-5900.
Mala When waterfront space in an old pineapple cannery opened in late 2004, chef Mark Ellman (who opened Avalon and launched Maui Tacos) bought in. At Mala, Ellman mixes local organic ingredients with global influences, marinating chicken wings in pomegranate molasses, or topping grilled opah (moonfish) with a cilantro-jalapeño salsa verde. From seats on the deck, you can watch sea turtles swimming below. DETAILS 1307 Front St., Lahaina; 808-667-9394.
Main Street Bistro In this narrow 60-seat restaurant in the restored Kato Dry Goods building, chef Tom Selman shows off the years he spent cooking in the American South, turning out smoked beef brisket (which he slow-roasts in a converted refrigerator) as well as more typically Asian dishes, like shrimp-and-crab dumplings. DETAILS 2051 Main St., Wailuku; 808-244-6816.