9/16/2020 Update: The 2570 S Beretania Street #204 and 3111 Castle Street locations are temporarily closed.
Ahi Assassins is a popular spot in Honolulu for fresh poke, locally caught. It's a tiny hole in the wall, offering poke bowls, ahi plate lunch, and smoked dips. Here's everything you need to know before you go.
Fresh poke (especially in Hawaii!) hits the spot.
What Is Ahi Assassins
Poke bowls are so trendy on the mainland, but we've been eating this in Hawaii forever! The word "poke bowl" is a very mainland thing. In Hawaii we say, "want to get poke for lunch?" We never say, "want to get a poke bowl for lunch?" It's weird ^_^
Because poke bowls are now popular on the mainland (but originated in Hawaii), many visitors come to Hawaii looking for poke bowls. So now all the local poke places offer "poke bowls" on the menu to make it easier for visitors to understand.
Ahi Assassins opened in 2014 and is one of the most popular places in Hawaii for fresh poke and poke bowls. They're located near University of Hawaii, a 10-minute drive from Waikiki. It's a solid spot to pick up a quick lunch or beach snacks.
Note: see this post for more about poke, and the difference between mainland poke versus Hawaii poke.
What Makes Ahi Assassins Special
Fresh fish. This is why Hawaii poke tastes better in general. Nearly all casual poke bowl spots on the mainland use previously frozen fish. Many spots in Hawaii (but not all), use fresh fish. Ahi Assassins takes it another step further and catches fish (the owner is a fisherman). Good fish is key to good poke.
What To Get At Ahi Assassins
They have 3 sizes of poke bowls ranging from $10-16. I like to get the Regular Poke Bowl ($12) which comes with two scoops of rice and 7 ounces of poke. You can select white or brown rice (I do one scoop of each), which is topped with furikake.
They have a dozen different poke options. You can select two flavor choices for the poke bowl. I usually get a more classic poke and then a "fun" poke. My favorite "classic poke" is the Hawaiian Style, a traditional poke with sesame oil, limu, and inamona. (They also offer a spicy version of this which is called the Spicy Hawaiian). For the "fun poke" flavors, I like Shoyu Garlic and Paké Poke (ginger oil, green onions, and Chinese parsley).
Ahi Assassins offers only poke made from ahi, not any other type of fish. Don't expect to find salmon, tofu, or tako poke, etc.
Poke By The Pound
All poke here can be purchase as part of a poke bowl, or by itself (sold by the the pound). We actually purchase by the pound more often than getting a poke bowl. Get a few different poke option, take it home, cook rice, and eat with family!
They have several cooked fish options, including seared furikake ahi and baked ahi stuffed with crab. They're served plate lunch-style with two scoops of rice.
Dips and Jerky
Two other popular menu items include their smoked ahi dip (this makes a great bagel spread) and the dried aku aka fish jerky.
Where To Eat
Poke bowls are tricky. The poke is cold but the rice is hot. If you don't eat it right away, the poke turns lukewarm...and that is not so appealing.
The only option? Ask for the poke to be put in a separate container (and put it in a cooler in your car until you're ready to eat). OR. Eat it right away. There is no seating at Ahi Assassins so you'll need to get back in your car, roll the windows down, and eat there 🙂 I try to go on cooler/cloudy days because the parking lot isn't shaded.
Ahi Assassins: Insider Tips
- Plan ahead - there's no seating so you'll need a place to eat asap (before the poke gets lukewarm). Options: eat it in your car or ask for the poke to be packed separate. Some people say that you can eat it at the dessert/tea cafe downstairs if you order something there (I haven't tried doing that yet 🙂 ).
- Try go on the early side. Menu items often run out by early/mid afternoon.
- Ahi Assassins offers poke and dishes made from ahi (with the exception of the marlin dip). No salmon, tofu, or tako poke here.
- The store is located on the 2nd floor of the building. There's a fair amount of parking on the ground floor (I've never had an issue with not being able to get parking).