Uncover a hidden gem of Japanese dining

A La Carte Columns

February 23, 2016

Story By: Caitlin Basilio |

Sea Asparagus Seafood Salad ($8.75)

Sea Asparagus Seafood Salad ($8.75)

Izakaya Restaurant Ko is hidden along Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, and if you’ve never dined there before, you’ve most likely driven past it a thousand times without realizing the great experience you’ve been missing.

Previously known as Restaurant & Bar Ko, the eatery assumed new ownership last October. According to general manager Nakajima Takaaki, the addition to the eatery’s name, izakaya, translates to “something between a restaurant and bar, with good food and drinks.”

Step into Izakaya Restaurant Ko and you’ll immediately feel at home. With its stylish interior and comfy seating, you’ll never want to leave its elegant yet cozy dining room.

The restaurant specializes in localized Japanese flavors and takes pride in all it has to offer.

U.S. Prime Beef Cutlet with Wasabi & Egg ($15.75)

U.S. Prime Beef Cutlet with Wasabi & Egg ($15.75)

Take Sea Asparagus Seafood Salad ($8.75), for example. Full of fresh sea asparagus, a superfood from Olakai Hawaii in Kahuku, this gourmet salad is sure to leave you wanting more. Additionally, it features shrimp, baby scallops, tako, tomatoes, cucumbers, potato chips and homemade shoyu and onion dressing on top.

Another customer favorite is Salmon & Ikura Kamameshi ($14.25), which is served with rice. Known for its freshness, this dish appeals to diners because it’s prepared kamameshi-style. “The dish is cooked in an iron pot called a kama, and meshi means food in addition to rice,” explains Takaaki.

Saving what might be the best for last, U.S. Prime Beef Cutlet with Wasabi & Egg is priced at just $15.75. The savory meat is breaded and cooked rare, and is meant to be dipped into the wasabi and egg, the latter of which is served after separating the egg white from the yolk, and whipping the egg white until it’s nice and foamy. It really is a perfect addition to each flavorful bite!

Izakaya Restaurant Ko is open every day, except Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Be sure to also check out the daily Early Bird Teishoku (5-6 p.m.) and Late Night (11 p.m.-2 a.m.) special menus.

Izakaya Restaurant Ko

3196 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
Wednesday-Monday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; closed Tuesday
* Parking located behind restaurant

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best