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Hale Aina Restaurant Awards


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#1 skchai

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 11:51 PM

The Hale `Aina Awards were passed out this month by Honolulu Magazine. They're based on a reader's poll that has been repeated for 20 years now. The magazine generally doesn't post stories on the web, but here's a recap:

This year's grand winner was Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai, the third time that Roy Yamaguchi's flagship has won the award (the others were 1995 and 2002). Still doesn't approach the five times Alan Wong has won it. The other "Gold Awards" for best restaurants went to the following:


Oahu
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Bali by the Sea
Chai's Island Bistro
Chef Mavro
Compadres
Donato's
Hoku's
Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
La Mer
L'Uraku
Mariposa
Michel's at the Colony Surf
Orchids
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
3660 on the Rise

Maui
David Paul's Lahaina Grill
Hali`imaile General Store
Longhi's
Mama's Fish House
Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Big Island
Brown's Beach House
Cafe Pesto
Hugoo's
Kilauea Lodge
Merriman's Restaurant
Roy's Waikaloa Bar and Grill

Kauai`i
A Pacific Cafe Kaua`i
The Beach House Restaurant
Roy's Po`ipu Bar and Grill

Best New Restaurant
The Bistro
Longhi's Ala Moana

Best Wine List
Padovani's
Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai

Best Waiter / Waitress
Rona Reed, Bali by the Sea
Rob St. Onge, Roy's Restaurant

Best Bar
Murphy's Bar and Grill
Mai Tai Bar

Best Bartender
Jonathan Schwalbenitz, Murphy's Bar and Grill


Well, ho hum. . . It seems that there is little change in the status quo, with all the same HRC, HIC, etc. stalwarts dominating the awards, including one on each major island (for a total of four) for Roy Yamaguchi, as well as two from D.K. Kodama at Sansei. In addition, one of the winners for "best new restaurant" category is simply the Oahu branch of Longhi's, a popular Maui restaurant. Is this kind of attachment to the status quo a characteristic of all readers' polls, does it reflect the Honolulu Magazine audience in particular, or does it simply reflect a lack of major activity in the local restaurant scene in the last year?

Virtually all the restaurants listed as "gold" winners serve some version of East-West Fusion / HRC cuisine, and are at the higher end of price scale. The most conspicuous exception is the middle-of-the-road Tex-Mex Compadres, but even the exception make you wonder. . .

Comments? Any bizarre inclusions / exclusions that you'd care to mention?

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#2 The Little Blue House

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 02:19 PM

Chris says that I shouldn't write a reply to this because it's like beating a dead horse--we all know that we are all tired of these lists and the stagnant nature of the Hawaii food "scene".

But not replying could mean that the *reader* (hi Sasha) might not realize that some of us are angry about the stagnation. And I am pretty angry about it... And then I just end up sitting around, angry, and wondering how to fix it, how to change it, how to influence it in a meaningful way. Maybe those should be the questions that we ask (and try to answer) here.

-Emily

ps: For crying out loud: Compadres?
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#3 wesza

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 02:44 PM

The Hale `Aina Awards were passed out this month by Honolulu Magazine. They're based on a reader's poll that has been repeated for 20 years now. The magazine generally doesn't post stories on the web, but here's a recap:

This year's grand winner was Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai, the third time that Roy Yamaguchi's flagship has won the award (the others were 1995 and 2002). Still doesn't approach the five times Alan Wong has won it. The other "Gold Awards" for best restaurants went to the following:


Oahu
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Bali by the Sea
Chai's Island Bistro
Chef Mavro
Compadres
Donato's
Hoku's
Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
La Mer
L'Uraku
Mariposa
Michel's at the Colony Surf
Orchids
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
3660 on the Rise

Maui
David Paul's Lahaina Grill
Hali`imaile General Store
Longhi's
Mama's Fish House
Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Big Island
Brown's Beach House
Cafe Pesto
Hugoo's
Kilauea Lodge
Merriman's Restaurant
Roy's Waikaloa Bar and Grill

Kauai`i
A Pacific Cafe Kaua`i
The Beach House Restaurant
Roy's Po`ipu Bar and Grill

Best New Restaurant
The Bistro
Longhi's Ala Moana

Best Wine List
Padovani's
Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai

Best Waiter / Waitress
Rona Reed, Bali by the Sea
Rob St. Onge, Roy's Restaurant

Best Bar
Murphy's Bar and Grill
Mai Tai Bar

Best Bartender
Jonathan Schwalbenitz, Murphy's Bar and Grill


Well, ho hum. . . It seems that there is little change in the status quo, with all the same HRC, HIC, etc. stalwarts dominating the awards, including one on each major island (for a total of four) for Roy Yamaguchi, as well as two from D.K. Kodama at Sansei. In addition, one of the winners for "best new restaurant" category is simply the Oahu branch of Longhi's, a popular Maui restaurant. Is this kind of attachment to the status quo a characteristic of all readers' polls, does it reflect the Honolulu Magazine audience in particular, or does it simply reflect a lack of major activity in the local restaurant scene in the last year?

Virtually all the restaurants listed as "gold" winners serve some version of East-West Fusion / HRC cuisine, and are at the higher end of price scale. The most conspicuous exception is the middle-of-the-road Tex-Mex Compadres, but even the exception make you wonder. . .

Comments? Any bizarre inclusions / exclusions that you'd care to mention?

Is "Hale Aina" some type of A local kind of "Stroke" Award?

Sort of we rub each others backs. It certainly comparable to the MSN annual awards thingy or even worst. Just proves the Magazine is out of touch with everything but its advertisers.

But that always been the case of most things at the Islands. Even the newspapers weekly restaurant section is a 100% Advertising supplement. One of the most profitable for any newspaper anywhere.

But it still is taken seriouly by the eating public as being customer orientated even though it makes no claim as being anything but a advertisering supplement of the paper. It's nice to be Naieve especially in Hawaii. Good guys pat each others back and the public sucks up. I miss doing business in such a credable market place. All it requires is paying your dues [buy adds], waiting your turn to be featured and paying for your PR, da rest is not very important. If your mediocere it okay so everyone stays that way.

Irwin :wacko: :wub:
I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

#4 skchai

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 01:24 AM

My complaint is not so much that the restaurants listed are bad or mediocre - in fact I'm not wealthy enough to have eaten at more than a few of them, so I have no way of directly judging how good they are. Certainly the national critics that have bestowed generous praises on some of these restaurants can't be totally wrong-headed. All of Hawai`i's James Beard winners are listed (for what that's worth): Roy, Alan Wong, and Mavro.

Rather, my complaint is that there is a kind of stereotyped sameness to the list in terms of cuisine and the people involved. Most of those listed are following along very much the same path of East-West fusion Hawaiian-style, either as followers or contemporaries of the HRC folks. Of course, Hawaiian Regional / Hawaiian Fusion, or whatever you want to call it, was a great innovation that fundamentally changed the restaurant scene here in the late 80s and early 90s. And, whatever its faults, it generated a cooking mindset that was innovative, concerned with marking out Hawai`i's place in the culinary universe, and in turn ultimately generated commerical success for many people. Once this happened, however, it seems the restaurant community has been more or less happy to play out the string for the past decade. The high-end restauranters have a clear idea of Hawai`i's niche, and will continue to exploit this niche until the environment changes and the formula no longer works.

I don't think this fixation with a single style is unusual for high-end restaurants in relatively small cities that depend a great deal on the tourist trade. For instance, in Arizona or New Mexico, it is hard to find a high-end restaurant that doesn't serve some version of "Southwestern" cuisine. Moreover, each of these restaurants tends to focus on the same types of dishes associated with Mark Miller, Dean Fearing, Janos Wilder, etc. in the early 1990s - many colorful fresh salsas, grilled meats rubbed with dry spices, burros and enchiladas with upscale fillings, etc. Often it has little to do with the traditional diet of people in the Southwest, but at least it's regionally distinctive in a way that visitors can go back home satisfied that they had "eaten" a sense of the other.

The problem is that such cooking is excessively vulnerable to fashion trends. The East-West fusion idea is already considered passe' by many. This is not to say that chefs should no longer pursue integration of ingredients from different cultures, but the way in which they do so should be more closely tied to the way that people actually eat, and follows the process of integrations that occurs organically in popular cuisine. Typically, this means that the melding of cultures should be covert and informal rather than overt and formal - you shouldn't be able to pick out the "Eastern" parts of the dish and the "Western" parts, but rather get the feeling that the chef was trying to create something that would taste good given the pallete of ingredients available to him or her, which just happened to be ingredients that are traditional to more than one culture.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#5 alanamoana

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 07:29 AM

i understand the list and the reasons why those restaurants make it on the list year after year. there really are no other choices. i guess what upsets me is that the chefs just tend to sit on their laurels. they don't do much to challenge even themselves, much less each other. if they all know that they're going to make the list each year, there's no reason for them to even try to "one-up" they guy next door.

but as we see even here on eGullet, people visit the islands as a sort of "once in a lifetime" scenario. they have a meal at mavro (from what i can see, he's the only one doing things a little differently as far as cooking technique) or alan wong's or, god forbid, roy yamaguchi's; they have a great time and they don't worry about it. here in new york city, with over 4,000 restaurants to choose from, you couldn't get away with that kind of business mentality. tourists are the people that eat at chevy's in times square...you have to offer something different to the residents so that they come back. i'm not talking about places like peter luger that just do steak...but the middle to higher tier restaurants that want to maintain a large customer base by being even slightly innovative.

more and more ingredients are available in hawaii now, so there's no excuse that we have to have mango slaw on every single plate. if i see another version of "lilikoi cheesecake" or some such b.s. i'll be sick. but, i guess i'm a little jaded on the food scene in general, even here in nyc.

#6 KarenS

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 07:30 PM

I kind of ignore awards. I am much more interested in baking and growing my customer base. I'm with alanamoana. I've been sirached/ furitaked/ and blackened to death (not to mention creme brulee!!!) I know that this sounds funny coming from a Pastry Chef- I am tired of everything being sweet- the meat, the vinaigrettes, the salads. Cooks in Hawaii need to stop putting so much sugar in everything.

#7 kaukaulesa

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 12:55 PM

It's no surprise that the usual suspects are on the list. Reader surveys always suffer from Zagatitis...people think that if they're going to a place that won last year, it must be good, so they keep voting for it year after year. It's the reason Nobu is still ranked as number one Japanese restaurant in New York even though it's not really a Japanese restaurant, and there are a number of places whose sushi and other Japanese cuisine is superior. It's why Bali-by-the-Sea won an award, it's been that "special occasion place" for generations. Nevermind that the food is underwhelming.

The thing that rankles me is Honolulu's lackluster editorial. The capsules on the winners just regurgitate the same information we read every year. Get a little savvy...say "yes, the menu hasn't changed in three years, but judging by readers' reactions, it doesn't need to," or something like that. Or have there been changes?

Also, someone cited the fact that the dailies' dining supplements are advertorials. Well, I wonder how much editorializing went into the survey responses...the Hale Aina awards section is sponsored by American Express, and the whole section looks like an advertorial. And a couple months ago I got an "invitation" from American Express and Roy Yamaguchi...if I ate at one of his restaurants, and paid for it with my AmEx card, I would receive his cookbook for free. Coincidence that he won top accolades?

As far as the flogging the Hawaiian Regional horse. I think it's fine. It is great that chefs are so supportive of local agriculture, a sector of the economy that I hope grows. And new blood is doing new things in the arena--check out chef Etsuji at Brown's Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island (he's big on letting naked flavors speak for themselves...no sweet sauces!), or Kaikodo (also on the Big Island and sorely missing from the Hale Aina Awards). The problem with the awards is the categories are so staid and limiting. I agree, there should be more options for budget eats. Have a little fun and let people vote for best plate lunch, or even lunchwagon. Who makes the best Spam musubi?

I worked on the Time Out Eating & Drinking Guide in New York, and for the restaurant awards, we always made up wacky topics like "best use of candy in a dish" (Atlas won, for its dessert that included Pop Rocks). Here's a secret: Honolulu Weekly will be expanding its food coverage to be simultaneously more playful, more comprehensive and more critical. Check out this week's review of the Willows' Rainbow Room.

#8 skchai

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 04:15 PM

Lesa - You're right about the lack of editorial comment in Hale `Aina awards. Other than the somewhat self-congratulatory essay by John Heckathorn at the beginning, there was no real attempt to put the choices in a larger perspective, much less critique them. Hence you're just stuck with a list of "destinations", travel-guide style. Perhaps that's what they were aiming for?

Glad to hear that Honolulu Weekly is ramping up its restaurant coverage - we really need more of this. Maybe also an expanded restaurant list in its "Best of Honolulu?" Looking forward to reading the Willows' Rainbow Room review. . .

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#9 skchai

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 01:12 AM

As most of you know, Honolulu Magazine also has an "All-Island Restaurant Guide" that comes out each August. But it's just a long list of places with contact info, prices, and short blurbs. In last August's issue, the only clue to why some restaurants get included and others don't is in the subtitle: "Our restaurant advertisers invite you to enjoy their food and their service" - at least they're somewhat up front about it. AmEx is the sponsor for this issue too.

Amidst the puff pieces, there are nonetheless some nice feature articles by Joan Namkoong, former Advertiser Food Editor, in both the Restaurant Guide and the Hale Aina issue. But no real attempt to chart where the local food scene is going, much less to critique current practices. And no substantial coverage of anything other than the upper and upper-middle price level restaurants.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#10 kaukaulesa

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 01:24 AM

I agree, Joan Namkoong rocks! I always learn something from her pieces. I lover her "insider" stories about going on some outing or something with a bunch of chefs.

We should all band together and publish our own egullet guide to "Lucky You Eat Hawaii"

#11 skchai

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 08:38 PM

Good idea about putting together our own guide!

Speaking of awards - whatever happened to the Advertiser's Ilima awards? The last edition came out November 2002 . . . either it's long delayed or it's kaput. . .

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#12 glossyp

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 08:02 PM

The Hale `Aina Awards were passed out this month by Honolulu Magazine.  They're based on a reader's poll that has been repeated for 20 years now.  The magazine generally doesn't post stories on the web, but here's a recap: 

This year's grand winner was Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai, the third time that Roy Yamaguchi's flagship has won the award (the others were 1995 and 2002).  Still doesn't approach the five times Alan Wong has won it.  The other "Gold Awards" for best restaurants went to the following:


Oahu
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Bali by the Sea
Chai's Island Bistro
Chef Mavro
Compadres
Donato's
Hoku's
Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
La Mer
L'Uraku
Mariposa
Michel's at the Colony Surf
Orchids
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
3660 on the Rise

Maui
David Paul's Lahaina Grill
Hali`imaile General Store
Longhi's
Mama's Fish House
Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Big Island
Brown's Beach House
Cafe Pesto
Hugoo's
Kilauea Lodge
Merriman's Restaurant
Roy's Waikaloa Bar and Grill

Kauai`i
A Pacific Cafe Kaua`i
The Beach House Restaurant
Roy's Po`ipu Bar and Grill

Best New Restaurant
The Bistro
Longhi's Ala Moana

Best Wine List
Padovani's
Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai

Best Waiter / Waitress
Rona Reed, Bali by the Sea
Rob St. Onge, Roy's Restaurant

Best Bar
Murphy's Bar and Grill
Mai Tai Bar

Best Bartender
Jonathan Schwalbenitz, Murphy's Bar and Grill


Well, ho hum. . .  It seems that there is little change in the status quo, with all the same HRC, HIC, etc. stalwarts dominating the awards, including one on each major island (for a total of four) for Roy Yamaguchi, as well as two from D.K. Kodama at Sansei.  In addition, one of the winners for "best new restaurant" category is simply the Oahu branch of Longhi's, a popular Maui restaurant.  Is this kind of attachment to the status quo a characteristic of all readers' polls, does it reflect the Honolulu Magazine audience in particular, or does it simply reflect a lack of major activity in the local restaurant scene in the last year? 

Virtually all the restaurants listed as "gold" winners serve some version of East-West Fusion / HRC cuisine, and are at the higher end of price scale.  The most conspicuous exception is the middle-of-the-road Tex-Mex Compadres, but even the exception make you wonder. . . 

Comments?  Any bizarre inclusions / exclusions that you'd care to mention?

View Post


Digging up this old thread and felt like it was deja vu! We just posted our article on the 2006 Hale Aina's and it's easy to see that things haven't changed much.
2006 Hale Aina Awards - Change in Date, No Significant Change in Results
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#13 PakePorkChop

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 07:46 PM

The Hale `Aina Awards were passed out this month by Honolulu Magazine.  They're based on a reader's poll that has been repeated for 20 years now.  The magazine generally doesn't post stories on the web, but here's a recap: 

This year's grand winner was Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai, the third time that Roy Yamaguchi's flagship has won the award (the others were 1995 and 2002).  Still doesn't approach the five times Alan Wong has won it.  The other "Gold Awards" for best restaurants went to the following:


Oahu
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Bali by the Sea
Chai's Island Bistro
Chef Mavro
Compadres
Donato's
Hoku's
Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
La Mer
L'Uraku
Mariposa
Michel's at the Colony Surf
Orchids
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
3660 on the Rise

Maui
David Paul's Lahaina Grill
Hali`imaile General Store
Longhi's
Mama's Fish House
Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Big Island
Brown's Beach House
Cafe Pesto
Hugoo's
Kilauea Lodge
Merriman's Restaurant
Roy's Waikaloa Bar and Grill

Kauai`i
A Pacific Cafe Kaua`i
The Beach House Restaurant
Roy's Po`ipu Bar and Grill

Best New Restaurant
The Bistro
Longhi's Ala Moana

Best Wine List
Padovani's
Roy's Restaurant Hawai`i Kai

Best Waiter / Waitress
Rona Reed, Bali by the Sea
Rob St. Onge, Roy's Restaurant

Best Bar
Murphy's Bar and Grill
Mai Tai Bar

Best Bartender
Jonathan Schwalbenitz, Murphy's Bar and Grill


Well, ho hum. . .  It seems that there is little change in the status quo, with all the same HRC, HIC, etc. stalwarts dominating the awards, including one on each major island (for a total of four) for Roy Yamaguchi, as well as two from D.K. Kodama at Sansei.  In addition, one of the winners for "best new restaurant" category is simply the Oahu branch of Longhi's, a popular Maui restaurant.  Is this kind of attachment to the status quo a characteristic of all readers' polls, does it reflect the Honolulu Magazine audience in particular, or does it simply reflect a lack of major activity in the local restaurant scene in the last year? 

Virtually all the restaurants listed as "gold" winners serve some version of East-West Fusion / HRC cuisine, and are at the higher end of price scale.  The most conspicuous exception is the middle-of-the-road Tex-Mex Compadres, but even the exception make you wonder. . . 

Comments?  Any bizarre inclusions / exclusions that you'd care to mention?

View Post


Digging up this old thread and felt like it was deja vu! We just posted our article on the 2006 Hale Aina's and it's easy to see that things haven't changed much.
2006 Hale Aina Awards - Change in Date, No Significant Change in Results

View Post



I believe that one aspect of this pattern is summariized in a footnote in one of my articles.

"Much as fashion trends change, so do our culinary fascinations. Twenty years ago, most of Hawaii's fine restaurants were offering "Continental" menus and there was no "Mediterranean" category to be found.

Today, "Continental" restaurants are still a part of the Hawaiian culinary landscape, but most restaurants offering Northern European cooking, including Lyonaise French, have struggled to survive.

However, it's been more than a decade since Mediterranean cuisine became such a large part of the American culinary landscape, but its popularity hasn't faded. Indeed, those French chefs that have achieved individual success in Hawaii appear to be oriented to the "Mediterranean" style of cooking.

For instance, Yves Garnier, chef de cuisine at the Halekulani Hotel, earned his Michelin stars cooking along the Cote d'Azure and calls his cooking "cuisine du soleil" (cuisine of the sun). Garnier is inspired by the bright flavors of the south of France and makes extensive use of Hawai'i ingredients.

George Mavrothalassitis, who preceded Garnier at the Halekulani, is from Marseilles, on the south coast of France. A James Beard award nominee this year, he is a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Award-winning chef Philippe Padovani offers French Mediterranean cuisine "with an island flair." He is from Provence.

Another founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Jean-Marie Josselin, is the owner of A Pacific Café. Although he is not from the Mediterranean region, he has a passion for brilliant flavor combinations from that area.

Similarly, many resort restaurants trumpet their presentation of Mediterranean cooking. Azul, the signature restaurant at the JM Marriot Ko Olina Resort and Spa in Kapolei, put Honolulu Advertiser restaurant reviewer Matthew Gray in a swoon of ecstasy with its southern flavors. Similar restaurants include: Bali Hai, Hanalei Bay Resort at Princeville (five-star); Bay Terrace, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows; Bistro Molokini, Grand Wailea Resort, "with Hawaiian flavors"; Edward's Restaurant, Kanaloa Resort at Kona, Keauhou; Ihilani, Manele Bay Hotel, Lanai City; Ls Cascata, Princeville Hotel; Plantation House Restaurant, Kapalua Resort; The Cove, Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku; and The Gardenia, Kapalua Bay Hotel and Ocean Villas.

As to other restaurants around the state with "Mediterranean" menus, here are a few: Aaron's, atop the Ala Moana Hotel; Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant at Aloha Tower; Palomino Euro Bistro, with a commanding view of Honolulu Harbor; Pavilion Café at the Honolulu Academy of Arts; Sarento's, on the 30th floor of the Ilikai Hotel; Sarento's on the Beach, Kihei, Maui."

Light, bright, sunny flavors utilizing fresh local products with the tastes of our soil.
I suggest that the swift acceptance of Sweet Basil's "Neo-Thai" approach is consistent
with that analysis. Hiroshi's is another aspect of that preference.

Glad to see that you are on the scene and acting as our eyes, ears, and gullet!

Happy Holidays!

Envyly Yours,

The Pake Chef

#14 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:43 AM

Is The Cheesecake Factory as in the restaurant chain that is in many huge malls on the mainland?! Weird.
Karen C.

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Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#15 glossyp

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 02:20 PM

Is The Cheesecake Factory as in the restaurant chain that is in many huge malls on the mainland?!  Weird.

View Post


Sadly, yes.
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#16 oneidaone

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:46 PM

Is The Cheesecake Factory as in the restaurant chain that is in many huge malls on the mainland?!  Weird.

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I weep for the future........... :sad:
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Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

#17 PakePorkChop

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 11:52 PM

Is The Cheesecake Factory as in the restaurant chain that is in many huge malls on the mainland?!  Weird.

View Post


I weep for the future........... :sad:

View Post


I'm sorry, I seem to have missed something. How did any reference to Cheesecake
Factory get into this thread?

Was the Factory an awardee? I just don't see it...

#18 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:44 AM

I'm sorry, I seem to have missed something.  How did any reference to Cheesecake
Factory get into this thread?

Was the Factory an awardee?  I just don't see it...

View Post

Yes, they were awarded the Gold for Best Dessert Menu along with Alan Wong, and were also an Oahu Best Silver winner. :shock:

I weep for the future........... :sad:

View Post

You and me both. Not only that, but I went to The Taste of Lahaina on Maui, and Outback Steakhouse won for Best Steak.
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#19 Voodoo

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 08:05 AM

but as we see even here on eGullet, people visit the islands as a sort of "once in a lifetime" scenario.  they have a meal at mavro (from what i can see, he's the only one doing things a little differently as far as cooking technique) or alan wong's or, god forbid, roy yamaguchi's; they have a great time and they don't worry about it.  customer base by being even slightly innovative.

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Could you elaborate on this? Are you suggesting that Wong, Mavro et al are not very innovative because most of the people who eat there are mainlanders who only a few times in their lifetimes?

I have one (expensive) meal in Honolulu next week, so I don't want to make the mistake of choosing wrong. I've gotten reservations at Wong's but have been thinking about going to Chef Mavro instead.

#20 glossyp

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 12:37 PM

Are you suggesting that Wong, Mavro et al are not very innovative because most of the people who eat there are mainlanders who only a few times in their lifetimes? 

I have one (expensive) meal in Honolulu next week, so I don't want to make the mistake of choosing wrong.  I've gotten reservations at Wong's but have been thinking about going to Chef Mavro instead.

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Mavro is very innovative and he is only one who is actually in the kitchen cooking literally every night they are open - unless he is off-island for an event. His menu changes seasonally and there is only one dish on the menu that has been there since the beginning and that is the lilikoi malassadas.

Alan Wong's just overhauled their kitchen and are supposed to be introducing new menu items over the next few months.

Roy's, Alan Wong's and Chef Mavro all have loyal local customers along with the usual 'destination diners' but each appeals to a different type of local customer, if you will. Roy's is tried and true with even the daily specials following a particular flavor profile - the casual and friendly ambiance makes it a neighborhood spot that you depend upon. Alan Wong's is somewhat more adventurous but also uneven in execution (in my experience) and much fancier than Roy's in terms of what people dress like - it's a see and be seen place. Chef Mavro is for food lovers who delight in fine ingredients and innovative preparation more than anything else.

You won't go wrong at any of them.
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#21 alanamoana

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 12:14 PM

I think "not innovative" was the wrong phrase to use. There have been discussions elsewhere about the term "Regional Hawaiian Cuisine" (is that the correct phrase?)...and its implications with regard to the Hawaii restaurant scene.

I ate at Alan Wong's in November and had a pretty delicious meal.

I don't think you'd be disappointed by either Mavro's or Wong's restaurants.

It is hard to knock local chefs for using an over abundance of lilikoi, papaya seed, taro, etc. as these are the ingredients they have access to. If we are going to subscribe to an "American" cuisine where local ingredients are prepared well, according to the seasons...then the Hawaii chefs are doing a great job. I guess I just get upset when it becomes redundant and kitschy...there are only so many desserts you can have with passion fruit coulis (madame pele's lava cake) or a dinner garnished with an orchid.

#22 Voodoo

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 01:49 PM

I think "not innovative" was the wrong phrase to use.  There have been discussions elsewhere about the term "Regional Hawaiian Cuisine" (is that the correct phrase?)...and its implications with regard to the Hawaii restaurant scene.

I ate at Alan Wong's in November and had a pretty delicious meal.

I don't think you'd be disappointed by either Mavro's or Wong's restaurants.

It is hard to knock local chefs for using an over abundance of lilikoi, papaya seed, taro, etc. as these are the ingredients they have access to.  If we are going to subscribe to an "American" cuisine where local ingredients are prepared well, according to the seasons...then the Hawaii chefs are doing a great job.  I guess I just get upset when it becomes redundant and kitschy...there are only so many desserts you can have with passion fruit coulis (madame pele's lava cake) or a dinner garnished with an orchid.

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Thanks for the responses. I'm looking forward to my dinner at Alan Wong's. Having never been to Hawaii, I doubt I'll find it redundant. I'll be the guy who finds the passion fruit coulis refreshingly innovative.