Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Advertiser Reader Picks


Recommended Posts

Crossposted from "Kaukau Corner": The Honolulu Advertiser today has published its "Hawai'i's Best Restaurants" guide, including the readers' picks for best restaurants. The full list is apparently only available in hardcopy to home subscribers, but they've posted the highlights online:

  • Hawai'i's Best Restaurant:
    Alan Wong's Restaurant
  • Best New Restaurant 2003-2004:
    Cheesecake Factory
  • Best Fine-Dining Restaurants:
    Ruth's Chris Steak House, Hy's Steakhouse, John Dominis
  • Best Family Restaurants:
    Zippy's, Big City Diner, Anna Miller's 24-Hour Restaurant
  • Best for Pasta:
    Auntie Pasto's
  • Best Bakery:
    Liliha Bakery & Coffee Shop
  • Best Drinks and Pupu:
    Ryan's Grill
  • Best Coffee Bar:
  • Best Vegetarian:
    Down to Earth Deli
  • Best Plate Lunch:
    L & L Drive-Inn
  • Best Central O'ahu Restaurant:
    Ruby Tuesday
  • Best Windward O'ahu Restaurant:
    Lucy's Grill & Bar
  • Best North Shore Restaurant:
    Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill, Hale'iwa
  • Best Leeward O'ahu Restaurant:
    Bravo Restaurant
  • Best East O'ahu Restaurant:
    Roy's Restaurant, Hawai'i Kai
  • Best Southeast Asian:
    Keo's in Waikiki
  • Best Italian Restaurant:
  • Best Japanese:
    Kyo-Ya Restaurant
  • Best French restaurant:
    La Mer, Halekulani hotel
  • Best Chinese:
    Hee Hing Restaurant
  • Best Korean:
    Sorabol Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant, Kaua'i:
    Hamura Saimin Stand
  • Best Restaurant, Maui County:
  • Best Restaurant, Big Island:
  • Best Hotel Restaurant, O'ahu:
    Hoku's, Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hawaii hotel
  • Best Hotel Restaurant, Neighbor Islands:
    Kona Beach Restaurant, King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel
  • Critics' Choice Restaurants:
    BluWater Grill, 12th Ave. Grill, Hilo Bay Café and Chef Mavro

user posted image HawaiiThreads.com - Let's talk story!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the link, Ryan. It's always hard to know what to make of reader polls. Interesting John Dominis and the two steakhouses won the top spots for fine dining, instead of anyplace serving creative cuisine is a change from the past given that 3660, Roy's, and Aaron's were the winners in that category in 2002 awards. Somehow the awards for 2003 were never announced online. Always see long lines outside Cheesecake Factory, so that result doesn't surprise though it does say something about the way that chain concepts that succeed on the mainland usually succeed here as well.

Sun-Ki Chai

Former Hawaii Forum Host

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just got the printed insert...I can now guess that the reason BluWater Grill got a Critics' Choice has to do with the large full-page ad.

I agree with skchai that it's hard to know what to make of reader polls of good restaurants. There are some thoughts that spring to mind but I'm going to meditate on whether they're worth saying.

Adding this link to recent review done by us (written based on a meal last Saturday and posted on-line Sunday.) The award is truly incomprehensible on several levels. When you read the blurb about why it was selected "affordable prices" is one of them and then they give it $$$ the same as La Mer and Merriman's...


Edited by glossyp (log)

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have lots of thoughts too, however mosty "ho-hum" comes in first about the list. Not that I

don't agree with 2 or 3. When it's time for my nap later I'll look at the entire list to get

me sedated a hui ho.

"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why does anyone seem surprised that there are so many mediocre places on the list, and so many gems left off? In EVERY city I've ever lived in, the newspaper (or local magazine) published one of these guides and they were filled with places that I'd never go because they were so mediocre. For the most part, the votes come from the masses of people who think the Sizzler is a great dining out experience. Sigh :wacko:

Bob Foster, San Diego and Kailua

Bob Foster, San Diego

Link to comment
Share on other sites

new to e-gullet, live in Kaimuki, work in Honolulu. Have to say that the awards are really kind of sad. I work for RUI, worked @ ryan's, worked @ palomino currently saute @ kincaids. I think the nightlife @ ryan's is pretty cool, the kitchen with full menu to Midnight? Kinda sucks to be a cook... :angry: But, the eye-candy! Brah...Friday night 11-12. Worth the price of a beer to watch the hotties.

That said, chef mavro's didn't make the list? Have eaten there twice, food was delicious! Alan Wongs is mean too.

I agree that if you don't advertise, you're probably not going to place..


Hey, I've got an even better idea! How about you get a smaller spoon? The other one actually, kind of hurts. But, hey! It hurts in a GOOD kind of way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty much every one seems to say that Ryan's is the #1 singles restaurant spot, and has been for quite a while. Course I wouldn't know being an old fut by now. . .

Regarding the mysteries of reader polls, a few random thoughts:

1) Although cynics might suspect ballot stuffing, it would seem to be pretty hard to do this with in any serious way with a mail-in a newspaper poll, since each subscriber presumably gets only one form to fill out. Phone-in or internet surveys on the other hand are much easier to manipulate.

2) On the other hand, there's a real bias towards places with name recognition. Regardless of whether people love them or not, L+L and Zippys will show up top year after year. Most other place, no matter how good, won't be known to enough people to make an impression number wise. And a lot of people will mark down L+L or Zippy's simply because it's the first thing that comes to mind.

3) For any self-selected reading poll, the "sample" of people mailing things in will not evenly reflect Advertiser subscribers, who in turn are not representative of the Honolulu population. In general, there is some research evidence from elsewhere that older (read senior citizens) are much more likely to respond to mail-in polls than younger folks. Those with strong opinions about the subject matter (e.g. foodies) of course are far more likely to respond than those who don't care. I'm sure that researchers have uncovered other kinds of systematic sample biases, but don't know what they are. . .

None of this, of course, gives us any clear idea of what the results "mean" about Honolulu's eating culture.

Sun-Ki Chai

Former Hawaii Forum Host

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Completely agree with your conclusion that there is no way to know what these polls mean about the dining out culture of the state. In regards to your first point however, it would be quite simple for a motivated restaurant owner or manager to purchase large quantities of papers with ballots inside (ballots were available in several editions), fill them out and send them in. In fact, this was alleged by a restaurant person I was speaking with recently. This person actually claimed that the management purchased hundreds of papers and instructed employees to fill them out and then mailed them. I suppose an investigative reporter who was so inclined could do the research to verify or debunk this accusation - if a media outlet thought it was a worthwhile story. Somehow I suspect it's not!

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I recently read through these awards online in the Advertiser and was absolutely disappointed in some of the choices. Chains such as Cheesecake Factory should be automatically removed from consideration.

Am impressed at the staying power of the Ryan's scene. I remember back in the late 80s this place was the place and it sounds as if it is still one of the places to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Maybe it's just people voting what they know year after year, or after they've had a taste in Vegas or LA. Just look at Zagats...it's a poll. In New York, up until 2003 (when I left there), supposedly sophisticated eater voted for Nobu year after year as best Japanese, even though by then it had been far surpassed by other restaurants. Maybe that has changed with the arrival of Masa and other high-end "Japanese" spots. But it really has to do with familiarity I think. People from Jersey and Long Island thought they were supposed to like it so they did, esp when paying $16 for a little piece of miso glazed butterfish (not THAT much different from the version at Anyplace Lounge!).

It's the same reason I still get a strawberry ICEE once a year, or a teri burger and Green River at Sekiya...nostalgia, familiarity. (There, I said it, OK?)

But that doesn't explain BluWater Grill does it? OK, it's ballot stuffing. Man, that place sux, to put it eloquently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...