Ono Hawaiian BBQ


2013 Update

We’ve been going to Ono from time to time over the years.  The food is consistently good.  The fried seafood is a particularly good value, given how much fish & chips costs elsewhere.  You can get the occasional flier with coupons.

My favorite dish is the chicken katsu, but I recommend getting a combo as otherwise the flavors get boring.

2005 Review

In the last year or so a plethora of Hawaiian BBQ restaurants have opened in San Leandro. While the first one to open, Aloha BBQ, was quite good, all the other ones we’ve tried since have been a disappointment. Ono Hawaiian BBQ, which recently opened in Palma Plaza, is somewhat better than the rest, though still not as good as Aloha.
We got take-out from there a couple of weeks ago, and we went for the Hawaiian BBQ Mix ($7.30), which included chicken, beef and short ribs. The meat was of similar quality to the other places: low. The beef and short ribs were fatty and chewy, while the chicken had hints of that weird, canned-chicken-like consistency that I find so unappealing. It seems almost universal at Hawaiian restaurants, so I may just have to conclude that I don’t like Hawaiian food. That said, I did enjoy the spicing of the meats.
I’m willing to give Ono another try, but I’ll probably try something different.
Update 10/14. I went to Ono for lunch today and I got a mini-plate of the chicken katsu (about $4.50) It was a very generous portion for being a “mini”. The chicken was that reconstituted kind I mentioned before, but the weird texture wasn’t as apparent under the breading. The breading was light and yet pretty dry. By itself the chicken was boring, but the katsu sauce improved it. I’d get it again on a pinch.
I ate in the restaurant which is quite nicely appointed with granite-style tables and modern light-wood chairs. All the food is served in styrophone take-out containers, which makes it hard to cut and eat.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ
13808 E.14th St., Suite C
San Leandro, CA


7 Comments on “Ono Hawaiian BBQ”

  1. Kiri says:

    I tried the restaurant once, being a recent transplant from Hawaii, I can say that this restaurant is “Hawaii plate lunch themed” but not truly a Hawaii Plate lunch restaurant. It was all right. No salt, pepper or tabasco on the condiment table. We don’t use that Vietnamese hot sauce on plate lunches. The mac salad was right on target. Don’t need to assume that you don’t like Hawaii food, the meat should be good quality and it sounds like reflection of the restaurant, not of Hawaii food in general. BTW, this is not “Hawaiian food” this is local Hawaii plate lunch food. Hawaiian food is totally different, although it lends some of it’s influences to the plate lunch.

  2. AC says:

    Love Ono Hawaiian BBQ Teryaki Sauce, it is the best. Trying to find a recipe that is very similar. Can you help? Thanks.

  3. Sarah says:

    If you think Ono Hawaiin BBq is good you need to try SEOUL GRINDZ in glendale in the market place off of brand blvd. Now that is real hawaiin bbq and great value too. check it out =)

  4. James says:

    You can get Ono’s teryaki sauce at any asian market. they use kikkoman, I saw it in the back when i was looking for the bathroom, so does L & L and Hawaiian Driveway.

  5. Kristy says:

    I have to agree with the earlier post who pointed out this isn’t Hawaiian food, it’s Hawaiian plate lunch. Beyond that, plate lunches aren’t for everyone. To me, and my Hawaiian soul, it’s comfort food. I find Ono’s food and meat (and Waikiki’s for that matter) to be on par quality-wisewith what I’ve found at L&Ls and other plate lunch places both here and in the islands. I find the food pretty tasty as do most of my Hawaiian friends.

  6. aaa says:

    haha i work at Ono. and i’ve heard most of these comments before. and i’ve also been to hawaii. and i agree that real hawaiian food is very different. but for our menu, i’d recommend the bbq chicken burger. it’s really good. and as for the macaroni salad…just letting you all know that there’s tuna and onions in it…….yea i couldn’t taste those hidden ingredients when i first tried it either. personally…i like Shakas. it’s another of those many hawaiian resturants that you probably wouldn’t be able to find in hawaii.

  7. Kevin Moore says:

    Sounds like a wonderful place. As a bbq nut, I keep a virtual black book of places to visit when I travel and this has definitely been added to my ‘must visit’ list. I am in Alabama and we LOVE our comfort food and Hawaiian plate food sounds very comforting.

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