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Sep 25, 2007 09:46 AM

Sunday Dinner in Waikiki

Hi All,

I'll be in Honolulu for less then 24-hours next Sunday (Sept. 30th) and am looking for a wonderful dining experience with my boyfriend.

We are going to be staying at the Ocean Resort Hotel Waikiki located at 175 Paoakalani Ave.

After doing a little research I've come across a few restaurants. In particular I'm interested in your opinions of Sansei Seafood and Sushi Restaurant. It's walking distance to our hotel and the sushi/seafood sounds wonderful.

We are interested in being on the beach or something with a beautiful view. We will have been traveling since 6am from the East Coast so something relaxing and casual would be great.

Other places I have some across are Banyan Veranda, Hula Grill, Ocean House Restaurant, and Prince Court. Any opinions?

We don't want to blow the bank or have to get dressed up either but $30-40/person is ok.


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    1. It's been years (many) since I was there, but the Ha'u Tree Lanai at the (then Kama'aina, now New Otani) always had a great view, especially around sunset.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MobyRichard

        While I have missed it on the last three trips, but it was always very good, and beach-side table on San Souci Beach is wonderful. It has gotten mixed reviews, as of late, but we always had wonderful food and service. It is not really within walking distance of Waikiki (though we've done it a few times), but is very close.

        Sansei has gotten some good reviews here. Might want to search this board for "sushi," as a thread about 6 mo. ago mentioned them.

        For more up-scale dining, with an Ocean/sunset view, I really like Bali by the Sea, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Many decades ago, I had my problems with them, but much has changed, and they are about #3 on my Honolulu list. It's not inexpensive, but is worth the $. Great chef, servers and sommelier. Do not be put off, that it is within the HHV Resort. It is worth it, and an ocean-side table is as romantic, as it gets.

        The only two shops that rate above it are AW's on King St., and Chef Mavro's, also on King St - however, no view at either. La Mer usually edges out Bali, but after the last trip, they fall below it, and are $$$$$, so it will be out of the question, unless you take out a second mortgage.


      2. The buffet at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel should cover all your needs-very good selection and u sit under canopied restaurant-call ahead to make reservation so at least u have something secured but usually will have room if u dont have reservation.Its right on the beach where u can watch the sunset as well.

        6 Replies
        1. re: UES Mayor

          I'm actually trying to avoid a buffet. Not a huge fan of them and after a looooooong day of traveling I think it would be nice to sit down and just have a waiter bring us the food (I hope that doesn't sound snobby in any way because I certainly don't mean it that way). But thanks for the suggestion.

          So no one has an opinion on Sansei?

          1. re: Elyssa

            I love to eat there, everything I've ever had was really good. They always have a featured item and a special drink which are great values. More often than not you will be greeted and or seated by the nicest lady in Hawaii, "Mom" Kodama, the owner's mother she's the best!

            1. re: manomin

              While we didn't end up at Sansai (although I wish they were open for lunch because their menu looked excellent) we did stop by and look at their menu.

              They have a listing for a $500 Spam dish. Does anyone have a clue what this is and why it costs so much? I actually believe it was written as "spam" so perhaps its not actually spam from a can but something else. But still...$500!!!???

              1. re: Elyssa

                Whoa, I've done Ch. Latour dinners in that price range, but there was no Spam, or spam, on the menu. I'm interested to find out exactly what this one is about, as I cannot fathom US$500 for dinner, without world-class wines and Guy Savoy at the stove, but am willing to learn. Even with excellent wines, our tab at Chef Mavro's and La Mer barely reach that high for two.

                Hunt, curiously waiting for more info

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Well I certainly can imagine $500 for dinner in the US. My parents recently spend about $100-$200 over that at a dinner at Alinea in Chicago, but their meal didn't come anywhere close to containing Spam or even a take on Spam.

                  Anyone in Waikiki know what the deal is with this dish?

                2. re: Elyssa

                  I'm pretty sure the $500 Spam dish on Sansei's menu is a joke. At least that was my interpretation when I saw it on the menu. It's local humor. It's hard to grow up in Hawaii without eating least in my experience.

          2. Since you're going to be in Hawaii I would recommend eating at one of the local restaurants to get a sense of the combination of flavors and cultures in the islands. You will have a hard time finding truly 'local kine food' anywhere else. For finer dining restaurants, look to Sam Choy or Alan Wong. Look at for some good recommendations!

            7 Replies
            1. re: Hanads

              I will gladly second that rec. I happen to be a big fan of AW's, and less so, Sam Choy's, but that is just the differences in my tastes vs. those of many others. I need to try SC's again, as it has been quite some time.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I echo AW over SC... disappointed too many times at SC. It's an awful lot of money to spend on a disappointing meal. Mavro should also be considered - but not his new place downtown. The new Roy's in Waikiki is getting mostly good reviews as well, but you can do Roy's on the mainland. Chai's is also a good choice, but not as upscale as AW, SC or Mavro.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  Yes, I've seen some pretty critical reviews for Chef Mavro's new spot. I still find it difficult to believe, but the reviews came for respected folk. It's just that his eponymous spot is SO-O good. I plan on trying the new spot (just cannot recall the name at this moment), to see for myself - lunch probably, provided that they are open.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    the place is called Cassis. We ate there in June. Definately not for local foods or tastes. We are from LA and try all the hot places after they cool down. Cassis would be great in LA and a little much for casual hawaain dining.

                    1. re: spang

                      you are the first person who said they had a good experience - glad that someone did, but several people I know who won't be going back have plenty of experience dining outside of Hawaii. Hope to hear more good things, but not holding my breath.

                2. re: Bill Hunt

                  We wish we could have gone to Alan Wong's but it was pretty far from our hotel and we were already sticker shocked by the $40 cab ride from the airport. Maybe next time because I hear its great!

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Wow, we've done AW's via cab (when we're likely to do too much wine) and the fare to/from Hilton Hawaiian Village was only about US$12, each direction with tip.

                    Do consider AW's for next trip, and if you are "into food," the Chef's Counter is worth the effort. Space is slightly cramped, and you will be tempted by everything that crosses in front of you, it's unbelievablely good. I'd go with the "sommelier's pairing," as the courses keep coming and it's impossible to pick a "quintessential wine," or two, or three, to match with them. The normal b-t-g selections are a bit short, so I always rely on the sommelier to do the real work for this. I cannot recommend AW's (King St.) too highly. You MUST do it!


              2. I live in Hawaii...Sansei is a good choice. Alan Wongs is rated best restaurant every year, but is pricey (entrees are 35$).Skip Sam Choys. Prince Court has an excellent dinner and luncheon buffet (lunch is abour 25 and dinner is 40). Prince is one of my favorites. Hau Tree Lanai is hotel food, but the outdoor seating is nice. Halekulani Hotel, Orchids is a great place. For casual medium price place, I recommend is Duke's Waikiki Restaurant in Outrigger Hotel..they dont take reservations, and busy every night. All the restaurants at Aloha Tower are bad, except for Chais Island Bistro. The best kept secret and one of the best restaurants is on the other side of the island, at the Ihilani Hotel ...Azul's. Enjoy!

                4 Replies
                1. re: hawaiisrfn

                  Did Scott's at the Aloha Tower close? It was at the end, Diamondhead side. We had two lunches there, some years back, and I was surprised at how good it was for that sort of location.

                  Thanks for the rec. on Azul's. We were thinking of trying for a few rounds of golf at Ko Olina, and the last time we were out there, nothing seemed that good. As we were not staying, and only doing a day trip, it is not fair for me make comments, even if they are 3 years old. Nothing had that interesting a menu, back then. We'll give it a try, if our plans fall into place.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    The restaurant in the clubhouse that used to be Niblick is now a Roy's. I've had some good lunches and dinners there. I also liked the Japanese restaurant in the hotel. If you ever stay there avoid the rooms over the pool, they are loud and noisy from all the yelling and screaming in the pool and at night from all the rowdy drinkers in the bar overlooking the pool. We couldn't deal with the noise and got upgraded to the suite next to the Presidential suite which was an awesome room with fabulous views.

                    1. re: manomin

                      Just so I'm sure that I'm following the thread, Niblick's was at the clubhouse at Ko Olina, right? And it's now a Roy's? Actually, the best Roy's in some years has been the one at the Inn on Spanish Bay, CA, at Pebble Beach. We were impressed by it, but then it's often in the exec. chef at each Roy's location.


                  2. re: hawaiisrfn

                    I'm driving over to spend a few days at Ihilani this month and have never eaten at Azul - a couple of the times we've stayed there they were closed. I want to try the brunch have you been to that?