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No frills, just good food

Columns Foodie Fare

May 19, 2015

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

As its simple name would suggest, A Place To Eat is a no-frills, well, place to eat. With a fairly consistent menu comprised of less than a dozen menu items — rounded out with weekly specials and a set of bentos — the University Avenue eatery was founded by chef Willu Diaz.

“The premise of this place was to have kind of the mind-set of a foodtruck operation, but why not have it in a restaurant?” Diaz says.

But just because A Place To Eat serves up cuisine in a relaxed, homey setting, doesn’t mean it can’t rival higher-end restaurants. In fact, that’s exactly where Diaz cut his teeth: Prior to opening A Place To Eat, he was an executive chef for several years at a number of local upscale establishments. But he traded that in to start his own shop.

“It’s really nice — I have lots of regulars,” Diaz says. “It’s like them coming to where I live and I cook for them.”

And while the menu isn’t huge, it’s eclectic. One popular dish is the Macnut Mahi Mahi ($11), which features lightly pan-fried mahi mahi with a macadamia nut crust and accented with ginger coconut cream sauce. It’s served with rice, or you can opt for a salad, as shown here.

Another popular item is the Blue New Yorker ($12), a grilled pupu-style prime New York steak that’s topped with sizzling blue cheese herb butter and caramelized Maui onions — all over rice.

“This is a French take on how to make a local steak plate,” Diaz explains.

If you stop in before the end of the month, you can indulge in Diaz’s current dessert special, Cheesecake Bites ($9). The sweet treat features individually fried cheesecake morsels served with ice cream, strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate.

On weekdays, when the restaurant closes between lunch and dinner service, Diaz shares his culinary knowledge with others by teaching cooking classes. A Place To Eat also is available to rent out for private events, and to do off-site catering.

For more information on classes and catering, visit aplacetoeathawaii.com.

A Place to Eat

Puck’s Alley
1035 University Ave. #105


Monday-Friday, 11 a.m–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–midnight
Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.–midnight (restaurant closessporadically)

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