Kalihi Eats: Pancakes & Waffles

Several Fridays ago we decided to have breakfast for lunch at the new Pancakes & Waffles in City Square Shopping Center in the heart of Kapalama, Kalihi, a.k.a. “The center of Hawaii’s food  universe”, a.k.a. “God’s Country”. I for one LOVE breakfast food and can eat it any time of day. Portuguese Sausage, Eggs and Rice for dinner? Shoots, hook me up! Breakfast Cereal for a midnight snack? Make me a bowl, please.

As always, first let’s check the place out…

Pancakes & Waffles is located in the stand-alone strip building on the makai (ocean side) end of City Square Shopping Center, across from Young’s Fish Market, Utage and Sugoi’s.

Apparently the word is out, as several fellow Yelpers mentioned this place being packed with a crowd on their visits. Which held true, as when we arrived, every table had been taken, yet thankfully one group had just left and we scored a place to sit.

There’s seating throughout the establishment that’s on a first come, first serve basis…

The way the “system” works here is you go up to the service counter and place your order, to which you are given a number in a table stand. From here you find a table (or preferably have someone hold one for you while you take the order) and place the number on your table. A food runner will then bring your order to your table when it comes out. Fountain drinks are self-serve, while they also have refrigerated bottled beverages, hot coffee, tea and cocoa.

Without further ado, here’s the menu (click image to enlarge to full legible size)…

Must say, that’s quite a spread. What’s interesting is the variety of ethnic options, including Portuguese Vinha D’alhos (Vee’na Doash), Japanese Azuki and Korean Kal Bi. Then they throw in the Southern twist with Fried Chicken and Waffles. Gotta’ love that! In fact, in hindsight, I wish I had ordered that, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Getting to our order on this first time visit, Diner A decided to try their Fried Rice Loco Moco…

Pancakes & Waffles – Fried Rice Loco Moco: Brown gravy all over homemade hamburger patty and delicious fried rice, then topped with two over-easy eggs. $6.95

Here’s a peek beneath the egg at the burger patty…

Diner E decided to try their Hamburger Patty and Eggs, which includes a short stack of Pancakes, while backing that up with a side order of fried rice…

Pancakes & Waffles – Hamburger Patty and Eggs with Short Stack of Pancakes and side order of Fried Rice.

Wow, I’m energized for the day just looking at all that! Either that, or ready to fall back asleep. lol

Here’s a closer look at each dish…

Finally, yours truly decided to try the P&W Special…

Pancakes & Waffles – P&W Special: Three egg omelet with ham, Portuguese sausage, tomato, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, potato, cheese and hollandaise sauce. Serve with short stack pancakes. $8.95

Talk about everything, including the kitchen sink! What swooned me was the mushrooms and the hollandaise sauce. Can’t go wrong with those two ingredients sharing the same plate!

Three egg omelet? Check. More eggs in the form of egg yolks and butter made into a sauce and poured on those three eggs? Triple bypass surgery check…

Let’s peek beneath the hood…

Aaaahhh…oooooohhhh…aaaaaahhhh, ooey-gooey, melting cheese all over that. This has got to be good. Upon trying it though, I found it a little over the top, which shouldn’t be a surprise. There’s really just too much going on here. No question very tasty, but simply over the top. Also, the Hollandaise sauce wasn’t anything spectacular, not tasting particularly buttery or rich, but more just adding thickness to the overall texture of the complex omelet ingredients. While I think the ham and Portuguese sausage was overkill as far as meats are concerned, as they sort of canceled each other out. Either one or the other would have been better.

Still, don’t get me wrong, overall it was a delicious omelet, and I’ll give it a very good 2 SPAM Musubi (equivalent to 7 out of 10 stars).

Now let’s try the pancakes, which are included with the omelet as one of the starch options to either rice, toast or home fries…

A side cup of aerated butter is brought along with each order of pancakes, while artificial Maple syrup (Mrs. Butterworth type) is provided in a squeeze bottle at each table.

Eh, they’re OK, but not the greatest pancakes in I’ve ever tasted. They’re not as fluffy and delicate as I had hoped, but a little more dense and chewy. Not on the extreme bad side, but enough to notice that. From what I hear, the benchmark pancake place is Liliha Bakery, which I have yet to try and confirm that claim. Still, this is a decent pancake and certainly a good value, considering you get three with your eggs and choice of meat or other accompaniments.

What I wish I had ordered in retrospect after observing those around me was the Honey Buttered Fried Chicken and Waffle. With that you get three HUGE HONKIN’ pieces of fried chicken on a waffle and smothered with Honey Butter Sauce. I tell you, it looked soooo ono! EVERYONE (4 people) on a table across from us had ordered that, so it’s gotta’ be good. Next time fo’ sho!

As for Diner E’s plate, he pretty much enjoyed everything enough to give his “Saimin Kaukau approved” 3 SPAM Musubi rating…

He noted the fried rice flavor was spot-on, but the rice was a bit undercooked and stiff.  Yet he still enjoyed it enough to finish all of it, which says it all.

Finally, Diner A really, really enjoyed his Loco Moco, noting the brown gravy was “onolicious”, with plenty of depth and character, while his Fried Rice was cooked more thoroughly than Diner E’s was…

He also gave a big thumbs-up to the homemade burger patty, noting the nicely seared edges and moist, yet thoroughly cooked doneness of the beefy-tasting ground beef, thank you very much. With that, he gives his Fried Rice Loco Moco a resounding 4 SPAM Musubi, adding that he’s eager to bring his family here one weekend for breakfast or brunch.

Pancakes & Waffles
1284 Kalani Street
Suite D100
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817

Tel. (808) 877-7770

Business hours: 6:30am to 2:30pm daily

Pancakes & Waffles menu (<—download PDF document; 1 page)

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase.


15 thoughts on “Kalihi Eats: Pancakes & Waffles

  1. i had the regular (non honey butter) chicken and waffles and i can attest that these are some amazing pieces of chicken.  they taste like they’re broasted.  waffles were fair.

  2. I’m conflicted with fried rice Loco Moco. While a runny yolk saturating a perfectly executed fried rice is divine, runny yolk, fried rice AND gravy may be overkill. Like that fantasy of having twins… while the Mrs is present. You KNOW they’re gonna CLASH!

  3. Pomai, when I was LA went to Rosco for Chicken and Waffles  From movie Rush Hour and Food Network.  I waited for over an hour so pack.  There another Chicken and Waffles in Oakland again pack.  I will this one too.

  4. Amy, based on Yelpers and our experience, chances are Pancakes & Waffles @ City Square in Kalihi will be packed as well when you get there. Best of luck getting a seat, otherwise order takeout.
    Ryan, while I can’t relate to your metaphor of having twins while the Mrs is present (where the heck did you get that one?!), I do understand what you’re saying about the gravy and the fried rice. Sounds like too much going on. Yet interestingly Diner A really enjoyed it. Perhaps you and I might think differently had we tried it.
    Dean, interesting that you mention the waffles (with the fried chicken) were only “fair”. That must mean they use the same batter for the pancakes, which I thought were also only “fair”.
    If that’s their name, they need to seriously improve the recipe, as it better be silky-light, fluffy and GREAT! Still, the fact you mention the fried chicken is excellent has that dish on my must-try list.
    Milton, so far I think Yotekko-Ya in McCully Shopping Center has the best Gyoza I’ve tried in recent memory. Why? Because it’s DEEP FRIED! Also, because they have bits of charsu that they use in their ramen in it! Really, really good. Not “off the charts” good, but really, really good.

  5. You really need to go to Liliha Bakery and sample those pancakes because any review of  pancakes is incomplete until you try the best. Go now they’re probably open. Well not on Mondays cuz they close.

  6. I agree that gravy over fried rice is, generally speaking, a waste of good fried rice.  However, I think Alan Wong’s Pineapple Room Loco Moco with fried rice does work because rather than a full-on brown gravy, they use a more subtle veal jus which, rather than overpowering the fried rice, nicely complements it.  That being said and in the spirit of Ryan’s earlier metaphor, I wouldn’t throw fried rice with gravy out of bed for eating crackers.

  7. tried going here on saturday and the line was soooo long! a sign of good business, but there were no tables. i’m pretty sure a lot of people were done eating and just squatting there. i hate that! especially when there’s a line of people waiting for a table…
    i ended up going across the way to have sugoi’s fried rice instead. it really is sugoi! yum! 🙂

  8. @Kyle,  Went to Pineapple Room recently and they have changed their veal jus to a thicker more traditional  gravy.  When we asked the waiter if they changed the sauce, they claimed no.  He even went to ask the exec chef.  Very disappointed.  Its not the same.

  9. Black greasy ham & eggs from a dirty grill, bland doughy pancakes with tasteless syrup, all on sytrofam plates; no milk or half & half for the coffee, no lemons for ice tea. If you can’t do breakfast, don’t. The Original (and still the best) Pancake House is right around the corner by McDs. Try the Spanish omelet with a side of Portuguese sausage. Avoid this dump, though.

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