Just back from a first-time trip to Oahu. While I would not call Oahu a true foodie destination, we did have some solid meals. Here's how I would rank them:
1. Sushi Sasabune - best fish I've ever put in my mouth; not as intimidating as you might have heard.
2. Nobu - My only regret is that they don't give you a straw to slurp the sauces.
3. Roy's (Waikiki) - If every chain could be this good. Great food, great service.
4. Alan Wong's - Hectic and loud, portions are ridiculously large.
5. Orchids - Solid, but hardly inventive. The live music wafting in is key to the experience.
6. Mariposa - Similar to Orchids. If you're going to eat in only one department store . . .
7. Chef Mavro - Bad experience. Completely unimpressed. Charges 3x too much for the food / experience. If I had to do it over, I would skip this place and go to Roy's or Sasabune thrice.
8. Ruth's Chris - We've had better steaks at Outback. Sloppy cut and no char at all. Creamed spinach inedible. Prices in the stratosphere. Diners in slippers. Laminated menu that probably hasn't changed in 20 years. You get the picture.
Lunch / Breakfast / Snacks
1. Hank's Haute Dogs - Well worth a detour. Super-friendly service and great dogs.
2. Leonard's - I prefer the unfilled malasadas. Think I had a dozen while I was there.
3. Eggs -n- Things - I wish I had been warned about the size of the omelets. Fresh salsa a nice touch. Worth the 25-minute wait.
4. Matsomoto - Shave ice (with condensed milk) worth a trek across the island, though in a blind tasting, not sure I could tell the difference between his and Aoki's next door (without a line).
5. Diamond Head Grill - Banana pancakes good, "pancake" syrup bad.
Plate lunches, Side Street Inn, Chinatown Chinese, and shrimp trucks saved for next visit. Full reports and some food porn on my blog. Thanks to everyone on this board for their recommendations and advice.
re: torta basilica
I go into detail on my blog report, but in a nutshell, two points: (1) We thought that the food did not justify the level of pretension and cost; and (2) we had one course that had to be sent back (fish still partially frozen), and kitchen unilaterally replaced it with another dish. We found that really strange and off-putting. But for that one course, the food was not terrible, just not at the level I expected for the price. I am not a jaded diner, but when I go "all in" at a place like that, I want to be wowed, like I have in years past at TFL, Cyrus, or Alinea.
found your blog report on Mavro interesting. I have only been there one time, and it was about a week after watching (a rerun) of the Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" episode. I got so tired of the waitstaff telling me how wonderful my meal was instead of asking me if it was. Glad to know I am not the only one with a less than stellar appraisal.
Next time you are here check out the shave ice at Waiola store (two locations both in Honolulu, both pretty close to Waikiki) a lot more convenient than driving out to Haleiwa. Glad you had a good time overall.