google-site-verification: google420bc12b3aca5bd2.html

Fine Dining In Waikiki…In Your Hotel?

Twenty or thirty years ago, “fine dining in Hawaii” would have probably been considered an oxy-moron.  The only images of eating in Hawaii was of poi served at a luau or the ever present Spam.  However,  fine dining in Waikiki has become as commonplace today as it was lacking back then.  Its a melding of European techniques with ingredients from Asia and the Pacific.  And, yes, some of the best restaurants are in the hotels!

Of course, you can always go to a traditional Luau, a feast of traditional foods including fish, pork, sweet potatoes, and taro cooked in an underground oven, called an imu. They are put on mainly for tourists either at one of the large hotels or in a secluded beach location away from Waikiki and usually include a Polynesian dance show.

Being multi-cultural, where East meets West with a Polynesian flair, Hawaii offers a wide spectrum of culinary delights. There is a wide variety of restaurants offering specialties from all over the world – French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Filipino, Hawaiian and many more.  To experience fine dining in Waikiki, all you have to do is turn to one of the many hotels, possibly the very hotel you are staying in.

The Outrigger Reef Hotel’s Shore Bird Beach Broiler is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is a diner’s delight of fresh fruit, pastries, egg dishes and assortment of meats, with the famous Waikiki beach and Diamond Head as an idealic backdrop.

For meat lover’s, the original Chuck’s Steakhouse in the Edgewater Hotel is one of the best for beef, as is the A1 Steakhouse & Oyster Bar in the Marc Suites.

And, when it comes to seafood, Sarentos Top of the “I” (Ilikai Hotel and Suites), offer fish preparations with a northern Italian touch.  There is the Lobster & Crab House, located in the recently renovated Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center where a large tank of live Maine lobsters greets you so that you may hand-pick your dinner. The Halekulani Hotel offers an elegant seafood menu at two on-site restaurants; Orchids Restaurant, in an open-air setting and La Mer, a AAA Diamond Award restaurant where the seafood is prepared in a French Provencial style.

As you might expect, you can’t discuss fine dining in Hawaii without talking about Asian offerings.  For Japanese cuisine, Kobe at the edge of Waikiki, at the end of Ala Moana Boulevard, and Tanaka of Tokyo with three locations in Waikiki, are great choices. A myriad of choices are available for Chinese cuisine everywhere. Lotus Moon Restaurant in the Sheraton Princess is one of the best. Then there’s China Garden on Kuhio Avenue and Lau Yee Chai on Kalakaua Avenue. For Thai cuisine, Bangkok Lanai located on Seaside Avenue and Keo’s In Waikiki on Kuhio Avenue are great places.

Can’t agree on what to eat?  Try the Colony restaurant in the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  2010 Diners’ Choice Award Winner, one of the few Waikiki restaurants offering a steak, seafood and sushi mix.

If you’re looking for something more traditional with Hawaiian music and a location right on Waikiki Beach, then Dukes Restaurant and Barefoot Bar is the place to be. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, nothing beats walking up on a sunny afternoon after a refreshing dip or sunbathing, ordering one of their signature drinks, and enjoy a little people watching. Try their Tropical Itch (passion fruit juice, vodka, rum, and orange Curaçao, served with a local bamboo back scratcher…yours to take home) or the classic Mai Tai.

And, if you’re looking for something more casual and less expensive, there is always one of my favorite places for lunch, the Food Court in the Ala Moana Shopping Center, just a couple miles from Waikiki, and just so you don’t think you can’t have a  more reasonably priced meal in Waikiki, Kuhio Avenue is lined with snack outlets and fast-food franchises.

For that matter, there are a hundred mom and pop eateries that offer up great food throughout Honolulu for the budget minded.  The key to having a great eating experience in Hawaii is to be open-minded and willing to try something new.  There is no better place to experience the wide variety of foods available, prepared at  high levels of quality, anywhere in the world, than Honolulu.  As you can see, fine dining in Hawaii is no longer the oxy-moron it once was.

Fare Buzz

No Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a Reply

The owner of this website, Randy Yanagawa, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking My Hawaii Food Fun to Amazon properties including, but not limited to,,,,, or