Take Sunday brunch to the next level

Inside Feature

September 29, 2019

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

In some families, getting together for Sunday brunch is a sacred and time-honored tradition. Whether it takes place once a week, once a month, or simply once in a while, Sunday brunch provides a wonderful opportunity to gather with loved ones over a meal.

If you’d like to launch a similar tradition for your own family, you’ll be elated to know that Nico’s Upstairs offers a fantastic brunch each Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The spectacular buffet of hot and cold dishes, served in a comfortable setting with a world-class harbor view, will leave everybody in your ohana satisfied and smiling.

Plenty of Nico’s fabled fish and seafood dishes are featured, with poke, crab legs, shrimp cocktail and the catch of the day competing for your appetite, and there are stations and tables for prime rib, continental breakfast favorites, waffles, desserts and more. There’s also Chef Meghan’s Marsala Anglaise French Toast, which you’ll definitely want to try.

“It’s something I picked up when I was working at this breakfast joint in Waikiki about seven years ago,” says Meghan Ellis, sous chef de cuisine for the restaurant at Pier 38. “My friend was the kitchen manager there, and he developed the dish, but I tweaked it to the flavors I wanted.”

Made with housemade marsala anglaise — described by Ellis as “a vanilla ice cream base before you go to spin it” — the French toast is simply divine. It’s great topped with maple syrup, or from berries and honey from the yogurt parfait station, or even berries Romanoff from the waffle station.

Nico’s Angry Orchard Corned Beef Hash is also delectable. Made with the popular cider, the dish requires a lot of prep time.

“It takes an entire week to make — from brining our own brisket, to braising it, to mixing it, to crusting it up on the flattop,” explains Ellis.

As the holidays approach, Nico’s is preparing to welcome events hosted by local businesses and organizations. Ideal for company parties, celebration lunches, cocktail gatherings, and more, Nico’s private dining room comfortably holds about 45 guests. Seated menu and buffet menu options in different pricing ranges are available. The entire restaurant is available for buyouts on Mondays.


Nico’s spectacular King Crab Legs are pleasantly sweet, with a generous claw and nice clusters. “They’re served with drawn butter, and our different stations have lemons if you want them,” says sous chef de cuisine Meghan Ellis. “The shrimp cocktail station also has cocktail sauce if you want it!”


Select your choice of three types of poke offered at Nico’s Sunday Brunch. These include Nico’s signature Spicy Poke (masago, salt, onions and spicy mayo), Deluxe Poke (limu, kukui nut, chili flakes, rock salt and sesame oil), and Oyster Kabayaki Ahi Poke. The Deluxe Poke additionally is available on the dinner menu as a large portion mixed tableside, or as a single 6to 7-ounce serving.


When it comes to roast beef, Ellis eschews traditional rosemary and garlic treatments. “I like sweet on meat,” she says. “Sugar-caramelized salty meat just tastes fantastic.” Ellis uses a rub of cracked black pepper, kosher salt, rock salt, thyme, ground black pepper for added spice, brown sugar and chili powder for the scrumptious Brown Sugar Rubbed Prime Rib With Au Jus and Horseradish Cream served at Nico’s Sunday Brunch.

Honolulu, HI 96817

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best