Take a Bite

Welcoming takoyaki and new izakaya

September 24th, 2014
PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comTakoyaki Yama-chan has a second home at Don Quijote.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Takoyaki Yama-chan has a second home at Don Quijote.

Fans of Takoyaki Yama-chan at Shirokiya may find a second home now that the street-style stand has opened a second branch outside Don Quijote, whose little food court focuses on fast, inexpensive fare.

Owners marked the occasion with a grand opening celebration on Sept. 16 that included samplings of takoyaki, yakisoba and strawberry mochi.

In addition to basic takoyaki that starts at $4.50 for five pieces, you'll find enhanced versions featuring cheese, kim chee or a combination of negi-mayo-ponzu.

For those who cannot survive on the bite-size octopus balls alone, feel free to add okonomiyaki, yakisoba and omelette fried noodles, starting at $4.90 for mini portions, or $7.90 to $8.90 for regular portions.

Takoyaki Yama-chan's owners had the restaurant blessed in the morning.

Takoyaki Yama-chan's owners had the restaurant blessed in the morning.

Fresh sweet potatoes from Molokai.

Fresh sweet potatoes from Molokai.

The owners of Izakaya Mai are introduced before cracking open the sake barrel.

The owners of Izakaya Mai are introduced before cracking open the sake barrel.

AND NO matter how much competition is out there, the new arrivals continue.

A day after Takoyaki Yama-chan's opening came the grand opening of Izakaya Mai in the spot where Ojiya used to be across from the Hawai'i Convention Center at 1718 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Japan-born sushi chef and restaurateur Yoichi Ito, who once served as a sushi instructor for Benihana restaurants, ran his successful Izakaya Mai in San Mateo for a decade before deciding to move to Hawaii — in part to find his son a wife!

Unlucky in love proves to be lucky for us due to the restaurant's varied and affordable menu of Nagasaki-style chanpon ramen noodles, blue crab salad and sushi.

A peek inside Izakaya Mai, featuring handmade tables and chairs, upcycled materials and surf-themed artwork by Shuji Hamamoto.

A peek inside Izakaya Mai, featuring handmade tables and chairs, upcycled materials and surf-themed artwork by Shuji Hamamoto.

Izakaya Mai's dragon roll incorporates a whole unagi.

Izakaya Mai's dragon roll incorporates a whole unagi.

Yum, grilled squid.

Yum, grilled squid.

The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 5:30 p.m. to midnight Saturdays (last dinner orders at 11:30 p.m.), with happy hour from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call (808) 942-3838.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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