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Anniversary Dinner on O'ahu

Well, DH (dear hubby) and I decided to once again, go to the lovely islands of Hawaii for our vacation this year. Last year we got married on Maui, so it's only appropriate, right?

Anyhow, we've looked at a few places to eat, and I've read mixed reviews on some of them. So, give me your opinion....for ANY place on the island (we'll have a car, and driving is no biggie). Alcohol is NOT important as we don't drink (so, great wine lists are pretty much useless to me, lol). We don't like cooked fish either. lol. Although, raw is good.

Okay, so here's our list. I put them in order of what you guys have suggested in other reviews. Are there any others I should look into?

Alan Wong's
Hanohano Room
Hy's Steak House
Banyan Veranda (a thought, since we're staying the Moana Surfrider, yeah)

What else is out there? We're looking for nice, quieter, view would be nice (either mountain or ocean, but not city). Don't want to spend an arm and leg, but $125-$150 total meal (no alcohol), appetizer, entree, dessert is decent. I initially suggested one of those sunset cruises, and DH was nice enough to be more concerned about my motion sickness issues, so we nixed that.

Ideas? Thoughts? I'm so excited to go.........for the food of course. lol. Okay, and the beautiful weather, scenery, people, etc.


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  1. Of the list that you have provided, I'd opt for Alan Wong's King St. You might want to see reviews of several high-end Oahu restaurants, that I did in Sept '06, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334698

    There was also a series of posts regarding Hy's Steakhouse, about the same time, but I do not really recall the consensus.

    Seems that there is/was a recent Hanohano Room report up - Torta Basilica maybe?

    For the Banyan Veranda, I've only had a few glasses of wine there, so I cannot comment on dinner.

    Happy anniversary,

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Wow, that was one very intense review. Thanks. It helped a lot. I'll have to do a search for Hy's, and I think I did see the Hanohano one. I'm still looking around, however, I think the top three are AW's, Hy's, or Hanohano.

      Thanks. :)

    2. Alan Wong's (fave)
      Pineapple Room (Alan Wongs more casual place , 3rd floor of Macy's )
      Mariposa (Neiman's)
      3660 on the Rise
      Sasabune (best Sushi in Honolulu) (150- for two for lunch)

      1 Reply
      1. re: russkar

        Wow, 150 for LUNCH sushi? Ouch!!! I've been looking more and more into 3660 on the Rise, however, it seems like it's more of a loud type place. I need a quieter environment, but will keep reading. I'm going to go look into Mariposa's. Thanks for the suggestions. :)

      2. I didn't think 3660 was loud at all. It wasn't full, but it just doesn't seem like that kind of place.

        4 Replies
        1. re: torta basilica

          I'm with Torta on this one. Each time that we have dined there, the noise level was quite low - nothing like any of the Roy's. It's not as quiet as Chef Mavro's, or La Mer, but normal conversation is not intruded upon. That said, one can always be seated near an office party, or similar. Not too long ago, we were in Viognier in San Mateo, and one table, just a bit from us was out of control. After they were asked to keep it down four, or so, times, the management, picked up the check, and asked them to leave. Immediately next to us was a family with three small children. They were as well-behaved as the most serious adult diners. A joy to see, and be around. Too bad that some adults did not take a page from the children's book on behaving in a very nice, and quiet restaurant.

          Since I am very sensitive to excessive noise, while dining, I have to say that 3660 is quite pleasent.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Thanks. That makes me feel more confident about dining there. I went to Roy's here in SoCal, I wasn't impressed at all. And yup, VERY VERY loud. Too many times while on Maui last year, DH and I got stuck in the area with the "live entertainment". Honestly, I'd rather have quiet. I can't think when ppl play music loudly, nor do I want to talk. Too much noise, wears me down mentally, and how sucky is that when you're on vacation trying to enjoy a good meal? Too many were ruined last year by loud music or rowdy groups. I want more quiet time this year. lol. So, if 3660 is a quieter place than Roy's, it's defeinitely on my list. :)

            1. re: kelela92

              Unless something has changed, MUCH quieter.

              I, too, dislike loud restaurants. Some designers, chefs and owners, seem to really go for it though. I suppose that they feel it conotes a "happening place." I often wonder if they are trying to mask the fact that the food isn't what it should be. However, some just like that sort of atmosphere. Years ago, I managed to get a reservtion at Jean-Marie Josselin's A Pacific Cafe, Kapaa, Kaua`i. When we walked in the door, we were HIT by the noise. Everyone in sight must have had two cell-phones going! The hostess took one look at our faces and stated, "I'll bet that you'd like the 'quiet room,' wouldn't you?" We agreed and were lead to a room, just off of the main dining/kitchen room. She explained that Chef Josselin wanted to create an atmosphere, similar to the bistros of his youth in France, but realized that some folk actually like to dine in quiet. The room had a view of the kitchen, but all of the surfaces were soft, so the noise did not reverberate all around - an idea that too many designers miss. Give me a room, where I can speak in normal, or quieter, tones, and let me enjoy my wife's, or my guests' company.

              The only complaint that I have about the Chef's Counter at AW (recommended above by several) is that, because you are right atop the kitchen and the prep-line, it's noisy. The rest of the restaurant is quite a bit quieter, and more spacious. However, for the Chef's Counter, I'll gladly make an exception.


          2. re: torta basilica

            Thanks for the info. I'll put them on my list. :) Actually, they are on my list already.

          3. Okay, here's my list so far.
            (tie): Hy's Steakhouse (more choices for us food wise) and Alan Wong's
            Then Hanohano Room.

            I'm still looking into 3660 on the Rise, Ola, and Bali by the Sea. :)

            Thanks everyone for your suggestions and links. It's been VERY helpful.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kelela92

              Bali by the Sea has moved up my list over the last few years. About 18 years ago, I had a rather bad experience there. I skipped them for about 10 years, but my wife talked me into going back, "one more time." I'm glad that I did, because they had definitely changed their attitude and the service - new exec. chef, sommelier, everyone. I've been back each year, for the last 7, or so, and have enjoyed it very much.

              Now, if I had to choose between them or Chef Mavro's, I'd head over to King St and give up the nice view from Bali, but we usually have enough time, so that Bali always makes my list nowadays. Ask for a table over the ocean, when you make the reservations, and make them early.

              If you are including Ola, I assume that you are also staying on the North Shore, as that is very long drive, especially after a great meal and any wine. See my review: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334698. Ola is in the middle of the thread.


            2. Glad to hear you are coming back to Paradise to celebrate your anniversary!

              I'm going to suggest a venue that is not well known, even to locals, but which we've been going to for years and which has always elicited raves from any and all guests regardless of where they're from. It's the Ka Ikena dining room located in the Kapiolani Community College campus up in back of Diamond Head. Wonderful view, always excellent food, good (altho sometimes a bit slow), quiet, good service. Altho you indicate you don't drink, you can bring your own wine (we've never tried bringing other liquor since we only drink wine). Personnel are students in their last year of training before going out into the industry. Oh, and there's no tipping---if you wish to tip, there's a small box at the entrance for contributions to the program. Incidentally, I've lived in Hawaii, at the west end of Waikiki, for over 30 years, so I feel I can comment on restaurants and the food associated therewith with a fair bit of knowledge.

              The dining room is open from about 5:30-7:30 or so Tuesdays through Saturdays at half-hour intervals and reservations are required. Reservations may be made at 808-734-9499 Mondays through Fridays except for holidays. I would also suggest that you check their web site (www.kccdining.com), which gives you more info and a look at the menu (which is limited but the food is always excellent). It's located 10-15 minutes from Waikiki; I'm sure the reservations people would be happy to give you driving directions.

              I strongly recommend this as a possibility for you to consider. And regardless of whether you do or not, have a Happy Anniversary out here in Paradise.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Big1daddy

                Thanks for the recs. You are correct, in all of my travels, I have not heard of it, but will check it out.


                1. re: Big1daddy

                  i haven't been in a while, someone (not necessarily a reliable someone) told me it was not operating any more. Back to the OP's message. Seems to be doing good, although i think the budget is about $50 shy for two full dinners, even without adult beverages.

                2. Thanks everyone. I will check out KCC's website and tell my DH about it. I've seen local colleges here do that too. Very nice way to experience good food, for half the price too.

                  It seems that we will most likely be dining at Alan Wong's (regular table), or Hy's Steak House. Unfortunately, a lot of the "nice" restaurants many of you suggested.....their menu's aren't appetizing to us. I guess we're just meat and potatos type of people. lol. I still need to do some research into 3660 on the Rise.

                  I was thinking Ola's, as I really like the menu, however, since we are staying in Waikiki (and typically I don't mind driving), we rather not go that route. We did that on our wedding night last year (went to Mama's Fishhouse on Maui and drove at 10pm to Lahaina. Bleah).

                  You guys are great.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kelela92

                    Between Hy's and AW's, do yourself a favor and do AW's. Hy's is an OK steakhouse, and you can get that fare in Indianapolis, probably a bit less expensively. AW's food can only be found in a very few spots on the globe, and most of them are in Hawai`i. Be bold, go for the "tasting menu," and let the kitchen have fun. You will not regret it. I'd also go for the sommelier's pairing, especially if you're driving. If you really enjoy a brisk walk, it's about a 15 min. hike to Waikiki.

                    I wish that I had a Honolulu equal to Ola, but it's a bit of 3660, a bit of AW and a little Roy's, with some really neat takes on local Hawaiian food. It's worth a stay at TBR, but the drive would be longer, slower, and a bit more tricky, than Mama's to Lahaina.

                    Next trip, save time for Chef Mavro's. You will not be disappointed. Again, I highly recommend the tasting menu (your choice of # of courses) and the pairing. IMO, you will not likely find better fare, than AW's & Chef Mavro's, anywhere in Hawai`i, regardless of the price.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Thanks. I'm thinking AW's may be the way to go too, only cuz we can get a "good" steak anywhere. know what I mean? I don't know if I'll be open to doing the "tasting menu" after doing it at Bluefin (sushi). Too much stuff, we didn't care for. Kinda killed the whole fun of paying $150 for dinner. I don't think we're "bold" enough. Heck, at least I ate everything they served, DH didn't. And well, I felt sick after eating some of those things. lol. I'm too wary now to do the "tasting menu". They'd prolly serve us a LOT of "fresh fish". bleah.

                      thanks though. I'm leaing towards AW. :)

                      1. re: kelela92

                        I think that the "tasting menu" at AW's will be more to your liking. Yes, there are a lot of courses, and they are exciting, but not over-the-top. Other than "Mystery Lau-lau," from the New Wave Lu`au, I've never had a dish from AW's, that was anything but spectacular. Besides, as you see some of the "tasting menu" items being delivered to near-by tables, you WILL want those too. Most of all, enjoy.

                  2. The posted link for the Kapiolani Community College Ka Ikena dining room does not work. For future reference, this one works now:


                    1. I just wanted to report back on my experience. DH and I chose to go to Hy's Steakhouse. For many reasons, the main one being my DH loves a good filet. The ambiance was perfect. We were there when they opened, so there wasn't a lot of people. We got sat in the very back, against the wall, next to the grill, that you can see through a window. Very cool. Everything we ordered was top notch excellent.

                      We started with HUGE scallops wrapped in bacon. Scrumptous. Moved onto our salad that we split. I can't recall what it was exactly, but it was good. That's all I know. Dinner was a petit filet mignon for the both of us. I got the garlic mashed potatoes, he got a baked one. DH has eaten at many top notch steakhouses, and he said this is his #1 or #2 best steak ever eaten. It was GREAT!!! For dessert, we ordered cherry jubilee. Where they light it all on fire. Oh so much fun.

                      All in all, I have never been able to say that I enjoyed a restaurant in ALL the areas. Ambiance, food, every course, dessert, staff, etc.

                      I highly recommend it if you like steak.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kelela92

                        oh i'm so glad you liked it!!! i LOVE hy's =)i'll have to try the scallops next time =) it's one of the rare places that i actually CRAVE their steak =)

                      2. Here's a report I did last year. I liked Alan Wongs and Chef Mavro.