For most of us, going to a five star restaurant usually coincides with a celebration of some kind. Whether it’s a first date, a wedding, rehearsal dinner, an anniversary, birthday, new job, retirement or family reunion, life’s celebrations deserve the very best. On Oahu, we are lucky to find some of the most accomplished chefs, scrumptious cuisine and eye-popping venues in the world. Here is a sampling of our most loved island favorites for fine dining on Oahu.
In the world of gourmet cooking, critically acclaimed Chef Alan Wong is renowned for his unique creative flair. An accomplished master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Chef Wong’s highly-successful career is best known for marrying elements of different ethnic cooking styles using the finest island-grown ingredients. As his Asian roots combine with his French culinary background, east and west do not merely meet, they meld.
In 1994, the Robert Mondavi Winery named Chef Wong as one of 13 Rising Star Chefs in America. Since then, accolades for his culinary skills keep rolling in, as do his loyal foodie customers.
“The restaurant must have really good feng shui, because it is the kind of place that makes me feel good when I arrive and elevates any occasion into being super special,” says one such regular diner. “We may not be able to afford our Alan Wong’s splurge every day, but when we do think of going out for something special, it’s our first choice.”
Wong says his goal is to have his guests “Taste Hawaii.” Fresh, local products, whenever possible, are paired with local flavors. He defines his Hawaii Regional Cuisine as the contemporary style of cooking that borrows from all of the ethnic influence found in Hawaii today.
And just in case you equate a restaurant that serves artistically designed plates of food that look like art as being stuffy, with menu items that you can’t pronounce or an atmosphere that is too formal, Wong’s restaurants express a casual yet elegant ambiance and welcome their guests with Hawaiian style hospitality and the Aloha Spirit.
Address: 1857 S. King Street, Honolulu
Reservations: Call 808.949.2526 or book online
Romance or going fancy doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out Aloha Hour at Roy’s, where featured $6 appetizers include tasteful Wagyu beef sliders with caramelized onions, chipotle aioli and garlic sweet potato fries; smoked mahi mahi tacos; or a tempura crusted spicy ahi roll. Sampling Roy’s appetizers can be a full meal. For an intimate first date, try sharing the Dim Sum Canoe for Two, a sample of Roy’s tried and true blue ribbon pupus: crab cakes, tempura spicy ahi maki, baby back ribs, pork spring roll, and shrimp sticks.
Roy’s philosophy is simple: In Hawaii, there are two things of equal importance — food and the Aloha Spirit. The blending of these two defines Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine — a tempting combination of exotic flavors and spices mixed with the freshest of local ingredients, always with an emphasis on seafood.
Soon after the original Roy’s opened in Hawaii Kai in 1988, Food & Wine Magazine dubbed it the “crown jewel” of Honolulu’s East-West eateries, and it was named one of Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 50.” Today, an unforgettable experience is a tradition.
Roy’s is a romantic place to celebrate. In fact, there is a Weddings @ Roy’s section on the restaurant’s website, which also opens the door on mainland locations where private dining can be arranged for Roy’s-style rehearsal dinners or engagement parties. Call for details about making arrangements at any of the Hawaii locations for your pre- or post-wedding gatherings.
At the Hawaii Kai location, live music is part of the outdoor seating ambiance. Make your day extra special.
Address: Hawaii Kai Towne Center, 6600 Kalanianaole Hwy | 226 Lewers St. ,Wakiki | Ko Olina Golf Club, 92-1220 Aliinui Drive, Kapolei
Reservations: Call 808.396.7697 in Hawaii Kai, 808.923.7697 in Waikiki or 808.676.7696 at Ko Olina or book online
Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant
Tiny white lights twinkle from the welcoming branches of an ancient hau tree. The tables are dressed with pink tablecloths, and the sights and sounds of Waikiki are part of the scenery. Idyllic dining doesn’t get much better than the Hau Tree Lanai. A magical setting and an equally inspired carte de jour is perfect for that very special occasion.
The eggs benedict and poi pancakes on the breakfast menu are ono-legendary. Lunch favorites include hearty sandwiches, a variety of curries, pastas, fresh island fish and vegetarian dishes. For dinner, choose from poultry, pasta, steak and lobster, as well as seafood. Each selection is carefully prepared, superbly served and reasonably priced.
A 100-year-old or more hau tree anchors the center of the restaurant, its canopy looming overhead providing an extraordinary sense of intimacy and undoubtedly has been the site of many bent-on-one-knee wedding proposals. It’s that romantic.
Adjacent to the restaurant on the lobby level, is the Sans Souci Room, an indoor, ocean view banquet room. This is a perfect setting for an intimate meeting or banquet reception. Rooms may also be used for ceremonial services.
Address: At The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, 2863 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
Reservations: Call 808.921. 7066 or book online
A discussion of the high-end restaurant scene on Oahu could not be complete without including Chef Mavro on the list. Here, you’ll feel the intimate setting is like you are a guest in the chef’s home. Almost. The restaurant’s exterior even has a residential flair to it.
But inside, you’ll find Chef Mavro’s brigade of talented cooks creating masterpieces of palate-pleasing courses. At Mavro’s, you can always expect excellence based on his commitment to buy the best, most fresh, local products.
Chef Mavro restaurant is dedicated to food and wine pairing. Seasonal menus feature recipes with wine pairings selected by a wine committee only after a blind tasting of five wines with each recipe. The restaurant’s famous bread, flavorful contemporary desserts, ice creams and all baked accompaniments add to the already exquisite dining experience.
Chef Mavro is the only independently-owned Hawaii restaurant to earn the 2014 American Automobile Association (AAA) Five Diamond status (every year since 2008), as well as many other distinguished awards.
The attire here is considered Aloha Casual.
Address: 1969 S King St, Honolulu
Reservations: Call 808.944.4714 or book online
Originally published in the May/June Island Homes Collection magazine
By: Lisa Scontras | Photos by: Justin R. Dotson – Camera Cliq