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Waikiki: One night out without baby

(I've been reading this board for months in anticipation of our trip, but I've just now gotten an account)

I'll be traveling to Oahu this week (spouse has a conference at the convention center). We're also bringing our 20 month-old, and - thankfully - my mother has decided to join us in order to spend a little more time with her grandchild and give us a little break.

Given his conference schedule, I think we'll have time for one fancy dinner out without the baby.

We'll have a car, but we'd like to stay near Waikiki.
We don't eat meat, but we LOVE fish and sushi (having lived in Japan, we're sort of sushi snobs, alas). I would classify us as pretty adventurous eaters (other than the meat thing, of course).
It can be spendy, but not break-the-bank-spendy, ideally.
Nice view would be great, but atmosphere and food is more important.

From pursuing the board, I've narrowed it to:
Hau Tree Lanai
Alan Wong's

I'd love any input/suggestions. Thanks in advance!

Alan Wong's Restaurant
1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant
2863 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

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  1. Not a good list sorry to say other than Azure.
    We were @ Alan Wong's last week and it was one of the least inspired Tasting Menu's of recent memory. Cost $325- for 2
    We were @ 3660 2 wks ago and some courses were nice and others so-so.
    I would probably recommend going to Michel's for Sunset and the Seafood Platter (sushi items), then head up the road to Le Bistro for dinner. Great Fresh Fish , incredible Rack of Lamb & Veal Chop. Closed Tue.
    For something in Waikiki besides Michel's , Azure for sure preceded by Doraku for HH or Rumfire.
    Hoku's or Palmeria @ Kahala are both oceanfront and pretty good.
    Highend Sushi would be Sasabune or Gaku.

    Alan Wong's Restaurant
    1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

    Le Bistro
    5730 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96821

    5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

    1. We've been going to Roy's for many years in the islands but our last meal at Roy's in Waikiki, across from the Royal Hawaiian hotel was so incredible and Diva, the GM made sure that my birthday/anniversary was perfect.
      Food was outstanding...service impeccable and the meal was reasonable too.
      You can start with drinks and app's at House without a Key and walk on over to Roy's..finish it off with after drinks at the Mai Tai Room at the beloved Royal Hawaiian hotel.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Beach Chick

        You've gotten excellent advice from russkar & Beach Chick. I would certainly agree with them on their ideas. Roy's will do vegan if you are so inclined maybe call ahead just to make sure.
        I cannot say enough about their classic misoyaki butterfish which you can get as appetizer or entree size portion. The "Frying Dragon" roll is most amazing as well. Have a great time! And BC is right - Diva is the most wonderful woman in the hospitality industry!

      2. Thanks to everyone who's responded so far!

        @russkar: Good to know about Alan Wong's. I mean, bummer. But also good to know.

        I had initially crossed Roy's off our "treat" list since I've been to it in California and was sort of turned off by the chain-y-ness. Will have to look again, though.

        I think I'm focusing on this meal so I don't have to think about the 8-hour flight with a toddler!

        Alan Wong's Restaurant
        1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

        3 Replies
        1. re: greencrayon

          We had outstanding meals at both Roy's and Alan Wong's. We did not do the tasting menu at Alan Wong's so I can't speak to that but evrything that we had was excellent.

          Roy's was also very good but it does have a bit of chain like feel to it. If I had to choose between the 2 for a special meal, I would pick Alan Wong's. I just think the overall vibe is better and again, the food was really good.

          Try and stop by Rumfire for happy hour. Great location for the sunsets and just a lot of fun all around.

          Alan Wong's Restaurant
          1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

          1. re: greencrayon

            The Roy's in Waikiki and Hawaii Kai aren't part of the Roy's Chain (name only) on the Mainland and consistently produce a higher level of Service and Food here in Oahu.

            1. re: russkar

              That's good to know. We ate outside when we were there and our service was just ok. There was a small wedding reception going on inside which may have strained the wait staff as they were very rowdy (think drunken bride falling on the floor). We could see the whole thing through the windows so we had dinner and a show!

          2. For something special w a view you can't go wrong with La Mer at the Halekulani!! book your reservations ahead!!

            La Mer
            2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

            2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

            1. i don't eat meat either and i'd have to say most definitely azure! they have an amazing fresh fish menu as well as a delicious seared ahi and scallop combo entree.

              1 Reply
              1. re: boredandhungry

                Speaking of AZURE. Tom or Scott are the best choices for Servers we've found. Bring a nice Bottle of Wine(not on their list of course) if you like . Corkage is anywhere from 0 - 25 depending on the day.

              2. You might want to consider Hakone Restaurant in the Hawaii Prince Hotel for medium-priced sushi. The restaurant (and the hotel) caters to higher-end Japanese tourists so you can choose to sit on the floor or at regular tables. On one weekday night (it might be Wednesday), Hakone offers an all you can eat sushi and appetizer buffet, which is quite abundant in its offerings, reasonably priced and therefore very popular.

                Hakone Restaurant
                100 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815

                1 Reply
                1. re: honu2

                  Hakone is a nice suggestion, in fact we have a resy this Fri but beware you need to book way in advance.

                  Hakone Restaurant
                  100 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815

                2. I totally disagree with Russkar, but then that is based on my experiences. Over about 20 years, and nearly one, or more visits per year, AW's has never failed to disappoint us. Most visits have yielded excellent meals, and at the worst, some others were just very good. However, there have been a few recent posts, where AW's did not rate their normal extremely high marks, so maybe things have changed from last October?

                  Hau Tree has been good to very good, and does have a lovely patio. The food has been a bit uneven, though still better than many.

                  3660 on the Rise has never failed for us, but then it HAS been a few years now, so things might have changed?

                  We have now done Michel's at the Colony Surf twice (recently, after others begged me to give them another go), and were disappointed on both. I doubt that we'll ever go back. The food was good, at best, and the service is just not there for me. I can do better elsewhere.

                  Maybe just different nights, or maybe just different tastes, but I am in almost complete disagreement.



                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Hunt, I think you may want to edit this:

                    " AW's has never failed to disappoint us." :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Uh, a great big YES to that! Thank you for that correction. Guess that the phone call (telemarketer) sort of broke the concentration.

                      Let me try again. AW's has never failed to "thrill us," or maybe AW's has never "disappointed us."

                      A great big MAHALO coming your way.


                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      BIll - for a couple years now the executive chef for the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu at Koolau has been a former 3660 executive chef, Jim Gillespie who has also worked at many other Honolulu restaurants in that position. He really cranks out some amazing food cafeteria style on Sunday mornings after service.

                    3. Hi all!

                      Thanks so much for all your helpful input! And please excuse my tardy thank you - the re-entry back into our non-vacation life was a little rough!

                      Spouse and I ended up going to Azure and getting the tasting menu. He loved it, and I really liked it (my one gripe was with the saffron risotto; I simply didn't care for that dish). He had the wine pairing, and I had a cocktail. The view was lovely, service was exceptional, and we'd definitely return. It truly was a lovely date night (one of only two fancy meals out we've had since the baby was born).

                      Thanks to wise readers/eaters/writers on this board, we also had exceptional meals at Haleiwa Cafe and the Shirokiya food court. We had a so-so experience at Wailana coffeehouse, and a miserable one at Todai (both of those sort of met our low expectations - they were situations of little dining choice, so we did what we could).

                      1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: greencrayon

                        thanks so much for the feedback. sorry to hear about Wailana, I'm afraid the food is slipping more than the decor. Not so surprised about todai, but still sad to hear. Glad you had good to great meals for the most part.