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Kiawe Grill

Kiawe Grill in Kalihi (1311 N. King St.)

Today was my first ever visit to Kiawe Grill in Kalihi. This hole-in-the-wall has received rave reviews over their Kiawe-grilled burgers and interesting menu selection which includes exotic meats such as Buffalo and Ostrich. What separates them from everyone else the most is their live, Kiawe-burning grill. We’re not talking charcoal with little pieces of wood in the pit… we’re talking solid Kiawe flame-dancing LOGS. It’s a vintage grill made of solid steel with a thick iron cooking grate and wood-burning pit below. Next time I go, if the owner is there, I’ll ask to get a picture of it.

Last week my buddies went there and this is what they ordered…

Kiawe Grill Pulehu Teri Burger Steak (small) -$5.95

Small plates allow you to pick and choose any choice of vegetables up to 12 oz. in weight.

Korean BBQ Beef (regular) on rice with 4 choice vegetables – $7.25

Regular plates allow you to select and serve your own vegetables up to 1 lb. Wow!

Self-serve Korean vegetable station

The vegetable station is located in front, kept in an open-access refrigerator. There’s a scale above to weigh your selection. Up to 12 oz. for small plates and 16 oz. for regular. That’s ALOT of veggies! Their Kim Chee and Korean-style marinated shoyu potatoes are awesome!

The BBQ Beef shown above is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. My friend gave me a few samples. So tender and that smokey, grilled flavor.. broke da’ mout!

My other buddy also really enjoyed his Teri Burger plate. Also very smokey, Kiawe-grilled flavor.. a guaranteed trademark taste you’ll experience at this place. Love it.

It was so good, they wanted to return again today and I went with them. This is what I ordered..

Cheeseburger Deluxe 8 oz. – $4.95

The cheeseburger deluxe is made from a hand-made 8 oz. patty, grilled to medium and topped with cheese (on the bottom side), relish (instead of pickle), ketchup and mustard, onion, lettuce and tomato, with a spread of mayo’ inside the nicely crusted, soft bun. Next time I’ll have them omit the relish and ketchup and mustard. That was only thing I didn’t care for.

As a whole, the burger was flavorful, juicy and so big, I only could finish half of it along with the steak-cut fries I ordered with it (to follow). I tell you, when they say Kiawe Grill, that’s not just a name. Even the burger had a recognizable smokey flavor. The only thing that would have made more perfect were if I had been on a beach to enjoy eating it! Supah ono.

Steak-cut Fries – $2.15

Now THIS is what you call fries. Thick, GBD. They were a little “stiff” on the outside, but still really ono. The portion is very generous for just $2 bucks.

My buddies thoroughly enjoyed these items today…

Mini Bento (BBQ Chicken, Beef, Fish, Mandoo & Spam) – $4.95

BBQ Pork (small) – $6.25

The menu board looks like something that came off the wall at Duke’s in Waikiki..

Nicely engraved Koa-looking (or is real?) wood. This is just the burger section. It’s actually 3x’s wider than this.

Kiawe Grill’s Kalihi location is located at 1311 N. King st., next door to Diners, just before the post office near Farrington High School. Their a few doors down from several other restaurants in a small air conditioned space with a few tables for dining in.

I want to go back and try some of the exotic stuff like the pulehu Kobe Beef, Buffalo, Venison and Ostrich patties.

I’ve now added K.G. to my list of “preferred destination” lunch hour restaurants. Highly recommended!

Kiawe Grill
1311 N. King St.

2334 S. King St.

Tasty Island Rating:

6 thoughts on “Kiawe Grill

  • October 7, 2006 at 4:35 am

    I used to live near the one on Moiliili, and my boyfriend and I loved their kobe burger and buffalo burger. I always ordered the buffalo burger and it is great, with all the fixings and a peppery seasoning. I’ve never had an actual plate, the burgers were always calling!

  • October 8, 2006 at 3:46 am

    oh pomai … this is a great entry with so many photos. i really enjoy reading your entries about our local eateries! i’ve never been to kiawe grill. the bbq looks awesome … i like that smoky flavor in meats. that’s a lot of food for the price. the mini looks really filling already .. and ono at that! the bbq meat looks well soaked (i like that) and they give a nice size serving. it was good that the veggies are separate … as you mentioned ..can save some for laters. someitmes, i use my leftovers and make a korean fried rice! yummy !

    thanks for the lead … i’ll try to head that way for lunch one day.

  • October 8, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve never stopped at Kiawe Grill, despite driving by it a thousand times. Clearly, I’ve been missing out.

  • October 9, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    Great review. Between your’s and Reid’s reviews I have to definitely visit this place. My mouth is watering and it’s only 9:30 AM.

  • October 11, 2006 at 6:51 am

    Oh wow…

    I’m so happy that Hawaiian cuisine is taking off here in SoCal, ’cause now I can satisfy some of the cravings your post just gave me. Nice work!

    – Chubbypanda

  • May 4, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Yummy yummy! I’ve been having trouble to satisfying my Ono cravings ever since a recent trip from Hawaii.

    Thankfully I found Ono Charcoal to buy here in Socal…one bag of kiawe charcoal @ home is the only way to come anywhere close! Has anyone else tried the Ono charcoal @ barbeques galore??


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