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Sep 26, 2001 03:08 PM

Roy's Restaurant - Hawaiian Fusion?

  • m

Is anyone familar with this chain of Hawaiian Fusion Cusine? They have locations in Newport Beach, La Jolla, San Francisco, Pebble Beach, Arizona, New York, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii and other states.

They just opened one up in Rancho Mirage and since we are going to the desert this weekend, I thought we'd try it. I heard Meril Schnidler interview the owner and it sounded pretty fun.

Has anyone been to any of their other locations and if so, comment on the experience?


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  1. I've been to the Waikiki one . . . but that was back in the beginning stages of my chowhoundishness. I remember the food being excellent, and the atmosphere being loud, crowded and rushed. Again, that was like 5 years ago. Let us know how it is!

    2 Replies
    1. re: SusanB
      More of Everything

      I was at the Roy's in Mauii a few years ago, and still remember the fantastic Hawaiian short ribs. For dessert, we had a great chocalate souffle that the four of us fought over.

      1. re: More of Everything
        john gonzales

        Roy's food is excellent. Since opening so many outlets the food is obviously less consistent with Roy seldom if ever present. (The original is in Hawaii Kai/ Honolulu) He is one of the forefathers of this type cuisine. Previously worked here in L.A. at L'Orangerie and 385 North. Try fish if it's fresh, and definitely have the chocolate (lava) souffle for dessert.

    2. Have eaten at two of his places on Maui a couple of times, and the one at Pebble Beach. The ones on Maui were better. Lots of fresh local seafood. At Pebble Beach I remember being disappointed in a fish served in a thin saffron sauce - too much saffron, and not enough other flavors. The meals in Maui were good, though not memorable enough for me to provide specifics (they were also a couple of years ago). I do recall thinking the portions on one occasion were small given the prices, but that the dishes were unusual, good, and beautifully presented. I'd give it a go, and please give us a report.

      1. The "Roy" is Roy Yamaguchi. He got his start here in LA, I believe (can't recall all the restaurants he worked at, perhaps Michael's ??) in the early 1980's. He scored a hit with his own place 385 North (located at 385 North La Cienega), which was one of the first Asian "fusion" fine restaurants around. He closed it in the late-'80's or early '90's to move to Hawaii (where he was raised, I think), where he opened Roys. He's now opened Roys' in lots of places. When it opened in Hawaii, Roys' was considered the finest restaurant on the islands, one of the few to offer a "fine dining" experience. Haven't eaten there myself, so can't comment, but I thought some history might interest you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BTraub

          Very recently a Tokyo-based English newspaper had the following story.


        2. Have been to Roy's Kahana (about 4400 Honoapiilani Rd in Kahana, Maui) and Roy's Nicolina (named for his daughter, nearby) many times. Have finicky teenage kids who, when asked "what's the best restaurant you've ever been to?", unhesitatingly answer one of these. Surprisingly traditional takes, with intensified flavors, on ribs, local fish, and traditional vegetables - even French fries. Nobody doesn't like Roy's preparations and chowhounds will delight in the "kick it up a notch" intensity without the Emeril kitsch. Don't expect Sedlar-like innovation, but you'll like the low risk amplification of old favorites.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Griller141

            I have been to the Roy's in Maui and in Honolulu and had excellent meals both times. I understand that he is something of a hero locally for his championing of not merely Hawaiian ideas about cooking, but also local ingredients and growers. I was told that the get-it-if-it's-avaialble item at his restaurants in Hawaii is the wild boar. The feral beasts run wild in the islands and are a dangerous nuisance and ecological disaster. Every once in a while the bounty hunters bring in a few and give them to Roy, and glorious things are said to happen afterwards.

          2. Just arrived home from Roy's in Rancho Mirage. Had one of the better meals we've had in the area....we've been to every upscale restaurant in the desert and this was as good or better then most. Be prepared for the high noise level but if you are not a senior you'll probably love it. Only open five days but jam packed. Call for reservation.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Paul

              Thanks. I've made the reservation already. Can you tell me a little bit about the price range and dress code?