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Grandmother's 90th birthday - Oahu

My mother and I are taking my grandmother to Honolulu for her 90th birthday in May. We happen to be there on Mother's Day, so I sent a reservation request to Orchid's for their Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, they are already booked for Mother's Day and have a full waiting list.

I'm looking for other suggestions for a special celebration meal, either for Mother's Day or for her birthday. Well prepared and beautifully presented classic food is most important. A view or lovely decor would be nice. Price point is not an issue, although I will likely need to remind them to ignore the prices. We're staying a rental house in Honolulu but will have a car or can take a taxi.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. Michel's @ the Colony Surf

    1. Did you check La Mer on Mother's Day? Mother's Day is a tough day. I'd look at Hoku's at the Kahala Resort, Azure at the Royal Hawaiian, the Hau Tree Lanai in addition to Michel's.

      I'd also consider Alan Wong's. Although it doesn't have the view of the others, it has some of the best food on the island.

      You also could do Orchids for her birthday, not Mother's Day.

      1 Reply
      1. re: scottca075

        I agree on AW's. For the food, I would not go beyond. However, it can be a bit frenzied, and the "event" aspect might get lost with the crowds. Still, the staff will go out of their way to make it a special meal.


      2. I would second all the options given above. It's a nice list. Maybe add Le Bistro as well as an alternative. Since it has no view though, I would only consider it after the other choices based on your criteria.

        1. wow, those places are quite fancy!

          i'd suggest Hy's or Ruth's Chris, but it sounds like you're looking for something more island-ish. (i'm all about rare steak and tartare.)

          the Pineapple Room is great, casual, but does not have the ambiance of any of the other suggestions (it's in Macy's at ala moana shopping center.)

          now that i think about it, try 3660 on the rise, it's regional fusion and i have never been disappointed there. it is upscale and comparable to alan wong's, but not as casual.

          there is a tea room somewhere here, i have never been, but i hear good things about it and think it would make a memorable occasion.

          1. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The challenge looks like finding a lovely location that serves food that my mom and grandmother will enjoy. The Hau Tree Lanai looks like the best possibility so far - I would enjoy the fish and they would likely choose items from the grill. I think the menus at some of the other restaurants would be just a bit too eclectic for them.

            A tea room is appealing - if anyone has details, I'd appreciate it.

            Thanks again!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Silverwing

              I agree with Russkar about Michel's. You might consider their brunch (only certain weekends) don't remember which but you can look up their website. Lovely atmosphere, ocean view, fine dining including foods your mom & grandmother would enjoy and appreciate. Easy to get to by cab.

              1. re: Silverwing

                Waioli Tea Room in Manoa. Very nice setting, an old house that has been converted in the middle of a huge wooded property. The food is very nice also, not fantastic but good. Not sure of their hours, but would imagine they are open for mother's day.

                The other recommendations are all well worth considering.

              2. That is such a shame. Orchid's Sunday Brunch would have been just perfect. I would call the management at the Halekulani, and ask if there are any options. In many instances, their answer has been, "Yes! Now what is your question?" They are an accommodating group, and I have been highly impressed at many levels.

                Now, in the same vein, La Mer would be my second choice. We took M-I-L and her sister (wife's godmother) there for M-I-L's 80th. She is a very particular eater, and has many self-imposed dietary restrictions. The four of us had 3 Chef's Tasting Menus, and M-I-L had a special chicken, and special lobster dish, neither was on the menu, but they followed my wife's instructions to the letter, and M-I-L never knew that she had received special treatment.. The kitchen even spread things out, so that she was never without a dish, as our many courses arrived. While we never discussed $'s, her special fare was quite inexpensive. They could have nicked me heavily, but did not. Wish that her health would allow for one more such trip, but then we did a special blowout in New Orleans, for her 90th, so all is not bad.

                Most of all, enjoy, and to your grandmother - Happy Birthday!


                3 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Thanks to Bill Hunt for the suggestion to call. I called the Halekulani and was advised that Orchid's is closing for a few months for renovations.

                  For Mother's Day, I'm still looking for Sunday brunch options. Orchid's suggested the Sheraton's brunch but it's not often mentioned here. Any thoughts?

                  I'm now debating on the location for my grandmother's birthday dinner. I think the Hau Tree Lanai would be the most appropriate, with menu, view, atmosphere and hopefully exceptional service. Although I appreciate the comments regarding La Mer. I will search the threads and read the comments again on each of the restaurants before I decide. All seem to have availability so it's not urgent.

                  My mom has also mentioned going to a luau. However I recall reading that these tend to be rather touristy and the food is not very good, so I would welcome any recommendations.

                  1. re: Silverwing

                    The Moana brunch is really nice and you can . Last time we went it was more Japanese focused - there was make your own noodle bowls and more sushi/sashimi than at Orchids.

                    Note that the Kahala Mandarin has (or at least had) two buffets - the fancy one at Hokus and a less fancy (again, Japanese focused) one downstairs that is quite nice.

                    1. re: Silverwing

                      In September, we did the Halekulani "Behind the Scenes" tour, and while much was made of various refurbishments in progress, no one mentioned Orchids, or I'd have shared that with you. Sorry to hear about that, but we missed dining at The Bayan Tree at Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, last trip, for the same sort of renovations.Guess that it happens.

                      I have reviewed La Mer several times, though not recently. Only issue that I have ever had was wine service one night (think that was in one of the reviews), but have not done a review recently - same for AW's. Other than reviewing the "menu du jour," they would all read pretty much the same. Even with the one (fairly large in my book) mis-step, we are still big fans, and that covers all aspects from venue to food to wine to service.

                      As for lu`aus, I wish that I had something good to say. We do them every five, or so, years, just to try new ones, and to stay current. On O`ahu, only one has made a positive impression (Sea Life Park), but that was a very special event for an international client, and everything was structured just for them - also, that was too many years ago.

                      I was impressed by a restaurant (and chef), that also does a lu`au on Maui, but then we were just behind the lu`au's fence, at the restaurant, so that isn't worth much in the way of a rec.Still, the restaurant was great!

                      On O`ahu, there have been a few threads, and some fairly recently, that gave thorough reviews of a few.None was stellar, but a few (and ones that I have not attended) got good marks, that surprised me a bit. I had not expected them to show so well, so maybe there ARE some good ones on the Island. Wish that I had more, but a Search should pull those up. I'd go back at least a year, and read everything on lu`au/luau, and try to decide.

                      We were going to attend the newer one at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, but that trip got really changed, and when we finally did it, there was no time to try it out. Maybe others have, and can comment.

                      Good luck,


                      PS - We've done La Mer many times, and my rec. would be to set a time, that coincides with the music performance at House Without a Key, just below, and then a table overlooking that venue. I find it better than the lovely ocean-side tables, around the corner. I also think that your grandmother would like it better too - like a "live music" performance, but just below your window.

                  2. E Silverwing, Aloha:

                    You wish Tutu Hau'oli La Hanau from me, hiki no. These are the treasure years.

                    Doing this for her = something good waiting for you i ka Po.