Best in East and West: Kapiʻolani and Leeward CC fine-dining restaurants

University of Hawaiʻi
Susan A Lee, (808) 956-5852
Director of Marketing and Communications, Office of the VP for Community Colleges
Kathleen Cabral, (808) 455-0524
Director of Marketing & Communications, Leeward Community College
Posted: Oct 24, 2013

The Pearl culinary students at the 'Ilima Awards.
The Pearl culinary students at the 'Ilima Awards.
Ka 'Ikena Laua'e 'Ilima Award.
Ka 'Ikena Laua'e 'Ilima Award.

Kapiʻolani and Leeward Community Colleges' fine-dining restaurants were recognized by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's dining and food writers with a special ʻIlima Award, the "Rising Stars Perpetual Award" for consecutive years of outstanding student-run restaurants.

Kapiʻolani's Ka ʻIkena Lauaʻe and Leeward's The Pearl restaurants were praised by the food writers for a superb dining experience with highly sophisticated menus and low prices.

"We're delighted to be able to share the efforts of our culinary students with the public through our restaurant and thrilled to be recognized with an 'Ilima Award," said Frank Haas, dean of hospitality, business and legal education at Kapi'olani CC. "The multiple awards for the community college system bodes well for the future of culinary arts in the state."

According to Leeward Chancellor Manny Cabral, "The Pearl" was the first UH campus restaurant to receive an ʻIlima Award in 2011-2012 and continues to receive accolades now for three years in a row for its sophisticated and quality luncheon menu offerings.

"I am so incredibly proud of the students, faculty and staff of our Culinary Arts Program," said Chancellor Manny Cabral. "It's wonderful to have their efforts in striving for culinary excellence acknowledged in this significant way."

The Pearl restaurant at Leeward Community College is one of the few options in fine dining available on the west side of Oʻahu. The restaurant is open for lunch only Wednesdays through Fridays. The menu changes every two weeks. The Pearl is offering a special Thanksgiving Buffet on Nov. 20, 21, 22 and a Special Events Dinner (five-course dinner with wine pairings) on Nov. 15, 2013. Call 455-0475 for reservations, or visit

Located on the east side of Oʻahu at Kapiʻolani Community College, the Ka ʻIkena Lauaʻe restaurant offers a continental menu for lunch that changes weekly, and an Asian influenced dinner. The dinner is a four-course prix-fixe at $28 to $32, starting Nov. 6, 2013. For reservations, call 734-9499 until 4:30 p.m., 734-9488 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. or visit the website at