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Here’s the Skinny on Makino’s Bountiful Buffets

By Yu Shing Ting Photos By Nathalie Walker
November 10, 2013

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People are always surprised at how much my skinny, petite mother can eat. She loves buffets, and almost always I’ll catch people staring as she walks from the buffet line to our table with her heaping plates of food. I know, they’re probably thinking her eyes are way bigger than her stomach. But, let me tell you, this little lady can eat, and she will clean the food off those plates.

For many years, one of our favorite places to take her is Makino Chaya Buffet in Aiea. It’s very reasonably priced, family-friendly, the menu selection is endless and the food is tasty.

“It’s a Disneyland of restaurants,” says Makino Chaya president when describing his eatery. “You come in and it’s not just one thing. There’s a dessert bar, crepe bar, hot line, sushi bar, salad bar, ramen station and it’s all you can eat.”

There also are some new seasonal items, such as Shrimp Cakes, which were added a few weeks ago. This savory dish looks similar to a crab cake but is made with shrimp, eggs, panko and red bell peppers, and topped with a ginger cilantro sauce. And on the dessert side, make sure you save room for some Pumpkin Cheesecake.

The restaurant also has added Miso Butterfish Bone to its lunch menu. Made from black cod, the butterfish is marinated in a traditional Japanese misoyaki sauce for a couple of days and then baked. Makino says they decided to add this dish because of the popularity of Miso Butterfish at dinner. The Miso Butterfish offered at dinner is made from Chilean sea bass.

Lunch is priced at just $10.98 from Monday through Friday and $18.98 on Saturday and Sunday (the weekend lunch buffet offers more dishes than from the week-days, including raw oyster and snow crab legs). Dinner is priced at $26.98 from Monday through Thursday and $28.98 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s a great value,” adds Makino “You’re guaranteed full when you walk out of here.”

And just in time for the holiday season, Makino Chaya has gift cards available for sale. The restaurant also is a great place for holiday parties and gatherings. Located in Westridge Shopping Center (across from Bed Bath & Beyond), the restaurant seats about 350 people and there’s plenty of free parking.

Makino Chaya

98-150 Kaonohi St., Aiea
486-5100
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Friday, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
makinochayahawaii.com