Bubble tea and more: What's trending on Honolulu's food scene?

Tane Vegan Izakaya | Photo: Mandolin D./Yelp
By Hoodline - Published on August 29, 2019.

Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending right this minute?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to analyze which eateries have been in the spotlight this month.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Honolulu businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on the number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.

Read on to see which spots have the momentum heading into back-to-school season.


Photo: Shari T./Yelp

Open since July, this Japanese spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Japanese" on Yelp.

Citywide, Japanese spots saw a median 1.6% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Unagi-Don saw a 66.7% increase, maintaining a superior 4.5-star rating throughout.

Located at 333 Ward Ave., Suite 3 in Ala Moana-Kakaako, Unagi-Don offers Japanese cuisine, featuring its namesake, unagi don — a rice bowl topped with fillets of grilled eel. A variety of Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips are also available.

View the full menu here.

Unagi-don is open from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Sunday.

Wave Tea

photo: nadine c./yelp

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Ala Moana-Kakaako's Wave Tea, the spot to score bubble tea, coffee and tea is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as "Coffee & Tea" on Yelp saw a median 2.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Wave Tea bagged a 42.1% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a healthy four-star rating.

Open at 1067 Kapiolani Blvd. since May, Wave Tea offers milk tea, cheese tea and fruit tea with toppings like boba, Oreo and brulee cheese foam. The eatery also serves animal-shaped mousse cakes.

Wave Tea is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon–10 p.m. on Sunday.

Tane Vegan Izakaya

photo: mandolin d./yelp

McCully-Moiliili's Tane Vegan Izakaya is also making waves. Open since March at 2065 S. Beretania St., the well-established sushi bar, izakaya and vegan spot has seen a 24% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.8% for all businesses tagged "Sushi Bars" on Yelp.

Tane Vegan Izakaya offers a plant-based menu, offering miso soup, seaweed salad and sweet potato croquettes. Over the past month, it's maintained a solid 4.5-star rating among Yelpers. (View the full menu here.)

Tane Vegan Izakaya is open from 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday. (It's closed on Monday and Sunday.)

The Reef Bar and Market Grill

Photo: Judit C./Yelp

Waikiki's The Reef Bar and Market Grill is currently on the upswing in the steakhouse category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as "Steakhouses" on Yelp saw a median 1.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, this steakhouse, breakfast, brunch and vegan spot increased its new reviews by 6.5% — and kept its rating consistent at 3.5 stars.

There's more abuzz in the world of Honolulu steakhouses: Tony Roma's has seen a 6.1% increase in reviews.

Open for business at 2169 Kalia Road since November 2017, The Reef Bar and Market Grill offers "farm to beach" cuisine, with a menu that consists of ahi poke tostadas, fresh oysters, shrimp kebabs and more. 

The restaurant also serves up vegetarian and vegan dishes like the Beyond Burger, which is topped with bibb lettuce, red onion, heirloom tomato, dairy-free cheddar and vegan chimichurri aioli.

Check out the menu here. 

The Reef Bar and Market Grill is open from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.

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