My friend Sara is leaving me. She and Justin, her boyfriend, are moving to New York. I don’t know why the hell I bothered investing so much time into our relationship when I knew she was going to leave me anyway. For her going away dinner I was like, “yeah, I’m totally there, but if you can try to keep it affordable.” I should of known better. The Garlic Restaurant is their favorite restaurant in all of Oahu. After my first visit, I now know why.


This place looks like it was once a nice size house turned into a restaurant. There’s seating out front, on what looks like what once was a spacious patio (picture above) and seating inside.


The ambiance is a fusion between Asian and outdoor patio. Somehow they made it work. I think it was the nice mood lighting that made the place seem so charming and pleasantly attractive.


I’m not going to lie to you guys. This place is expensive. It’s very important that everybody knows this and now that you do, lets carry on. Also, it’s important to mention that every dish here contains garlic so if your a garlic whore, you will fill right at home here.
We started off with Garlic Toast, $8.00. The garlic toast here is done differently than I’ve ever seen. It arrives at the table nice and hot with two rolls standing straight up. The server, uses his tools to shove this garlic mix into the roll and once it was stuffed to his liking he cuts it up and places it ever so gently on top of eachother. Very interesting and entertaining I must say.



And there you have it, the end result. How did it taste? Can anyone say salty. Now for the record, I’m extremely sensitive to salt and I’m not one to take advice from when it comes to garlic bread. In my opinion, garlic bread in general is too salty. Now if your a garlic bread whore, don’t deny it, this would blow your fucking mind


Ninniku-Ya Seafood Crab Cakes, $10.00. One word, Orgasmic. If you’ve never had these balls, then you haven’t lived. I don’t care how old you are. As soon as I took a bite, that was it, the first day of my life started. Wow, is this what if feels like to be a born again Christian? This feels good, real good. These crab balls had real actual chunks of crab in it, not just mixed in batter like most crab cakes. Ray, he wont be happy if I tell you this but I’m going to anyway. He dropped a piece of it on the table and picked it up and still ate it. He didn’t think I saw him but I did. Sorry honey, I saw you, that’s disgusting.


We also ordered Fresh Carpaccio, $16.00. This dish was mouth water. It was tender, flavorful, and just simply delectable.


You know I couldn’t wait till dessert to have my dessert. For the last of our pupus I ordered a creme brulee. This was the reject dish and it sucks that it had to be dessert. Does this look like creme brulee to anyone? Creme brulee is suppose to have a hard sugar coating. One of the best parts of this dessert is cracking into it with a spoon. There was no crack because there was not a proper layer of crispy sugar on top. Not only was there not a proper layer of sugar, but it was pretorched and left in the refrigerator until it was ordered. How horrible is that? So what little sugar was there was chewy and stuck like tar on the ends of everyone’s tooth. And the creme brulee itself was lumpy, like it had coagulated from being in the fridge for too long. They really should of saved their good name and reputation and told me they were out. Lie to me, I understand. This was by far the worst creme brulee I have ever encountered.


Time to get down to the nitty gritty, or main course. Everything looked so good that I suggested that we all share, everyone agreed. This is the Garlic Pasta, $16.00, tossed in a garlic butter wine sauce with bacon and chili pepper. This dish was a bit dry, but still really good. If your crazy about bacon you love this because not only does it have lots bacon, but its the real big thick pieces of bacon, not the skinny thin ones.



Seafood Risotto, $28.00, a mixture of tiger shrimp, mussels, scallops, calamari, and salmon with a choice of saffron or gorgonzola risotto. This was a winner in everyone’s eyes. This dish had a creamy classy style that stayed hot to the very last bite.


First off I want to apologize for the horrible picture. There was a lot of movement going on, and a lot of pressure weighed on me to take a picture before the waiter finish slicing up the rack of lamb. It came on a piping hot sizzling platter. The lamb chops were accompanied with a scoop of mash potato and three slices of squash with half a cherry tomato on top. The waiter sliced up the chops right before my eyes and then placed the mash potato and squash on a separate plate. Again, very entertaining.

Did I mention the massive load of whole garlic pieces that came along with the rack of lamb? Hope you love garlic because it made up for the sorry amount of lamb we got. Sara and Justin said that they ordered this dish before and it was always bigger. So I guess this time was just a fluke. However, the the four pieces of lamb we did get was delicious. If your in the mood for meat order the rib eye steak or New York Steak, both 16 oz each, and looked massive as we all stared in awe at the table next to us that ordered the dish.

Here’s the mashed potato and squash after the sizzle. The mash potatoes had a crispy bottom that slightly cracked with each bite. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was pleasantly welcomed.

A trio of spices came with the lamb for some added flavor and variety.

Overall I have to say, despite the creme brule I was thrilled with this place. Services was professional, ambiance was elegant, food was amazing, and prices were, lets say challenging.

You guys ready for a quick story? So after dinner we walk out front to take pictures of the front of the place for this food blog. As were walking to the back where our car is parked I peeked my camera over the fence between some plants to take a picture of the front dinning patio. Well, I guess some customers there thought that I was being rude taking pictures of them so while we were driving out of the parking lot we were stopped by some young little Asian female that stood right in the middle of our path. Never underestimate the powder of little Asian females. She calls out, “there they are!” And who comes to her rescue, an old Caucasian man who looks just like a pedophile I seen on Dateline with Chris Hansen. He gives us a wave and sarcasticly goes, “hey, how you guys doing? Having a nice night?” as he flashes pictures of us with his camera. We wave back, smile for the camera and run them over, at least that’s what I want and encourage Ray to do, because I’m a little Asian female too. “Run them over honey, thats an easy 20 points!” But instead, we smile, drive off as we laugh our asses off and think, “what the fuck?” No one ever said food blogging was an easy job. Here’s the shitty picture I got for all that trouble.


Does anyone see the little gecko in the bottom left hand corner?



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Garlic Restaurant Ninniku-Ya

3196 Waialae Ave,
, HI

(808) 735-0784

4 Responses to “Garlic Restaurant Ninniku-Ya”

  1. Cheap Places to Eat in Oahu Hawaii » Blog Archive » The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Says:

    [...] the disappointing creme brulee at the Garlic Restaurant we decided to have dessert elsewhere. I remembered a few days before Ray and I had this awesome [...]

  2. Sara Zeidenberg Says:

    you know you miss me. this meal was great…even though we didn’t get hooked up like auntie’s, fuckin expensive. good thing it was a goodbye meal for me and i didnt have to pay…booyaa. ps it was carbonara pasta with the bacon. mmmm.

    and eff the creme brulee!

  3. Cheap Places to Eat in Oahu Hawaii Says:

    [...] with a nice golden skin on both sides. The best crab cakes on the island is still from the Garlic Restaurant, but these had really nice presentation, which is always a good [...]

  4. oahu garlic restaurant Says:

    [...] [...]

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