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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Nice Day’s the name of the game

By Ali Resich Photos By Nathalie Walker
September 14, 2014

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It is often said that names match the personalities they accompany. Case in point: Cruella De Vil wasn’t exactly an admirable Disney character, was she? Well recently, I got to thinking that the same “rule” applies to restaurant names, as those bright, shiny signs hanging above the entrances can tell us a lot about the dining experiences that reside just past the doors.

This couldn’t be truer of Nice Day Chinese Seafood Restaurant, and thankfully, the eatery’s name points to much more virtuous qualities than the aforementioned example. Since it opened in 2009, the Liliha Street restaurant has lived up to its name by bringing joy to patrons daily with an expansive menu of Cantonese cuisine as well as some of the friendliest service in town.

Nobody personifies the eatery’s happy spirit more than manager Shirley Cheng, who, at any given moment, can be seen greeting customers warmly as they enter the establishment or going from table to table to ensure patrons are taken care of. Nothing brings more joy to Cheng, she says, than when guests enjoy Nice Day’s mouthwatering Chinese fare.

While the eatery is known for its aromatic dim sum service, offered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, Cheng notes that upwards of 170 devour-able a la carte menu items are just waiting to be explored all day long.

One such dish is Filet of Fish with Choy Sum ($12.95), featuring moist pieces of white-meat flounder stir-fried with lively strips of choy sum. True to Cantonese style fare, the flavors and ingredients are mild and healthy, allowing the true essence of the flounder to take center stage — or rather, center dish.

Regulars often praise the restaurant’s exceptional customer service and ability to customize menu items to meet diners’ preferences. In the case of flounder entrees, Cheng adds that the fish can be cooked in various ways, such as deep fried sweet and sour or with creamed corn. “One fish, we can make four or five different ways,” she explains. “We usually stir fry the flounder with vegetables or steam it with ginger and onions.”

Golden Garlic Shrimp ($14.95) is another crowd pleaser, not to mention Cheng’s personal favorite. Plump pieces of shrimp are sprinkled with crispy morsels of garlic, green onion and just a hint of heat from chili peppers, rendering a bestselling dish. “Try it, it’s really good!” the manager suggests.

Nice Day’s pleasurable ambiance in part stems from its family-friendly menu offerings, as each selection is ideal for passing around the table. For a well-rounded meal, everyone will want a spoonful of Mixed Vegetables ($10.95), presenting a fabulous array of broccoli, choy sum, celery, onion, snow pea, straw and black mushrooms, bell pepper and carrots stir-fried to perfection. The luminous greens bouncing off the plate remind diners of the extra dose of healthiness they’re adding to their lunch or dinner.

These menu items and more live up to Nice Day Chinese Seafood Restaurant’s satisfactory title, making it an eatery worth getting to know.

Nice Day Chinese Seafood Restaurant

1425 Liliha St., Honolulu
524-1628
Daily, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.