Californians have a special relationship with Hawaii. And our cousin to the west has close ties to Pacific-Rim cuisine that have strongly influenced our own culinary landscape with a comfort-food twist. Think Spam musubi, Hawaiian barbecued ribs or loco moco (fried eggs, hamburger, rice and gravy).
That’s why new Hawaiian restaurants are always much anticipated in Sonoma County. Two new spots are on the horizon — Hapa’s Mainland in Larkfield and Luau Hawaiian BBQ, a new Hawaiian restaurant near Oliver’s Market on Stony Point.
Hapa’s is a new project from the owners of Sweet T’s Restaurant in Windsor. The newly constructed restaurant is located on the grounds of the former Cricklewood Restaurant (4618 Old Redwood Highway), which burned down in 2017, along with many homes in the nearby Mark West Springs area.
“Hawaii is a melting pot of ethnic cultures, and nowhere is this influence more profound than in its cuisine: a fusion of Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Filipino and Chinese influences,” says the forthcoming restaurant’s website (hapasmainland.com). “Hapa’s will merge the attraction of Hawaiian-inspired cuisine, the warmth and hospitality of the aloha spirit and beautiful island design to transport our guests to the Big Island.”
The restaurant will have a tiki lounge featuring an extensive rum and sake selection and will be “an elevated but approachable dining experience fit to become a neighborhood favorite,” according to the website. More details to come, but the restaurant is anticipated to open in 2024.
The new Hawaiian restaurant near Oliver’s Market (447 Stony Point Road), Luau Hawaiian BBQ, is still under construction, with few details other than signage announcing the new eatery.
Here are some other great Hawaiian-inspired restaurants in Sonoma County:
Kapu Bar: A richly themed tiki bar with a pan-Asian/Hawaiian menu. Best bets include garlic chicken, adobo rice, poke nachos, fried noodles and their authentic Mai Tai. 132 Keller St., Petaluma, 707-559-3665, kapubar.com
Hawaiian Grill & BBQ: Walk into what looks like a chicken-wing restaurant, and you’ll find a hidden Hawaiian barbecue menu. There’s nothing fancy here, but the barbecue chicken, chicken katsu and short ribs are legit. 342-A Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa, 707-308-4294, hawaiiangrillbbq.com
Ohana Hawaiian Barbecue: The half-and-half combos are a steal at this casual chain restaurant. Favorites include kalua pork with cabbage, chicken katsu and pineapple chicken. The macaroni salad is the best in the area. Saimin (noodle soup), spam musubi and Hawaiian Sun juice are a taste of the islands. 2150 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-571-8882, ohanasantarosa.com. Also located at 205 S. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma.
Aloh-o: A quick-bite stop for fried takoyaki and popcorn chicken. Serviceable ramen, poke and sushi rolls plus bubble tea. 2032 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-303-7008, aloh-o.com