There’s a New Menu Afloat at Pagoda

Columns Order of the Day

May 1, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

For nearly 50 years, Pagoda Floating Restaurant has served as a local icon known for its fusion of cuisine and ambience.

Surrounded by koi ponds, lush gardens and cascading waterfalls, Pagoda offers up a wide range of Asian, American and Hawaiian-influenced fare enveloped by a tranquil, natural setting. And, after a new management team took over in late December, the menu has undergone a makeover of sorts— more locally grown ingredients are incorporated in an effort to attract new customers while also keeping the regulars coming back for more.

  • Jason Takemura presents two tempting entrees available at Pagoda Restaurant.
  • Ahi Katsu Salad ($12)
  • Eggs Benedict ($10)
  • Kalua Pig Hash ($9)
  • Chinatown Steamed Mahi ($14)
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Executive chef and food and beverage manager Jason Takemura is heading the transition, and while he says the process has involved a great deal of work, he takes pride in seeing
customers enjoy themselves while dining in the unique setting. Takemura says that despite a change in ownership, the original staff was kept on in order to maintain as much continuity for customer service as possible. The chef, who diners may recognize from his work at the Hukilau in downtown Honolulu, has made great strides to help everyone from back of the house staff to servers adjust to some of the changes, including incorporation of the new menu. Takemura says he recently took some of the kitchen staff on excursions to the fish auction and local farms to show them where their ingredients come from, and how the fresh products make such a noticeable difference in food quality, presentation and taste.

“We’re aiming to bring the Pagoda back to what it used to be,” Takemura says. “We want to bring in a new crowd, and we’ve received a lot of good feedback so far. We were able to keep the entire staff, and they’re an important part of Pagoda.”

While the Pagoda still offers its iconic dinner buffet Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 9:30 p.m., the restaurant has established a new breakfast and lunch menu — offerings that were discontinued years ago prior to Takemura taking over. The Eggs Benedict ($10) has become a favorite among the breakfast crowd, as has the Kalua Pig Hash ($9) that comes alongside a heaping portion of Paniolo potatoes sauteed with peppers and onions.

The Pagoda Classic Burger ($11), made with fresh Big Island beef, bacon, tomato, avocado, crispy onions and a chipotle aioli along with a side of tasty sweet potato fries, headlines the new lunch menu. The Chinatown Steamed Mahi ($14) offers a lighter entree and comes served with braised bok choy in a sizzling ginger sauce and white rice. The Ahi Katsu Salad ($12) is also becoming a favorite of guests, and features a bed of mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, hasu chips and a house wasabi dressing.

Pagoda Restaurant

  • Where
    • 1525 Rycroft Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 948-8356
  • Hours
    • Breakfast served Sunday – Friday
    • 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
    • Saturdays
    • 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    • Lunch is available Monday – Saturday
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Dinner buffet is open Wednesday – Sunday
    • 5 – 9:30 p.m.
    • Sunday Brunch is served
    • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Notes
    • The Pagoda features new breakfast and lunch menus, as well as new additions to its popular dinner buffet.
    • Call for banquet and catering packages for special events.