Ramen Station Adds to the Options

Columns Foodie Fare

July 7, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor |

When Makino Chaya first opened its doors about 10 years ago, it immediately caused something of a stir on the local dining scene. The all-you-can-eat buffet features an expansive selection of Japanese and local cuisine.

The seafood — especially the crab — has been a main draw among customers for years.

“We are pretty much known for our crab,” says restaurant president Jo Makino. “We have king crab, snow crab, Dungeness crab and soft-shell crab.”

When describing what he thinks makes Makino Chaya’s crab so special, Makino’s answer is simple: “Well, it’s all-you-can-eat.”

Other fish selections include salmon, miso butter-fish, mahi mahi and fresh half-shell oysters. The weekend buffet includes an expanded seafood collection, featuring additional selections.

The extensive buffet also includes a sushi bar, which features ahi, salmon, hamachi, uni, ikura, spicy tuna roll, California roll, soft-shell crab roll and unagi, as well as sashimi. Another feature is a teppanyaki station, which serves rib-eye steak and Maine lobster.

Most recently, the restaurant has added even more options. Just last week, Makino Chaya introduced yet another station — a ramen station that serves tonkatsu ramen and miso ramen.

“There are all kinds of garnishes on top, as well as some on the side so people can grab the garnishes themselves,” Makino explains. “These include char siu pork, sesame seeds, corn and bamboo shoots.”

If you’ve still got room for dessert, Makino Chaya has a selection of treats from JJ Bistro, as well as a chocolate fountain and fresh fruits.

The buffet prices are as follows: (Lunch) Monday-Friday, ($10.98); Saturday-Sunday, ($18.98); (Dinner) Monday –Thursday, ($26.98) and Friday-Sunday, ($28.98).

On the Side

On the heels of running another well-known local buffet, the owner of Todai, Toru Makino, decided to launch Makino Chaya.

“He just went off on his own and he started up Makino Chaya,” explains Makino Chaya president Jo Makino. “He had his own vision and he wanted to go his own way.”

The first Makino Chaya opened in downtown Honolulu about a decade ago, soon followed by its current location in Aiea.

Jo has been involved in the restaurant industry as far back as he can remember. Much of his extended family owns restaurants locally and on the Mainland. As the nephew of the original owner of Makino Chaya, the path to his current position as the restaurant’s president seemed natural.

Today, the restaurant’s main draw is the all-you-can-eat buffet, but what some diners might not know is that in addition to the buffet, there also is a made-to-order menu. One popular item on the menu is king crab.

“The king crab is on the menu, so as soon as they order it, we actually steam it and then it comes fresh to the table.”

Other made-to-order dishes from the menu include various udon items.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Makino Chaya

98-150 Kaonohi St., Aiea
11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday (lunch)
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (lunch)
6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday (dinner)
6-9 p.m. Fridays (dinner) 5:30-9 p.m.
Saturday (dinner)
5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday (dinner)

Aiea, HI 96701

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best