Waioli Grill and Cafe

Step Up to the Plate

January 27, 2019

Story By: Elima Pangorang |


After being open for only three months, Waioli Grill and Cafe has already made a positive lasting impression as the new kid on the Kapahulu block.

General manager Seiya Nakano explains the concept is presenting a “Healthy cafe in the afternoon, and a cozy bistro by night.”

Combining traditional Japanese-style cooking with new-gen modifications, Nakano and the rest of the Waioli team are excited to continue bringing good food that’s also healthy to the community.

“We are inspired by a Japanese traditional eating concept called ichiju sansai, which means one soup and three dishes,” he says about the lunchtime menu. “The Japanese have been practicing this eating style for more than 1,00 years. So we wanted to bring a modern version of it … make it a little fancier and healthier.”

For $16 guests can order an “Ichiju Sansai” Set that includes a main dish — ranging from pork, beef and poultry to seafood and veggies — rice, soup, appetizers and dessert.

Flip the switch to dinnertime and the menu elevates just a bit to set the mood.

“So we try to be a little cozy bistro, more like a Japanese izakaya,” notes Nakano. Unlike other izakaya spots, Nakano explains that Waioli’s menu is not as vast, so as to preserve the quality and uniqueness of the dishes that customers can rarely find anywhere else.

“Our chef Kunio Inoue has been working for Japanese cuisine in Japan for more than 20 years, including traditional teppanyaki dining, too,” says Nakano. “So he knows how to order a big chunk of meat and clean it really nicely.”

To discover the mouthwatering possibilities Nakano, Inoue and the rest of the gang at Waioli Grill are cooking up, be sure to stop in for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.

Fall in love

A fresh medley of bell pepper, tofu, potato and sweet onion are seeped with the meat before being placed on the grill.

Here’s the ‘dish’

Soaked with flavor, these tender slices of beef are prepared in an exclusive process by chef Kunio Inoue, who hints that the technique is used by traditional Japanese teppanyaki chefs.

So saucy

A blend of soy sauce, mirin, sake and garlic powder add some extra kick to this already juicy meal.

Honolulu, HI 96815

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Hawaii's Best