We have had the chance to eat at two local Roy's locations: Waikiki and Hawaii Kai. Without a doubt, I prefer the Hawaii Kai location. Hawaii Kai was just remodeled, which is nice, the tables are upstairs, with a view of the ocean and a decent sunset (the sunset on the Diamond Head side of the island is a little less lovely than on the Ewa side). The menus are not dramatically different, so its about ambiance and service. The service at Hawaii Kai (the flagship location) is fabulous: warm, friendly, and very prompt. Here you will find both residents and visitors enjoying a comfortable and satisfying dining experience. I found the Waikiki (BeachWalk) location to be completely unsatisfying from both the service and ambiance perspective. I was dying to try something new the night that we were at the Waikiki location and the server could barely make a recommendation. Waikiki also has some attitude at the door, which is a total turn off for me. There is nothing I hate more than sitting down to dinner to "relax", but having to battle attitude from an 18 y/o at the door.
Hawaii Kai is a little drive (20 min) from Waikiki, but its an easy drive and worth it to get out of the chaos of Waikiki for a night. Parts of the drive are also very pretty.
Thank you for the update on Hawai`i Kai. It has been many years, but we were less than impressed then. Glad to hear that they have re-done the restaurant. Also, many have commented on a new chef, or chefs.
Missed the Beachwalk location, but will give it a try next trip to O`ahu. We're usually staying in the neighborhood, and do enjoy most Roy's - some more than others.
A few of his AZ and CA locations have rated very high with us, and this is odd, as all of the Mainland locations are a combined effort with Chef Yamaguchi and the Outback Steakhouse folk. As I understand it, Hawai`i and Japan are straight Roy's, but could be wrong. The main reason that this surprises me, is that I have never had a decent meal at any Outback Steakhouse. Go figure.
Because Chef Yamaguchi allows some freedom to his exec. chefs, at his restaurants, there can be some differences, besides the architecutre. Still, I feel bad saying that we've had better meals (everything considered) on the Mainland, than any recent Hawai`i visits. Hurts me to type that.
Again, mahalo for the report,
re: Bill Hunt
A PS to this review of Roy's: I resisted Roy's for so many years b/c it was a chain, but I find it interesting now that I have dined at a couple that I have definite views. Actually, my best experience was at the Roy's in Chandler. Let me know what you think of the BeachWalk location.
Though Roy's, as we know the restaurants. are really two "chains," we have had good to great meals at most of them. However, I've had better meals, all the way round, with Roy's on the Mainland: Phoenix (several locations), Pebble Beach and Scottsdale. These are in partnership with Outback Steakhouse.
In the past, we've loved the Waikoloa restaurant, and also had a couple of mediocre meals there. On O`ahu, we've done all, but the Beachwalk restaurant. That said, many have pointed out that the Hawai`i Kai restaurant has undergone many changes recently, and our earlier trips should be discounted. We have also not done the Poipu, Kaua`i location, as it was not open, right after Inikiki, and we ran out of time on the last trip. In our trips to the two Maui restaurants, we were underwhelmed, but that was years ago.
In recent years, the Roy's Desert Ridge (PHX) and Pebble Beach, CA, were the top two, and excellent in almost every aspect. Full review of Desert Ridge on the Southwest board about three months ago.
It will be some months, before we're back on O`ahu, so I will have to rely on the reviews of others.
I have dined at two of the three. The Hawai`i Kai (original) location was quite low on my Roy's list, but it was a long time ago. Others have mentioned new chefs and menus, so my experience is of little help. The other, Ko` Olina was only for a quick lunch. It was good, but nothing grabbed us. A long way to go, if you are not on the westside of O`ahu. The new location, in the Beachwalk redevelopment was not open at any of the hours that we had available, so we did not get to experience it. Seems that one Hawiian ex-patriot was going to dine there, but I do not recall a post. Being new, and probably considered as a "flagship" for the group, it should be quite good. If you are in the Honolulu/Waikiki area, I'd definitely do it, rather than drive.
Remember to post your review.