It’s true. The best. That’s their slogan, and I agree!
Most places that sell Poke usually have it made in advance in large service pans on display in refrigerator cases, deli style. The problem with this is, if you don’t get there early when it was just made, after hours of sitting, the salt and/or shoyu in the marinade tends to eventually “cook” the delicate raw fish, causing it to stiffen and lose that buttery texture. The onions get soggy too. Eventually, the moisture in the fish escapes and makes the marinade watery, and just overall not good Poke.
Enter Ono Seafood, where the Poke is always made-to-order using fresh, top quality ingredients.
Ono Seafood is a small hole-in-the-wall store located on the ground floor of an inconspicuous low-rise apartment complex about halfway up (or down, depending where you’re coming from) on the Diamond Head (east) side of Kapahulu Avenue. Blink or sneeze and you can easily miss it. A recognizable landmark to help find them is Shell Gas Station; Ono Seafood is just next door makai-bound.
If you’re not familiar where Kapahulu avenue is, it’s on the east end of Waikiki, so it’s nearby if you’re a visitor staying in a hotel in that area.
Oh, and do not confuse Ono Seafood here with Ono Hawaiian Food, which is just a few blocks makai (towards the ocean) on the same street. Ono Hawaiian Food is a small restaurant that specializes in exactly what it’s named: “Ono Hawaiian Food”!
Upon entering this very small store, to your left is a refrigerator stocked with various dried and smoked seafood pupus. More on that later. There’s also a refrigerator display case in front next to the service counter that’s mostly empty, except to store the whole tako and slabs of Ahi to be to sliced up for the made-to-order poke. Visually, very low key.
Here you can see the very straight forward menu board…
As you see, the Ahi Poke is currently $12 per pound, which is on the high end, but believe when I say, this poke is worth every single ounce, right down to the last little piece of ogo.
If you look at the bottom center of the menu, those are the ingredients you select to go into your poke. Very simple, yet so effective. Choose White Onion, Green Onion, Hawaiian Salt, Chili Pepper, Kukui Nut, Sesame Oil, Ogo and Shoyu. Choose all of the above, or some of the above. Up to you. It’s all included in the current $12/lb. price. Once you tell them what you want in it, they quickly combine each ingredient in a mixing bowl, toss it up, put in the container, weigh it and it’s done. Very fast.
We always choose everything except the Kukui Nut, only because my girlfriend doesn’t care for that. Otherwise, I’d throw that in too. You can order it in quarter, half, three-quarter, or one pound-plus increments of quantity.
Trust me, order at least a pound. After one bite, you’ll want much, much more! This Poke has got to arguably not only be the best Ahi Poke in Honolulu, but on the entire island or state! The bite from the chili pepper, aroma from the sesame oil, and crunchy texture of the onions and ogo are just a magical combination with the top-quality Ahi, which just melts in your mouth like “buttah”… like “BUTTAH” I tell ya! The made-to-order freshness can’t be beat. The pictures here don’t even do it justice. You have to get some from there and try it yourself.
A good tip if you’re buying poke from here is to bring a small cooler with ice and keep it chilled and keep is as fresh as can be. This is very important. Poke sitting in the trunk of a car sitting in the hot sun? Not good. Ice cold Poke? Good! Ono!
Now let’s look what’s in that refrigerator to the left…
Dried Ahi and Spicy Smoked Tako
Dried Tako, Dried Shrimp (Opae), Smoked Tako and Boiled Peanuts
Tako Kama, Fish Jerky, Namasu and Kinilau
Kukui Nuts (Inamona)
Good Lord, this is heaven. Folks, if someone shows up to your party with a cooler full of the stuff above, make friends with them… really good friends. lol!
Their boiled peanuts are the bomb too. Nice and el dente, still slightly crunchy, with the perfect balance of salt and wetness. They run $2.50 per pound.
Best of all they’re consistent. We go here at least two or three times a month for the Ahi Poke, and it’s always top notch. For real, Ono Seafood is where to go for the best Poke in Honolulu. Guaranz!
Ono Sea Food Products, Inc.
747 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
The Tasty Island rating:
(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)
• Ono Seafood– Yelp user review listing