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Whats the absolute best restaurant in Oahu?


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#1 PurpleDingo99

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 01:40 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Oahu offers better. Were going to be staying in Waikiki, but were not afraid to drive around. Definitely checking out that bakery on the north side, while im at it too. Money is not a problem- I was originally going to be on this trip with my girl at a private house on pipeline but my parents decided they wanted to go too and now were staying in the heart of waikiki (at the 'whale watching' beaches. :hmmm: ) So, i cant feel too much remorse about leading them into a $100 a person restaurant. :raz:

#2 PakePorkChop

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 02:21 PM

These reviews are from Frommer's. I don't think that you will find much disagreement in Honolulu about these places:

Alan Wong's Restaurant (Oahu; tel. 808/949-2526): Master strokes at this shrine of Hawaii Regional Cuisine include warm California rolls made with salmon roe, wasabi, and Kona lobster instead of rice; luau lumpia with butterfish and kalua pig; and ginger-crusted fresh onaga. Opihi shooters and day-boat scallops in season are a must, and grilled lamb chops are a perennial special. The menu changes daily, but the flavors never lose their sizzle.

Chef Mavro Restaurant (Oahu; tel. 808/944-4714): Honolulu is abuzz over the wine pairings and elegant cuisine of George Mavrothalassitis, the culinary wizard and James Beard award-winner from Provence who turned La Mer (at the Halekulani) and Seasons (at the Four Seasons Resort Wailea) into temples of fine dining. He brought his award-winning signature dishes with him and continues to prove his ingenuity with dazzling a la carte and prix-fixe ($48-$85) menus.

Hoku's (Oahu; tel. 808/739-8780): Elegant without being stuffy, and creative without being overwrought, the fine-dining room of the Kahala Mandarin offers elegant lunches and dinners and one of Oahu's best Sunday brunches. This is fusion that really works -- European finesse with an island touch. The ocean view, open kitchen, and astonishing bamboo floor are stellar features. Reflecting the restaurant's cross-cultural influences, the kitchen is equipped with a kiawe grill, an Indian tandoori oven, and Szechuan woks.

La Mer (Oahu; tel. 808/923-2311): This romantic, elegant dining room at Waikiki's Halekulani is the only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant in the state. The second-floor, open-sided room, with views of Diamond Head and the sound of trade winds rustling the nearby coconut fronds, is the epitome of fine dining. Michelin-award-winning chef Yves Garnier melds classical French influences with fresh island ingredients. It's pricey but worth it. Men are required to wear jackets (they have a selection if you didn't pack one).

Padovani's Restaurant & Wine Bar (Oahu; tel. 808/946-3456): Chef Philippe Padovani's elegant, innovative style is highlighted in everything from the endive salad to the pan-fried moi at this two-tiered restaurant. Downstairs is a swank dining room with Bernardaud china and Frette linens; upstairs is the informal Wine Bar with excellent single-malt Scotches, wines by the glass, and a much more casual, but equally sublime, menu.

Roy's Restaurant (Oahu; tel. 808/396-7697): Good food still reigns at this busy, noisy flagship Hawaii Kai dining room with the trademark open kitchen. Roy Yamaguchi's deft way with local ingredients, nostalgic ethnic preparations, and fresh fish makes his menu, which changes daily, a novel experience every time.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Oahu offers better. Were going to be staying in Waikiki, but were not afraid to drive around. Definitely checking out that bakery on the north side, while im at it too. Money is not a problem- I was originally going to be on this trip with my girl at a private house on pipeline but my parents decided they wanted to go too and now were staying in the heart of waikiki (at the 'whale watching' beaches.  :hmmm: ) So, i cant feel too much remorse about leading them into a $100 a person restaurant.  :raz:

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#3 SuzySushi

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 05:09 PM

Of the restaurants listed above, my leaning would be to go with Alan Wong's, because it is the most "Hawaiian" of those listed.

Chef Mavro's, La Mer, and Padovani's are heavily French, while Hoku's is European-worldwide-fusion.

If you want dining with a superb sunset view (sunset is between 6:30 - 7:00 these days), try Roy's in the Hawaii Kai suburbs and ask for a table on the lanai. But be warned: Roy's is extremely loud.
SuzySushi

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#4 glossyp

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 09:32 PM

The good news is that there are several very good restaurants in Honolulu where you can spend your money (or your parent's $$$!) The question is really more about what type of food you want to eat. Pakeporkchop provided a fairly comprehensive list of excellent places. Another place which is newer that you might consider would be Hiroshi's (see oneidaone's excellent rundown in this forum), especially if you enjoy trying new things.

My personal favorite is Chef Mavro, while his technique is French, the ingredients are as local as Alan Wong's and his execution is virtually flawless. He is also one of the few 'name' chefs here who is actually in his restaurant day in and day out (Hiroshi is as well) cooking.

SuzySushi is absolutely right about the sunset view at Roy's and the noise level but if you want to dine well and have fun, you'll have a great time.

Be sure to report back on your dining adventures and enjoy your visit!
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#5 miulang

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 09:32 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Oahu offers better. Were going to be staying in Waikiki, but were not afraid to drive around. Definitely checking out that bakery on the north side, while im at it too. Money is not a problem- I was originally going to be on this trip with my girl at a private house on pipeline but my parents decided they wanted to go too and now were staying in the heart of waikiki (at the 'whale watching' beaches.  :hmmm: ) So, i cant feel too much remorse about leading them into a $100 a person restaurant.  :raz:

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Well, you would be safe with the recommendations below. The Grand Wailea is on MAUI, as are the "whale watching" beaches.

Miulang

#6 oneidaone

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 11:52 PM

HANDS DOWN Roy's is my personal favorite.....probably because after dining there forever - since the door opened......I would suggest the flagship. However I would also say that Hoku's in
the Kahala Mandarin would be an EXCELLENT choice as well. Also would be MARIPOSA in Neiman
Marcus. You gotta love Chef Doug Lum's ( a local boy if there ever was one) execution of local
ingredients with a passion for keeping it "local" within the corporate setting. That and the view at
lunch or dinner (depending what time you dine) is a fabulous view of Ala Moana Park and Magic
Island. If you go on a Friday night (I think there are fireworks still from the Hilton - there were
when I rented my boss's yacht) so you would have a fabulous view.......I don't like to go out
at night unless absolutely forced - but that's what I imagine.........I have enjoyed a meal on
a night or two at Alan Wong's but don't think he's the 'most Hawaiian." which makes me ask the
question "what is MOST HAWAIIAN" considering Sam Choy is from here, Roy grew up on Maui
in a very prominant family for "localism" and of course Alan is part Hawaiian as well. I don't
think we should dismess people not "from here". At Hoku's we are blessed to have Waye Hirabayashi at the helm of Hwaii's 5 star property.......I think it's a matter of what is really
important. a hui ho........

Edited by oneidaone, 21 February 2005 - 11:58 PM.

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#7 jupiter

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:45 AM

One there is no "absolute best" restaurant. That's like asking which genre of music is the "absolute best"

Like glossyp said ask yourself what kind of food you folks would like to eat.

PakePorkChop posted some really good restaurants. I'd like to add The Bistro @ Century Center and also Michels @ The Colony Surf. If you choose from any of the mentioned choices you will end up with a winner. Just make sure you order alot and share alot. It's the best way to experience what a restaurant has to offer. :biggrin:

Edited by jupiter, 22 February 2005 - 04:08 AM.


#8 PakePorkChop

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:34 AM

A quick sidenote to the subject of "French" cooking in Hawaii. I had once footnoted as follows:

2 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.

For the whole article, go to:

http://www.hawaii.rr...4_cmsrenice.htm



Of the restaurants listed above, my leaning would be to go with Alan Wong's, because it is the most "Hawaiian" of those listed.

Chef Mavro's, La Mer, and Padovani's are heavily French, while Hoku's is European-worldwide-fusion.

If you want dining with a superb sunset view (sunset is between 6:30 - 7:00 these days), try Roy's in the Hawaii Kai suburbs and ask for a table on the lanai. But be warned: Roy's is extremely loud.

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#9 oneidaone

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 02:07 PM

Sorry guys - I messed up the quote thing.......Someday I'll get it right. Anyway Chef Mavro won
the James Beard award in 2003. What would be really great would be if you could just eat at
every one of these places while you visit! a hui ho.........This years' nominees were Beverly
Gannon of Hailiimaile General Store on Maui and Peter Merriman of Merriman's.

Edited by oneidaone, 22 February 2005 - 02:09 PM.

"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"
Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

#10 KarenS

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 09:34 PM

My favorite is Chef Mavro- I enjoy Hokus though too... (and I work with Doug Lum!)

#11 Muffin210

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 02:59 PM

My favorite is Chef Mavro- I enjoy Hokus though too... (and I work with Doug Lum!)

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I'm with you. The last three times I went to Oahu, Chef Mavro was one of the highlights. It's the one place I always want to go back to...well, that and the darn malasada place...yummmmmy...