Nearly a decade ago, the Travel section created lists that did just that.We canvassed the islands to bring you a series of articles we called 20 for $20, tasting our way across Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island in search of great meal deals at restaurants locals like best.Things change in a decade, and we knew it was time to update.And we included a few places to splurge where the ambience is pure tropical paradise.For the most part, the restaurants are clustered in Kauai's main tourist areas, from the sunny South Shore towns of Poipu and Koloa to the East Side city of Lihue (home of the airport and many businesses) to the upscale North Shore town of Hanalei, gateway to the Napali Coast.Something new this time around: four of our picks are food trucks, which weren’t a thing a decade ago in Kauai."They might not offer much in the way of ambience, but some of the dishes they serve are amazing," said chef Martina Hilldorfer of the Culinary Arts Program at Kauai Community College.Verde Restaurant.Mark's Place.Chicken-and-beef-mixed plate Christina House / Los Angeles Times.If you want to taste real Hawaiian fare at good prices, visit Mark's Place in Lihue.It consistently wins awards as one of the island's favorite spots for plate lunch (a combination of steamed rice, creamy macaroni salad and a choice of meat or seafood).Insider tips: Everything is delicious, but the most popular dishes are ginger-fried chicken ($9.75), pulled pork sandwiches on steamed buns ($9.50) and ahi tuna wrap ($12.50).All are served with fries or salad.Info: Kikuchi's, 3501 Rice St., Lihue; (808) 855-5789.Nom Kauai.This onetime food truck, now a small restaurant in Kapaa, about 11 miles north of Lihue, offers Southern-style Hawaiian fusion.This popular restaurant has been making waves in Hanalei for more than 30 years and now has a sister restaurant near Poipu.Fresh fish is one of the keys to Dolphin's success; another is a diverse menu that has enough inexpensive items to make thrifty travelers happy.Beer-battered island fish with chips.Prices: $8.50-$16.50, Bamboo Bar only.You probably won't find locals here, but Keoki's Paradise in Koloa, about three miles northwest of Poipu, knows how to say South Pacific.Insider tips: Ask for a seat in the Bamboo Bar, where menu prices are lower.Scorpacciata Neopolitan Pizza food truck and Wailua Shave Ice food truck.Prices: $10-$16 for Scorpacciata, $6.50-$7.50 for Wailua Shave Ice.Prize-winning Scorpacciata, set on a dirt lot in Kapaa, doesn't make much more than pizza, but many locals say it's the best they've ever tasted.Insider tips: Try the fish tacos ($14) or the poke bowl salad ($18), a wonderful mixture of greens, fresh ahi tuna poke, avocado and spicy aioli drizzle.Info: Kauai Culinary Market, 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., Koloa; (808) 742-9545.Insider tip: Arrive a little early, say 4 to 5 p.m., to score a good seat on the terrace.Info: Seaview Terrace at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa; (808) 742-1234.Prices: $11-$17 (for lunch).Insider tips: Schedule time to walk around scenic Hanapepe Town before lunch, then try one of the cafe's bowls, a good deal at $11 for veggies, $14 for chicken and $17 for ahi poke.One drawback: You need to visit at certain times during the school year.Info: Kauai Community College Culinary Arts Program, 31901 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue; (808) 245-8311.Prices: $14-$32 (for lunch).Insider tips: There are lots of choices for less than $20 on this menu, including chicken tenderloin with fries, crispy coconut prawns, and the chipotle black bean sandwich with guacamole and sweet potato fries (our favorite), all $18.Thai Street Food truck.Info: Thai Street Food truck, 4100 Rice St., Lihue; (808) 651-0640.Info: Tahiti Nui Restaurant & Bar, 55134 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei; (808) 826-6277, House.Prices: $12-$20 (bar menu).Info: Beach House, 5022 Lawai Road, Koloa; (808) 742-1424,'s not much to this fast-food joint but it gets great word of mouth with locals, who love the gigantic burritos.Insider tips: The line gets long here, so try to visit during off-hours.Info: Da Crack, 2827 Poipu Road, Koloa; (808) 742-9505, Up Cafe is an old-style original in the trendy North Shore town of Hanalei.Insider tip: The mac-nut cinnamon roll, dripping with icing ($5.25) is a decadent must for sweetaholics.This place has coffee, indulgent pastries and lunch items such as sandwiches and pizza. .

Herringbone Waikīkī Reopens with a Bounty of Seafood Favorites

Herringbone Waikīkī reopened its restaurant on the third floor of the International Market Place this week with a familiar West Coast seafood menu with a few twists brought by new management under the growing Aoki Group.At a preview for media, friends and family, the restaurant featured fresh Stellar Bay oysters, a sweet mild variety that’s a little larger than its more common cousin, the West Coast Kusshi.Highlights include the yellowtail crudo ($23 at dinner, $15 at happy hour), lightly sauced with a truffle-yuzu vinaigrette as well as a tiny tuna taco with a ponzu aioli ($21).When Hakkasan Group originally opened Herringbone in the summer of 2017, it quickly gained a following among locals as a festive place for friends to pau hana or brunch in an unfussy atmosphere.A new dessert also offered hints of changes and refinements to come: a light yuzu Japanese-style soufflė cheesecake ($13 ) created by lead pastry cook Masami Komiyama that complemented the seafood-centric menu.Other Aoki Group restaurants in Honolulu include a mix of style and cuisine: the newer 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodle in Kaka‘ako, Rocky Teppanyaki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, as well as Doraku Sushi & Izakaya and Bluetree Café.Keeping the favorites from early Herringbone may prove an effective strategy to lure back the regulars and create good welcome-back buzz while the restaurant finds a new rhythm. .


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