The word “plate lunch” often brings on a negative connotation for the health-conscious consumer. That’s because a typical one is usually packed with high-caloric foods, like chicken katsu, mac salad and loco moco with gravy all over.

However, there’s a place in Honolulu that puts a healthier spin on plate lunches called Kakaako Kitchen. The to-go eatery incorporates a variety of fresh ingredients from local farmers, fishermen and businesses. It also offers healthier options, such as brown rice and greens instead of white rice and mac salad.

Kakaako Kitchen is well-known for their fresh island fish and tofu. They buy from the Honolulu Fish Auction and purchase locally-made tofu from the Uyehara family business, Aloha Tofu. Some of Kakaako’s popular protein dishes include the seared ahi wrap and sautéed mahimahi fillet.

Seating is really laid-back here. Customers seat themselves after getting a number to put on their tables. The eatery has both indoor and outdoor seating, which is nice because on those muggy Kona wind days, the inside gets pretty stuffy. That, and the heat from all that cooking in the kitchen.

The only fallback to Kakaako’s menu would be that it changes so often, it’s not a guarantee your favorite dish will be there the next time you return. I used to come here specifically for the turkey wrap and fries; however, it seems as if that has been replaced with the ahi wrap. Instead, I got the Kakaako Kobb Salad, which has grilled veggies, avocados, olives, hard-boiled eggs and basil bleu cheese vinaigrette.

Overall, Kakaako remains consistent in its good-quality food and excellent service. It is a nice change from the usual eateries near Ala Moana or Waikiki because of the healthier options it offers to customers. Plus, they use eco-friendly plate lunch containers, as opposed to those Styrofoam ones…yuck.

KAKAAKO KITCHEN

• 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814 • 808-596-7488 • www.kakaakokitchen.com

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