Waikiki’s exquisite French-Japanese destination

Editor's Note: MUGEN is temporarily closed.

MUGEN takes one of Hawaii’s most talented chefs and gives him access to superlative meats (like luscious wagyu beef from Hokkaido), seafood (like fresh fish from Japan’s Toyosu Market) and other produce (like asparagus grown in the fertile terroir of Denmark) arriving fresh daily from all over the world, as well as Hawaii’s plentiful bounty. The result is an ever-changing seasonal French-Japanese menu by chef Jason Yamaguchi.

The tasting-menu-only restaurant lodged within ESPACIO The Jewel of Waikiki serves up exquisite creations like Sasanian Osetra caviar atop vanilla panna cotta with mochi blini, made-from-scratch pastas and butter-poached Kona abalone (taken from ESPACIO’s owner’s Hawaiian farm) with aged enoki, dashi velouté, ume and nori dust, along with new dishes created every day.MUGEN (pronounced “moogen,” meaning “infinity” in Japanese) is intimate, providing a homelike space from which to peruse its 500-bottle collection of wine and a selection of rare Japanese whiskies, premium sake and other spirits.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • Yamaguchi sources ingredients for his 11-course tasting menu from prime spots across the world, but much of the produce comes from nearby Yogarden Hawaii, an organic and regenerative farm along the backroads of Waimanalo, Oahu.
  • The Waikiki restaurant has an open-kitchen concept, and you are invited to discuss the food with Yamaguchi and his team while watching them craft each course.
  • At this hidden gem, no detail is overlooked. Yamaguchi carefully chooses unique dishes of different shapes, textures and colors to complement the food on them, which helps each course look like a work of art. And you’ll go home with a housemade treat, like almonds covered in chocolate from local Manoa Chocolate, as a thank you for dining here — it’s a hospitable touch.
  • MUGEN’s collection of whiskies includes rare bottles not found elsewhere in Hawaii, but the assortment of other spirits is no less selective. The rum includes a 50-year-old Appleton Estate (there are only 800 bottles across the world) and a Clase Azul Ultra Tequila that has been aged five years in Spanish wood casks.
  • Beer connoisseurs will find much to love here, including a specially made Purple Haze craft brew (you’ll note hints of lavender) from Kona Brewery Co. that is exclusive to the restaurant, as well as one-of-a-kind and tasty finds like Ginga Kogen, Hitachino Nest and Kagua Rouge.

Things to Know

  • The L.A.-born, Hawaii-raised chef’s culinary education began in high school and after working at Roy Yamaguchi’s famed restaurants.
  • Before creating MUGEN, Yamaguchi was the lead chef at Driftwood Kitchen in Laguna Beach, California, and in previous years he has worked under the guidance of such renowned chefs as Chris Garnier, Joachim Splichal and Michael Mina.
  • Yamaguchi’s evolving tasting menu is a French-Japanese fusion that is both an homage to his French-Asian heritage and his training in both French and Japanese cuisine.

Private dining
Reservations required
Resort casual
Valet parking
Getting There
2452 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
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