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“A local gem”

Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii
Ranked #21 of 107 Restaurants in Wailuku
Cuisines: Japanese
Restaurant details
Reviewed March 15, 2014 via mobile

Literally a hole in the wall...but the best hole in the wall you can find. Mom and pop shops are rare now days but Ichiban is definitely a favorite. Chicken katsu with nishime rice and salted cabbage is my familys favorite, but they have many other japanese favorites on the menu as well as catering. Prices did go up about a dollar but its expected. Love love love wailuku ichiban.Just parking is a problem. (Take out only) Its better to go with 2 people.

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Thank helaconst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 - 35 of 37 reviews

Reviewed March 31, 2013

You need to pay with cash only. The food was great, but if you have issues about cleanliness, you might want to go to a fancy place. This is more of a mom and pop-type place. Take out only. Friendly staff.

Thank goftheu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2012

My friends and I eat here all the time, lunch is $6-9. Their catering is very reasonable, about 9-10 a person for 3 main dishes, with salad, and noodles, rice. I threw a party and ordered roast pork, chicken tofu, shrimp tempura, and chicken katsu. The crowd loved it. They deliver and set it up, and provide the warmers and utensils, etc. Very convenient. It's a fast food type of place not a restaurant but they make it fresh right in front of you.

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Thank LeilanionMaui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2012

Ichiban Okazuya is traditional, Japanese, take-out only, Mom and Pop, hole-in-the-wall, well-respected, neighborhood restaurant. The dilapidated storefront is TINY – no indoor table or chairs. 3 folding chairs outside lean against the windows covered in handmade signs. 90% of the structure is devoted to the kitchen and prep area. Inside the wooden screen doors, maybe 4 diners can stand in front of the counter and order their plate lunches, soups, and carry-out meals. Patrons order, step outside, when the name is called, step back inside to pick up the order and pay (CASH only).

The parking is almost nonexistent – 4 legal diagonal spaces butt up to the narrow, sloping front sidewalk. Pulling in or out of the “parking lot” is not easy. Better to park nearby and walk to Ichiban Okazuya. The carry-out’s busiest times are lunch (10:30 AM – 1:00 PM) and after work (4 – 7 PM).

If the above paragraphs do not deter your interest in this fabulous local eatery – Let’s discuss the FOOD. The menu board above the counter lists the Japanese and Hawaiian dishes available OR you can look behind the glass fronted counter. See and smell the freshly prepared Hawaiian/Japanese dishes. The elder owners do not speak English very well, but pointing and holding your fingers up to indicate number of servings will translate into lip-smacking good eating. The menu prices include the 4.16% Hawaii state tax. For less than $8, you have a choice of a starch (rice or noodles) and 2 sides (meat/vegetables/macaroni salad). The portions are VERY GENEROUS. The diner can definitely get 2 meals out of each order.

A long-time Japanese local resident explains that Ichiban Okazuya seasons the food with the lighter touch on seasonings as used in Japan. Ichiban is closed Saturdays and Sundays. I drive by most weekends, and Ichiban’s doors are open and the lights are turned on. The owners prepare large pans of local onolicious cuisine to cater a local Japanese family event. Ichiban Okazuya’s homestyle food is well respected in Maui’s Japanese community.

Favorites behind the Ichiban counter are: Katsu Chicken – generous strips of skinless, boneless chicken thigh meat battered and deep fried and served with BBQ sauce on the side; chicken teriyaki; chow fun noodles; fried tofu ball; burdock root, also known as gobo root (not found in many Hawaii restaurants) – a high fiber, earthy, root vegetable; pickled vegetables; spicy kimchee; fried fish; beef stew; tempura shrimp; tempura veggies; soups, and way too many okazus to mention.

Ichiban Okazuya will never be described as fine dining. No Michelin stars or Zagat Survey recommendations found here. Ichiban is not a cookie cutter fast-food restaurant. There is no ambiance – just home-cooked food at wallet friendly prices. What I like most about Ichiban Okazuya are the unique flavors, fresh ingredients, prepared in small batches, by proud owners who care about what they serve their customers.

The service is friendly, quick and warm. The majority of Ichiban’s weekday revenue is derived from the local, state and federal government offices within a 4 block radius. The food is extremely popular with the Wailuku community residents. Why cook when one can pick up from Ichiban delicious, homemade favorites like Grandma use to make.

To find this hidden Wailuku gem, turn down Kaohu Street opposite the Wailuku Public Library (High Street or Highway 30). Drive 2 blocks and Ichiban Okazuya is on the right.

Wailuku’s Ichiban Okazuya is open from Monday through Friday, 10 AM until 8 PM, BUT closes daily between 2 - 4 PM. Ichiban is closed on all Federal and Hawaii state holidays.

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2  Thank MauiGlobeTrotters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2008

I eat there frequently when on Maui because the sushi is always fresh, the service is very friendly and efficient. Problems:like many "local" favorites, its dirty w/ no atmosphere and you have to go out in a back alley to access the restroom

Thank kholfeld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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