Lucky Belly is a modern, asian-fusion bistro in Chinatown in Honolulu. Dusty Grable and Jesse Cruz have created an amazing place, I recommend it as a very different experience for a Honolulu tourist.
The food menu is very spare, but full of wonderful flavors and creative twists. The drink menu is rich with well-curated vodka, whisky/whiskey, sake, and wine and beer lists. The house vodka is Russian Standard! The night we visited they had a new beer from a Trappist monastery in Austria and a 12-year old Japanese whisky. The staff is young, friendly, and knowledgeable, be sure to ask questions when you go. Details and presentation are top notch: the whisky was served with a large, square ice cube, perfectly sized to the glass. These folks really care about their bar program.
The bao appetizer was a delicious pillow of dough folded over the thick piece of pork belly, spiced and sauced just right, almost like a slider. The potsticker was another pleaser, filled with shrimp, and an avocado and edamame dip. The chicharron salad had sizeable cubes of meat attached to the crackling-crisp edge, delightful. A wonder was the greens and beet salad. The beet was presented as a napoleon with layers of beet and goat cheese. A fun starter was the seared shishito peppers sprinkled with bonito flakes on top, wispily moving with the heat rising from the peppers. The entrees are ramen bowls, like you’ve never had. The bowls are almost mixing bowl size with tasteful broth, fresh-tasting noodles, and flavorful fillings such as shrimp, kimchi, short ribs, or ox tails.
Lucky Belly is a popular lunch spot and is also open for dinner. The restaurant has won several Hale Aina awards, Honolulu magazine‘s local restaurant award. The location on Smith and Hotel might seem a little sketchy, but it’s worth the trip, and we saw plenty of police presence to keep things safe. There is some on-street parking in the neighborhood and parking decks nearby on Beretania and Maunakea.
The Livestock Tavern across the street is the place for classic American fare.
Have you been to Lucky Belly? What’s your favorite Honolulu spot?
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