Zen Den

December 4, 2012 | By Waikiki Magazine Team

Miyako’s fine Japanese fare is as impressive as its surroundings.

The sun is just about to set. With the iconic Pink Palace and the rest of Waikiki in view on the distant right, and the slopes of Diamond Head visible on the left, the soothing backdrop sets the tone for an intimate dinner. Admittedly, the alfresco cabana seating seem to be the best seats in the house, but the indoor dining room still gives diners an impressive view as they dine on traditional Japanese cuisine. And when it comes to the food, in a word: delicious.

On the second floor of the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, you’ll spot a gem of a Japanese restaurant. Miyako has been there for years, and those who regularly frequent the venue know it’s perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in Waikiki, in terms of authenticity, location, value and overall experience.

In any other atmosphere, the kimono-clad waitresses would be considered more theme-like than anything else, but here, the outfits are genuinely apropos in keeping with the Miyako’s traditional vibe and offerings.

A soothing cup of hot barley tea puts you at ease while you peruse the bill of fare. The à la carte menu offers a wide selection of appetizers, fresh fish and seafood—including separate sections for lobster and abalone—meats, sides and desserts. The restaurant also touts an impressive sake menu, including sake flights for those looking to sample a small selection. Additionally, there’s also an extensive sushi menu, hot pot dinner offerings and of course, pre-fixe dinners. A particular standout starter was the homemade chilled tofu, served with a bonito-flavored dashi and a hint of tobiko. According to our server, Sachiko, their homemade tofu is one of their most sought-after items. In the seafood department, the sautéed lobster with “Sansho”—a lobster tail lightly coated with batter and served with vegetables and onion-sesame oil dressing—was well prepared and full of flavor without overpowering the lobster’s delicate taste. The light batter-coating technique is also found in the signature Miyako steak, which is seasoned with the chef’s special marinade then lightly pan-fried. It also comes with two pieces of tempura shrimp. Naturally, melt-in-your mouth Wagyu is also on the menu.

For those craving something soupy, the hot pot offerings are equally enticing. Sukiyaki, shabu-shabu and udon-suki are readily available. For sukiyaki, you can take your pick from Wagyu beef, Australian “Kurosawa” beef or US beef, while shabu-shabu fans have the option of selecting one the three meats mentioned as well as Kurobuta pork (Berkshire pork). The hot pot dinners come complete with a small appetizer; either sushi or tempura; as well as rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles and ice cream for dessert.

But if you’d like to experience the true essence of Miyako, you may want to opt for one of their set menus instead and let chef do the combination creating for you. You can choose from three different pre-fixe dinners or if you’re looking to indulge, the premium kaiseki dinner is worth looking into. Just remember, this particular keiseki order needs to be requested two days in advance. Also, every month, the restaurant creates a seasonal kaiseki offering, limited to 20 orders per night.

For bigger groups, private tatami rooms (seating from six to 24 people) are also available at the restaurant.


Miyako Restaurant
New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
2863 Kalakaua Ave.
[D:12 Waikiki Map]
(808) 921-7077

Open for Dinner: 5:30 – 9 p.m. (Closed Tuesday)

Private Parties: Miyako offers private tatami rooms for parties of six to 24.

Photos courtesy of Miyako Restaurant