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Foodie Fare

Comfort Food With a Twist

Story By Christina O'Connor Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
January 22 - 28, 2012

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Kissaten Coffee Bar is the answer to late-night dining. Whether you are looking for dinner after a night out or caffeine to fuel a study session, Kissaten will have what you need to make it through those late nights. With a casual, tranquil environment — and its convenient location on Piikoi Street — Kissaten is the perfect place to hang out with friends or hit the books. And best of all, it’s open 24 hours a day.

  • Fresh Croissants ($2)
  • Egg White Fritatta ($9)
  • Smoked Salmon & Bagel ($9)
  • Homemade Bread Pudding ($3.50)
  • Fruit Plate ($5)
  • Kissaten sous chef Brittany Freitas with Homemade Bread Pudding ($3.50).
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“All throughout the day, there is always somebody here,” says co-owner Neysa Taba. “We have a lot of students who come here to study, a lot of businesspeople, and then also the late-night crowd coming in after they go out.”

Kissaten serves breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m., so you can start your day off with tasty options such as Fruit Plate ($5) or Fresh Baked Croissants ($2). Taba says that one of the most popular breakfast items is Smoked Salmon & Bagel ($9), with organic mesclun greens, capers and shaved onions. Or for an energizing morning meal, try Egg White Frittata ($7), with goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and spinach.

For lunch or dinner, one of the most popular menu items is Kissaten Melt ($9), which features pastrami, mozzarella, caramelized onions and a mustard aioli on a rosemary olive loaf. Another customer favorite is Grilled Cheese & Tomato Bisque ($9), which is offered on the late-night menu. Another late-night standby is Kissaten’s Pho Noodle Soup ($7).

Taba describes Kissaten’s cuisine as “American comfort food with a twist,” adding that the restaurant likes to add its own, unique flavor to each of the dishes. “A lot of our dishes have an ethnic twist — we try to do Japanese, Italian or French twists to everything,” she says. “Our dishes often have an ingredient that you wouldn’t expect.”

Roasted Herb Vegetable Wrap ($8), for example, pairs red pepper hummus with goat cheese. And Kissaten offers a creative new spin on a classic Grilled Cheese sandwich. Mixed in with the smoked gouda and Tillamook Cheddar are apples and smoked bacon.

And if it’s coffee you’re after, Kissaten offers a range of flavorful coffee and espresso drinks, including Thai Latte ($3 for a small), Italian Macchiato ($1.75 for a small) and Caramella ($3.75 for a small). Tea drinks include Chai Tea Latte ($2.75 for a small) and Matcha Tea Latte ($2.75 for a small).

Coffee or tea drinks also taste great with Kissaten’s sweet desserts, such as Homemade Bread Pudding ($3.50).

On the Side

Although Kissaten Coffee Bar has been opened just slightly more than one year, it has already established a loyal following of customers who frequent the eatery for its tasty drinks and food offered around the clock. Co-owners John Ishimi, Sean Ishizaki and Neysa Taba started Kissaten as a way to solve their own night-owl dilemmas. Taba says that the three of them — who all worked together at a bar before opening Kissaten — kept late hours and basically lived off of coffee.

“We all had so many things going on,” Taba says. “Jon owned several businesses in the past, and Sean and I always had multiple jobs … And we also do the nightlife thing, so we were always awake at all hours of the day. And we all love coffee.”

But because of their unusual hours, Taba says, it was sometimes hard to find a place to go after work or a night out.

“So we took both ideas — the 24-hour lifestyle and our love for coffee — and tried to mash them together,” Taba says.

Today, Kissaten is a haven for night owls like its co-owners. Kissaten’s casual and welcoming environment ensure that you will have a great experience whether you’re looking for a quiet study spot or a casual place to meet up with a group of friends.

Even if you stop in to Kissaten often, you’ll likely find something new to try. Kissaten features a rotating set of daily food specials. On Valentine’s Day, guests get a free dessert with the purchase of Kissaten Melt ($9). Kissaten also offers seasonal drink specials. They are currently working on a drink special for Valentine’s Day.

Kissaten Coffee Bar

  • Where
    • 88 Piikoi Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 593-1200
  • Hours
    • Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week