The following is a list of restaurants that are worth the trip (and the fare). They are listed in no particular order and range in price and experience so there’s something that should please everyone’s wallet and pallet.
Hy’s Steakhouse. 2440 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815. Hy’s Steak House, one of the best-known steakhouse restaurants in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been a tradition in Waikiki for over thirty five years and continues to be a favorite with visitors and locals alike. Originally part of the Canadian-owned chain, Hy’s Restaurant continues to offer superb cuisine which has been classified as “Continental,” but its decor and menu demonstrate mixtures of American, European, Hawaiian and Pacific influences. The drinks are priced right which only make a great place better. The waiters are wearing tuxedos. Unexpected in Waikiki, but a great upscale night out. http://www.hyshawaii.com/
Roy’s Waikiki. 215 Lewers Street, Honolulu, HI 96815. Roy’s is a favorite. What make Roy’s different from other restaurants is the service. After being kindly greeted by the hostess you are graciously taken to your table. Your friendly waiter comes over to greet you and swiftly places your napkin on your lap. Every glass of water is refilled before it reaches empty, meals come out in a timely manner, and a waiter always checks on you before and after your course is served and miraculously appears when you need something Special mention is the Szechuan Pork Ribs, Butterfish, Scallops, and virtually any sushi. Don’t forget the signature Hawaiian Martini. Complimentary spicy edamame is served instead of bread. http://royshawaii.com/
House Without a Key. Halekulani, 2199 Kalia Rd., Honolulu, HI 96815. What a setting to watch the sunset in Waikiki while enjoying some signature tropical cocktails and listening to live local music.
The ambiance and environment are the signature reasons to stay and dine in Waikiki. You feel apart from the busy streets, shopping and noise, and feel like you are warped in time to another, more peaceful and romantic era. Check out the lamb chops, which they only serve on Tuesday and Thursday during their grill night. The baby back ribs, which were perfectly executed (she let me try them). The meat fell right off the bone. For dessert: coconut cake. Not too sweet, light and refreshing; it is how coconut cake should be. http://www.halekulani.com/
6-7-8 Korean Barbeque. 1726 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814. Although food is cooked at your table, it’s no a do-it-yourself place. The most surprising part is the waiter comes and cooks at your table for you. Parking is easy and free in marked spaces. Order combo with just any combination of beef and pork. It will come with all of the usual namul selections as well as Mac salad, special sauces, and strangely – raw egg. The grill has a heated compartment just to pour egg into. Lastly, a bowl of spicy seafood chige was included, much more food than anyone can want. The meat is tender and well seasoned, the veggies are fresh and delicious. Chilled tea that is served in place of water is refreshing.
Ramen Nakamura. 2141 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815. This place has been here since Hawaii first started to add all the high end stores for the Japanese tourists 20 years ago. Now … Japanese tourists are the minority, and the International Market Place is being torn down, but thankfully Ramen Nakamura still has a line out the door! When it first opened they did not have their signature oxtail ramen (or maybe that was for the Japanese) Check out their shio and shoyu ramen. The vibe in here feels a bit like Japan. Exclusively counter seating, the service, the ramen….. screams Nippon! Open late. Go for a bowl of oxtail!
Helena’s (not in Waikiki). 1240 N. School St., Honolulu, HI 96817. Did you know that Helena’s was awarded the prestigious James Beard American Classics award? Even after receiving the JB award and being featured on the Travel Channel, the folks here are still so low-key. They have provided Hawaii with so many years of fast, personable, delicious Hawaiian food and home-spun professionalism, you’d understand and respect them even more once you pass through their doors. The menu is straight-forward… a la carte or sets with portion size options. We like the pipikaula and kalua pork. The pipikaula short ribs are served heat hot, not too fatty, full-flavored and tender/chewy. Order the larger portions. The kalua pork is juicy, tender and really tasty. There’s also Hawaiian stew, chicken long rice and lau lau. The portion sizes are just right to satisfy your Hawaiian food hankering without you wanting to take a nap afterwards. Helena’s got us with their great service, deliciousness and value. Just be prepared to stand in line and pay with cash only. http://helenashawaiianfood.com/
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. 1841 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96815. Kobe does the job when you’re craving some Teppanyaki and don’t have the patience to wait with 1,000 tourists for a seat at Benihana which is just behind Kobe. But Kobe is a classic and doesn’t have the new trendy ambience of it’s neighbor Benihana. A couple of tips. If you order a beer it’s usually the large one they’ll serve you and the waitresses don’t tell you that beforehand. If you want fried rice there’s a small additional cost per person. Not a problem since the whole idea of Teppanyaki is to fry your food up in front of you so it’s not like fried rice is going out of their way. Kobe japanese Steakhouse is an old school Waikiki favorite. The food is delicious ans the service incredible. http://kobewaikiki.com/
Chart House Waikiki. 1765 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96815. This place is one of our absolute favorites. Sit in the bar area with a panoramic view of the marina behind the Ilikai. Order a variety of starters, but the usuals are great appetizer favorites: Escargot, Tofu Poke, and even the Caesar Salad. However, the entrees off the main dinner menu are a deal! Most come as “complete meals” with a salad or soup and a dessert. They offer a pretty good selection of quality meat and seafood choices. You can’t go wrong. Their wine list is good, but I’m sure they are more well-known for their touristy tropical drinks and the sweet mixed concoctions. They do have a pretty full bar though and some beers on tap, and with a decent selection by the bottle. http://www.charthousehonolulu.com/
Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant. 2863 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815. The view is breathtaking. Depending upon what time of year it is, reservations should try to be made for about 1/2 hour before the sunset. You will sit down to a beautiful orange sky, have drinks as the sky turns a pink, and dine with the light of the torches that outline the edge of the property. The food is awesome. Order any seafood entree whether it be the blackened Ahi, or fisherman stew. You’ll never be disappointed. Service is always top notch. http://www.kaimana.com/hautreelanai.htm