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Foodie Fare
Foodie Fare

New Weekly Specials Now Available at Kissaten

By Christina O Connor Photos By Nathalie Walker
April 14, 2013

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Located just steps away from Ala Moana Center on the corner of Piikoi and Waimanu Streets, Kissaten Coffee Bar is a convenient place to enjoy every meal from an on-the-go breakfast to a late-night treat. And even more convenient, it’s open 24 hours a day to accommodate a wide range of your needs ― from business meetings to meeting up with friends after a night out.

Not only is it open any time of the day, but with its varied menu, it also has something for everyone.

“It is American comfort food with a fresh twist. We like to throw in influences from all over the world ― Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese,” explains Kissaten senior partner Neysa Taba, who co-founded the restaurant with cousins Jon Ishimi and Sean Ishizaki. “The food is pretty much keeping with the theme of Hawaii ― a melting pot of everything.”

Since opening about two years ago, Kissaten has attracted a number of regular customers, who keep coming back for the food, as well as for the cozy atmosphere and the friendly staff.

And Kissaten assures that the regulars will always have something new to look forward to. Lately, the restaurant has been introducing more daily and weekly specials.

“Our main menu is very popular, and our customers have so many favorites on that menu. But we know that we have a lot of regulars, and they always want something new,” Taba says. “So we have been trying to focus on doing a few specials every day.”

Specials that you can find this week include Chips and Homemade Salsa ($6.50). Kissaten’s signature salsa, which also is offered with the Breakfast Burrito, already has proven to be a customer favorite. It is comprised of tomatoes, red onions, cilantro and a variety of spices.

“It is really popular,” Taba says. “A lot of people ask for seconds of the salsa.”

Another special gracing the menu this week is Chicken and Tofu Salad ($9.50), which features mixed greens, chicken breast, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and avocado ― all with a homemade soy wasabi vinaigrette dressing.

Another weekly special not to be missed is Ultimate BLT ($9). With iceberg lettuce, tomato, bacon, a fried egg and mustard aioli on toasted white bread, the dish is a hearty twist on the standard sandwich.

To top it all off, a selection from Kissaten’s ice cream parlor, such as Brownie Sundae ($5.50), is a good way to go. The decadent dessert features a whole brownie with a big scoop of ice cream, choice of topping, whipped cream, cherry, and a choice of nuts or sprinkles.

While the chefs created these special offerings with their regular customers in mind, creating new items seems to be a symbiotic relationship for Kissaten and its patrons.

“We take into consideration customer requests,” Taba explains.

“And our chef is just very good. He is always looking around for inspiration. He has worked at a bunch of places and with all kinds of different cuisines. And a lot of what he cooks has a little bit of an Asian influence in it, maybe the dressing or a certain ingredient,” she adds.

On the Side

Before opening Kissaten Coffee Bar, Neysa Taba, Jon Ishimi and Sean Ishizaki had been frustrated with the lack of late-night food options. The three cousins all worked in the service industry and often had to work late.

Initially, they conceived the idea for Kissaten Coffee Bar as a haven for people in the service industry like themselves.

“We decided that Hawaii was missing a 24-hour spot,” Taba says. “We thought it would be really cool to do a cafe with made-to-order gourmet food, but with quick service.”

These days, in addition to being a late-night gathering spot, Kissaten is a convenient, comfortable place to grab a meal any time of the day. With its dedication to quality food, Kissaten utilizes local produce when it is available. Additionally, many of its sauces and dressings are made in-house.

As of last month, customers can enjoy a different kind of Kissaten at its new Kissaten Ramen, which is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“It is a traditional Japanese noodle house,” Taba says. “We have ramen, fried rice and gyoza is coming soon.”

You can find the new shop in the basement level of Waikiki Shopping Plaza, the entrance to which is on Royal Hawaiian Avenue.

Kissaten Coffee Bar

88 Piikoi St., Honolulu
593-1200
Open daily, 24 hours a day
Note: Garage parking is available on Piikoi Street and there is street parking on Waimanu Street.