Wondering where Honolulu's insiders are eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to analyze which eateries have been getting a notable uptick in attention this month.
To find out who made the list, we looked at Honolulu businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance.
Read on to see which spots have the momentum heading into back-to-school season.
Rocky Japanese Steak Teppan Restaurant
Open since November 2018, this steakhouse and teppanyaki spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "Steakhouses" on Yelp.
Citywide, steakhouses saw a median 1.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Rocky Japanese Steak Teppan Restaurant saw an 18% increase, maintaining a solid four-star rating throughout.
It's not the only trending outlier in the steakhouse category: Tony Roma's has seen a 6.7% increase in reviews.
Located at 2005 Kalia Road in Waikiki, Rocky Japanese Steak Teppan Restaurant offers Teppan-style Japanese cuisine prepared at your table. Menu items include prawn tempura, lobster, steak, scallops, teriyaki chicken and more.
Rocky Japanese Steak Teppan Restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–10 p.m. daily.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Liliha-Kapalama's Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ, the well-established Japanese and Asian fusion spot, which offers barbecue and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "Japanese" on Yelp saw a median 1.6% increase in new reviews over the past month, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ bagged a 12.1% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a convincing four-star rating.
Open at 1339 N. School St. since October 2018, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ offers miso soup, Japanese pork sausage, poke, Japanese fried chicken and more.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.
Paia Fish Market Waikiki
Waikiki's Paia Fish Market Waikiki is also making waves. Open since November 2018 at 2299 Kuhio Ave., the popular New American spot, which offers seafood and fish and chips, has seen a 9.3% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.5% for all businesses tagged "Seafood" on Yelp.
There's more than one hot spot trending in Honolulu's seafood category: Zigu has seen a 7.9% increase in reviews.
Paia Fish Market Waikiki offers fish tacos, seafood pasta, blackened sashimi and more. Over the past month, it's maintained a strong 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.
Paia Fish Market Waikiki is open from 10:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily.
Waikiki's Ice Monster is the city's buzziest dessert spot by the numbers.
The popular spot to score desserts and shaved ice, which opened at 2255 Kūhiō Ave. in January, increased its new review count by 18.4% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 2.2% for the Yelp category "Desserts."
Ice Monster Hawaii offers shaved ice desserts in flavors like coffee, tapioca, mango, papaya, matcha and more.
Ice Monster Hawaii is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.
Waikiki's well-established Shorefyre is currently on the upswing in the New American category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month, this New American spot increased its new reviews by 15.6% — and kept its rating consistent at 3.5 stars.
Open for business at 2330 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 396 since December 2018, Shorefyre offers Hawaiian French toast, egg Benedicts, ahi poke tacos, açaí bowls and more.
Shorefyre is open from 8 a.m.–2 a.m. daily.