A Twist On Tradition

A La Carte Columns

March 7, 2016

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Sakura Shabu Shabu ($28, March special)

Sakura Shabu Shabu ($28, March special)

Since its opening in November 2011, Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe has become a favorite for its donburi and bentos, as well as other fresh and healthy Japanese dishes with a light fusion of flavors.

Located in the heart of Honolulu at 1240 South King St. (between Piikoi and Keeaumoku streets), the restaurant offers a nice, contemporary setting with both indoor and outdoor seating that’s surrounded by tropical green palms, plus a full bar.

Among its most popular dishes is Deluxe Sakura Chirashi — which consists of fresh ahi, salmon, hamachi, unagi, whelk, abalone, shrimp, uni, ikura, kajiki and ika — as well as its lunch salads, sushi and teishoku.

Steak, sashimi and tempura options from the March special.

Steak, sashimi and tempura options from the March special.

“We use a variety of seafood that is better in quality and variety than most other places, and it’s reasonably priced,” says Jaron Takumi, front-of-the-house manager. “Everything is fresh, and made-to-order. It’s authentic Japanese food, but not completely traditional.

“Executive chef Takayuki Sekine likes to put his own twist on a lot of things. For example, Oyako Don is typically boiled chicken but we use karaage chicken,” he says.


Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe’s March special is Sakura Shabu Shabu ($28), featuring tai snapper from Japan and seasonal vegetables (mizuna, enoki mushrooms, green onions, carrots, bamboo shoots, shimeji mushrooms and fried tofu/aburaage). The meal is served with rice, tsukemono, salad and two small side dishes (such as cold tofu and hijiki). It also comes with a choice of assorted tempura (shrimp, ika and lotus root), steak with Japanese wafu dressing, or sashimi (ahi and hamachi) with shrimp and whelk.

Guests cook the fish and vegetables at their table using a portable gas stove with a pot of tasty shoyu and seaweed broth with tai fin. There also are sesame and ponzu dipping sauces on the side, as well as yuzu kosho, which is a slightly spicy paste made from the citrus fruit that can be mixed with the ponzu or put directly on the fish or vegetables.

Preordering is recommended, as Sakura Shabu Shabu is limited to just 10 orders per lunch and dinner.

Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe

1240 S. King St., Honolulu
Tuesday-Sunday, lunch/cafe: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner: 5-9:30 p.m.; closed Monday

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best