1001 Queen St #105, Honolulu
I honestly do not understand why this place gets more than three stars. The food is basic, expensive and the portions are small. The interior is nice and new... but the lighting is super bright and sterile looking. I suppose that is the clean and modern Japanese style. We were shocked by the sizes of the dishes... so small. We left hungry.
Solid Japanese Restaurant, on the same super block with Whole Foods. The location is a bit off the beaten path, facing inwards towards the parkIng lot entrance for Ward Theaters. Parking is easy in the Whole Foods parking lot, with a short walk over. I came to try their Beef Sukiyaki which was wonderful! They give two eggs as well (more protein!!!) so can do with one less scoop of protein powder the next morning haha. The service was also nice- waitresses were attentive and kind. I would only comment that some of their other dishes seemed a bit small, such as their Beef Tongue (more appetizer size).
I love Rinka! I've been to this place twice and they're always filled with Japanese tourists and Japanese business people, which is always a huge plus! No doubt, get the wagyu! Oh my Lordy, it's so good and definitely makes heads turn! The wagyu is so scrumptious!!! We ordered their special fish and dang, it was hella bomb! I wish we got it sooner, I'd devour that thing instead of getting full too quick. The Chu toro was yummy and the salmon sashimi was so fresh! My boyfriend also ordered wings which he killed in silence. The servers are super polite, dainty, and smiley...I love it!!! I love the set up of the place, it's spacious...it's not your typical Japanese restaurant where it's small and squishy. The bathrooms are always so clean and they have an area for bigger parties! I'd recommend calling prior to coming in or making reservations because we did get turned down once!
Having returned from Hokkaido just last month, I was hankering for some authentic Japanese comfort food. Rinks is the closest I have found on island so was hitting it up last night. As a whole I appreciate the simple yet delicate flavors of this restaurant albeit sometimes find it a bit too salty. I love their Miso tofu, Sukiyaki, Shabu Shabu, Sesame watercress, Yamaimo fries and Salmon skin Kale salad. They are very accommodating cause they made their sesame tofu and lotus manju for me without the uni which were both amazing. I also had their sukiyaki spring rolls which were great in texture and flavor with soft glass noodles on the inside and crispy shell on the outside but I had hoped for more beef where there was a minuscule amount. To compensate, tried the DIY teppanyaki wagyu which was much too fatty cuts of beef for me. The marbling was not woven nicely throughout, more in large lines. I overheard the table next door insist that the octopus suckers are to die for but I was not sure if the gentlemen was ribbing his date or completely serious. I will let you decide
This Little Hideaway Japanese Restaurant will be your little Secret and mine
I hadn't been to Rinka's old location, but when it moved to Ward, I passed by it enough to have it on my radar. So when a friend wanted to have lunch in the ward area, Rinka came up. We didn't make reservations, but it was quite crowded on the weekend for lunch. They have several lunch special sets, which is nice because I heard that at dinner, they don't offer set meals. I ordered the chirashi and udon set. The hot udon was good and the chirashi came with a good amount of chopped up fish. The set also came with chawan mushi and a broth to pour on the chirashi. For every set, you can choose a couple small appetizers from a tray that one of the waiters brings out. I thought that was kind of cool and unique. The service was excellent and we were offered hot tea at the end of the meal. It was a bit pricey, but i think I'd come again for lunch. Parking is pretty easy in the Whole Foods parking lot.
The best on the island , always the same great service and great food , for now since relocated to new ward area it's BYOB . Hopefully they'll get their liquor license soon !!! Food is awesome always same high quality and never short change the customers. We usually visits this place on our first Visit back on the island . Will be back again and again and We are back again. But this time was very different then all of the times we come , lots of new staff here. But the service was still very good !!! Food as always were awesome , this time we had the Shabu Shabu which I never had it here before . We really enjoyed it !!
Atmosphere - Came here on a Friday afternoon around 12:30 and had to wait around 15-20 minutes. The overall restaurant is clean and spacious. Food - We ordered the pork loin katsu, tempura, ans the seafood hitsumabushi (kind of like chirashi but smaller cuts of fish and I think you pour some sort of liquid over it). The tempura and tonkatsu were very good. In addition, you also get to choose 2 sides that come with the meal - all the options were delicious and healthy. The hitsumabushi was a miss for me - maybe because I was unsure what exactly it was and how to eat it. The liquid had no flavor and the fish were cut too small for me (and lots of egg). The udon that came with it was also not flavorful - I personally think the shirokiya food court udon has better broth. Will get the chirashi next time. Overall, very good!!
I had been dying to try this spot out for a while and finally got the opportunity when a girlfriend and I had to do our late christmas gift exchange! We met on a monday night around 7pm (park in the whole foods garage!) and were seated immediatly. It was pretty full for a regular monday night so we were excited, and hungry!!! Service: Our service was great! The waiter was very attentive and our water and tea was constantly getting refilled. We sat at the sushi bar which was very fun! I could watch them cut sashimi all day! Food: We decided to do family style and order a bunch of stuff to share! -Japanese style omelette: maybe my least favorite? It was yummy, but just so dense we could not finish it! -Snow crab cream croquette: comes with three and so creamy! Whats not to love about a croquette?! One order was more than enough for the two of us as it can feel a bit heavy after a whlie. -Salmon and salmon roe chazuke: tastes like I'm having dinner at my grandmas house! Couldn't really taste the salmon flavor and the chazuke was very light. -Rainbow roll: yummmmy. Perfect ratio of filling to rice to sashimi on the top! -Fried tofu with 4 kinds of miso paste: spinach, yuzu, spicy and sweet shoy! My favorite dish of the night, this is a must get for me! The tofu was silky and flavorful and I loved getting to try the different miso. All in all a yummy night! I deduct one star for the price because it did seem a bit steep! However, I heard they have amazing lunch sets that are very affordable so I will be back to try that out soon!
Lunch menu is different from the dinner menu. However lunch comes in a teishoku set with rice, chawanmushi, miso soup, tsukemono, and two side dishes. I got the Beef Sukiyaki which was had a raw egg on the side you could crack in. There was so much food I was full and satisfied. However, the soup was slightly salty and I didn't drink any of it. The dish is shallow and isn't the typical deep bowl but definitely enough for lunch time. For the two side dishes the serve comes with a variety and you can choose! My friends and I enjoyed it. As for reservations they don't take any for lunchtime even though I came with a party of 8, so they recommended to come at opening at 11. I think if we came at 11:30 it would've been fine too. There's a lot of seating and we were in the side room. I give 4 stars just because the sukiyaki soup was a little too salty but everything else was great! I would come back. Plenty of parking in the Whole Foods structure too. You just need to walk towards the back of the building to find Rinka.
Rinka redemption arc complete. After a few lunches at Rinka, I've warmed up to putting this restaurant in my rotation of places for a nice meal with friends who enjoy Japanese cuisine. With lightly flavored, delicate options and convenient parking, Rinka's a great place to relax over a nice meal. The service still leaves something to be desired, especially for a restaurant at the $$-$$$ price point. Some of the flavors just don't jive well, so everything feels a note away from harmony on the plate. There's still plenty to enjoy at Rinka for those looking for an authentic Japanese meal in Ward Village. The ambience is the selling point among a list of positive reasons to go.
Rinka is definitely doing well during lunch! It quickly filled up within 10 minutes of opening their doors. They don't take lunch reservations, only dinner reservations. There is parking in the same structure as Whole Foods. Their location is kind of hard to find but they are on the Ewa Makai side of Whole Foods, next to an urgent care clinic. Service was friendly and prompt, really no complaints at all. Our food came out rather quickly too which is a big plus for me! I had the seafood chirashi and it comes with udon, chawanmushi and you can choose 2 little side dishes. Everything was delicious and I ate the whole thing! I would definitely return when craving some Japanese food.
You're in the Ward Village area and need to eat something? Try Japanese Restaurant Rinka. Located behind or Ewa of Whole Foods on the 1st floor. The originally were located on Makaloa St near Walgreens and I haven't been to that location in ages. Have only been here to this new location once, and they have left a decent expression on me. Parking is the same as for Whole Foods or any where else near by (Ward Entertainment, South Shore, street parking). Inside is really bright, fancy, and modern as a new establishment should look brand new. Only a few sushi bars seats, but tons of dining seats and looked like had 2 private rooms with sliding doors towards the back on the left. Did I mention the place was bright? =) The hallway that leads straight back is where the restrooms are and felt like a brand new home! Anyhow, why come here right? If you like seafood or Japanese cuisine, then this is your spot. Mind you, the tab is what pay for here, so if you're on a budget and hangry, maybe this isn't your spot today! Came here with a group of fellow Yeep Elites for an early dinner. Together we ordered choke food, but for myself I only ordered the Ribeye Steak. Came with onion rings, and I think was a zucchini, on a sizzling platter with minced daikon and green onions on top the ribeye. For the quality, the cut I got was a nice balance of beef and fat. Enjoy every bite, and wish the cut was twice the size, because suckah was tiny! Also, had to order a side of rice, for the entree didn't come with rice. You'd hope that for $24 you'd get some sort of side dish... miso soup or rice? But, I was okay with ordering rice on the side. The ribeye was really tasty though, and could've ate 2 easily, but I'm a miser and wouldn't do that... I actually would've, but not on this day. Service here is exceptional. From the welcoming when you enter, to the constant refilling of water and tea, their very polite gestures as they walk around you, and their farewell as you leave, how could you not feel good after dining here? Why I love going to Japan just to eat, you get that same service nearly everywhere you go. Why I'd still come here is to enjoy good tasting food, and feel like a million bucks when I leave. As for the others, they ordered things like, Tempura Combination, Soba, Chazuke, Miso Black Cod (butterfish), and a Combination Sushi Platter. Everyone said their meals were good, but the highlight was the sushi platter and the cuts the chef puts on that platter was ono! Would like to come back and try their tempura and the sushi platter, and maybe another order of that ribeye... but till then, Grind On! Pau!
Lunch review! 11-2 specials! This is where it's at people. The new Rinka is neatly tucked into the back of the Whole Foods parking structure, meaning parking is easy. Big secret tip: park in the backside of the Ward Entertainment Center and Rinka is like 50 feet away, even better than the structure! When we arrived at opening on a Sunday, there was already a line of people outside waiting for the doors to open. Not enough to fill the restaurant, but if you don't want to take chances, arrive about 15 minutes early and they'll let you sign in on a waitlist. There are a nice handful of lunch entree selections, which come with chawanmushi, udon, and two sides. These sides are presented on a tray after your meal arrives, and you get to pick from a selection of 10+! I picked a chikuwa tempura and a saucy eggplant, both of which were absolutely BURSTING with flavor. My entree was the Seafood Histumabushi, which was a mix of chopped tuna, salmon, hamachi, and tamago, topped with ikura and a dollop of uni. Pure crack. Everything tasted fresh, so much so that I couldn't bear to use the fish sauce they provided. Why sully such great flavors? The udon was pretty standard, substantial but not outstanding. The chawanmushi, on the other hand, was made with a rich broth and a nice variety of proteins including chicken, shrimp, and a bit of shiitake. Such savory comforts. Considering the quality and quantity combined, I couldn't believe that my meal was $21.75. Other standout values in our party included the Tonkatsu for $15.75 and the cold soba sushi combo for $18.75. If you like Gyotaku, schedule yourself a lunch stop at Rinka. They present similar fare, but Rinka delivers on both value and authenticity with no compromise.
Went here for lunch. The menu options are pretty typical of most japanese restaurants. The fish is very fresh and prepared well. There is an open kitchen so watching the chef prepare the fish is also entertaining if you're at the counter. The down side is portion size. I got the chirashi and there were so few pieces of fish. You get your choice of a couple side dishes and it also comes with udon which I think is to help you fill up but really I would have preferred a more hearty chirashi since I didn't go there for udon. Might try and see if dinner is different.
Food was really good!! Im surprised they had beef tongue done like a curry beef stew. I always love braised beef tongue. Snow crab croquet and whole squid was great... I want to come back try other things
Nothing exceptional. Probably won't go back.
I used to love the food at Rinka's original location off of Keeaumoku Street and was excited to see that they'd opened a new location in Kaka'ako next to Whole Foods. I visited Rinka with a small group for a noon lunch and arrived early to ensure we'd get a table. The restaurant was full, but they were able to accommodate us with a table in the private room located in the back of the main dining room. The size and decor of the new location is so much better than the old one which was much smaller and truth be told had a lot of negative energy attached to it. This new space is modern with lots of light and high ceilings.
Good place to have a quality Japanese food for lunch.
Excellent service and food
This place is junk. Yes, that is a bold statement, but very accurate. I came here for dinner the other night and felt sad afterwards that I did not go somewhere else. Let me explain my issues with this restaurant. First, the menu items have little to no description. You do not know what comes with main entrée items. For example, you would not know that the rib eye steak comes with onions and shishito peppers. This is worse on the sushi items. How am I supposed to know what is in a "Diamond Peak Roll" or a "Volcano Roll"? Am I supposed to bother the server and ask him or her to identify what is in each roll? I am frankly not willing to do that--I just won't order those items. Second, the food. It is so-so at best. The crab roll was probably the best thing we had at our table. It had an unusual white soy wrapping instead of traditional nori (black seaweed), which I was not a fan of, but the crab on the inside was tasty. Third, do not plan to be the designated driver when coming here. If you are, only drink water. Soft drinks are not refillable. $3 per small glass of diet coke. Restaurants that want to do this type of stingy nonsense need to either disclose it on the menu or instruct their servers to tell their customers about the management's evil ways before offering "another diet coke". This alone is enough to make me never visit this restaurant again. Finally, the service was ok. Our server was polite but the overall service was extremely slow. A soda refill (which was not really a refill because it costs $3) took over 15 minutes. The food came out one entrée at a time and if we were not all sharing, it would have sucked for those that ordered the items that came out last. Overall, I am very disappointed in my visit to Rinka which makes me sad. I so wanted to like this restaurant. I love Japanese cuisine and this restaurant is close to my home. Unfortunately, this visit was a total let down. I do not recommend this restaurant.
What a nice Japanese restaurant located in the developing area of Ward. Super convenient with parking in the Whole Foods structure or across in the ward theaters parking structure. We came here for my dads 72nd birthday and what a great choice we made. He loves Japanese's food and this place did just the thing. We got an assortments of food ranging from sushi to steak to curry ! Presentation of the food was A+++++ and the taste was just as good ! Overall was a great experience and a great place to celebrate my dads birthday.
I'm impressed by this restaurant. The unique items on the menu coupled with a great location (they are in the same building as Whole Foods in Kaka'ako (read: easy parking in the Whole Foods structure)) makes this place a win in my book. Here's my thoughts on what you should get and what you should avoid: Must Have Items! - Kale and colorful Vegetable Salmon Skin Salad: I am NOT a salad person. I would have passed over this dish completely if not for one of my dinner companions ordering it (we decided to go family-style so that we could try a lot of different things). I'm so glad I got to try this dish. Fresh salad with a heaping handful of salmon skin is making this a rare occasion where I would go back to a restaurant just for a salad. - Homemade black sesame tofu with sea urchin: This was Ah-may-zing!!! I would have preferred a little more uni on the plate (even if it meant a more expensive cost) but it didn't dampen how silky and delicious this dish was. - Grilled Whole Squid: Sometimes I get disappointed at restaurants because the squid is so tough. That is not the case here. The squid was the perfect texture. I ended up taking home a second order of the squid that my group hadn't been able to finish. Even the next day, and even after I popped it in the microwave to heat it up, the squid was still good. Or at least from what I had of it. My 5 year old asked to try it, then proceeded to finish off most of the dish herself. - Yellowtail Heaven Roll: Amazing sushi roll (if cilantro is your jam) - Grilled stingray fin: think fish jerky or those cuttlefish snacks you might have grown up eating as a kid like me. It was really addicting. - Houiji Tea Jelly: The perfect end to our heavy meal was this refreshing jelly dish. Solid Options: - Both the rib eye and beef tongue were very good dishes and at a restaurant with a smaller menu these two options would get bumped into the "must have" category. However, where I think Rinka really excels at is their unique dishes that are hard to find in other restaurants. Which means that if I return to this restaurant I might opt for something else that would be harder to find at another restaurant. Take a Pass: - Shrimp fritter lotus root sandwich: I loved the presentation of this dish. What you might not be able to see in the pictures is that the sandwiches were perfectly cut into 4 bite sized pieces. My problem was that the lotus root "bread" and the shrimp fritter "inside the sandwich" were both one note. I expected that of the lotus root but I thought the shrimp fritter would have a stronger taste in order to carry the dish. - Deep fried scallops with uni: The first time I heard of Rinka was on Instagram with a picture of this dish... I was sold. But it turned out to be a poor combination in my opinion. I liked the uni. I like scallops but together I thought they took away from each other more than they added. I think if the uni had been on a deep fried rice ball or something that isn't a star of the dish in its own right, it would have been better. - Chicken cartilage: Maybe cartilage just isn't for me. The dish was very chewy and reminded me of overcooked deep fried chicken. - Sashimi deluxe combination: There was nothing wrong with this dish, but for $60 I thought it would be a little more "OMG-most-amazing-pieces-of-fish-ever" and it was just okay. - Snow crab cream croquette: My friend's son summarized it best - this dish tasted like fried whipped cream. It would be better if it had a little more taste to it than just cream. Additionally, another friend correctly (in my opinion) suggested that it would have been much better if each ball had been half the size (so that instead of three large balls there would be six small balls) in order to have the crispy deep fried skin be equal to the heavily creamy mixture on the inside. My crazy math to arrive at 4 stars was as follows: +3.5 - Food +.5 - Service that didn't find our huge party o
One of the cutest Japanese restaurants in town!! The restaurant is located on the opposite end of the same building as Whole Foods Market in Kaka'ako. The location is not in visible sight from the main road, but do not let that fool you; there is always a line around lunch and dinner times. The lunch menu is a great deal for the food quality. My favorite is the Seafood Hitsumabushi, as shown on the bottom of the image, similar to a bara chirashi don (chopped up raw fish, tamago, ikura, and uni nicely placed on top). This special also comes with Udon and Chawanmushi, which are both very delicious! The beef sukiyaki lunch special is always very delicious with thin slices of tender beef and a variety of vegetables. The meal comes with miso soup, rice, and a raw egg to dip your beef and vegetables into. Chawanmushi is also included in this meal. The crab cream croquette lunch set is perfect for something savory, yet does not weigh you down. Each croquette has pieces of crab meat in a creamy potato filling. A must try!! The dinner menu is a bit pricey, but very delicious as well!! My favorites from the dinner menu include deep fried scallops topped with uni, the Rinka roll, black sesame tofu, and Lotus manjyu. All meals come with a choice of two sides, which is offered after they deliver your meal. My favorites are the tofu topped with natto and the vegetable tempura. The service from the staff is superb, similar to traditional Japanese restaurants. Very polite and prompt. I have never waited longer than ten minutes for my food to be delivered to the table, even during busy hours. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone interested in eating authentic Japanese cuisine in a modern environment.
Wow! Just had an amazing lunch at Rinka!! The restaurant in conveniently located in the same building as the kakaako Whole Foods, so there was plenty of parking. And there was no wait to be seated for lunch at 1230, perfect! My boyfriend ordered the crab cream croquettes and I had the special of the day which was a negitoro don. Everything for lunch came as a set and the chawanmushi we got with our meals was very good, I couldn't stop eating it! For the mains- the croquettes were perfectly crispy on the outside and sooo creamy and delicious on the inside! Highly recommend! I love negitoro rolls and I really liked the don version that Rinka prepared! It also came with an udon, so much food!! The presentation totally reminded me of eating in Japan with all the side dishes - I loved it! Our meals were both under $20 for so much good food. So worth it! All in all, if you're looking for a good deal on authentic Japanese food, check out Rinka! (Recommend coming for lunch because I think dinner can be a little more pricey.) I'm already itching to go back to try everything else on their menu!
Rinka is located in the same building as Whole Foods on the first floor. It's a cute japanese restaurant. There's a lunch menu and a dinner menu. I came here for dinner. Staff was amazing and super attentive. They gave my daughter her own little kid friend bowl and utensils. I was a little shock at the kitchen though. It's a more upscaled Japanese restaurant but they had all their serving stuff open and not hidden. It was sort of a eye sore. Now let's get to the food. The food was alright. I tasted better Japanese food for WAYYYY cheaper. Everything was definitely over priced. This was a good place to "just try" but not a place I would come again.
First time there my gf got food poisoning!
Friends finally got me to visit this place...knowing that I love Japanese food! Never really made it here because it is so frenetic to get here - to get through the new Kakaaako construction all over, then to get into the whole food parking thing. We got stuck on the ramp due to a couple cars insisting on waiting for a space close to the WF elevators instead of proceeding up the ramp to ample spaces. Ridiculous. But, hey - endurance was was worth it. Clean and bright. Like other reviews the location makes it hard to just "discover" unless you know about the secret back elevator in the WF parking. Wait staff was on point and very attentive. Go early for lunch - there was a line waiting for them to open! I had the Sukiyaki set for lunch. Small offerings but so tasty. Pure and fresh dishes. You get two small side dishes that you pick from a roving waiter with 7 or 8 small dishes to choose from. Nice touch. The multigrain rice was perfect and went well with the rich broth. The set is not for big eaters but perfect for picky eaters. I kept eyeballing the shrimp tempura meals passing by the table - next time. Perfect place to bring my aunts here - they love smaller lunches. Clean and bright places. I guess I will need to drive them. oh well.....
Prefer the original menu items. Don't care for the new direction or theme.
Man I absolutely love this place! I grew up going to this place when they were at their old location across from Ala Moana specifically for their Crab Cream Croquettes! I finally made it to their new location for lunch and man it was still delicious! I was worried that they had taken away their cram cream croquette but luckily it was a lunch set item, YAY! Service/Environment- We came here on a Saturday around 12:30pm. I was so worried that they would be so busy that we would have to wait since we had a party of 5 but luckily we got a table fast! The service was awesome, they were very attentive and constantly coming by to refill our water and tea. Food- BEST Japanese Teishoku on this island. I lived in Japan for a little bit and my mom is from Japan so I am always on the hunt for something that reminds me of home. This place is it! It was so beautifully presented and everything tasted amazing! I had the crab cream croquet lunch set, my BF had the Sukiyaki lunch set and his grandmother had the Nabe set. It was all delicious! With your lunch set, you get to pick two extra sides which was so fun for our table! They bring out the options and let you pick on the spot as you look at them. Worth the $$$- YES! It was surprisingly not that expensive! I believe my Crab Cream Croquette lunch set was $16 and it was very filling and had so many items! Instagram Worthy- Absolutely! The present the food so beautifully...the camera definitely eats first! Added to my go to list?- ABSOLUTELY YES! Whenever I am in the mood for food Japanese food I think this will be the place!
The first we attempted to go to Rinka, we simply couldn't find the restaurant. That's because Rinka is tucked away off the street. If you park in the Whole Foods lot, take the elevators opposite Whole Foods and Rinka if to the right. We arrived at Rinka a few minutes before they opened for lunch (11a). A small crowd had already formed. We signed in and shortly thereafter they started seating guests. The lunch menu is straightforward, classic Japanese. We ended up getting the following: CHICKEN KARAAGE: 4/5 crispy exterior, juicy, flavorful TEMPURA: 4/5 crispy, light, flavorful PORK TONKATSU: 3/5 dry and just ok GRILLED HAMACHI: (daily fish special) 3.5/5 cooked well, slightly fishy, crispy skin Prices for what you get are on the high side. I attribute that to the fact they're located in a fancy schmancy building where overhead is probably high. So, I totally get it. As a result, they are cutting back on the offerings but have not updated their menu. Case in point, the hamachi was supposed to come with udon, as per the menu. But servers said that it didn't. Honestly, it felt like a bait and switch. To avoid confusion amongst guests and staff, they should update their menu. They also used to allow guests to select 3 sides but now it's 2. It makes you wonder how much more they will trim back over time. Service was decent. It was overall average, but at times it was also slow, inconsistent, and inattentive. While all of the servers were friendly and seemed to be trying their best, it took forever to get their attention and our check. Maybe with training and time, things will improve. The restaurant is new, modern looking, clean, and spacious. It's the kind of place that I want to totally love but am not fully on board because of service and the fact I've had as good (and better) food for less. Will I return? With all of the amazing Japanese food that we are blessed to have in Honolulu, I'm not sure. LOCATION: 4/5 FOOD: 3/5 SERVICE: 3/5 VALUE: 3/5 AMBIANCE: 4/5 PET FRIENDLY: No CLEANLINESS: 5/5 PARKING: 5/5
When they closed the old location and opened a new restaurant near Ward, I was super excited. Nice area and better parking situation than old location. The Good: * Better location, larger restaurant, high ceilings - very bright, roomy and clean. Nice modern decor. More tables than the old Rinka. * Better parking situation (Park in Whole Foods parking lot, or the parking lot that is connected to Dave & Busters / Ward Theater) * Delicious food. Pretty close to authentic Japanese food. * You even get to pick two small side dishes that they bring to your table - really cool * Tip - Avoid the smaller room if you're sensitive to loud noises. There is a small second room to the left of the bathroom with about 6 or 7 tables (4 tops, 2 tops). Not a bad place to sit if the restaurant is full - but if there are crying babies or inconsiderately loud customers (laughing really loud, talking loud) - EVERYTHING ECHOES. I've seen customers request to move to the main area because some baby at another table was crying and banging utensils and his sippy cup. The Bad: Basically it comes down to lack of customer service and slowness. *You MAY be invisible - take off that invisible cloak. We enter the restaurant, and we KNOW that you guys see us - but not even a hello or a welcome. We're the only ones standing there, several servers walk past us and they do nothing (they're really good at avoiding eye contact with customers). 7 or 8 servers, open kitchen with cooks that can see us and a manager - and no one says anything. * "Shoo Shoo, go stand outside for an hour" When there is a wait, you write down your name and # of people in your party as you enter. Many stand by the entrance (inside the restaurant) to wait, some wait outside. Server comes and shoos everyone outside (again, unfriendly expression, annoyed) tells everyone to go outside to wait. It's 92 degrees - there are elderly people waiting too. How about investing in a long bench or placing chairs by the entrance outside? If that's the restaurant's policy, fine - but be kind about it. We're not stray cats. We're here because we want to eat your food and spend our money. How about an "I'm so sorry or I know it's warm outside but..." instead of "everyone please go outside. wait outside" with such a disapproving look and gesture of shooing. Stop acting so snotty towards your customers. * Unfriendly servers. Sorry, but there are only 1 or 2 servers there that are really trying to be pleasant and friendly. The others (mostly female servers) are very unfriendly, has a frown and does whatever it takes to avoid eye contact and rarely do they approach their tables needing their check or water, or the menu unless we practically stand and do the wave. Don't like dealing with customers? - don't work there. * Slow service, or no service at all. We order food and sometimes it takes 30 or 40 minutes after we are seated to get our meal. We order white rice, we get the other kind. We ask for a refill of water, and we watch as that server taking care of 7 or 8 other customers until she suddenly remembers that we had asked for a refill. * Limited menu for lunch. Change is good sometimes. How about reviewing the menu and adding something new or different? By the way, business has been "soft opening" for maybe 4 months? What's up.
Located in the same structure as Whole Foods. Clean, sleek, modern design, upgrade from the random location it used to be on Kapiolani. Almost all the patrons present at the time we went were native Japanese speakers. FOOD RECS: UNI AND BLACK SESAME TOFU MOUNTAIN YAM FRIES- very thick lightly fried yamaimo LOTUS SANDWICH- interesting with a shrimp fritter cake sandwiched between two pieces of fried lotus. I love lotus so this was a winner for me SUSHI DELUXE- 10 pieces for $50 but it's all the good ones including uni, oo-toro, chu-toro, scallop and ama ebi ! RINKA ROLL- hamachi, ahi, salmon, unagi, tamago and cucumber... a lot going on but the cuts of the fish are delicious SALMON CHAZUKE- really good salmon + ikura chazuke MISO BUTTERFISH- very generous cut of miso butterfish for $16 SO-SO: SNOW CRAB CROQUETTE- this was probably the only meh item of the night. It barely tasted like crab. The creamy potato flavor is the only thing coming through, which tastes fine, but you're paying for and expecting crab. The prices are pretty reasonable for the quality of food. Overall it's a solid izakaya.
Great place for lunch the set menus are delicious. The asahi on draft is also the bomb!
The atmosphere of the restaurant inside is really clean and it has a minimalist design which I really like. It's a very pretty aesthetic. I went at lunch time. The food was alright. I ordered the assorted tempura and it came with various side dishes. The flavoring is very light, probably because they try to keep their dishes healthy. It's not overly spectacular. It's an average dish with typical Japanese style food. I have had better elsewhere (as well as in Japan). For dessert, I really wanted to try the Tofu Cheesecake but it was all sold out (I'm guessing it's their most popular) so I ordered the Hojicha Jelly. Basically the jelly is just gelatin made with tea instead of water. It's a very light dessert which is good if you want a little something after a meal without over stuffing yourself. However, it's not something i would go out of the way to eat on it's own. #1 thing I didn't like so much was that the waitresses weren't friendly. They were kind of curt (never smiled) and didn't provide good service. The only good server was a male waiter who was very smiley and kind. Other than that, the other workers were just doing their jobs because they had to and sometimes it made me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I am used to very friendly service in Hawaii but even when I was in Japan, the service was much better than in this restaurant. I'd suggest training the workers to be more service oriented because that is very important in Hawaii, if you want people to continue to come to your restaurant. Other than that I'd say the food wasn't bad. I usually can't eat heavy food so I liked that the meal was light and had appropriately sized portions.
I have been to the new spot since they moved next to the AEO condos a few months ago. I have only been for lunch. But I love this place! I usually go for lunch. The place is clean and very nice. I like to sit on the counter and talk stories with the chefs. I have gotten sukiyaki, chirashi, tonkatsu, you name it. They all are great! And the prices are very reasonable for such clean and tasty food!
I went to Japanese Restaurant Rinka on a Thursday for lunch and got there around 11:15am. There were plenty of open tables so there was no wait at that time. However, throughout my lunch, the restaurant got packed by 11:45am or so. The ambiance is modern, open, and bright. There are lot of tables so they are able to accommodate larger parties if need be. The menu for lunch was on the smaller side but in a way, that's good, so you can figure out what you want right away. There's lunch sets that seem a bit on the pricier side but these sets come with a variety of side dishes. I got the cold soba and nigiri sushi. The soba was perfectly cooked and the nigiri sushi was fresh. My lunch set came with two side dishes that I got to select from a tray of about 9-12 assorted Japanese side dishes, it was great! It also came with miso soup and chawanmushi. I believe my set was around $19, which seems a bit pricey at first but once you see everything it comes with, it's well worth it! We also got the sashimi platter to share and that was fresh too. The presentation of all the food was Japanese-style with all the tiny dishes and attention to detail. Service was great and our server was attentive and friendly. Parking can either be in the Wholefoods parking structure since this restaurant is right beneath Wholefoods at Ward. I'm not sure if this is allowed but we parked in the Ward Theatre parking structure and walked right to the restaurant conveniently. Would I go back? Of course!
Okay okay, I know, I know, this was actually my choice and we did it all in the name Yelp Elite hehe. I mean the company with Nadine C. to visit with Mel B. was FANTASTIC!! :D As for the food, well, sometimes a place is great for us Yeeps to try if only for performing our ultimate altruistic free public service duty aka fun community volunteer work intended to help others make better informed purchasing choices. This process involves commitment to try the food at a place, taking the time to talk with each other and get our thoughts together about the experience, composing a review to explain it all, and then on the Yelp app, posting said review with any necessary accompanying supporting photos (evidence). YES, *this* is the Yelp Elite process! But, I digress :D Back to my review :P I only wish I had first come here for lunch. I mean, Emi H.'s review about their Nabeyaki Udon that looks and sounds to die for is what I still wish I could have each time I have to read this sentence while I sit here typing this out! Haha! The mere thought that I surely missed out really makes me quite sad :( Why sad? Well, we came for dinner and had that amazing selection been available, us three might have ordered it but alas, that choice does not appear anywhere on the Rinka dinner menu! Why not?! Soup is also great for dinner, right? Why not sell your best soup for din-din too, right?!?! Teehee :D So, what did we order? Not Nabeyaki! :( Wishing desperately to find it somewhere in that menu, Nadine C. and I tried soothing our sadness by over-ordering other dishes when we really should have just stopped and made a time for lunch in the afternoon on another day. The $19.75 scallops that should have been chilled, soft uni placed atop surprisingly tempura-crunchy seared scallops offset by flavorful roasted nori were instead like when internal pieces of a car are impossible to fit together because each belong to a different car brand or model. It was varying pieces of uni mushed and sprinkled atop two partial, virtually unseasoned scallop pieces overcooked at the outsides held together by a wide wrap of unflavored rubber-band-like nori. Geez, it could have been beautiful. but were is hand-stitched by someone of the ingredients tastes were meant to be enjoyed separately rather than together. when food This combination of items The uni really needed that nice roasted natural flavor to round out the, he outside scallop layer was overcooked so Likens to when someone wants to do something a certain way that does not work right Turned out everything was soft except for the chewy and rough scallop perimeter bit long that it was not a pleasant experience to eat. It had a rough feel on my tongue and with the soft scallop insides and even softer uni topping, together did not work. The uni on top was OK but that effort got lost in the competing tough overcooked scallop outsides. Additionally, the salt content. The sushi guy might want to rethink the amount of salt to add to these creations. The Hawaii diet of rock salt added to foods makes foods so eloquent and full-bodied. That day, well, I wished I had brought my rock salt shaker! Think I'm gonna be doing that from now on by the way. Insert :pondering emoji: This great-sounding combination neither suited my palate in taste or feel. I'll tell ya, don't do it for that price. It's takai for what you get! And what I said about the rock salt for the uni scallops held true for this soup too! Lack of salt! I had to delve deep into my salt memories to conjure up some comfort. The taste was lost on the taste of unsalted water for udon broth. I love water but with soup ingredients added to it, that water plain won't ever be my favorite taste. Is it yours? Alas, the zenzaru that our gracious server made for us with the left over soup base, rice, and added egg was delicious mostly because she added salt [table salt not rock salt (which is healthier), unfortunately :( ] which brought out the flavors of the veggies and seafood that had simmered together for
Food still good, but new location lacking in atmosphere. Seems like a school cafeteria...
1001 Queen St #105, Honolulu, HI 96814