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Got a gift certificate to Roy's: help!

For my birthday, a relative gave me a gift certificate to Roy's, the "Hawaiian Fusion" place in SoMa. I've been once before, a long time ago, and remember it being so corporate and fusion in the wrong way that I immediately forgot everything I ate and swore not to return.

And now I have this gift certificate. So, for Roy-lovers or Roy-had to go because you got a gift certificate-ers, what would you recommend at Roy's?

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  1. I'd ask for the freshest fish/seafood available and ask for a simple, non-fusion prep, i.e., leave the weird sauce off.

    1. I'd suggest a black cod or sea bass which would stay moist even if slightly over cooked. Or blow the whole gift certificate on cocktails and just enjoy the atmosphere.

      1. Stick with the freshest fish, as you suggest. Roy's isn't so bad. Overpriced and snooty without a cause, yes. But not bad.

        1. Roy's has a DAT menu this month. See if that menu interests you.
          http://www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/din...

          1 Reply
          1. re: reneesf

            I went for DAT lunch last year (not my choice), and as suggested above, the food wasn't bad. Atmosphere's kind of nice in the booths by the front. Service was condescending once we ordered "bargains."

            It looks like the DAT menu hasn't changed--the assorted appetizer plate and fish tasted pretty good.

          2. I've been to Roy's a few times, and I remember the appetizers being much better than the mains. If you can make a whole meal out of a bunch of appetizers, I'd do that.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JasmineG

              Happen to stumble upon your post. Haven't been to the Roy's in SF but to one in Chicago. I always order the same thing...

              1. Lobster Dim Sum - lobster dumplings with a truffle oil foam emulsion - the truffle oil compliments the sweet lobster very well.

              2. Asian poached pear salad - simple but good - can't go wrong if you want some extra greens.

              3. Misoyaki Butterfish - served with black rice and baby bok choy. The texture of the fish is fantastic.

              All else fails... order some drinks and the molten chocolate cake.

              Happy Eats!

            2. My all time favorite is the butterfish, hold the rice with extra bok choy.

              1. I went there for DAT 2 years ago. Sorry I don't have more up-to-date info and this isn't seafood, but I had an amazing molten chocolate cake dessert there. I do remember being pleasantly surprised by the food and service at the time, considering it is a chain.

                1. I went with ML8000's suggestion to request the freshest fish, which seemed reasonable. The waitron recommended mahi mahi, saying it had been flown in recently. It was coated in lobster butter, which added richness though I didn't think it complemented the fish, which didn't seem particularly fresh.

                  We split the appetizer sampler, which had one rib, one shrimp, one spring roll and one spoonful of poke per person. They tasted OK--sort of the standard finger food assortment at a catered corporate party, though I did like the poke.

                  For dessert we shared the molten chocolate cake, which met my standards for chocolately deliciousness.

                  Again, I would give this experience a C: decent food, big bill ($150 for three entrees, one app, one drink), indifferent service.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pane

                    They didn't have any local fish on the menu? (which presumably would be fresher than something flown in even recently). I am not a big Roy's fan, but they have had local choices when I've been.

                    1. re: pane

                      Sorry it didn't work out. Man, that is a big bill for what you got. Well it's the though that counts.

                    2. I enjoyed the short ribs the last time I dined there. I'd say take the gift certificate for what it's worth...if you have a great distaste for the general food, just take some friends for drinks and pupus! And I will chime in with the others, if all else fails, get the chocolate souffle!

                      1. I live on Maui, literally across the street from Roy's in Kahana. I've been eating at that Roy's for about thirteen years at least once a year. I absolutely love the Slow braised beef short ribs. They fall of the bone. The blackened Ahi is another excellent choice. Butterfish is always a good choice. If you like fish and they have Opakapaka always an outstanding choice. If they have the pear blue cheese salad, it is unbelievable. Lastly, there steaks are always excellent ...Rib Eye medium rare with blue cheese crust on top. I'd also have to second the vote for an all appetizer meal. It gives you a great taste of everything. Have fun!

                        Jay

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Ksmui

                          My experience is that Roy's in Hawaii is far better than the mainland Roy's. Probably due to the availability of fresh, local Hawaiian fish.

                          1. re: mrs bacon

                            I agree. Save the gift certificate for dining at a Roy's in Hawaii. I've been to the Big Island, Kauai, and Ko'olina, Oahu restaurants, and have had very fresh fish and good experiences at all of these locations. In these resort areas where there is a serious lack of good local grub, Roy's is often your best bet.

                            Plus I LOVE the pineapple upside-down cake. One of my favorite desserts of all time.

                            1. re: mrs bacon

                              I don't know, I had two meals at Roy's in Hawaii and had one so so meal and one bad one (very VERY overcooked fish).

                            2. re: Ksmui

                              I love Opakapaka but, sadly, it's something I've only ever seen in Hawaii. I've asked my local fish markets about it and they rarely are ever able to get it in

                            3. I'd second the rec to spend it on drinks and appetizers (the ribs aren't bad) and the souffle. I've been there several times (the SF location) and have always been disappointed with the entree. The last time was just awful (bad shrimp - as in spoiled), that may have sealed it for never returning.

                              1. I agree. Save the gift certificate for dining at a Roy's in Hawaii. I've been to the Big Island, Kauai, and Ko'olina, Oahu restaurants, and have had very fresh fish and good experiences at all of these locations. In these resort areas where there is a serious lack of good local grub, Roy's is often your best bet.

                                Plus I LOVE the pineapple upside-down cake. One of my favorite desserts of all time.

                                1. I love Roy's and have been to at least 5 of them, maybe more. We have only had one disapointing meal in 10 years of going to them. That was at the Newport Beach one with in a week of its opening.

                                  The LA board has recently had rave reviews of the new LA downtown one, including how great the service is.

                                  If you are not going to Hawaii soon I suggest taking a day trip to the Monterey Bay area and going to the one at the Inn at Spanish Bay. It is really beautiful, great sunsets with bagpipes on the golf course with outside fire pits for drinks.
                                  It is on the 17 mile drive. Just tell the guys at the gate you are going to eat at the hotel and they will not charge you an entrance fee.
                                  Stay away from pizza and salads, or anything you can get elsewhere. We sometimes get 3-4 apps and then only one entree. Do not skip dessert! Good luck.

                                  1. If you don't like the food, why not just spend it at the bar, a weekday wine flight... I seem to remember a fairly decent wine list, the one time I ate there.

                                    1. We went to Roy's for Mother's day brunch last year. It was a break from the usual brunch scene, and a good presentation. Like my other trip to Roy's, the quality of the food was not outstanding, but my wife (from Hawaii) and kids had fun and were treated well. It was nice they had dishes specifically aimed at kids which is surprisingly hard to find for any Sunday brunch, and it seemed to me they attracted a decent number of families that were relocated from Hawaii.

                                      The only dish I remember was a fancy version of Loco Moco, which is a standard Hawaiian meal of a hamburger patty over rice with fried eggs and gravy. I can't remember exactly what Roy's did to it, but it was a fun if not authentic or gourmet entree.

                                      1. I'm with previous posters. Go for drinks and pu-pus at the bar. I wouldn't bother saving the certificate for a trip to Hawaii. We went to the one on Kauai and it wasn't great. So either use it for a nice bar party or sell the thing on Craigslist.