One of the things that makes working in downtown Honolulu so great is the variety of restaurants available for lunch. Just about every type of ethnic cuisine can be found within walking distance of Bishop Street as you head to Chinatown or towards Aloha Tower Marketplace. And while I enjoy eating dim sum at Mei Sum, pho at Pho My Lan, a tasty burger at Murphy’s Bar and Grill, or a great piece of fresh fish at Cafe Julia, sometimes all I want to eat is a great salad.
And that’s where Downtown @ the HiSAM comes into the picture. Literally in the photo above. Tucked away on the ground floor of the Hawaii State Art Museum, chef/owner Ed Kenney‘s Downtown is a lunchtime favorite for the movers and shakers of Honolulu and visitors alike. It’s common to see politicians, business executives, and entrepreneurs in the dining room enjoying dishes featuring the freshest, locally sourced food from across the state. The menu here is great and dining in is always a treat. As Kenney’s motto goes: “Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always.”
But if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to sit down for lunch, take advantage of Downtown’s ASAP Counter, which offers a nice selection of paninis (my favorite is the pastrami), quiches, and an antipasti salad bar that even a non-vegetable eater would enjoy.
Each day, the “salad bar” changes depending on the produce available and inspiration from the kitchen has a way of elevating the simplest carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and kabocha pumpkin to “broke da mout” status. For $9.50 (plus tax), the salad plate includes a nice bed of fresh MA’O Organic Farms sassy greens, four choices of antipasti (there’s usually 8-10 choices available daily), and a nice slice of bread. With the variety and offerings changing daily, it’s quite possible to enjoy a different salad everyday.
Are there cheaper salad options in downtown? Of course. A few co-workers religiously ate salads from a certain fast food restaurant in the area which run about $7 a pop. However, after introducing them to Downtown, they have come to agree that spending a couple more dollars is worth it for the variety, freshness and deliciousness found there. I’m certain you will too.
Downtown @ the HiSAM
250 Hotel Street, 1st Floor (in the Hawaii State Art Museum)
Honolulu, HI 96813
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., First Fridays: 5:30-9:30 p.m.
No parking available at HiSAM. Park in metered street stalls or in garages in the area like Alii Place.
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