People are always asking me for suggestions.
They want to know the best restaurants for first dates or which coffee shops have great brews and free WiFi.
So I thought I’d post my responses here, too.
The other day a friend of mine had asked about a restaurant in town — meaning, Honolulu — where she and her girlfriends could gab incessantly and not worry about an impatient server pushing them out. Or worse, quieting them down.
I wanted to raise my hand. “Yes, I know! I know!”
Ask any of my girlfriends and we can rattle off a list of restaurants where we tend to patronize not because the food is great, but because we can sit there for hours, catch up and dish about last night’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” (Oh, it was good.)
But there are restaurants where the quality of the food can be just as tantalizing as the conversation.
Here are my Dish 5 of my favorite lunch spots for gabfests, in no particular order:
1. Moena Cafe: Easily one of my favorite haunts in Hawaii Kai, Moena Cafe (left) offers tasty breakfast and brunch dishes until 3 p.m. Some favorites include fried rice, signature pancakes (shown) and whatever scones the restaurant is serving that day. The relaxed atmosphere helps, too.Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Highway, (808) 888-7716
2. Cafe Laufer: One of my go-to spots is Cafe Laufer in Kaimuki, where you can nurse a salad for way longer than you should — and still order a Chocolate Gateau St. Honore later. I’m a fan of the Chinese chicken salad and meatloaf sandwich. And don’t get me started on the desserts! 3565 Waialae Ave., (808) 735-7717
3. Panya Bistro: Whenever we need a lunch spot for a meeting — or just a long gabfest — and we need it fast, we head to Panya Bistro at Ala Moana Center. Lots of parking, a great little drink menu, and — believe it or not — a damn good burger and fries. Plus, the restaurant isn’t stuffy, so you can laugh from your gut and no one will tell you to hush. Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 946-6388
4. YogurStory: I have spent hours and hours here, talking with my girlfriends over red velvet pancakes or the restaurant’s signature Fat Pig Fried Rice. And there’s fantastic coffee drinks and wireless Internet, so you can Google while you gossip. 815 Keeaumoku St., (808) 942-0505
5. Marisposa: I’ve been to more baby and bridal showers, birthday lunches and post-shopping meals at Mariposa in Neiman Marcus than any other restaurant in Honolulu. We are lured by the spacious dining area — with great views of Ala Moana Beach Park — and the never-ending supply of the restaurant’s signature popovers. (It serves monkey bread for dinner.) And we can’t get enough of the corn chowder, lobster club sandwich and Mariposa Burger with a basil-tarragon aioli. Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 951-8887
Got any to add? I’m always looking for new spots to add to my list!
Starting today I’ll be posting my picks for everything, from margaritas to hikes to glazed donuts. I’m calling it the Dish 5. Check out my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @thedailydish to continue the conversation!
I am curious if you asked all of your guy friends where they hang out like that what the list would look like. Do you see clusters of guys hanging out in these same five places? I gravitate toward Starbucks… not the one in the BankOH Tower but the one up the street. Also used to hang out at the Krung Thai on the back porch but I understand they aren’t there anymore. Same could be said of Smorgy’s I guess. Kalapawai in Kailua was good for it. Boston’s Kailua I understand is also gone. When I move back going to need new hangouts.
Guys — I think you like food trucks and drive-ins. As long as the food is good, the service is fast and the prices are affordable. Oh, and the portions BIG!
omg… KRUNG THAI!!! i LOVED their food… haven’t found anything like it since they closed… the Starbucks on Alakea (Central Pacific Bank/Mandalay) is WAY better than either of those locations on Bishop Street…
have to agree, Krung Thai closing shop was bad. Ate there so many times over the five years I was in Hawaii… really miss it. Guess I forgot to mention Rainbow and the food truck in the Ala Wai. Have to try out CPB Starbucks.
CAT: What about the tea place in downtown?
Which tea place? 1024?
I just went to Sergio’s in Manoa and it looks like a good place to eat and chat as long as you want.
Is that the old gas station? Haven’t been, believe it or not, but planning to try someday!
That is the place. The fuud is pretty guud and there’s always people dining there so you know it’s guud.
Love Cafe Laufer! I’d add Kissaten Cafe.
AAAAAaaaaah, Kissaten! And it’s open 24 hours!
Until about age 35 with my guy friends, it was always a bar. Sparkling conversation it wasn’t. From 35-45 bars and restaurants seemed to alternate, and the conversation got better. After 45, it’s usually a restaurant for a group breakfast, and, if it’s a bar, wives and girlfriends are included and the meal is the main event.
Bars don’t work for gals who want to talk. Too loud and full of distractions. Plus, alcohol doesn’t help keep us coherent 🙂