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Sep 15, 2012 06:48 PM

Hawaiian Food Itinerary

We will be visiting Hawaii this Thanksgiving, and would like your opinions on these restaurants we plan on going to. We wil be visiting Honolulu, Oahu and Wailea, Maui.

Oahu (Staying at The Royal Hawaiian)

Day 1:

Dinner at The Mai Thai Bar

Day 2:

Lunch at Surf Lani

Dinner at Azure

Maui (Staying at The Four Seasons

Day 3:

Dinner at Ferraro's bar e ristorante

Day: 4

Lunch at the pool

Dinner at the Lobby Lounge

Day 5:

Brunch at DUO

Dinner at Sansei

Day 6:

Lunch at Café on The Green

Dinner at KO


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  1. I'm not the one to comment on your Maui itinerary. Your first meal location is the Mai Tai bar. Im going to assume that was a auto correct and you know it's not a thai restaurant. I'm a bit surprised that all your Oahu meals are at the Royal Hawaiian, although all three have decent or better reputations. Maybe it's part of a package deal staying at starwood. I notice most of your meals on maui are at the four seasons as well.

    6 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      Yeah sorry that was auto-correct. I am open to changing the restaurants in Waikiki, it was just the convenience that I liked, and heard Azure was excellent. On Maui, are the restaurants good? Because I would like to stay at the resort most of the time to enjoy the spectacular hotel.

      1. re: lhenry

        someone else will have to critique your maui selections, it's been too long since i was there, although I know the Sansei on Oahu is very good.

        Waikiki is not that big, and the Sheraton/Starwood is right in the middle, so almost no place is going to be more than about a half mile to a mile away, a nice stroll. Azure is probably well worth keeping on your list, and there is nothing wrong with the surf lanai, but i doubt you will be wowed by it.

        I think if it were me I would move the mai tai bar to lunch and find another option for dinner, perhaps one of the places mentioned in the thread on Thanksgiving on Oahu.

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          We're going to keep the Mai Tai Bar where it is so we won't have to go somewhere else after a day of travel. What are some other recommendations for lunch instead of Surf Lanai?

          1. re: lhenry

            I also like to "keep it close," on my day/night of arrival. Maybe do Azure that night, and then add Alan Wong's, La Mer, Chef Mavro's or 3660 on the Rise for the next night?

            While at the Royal Hawai`ian, do stop by Newt's. Neat place for some nice Hawai`ian inspired clothing, and Panama hats.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I want to keep Azure for Thanksgiving, and to enjoy sunset at the Mai Tai Bar and relax. But thanks for the recommendations!

              1. re: lhenry

                That is your call.

                Still dinner at the Mai Tai Bar is not my idea of a good meal, even on the first night. Still, your call.


    2. While there is food served at the Mai Tai (per K'man's comment), it is but a bar. It's a lovely venue for a sunset cocktail, but think that you might be disappointed with a meal there.

      There are some spectacular restaurants, not that far from the Royal Hawai`ian, and for dinner, I'd consider them first.

      While I have many favs. on Maui, they are not THAT close to you.

      Now, I have received several recs. for the Spago, just down the street, from a trusted source, but as we are usually staying elsewhere on the Island, we have not made it there yet.

      Most of all, enjoy, and travel safely,


      5 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        I have been to the Mai Tai Bar before, and will keep it. Thanks though! FYI Spago is at our hotel, and have heard that it sometimes lacks, but thanks as well.

        1. re: lhenry

          Well I have never been disappointed with Spago, always top notch. The chef there is completely passionate about his craft and I'm sticking to that. It's so odd, I never have a bad time anywhere like other people I wonder why.

          1. re: lhenry

            If the Mai Tai for dinner does it for you, then Spago is probably not where you should go.



            1. re: lhenry

              Spago has never been better and is probably the best food (chefs tasting menu) available in the local vicinity.
              We normally go to Mama's for lunch. Koiso for Sushi (Kihei)

            2. Sansei in Maui is good mostly for maki rolls at a discount. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there.

              I've heard much better things about Koiso but never got in (it's small, reservations required, they always seem full).

              I think for sushi, maybe stick to Honolulu? Maui is fairly touristy,

              13 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                Thank you so much for the recommendation! I looked at the reviews on trip advisor and yelp and it's a sure bet I'm going there if I get a reservation!

                1. re: lhenry

                  I am a bit curious, in why you bothered to post for a critique on your itinerary, as you have it cast in stone already. Did you only want validation, or was there some other reason?



                    1. re: lhenry

                      I have to say, I don't think he is harassing you. You asked for a critique, several people including myself and Hunt have made some polite comments and you have - also politely - rejected every single one. Nothing wrong with that, but it does give one pause. Now if your agenda is to sit on the beach in front of the Starwood/Royal and move as little as possible from your spot, then I think your itinerary is fine.

                      I would consider Dukes at the Outrigger for lunch, as well as the Hau Tree Lanai or Tiki's, although Hau Tree especially is a bit of a walk. The shorebird at the Outrigger Surf is also a possibility. I'm sure all of us hope you have a wonderful vacation.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Yes I did ask for a critique, but they were all for Honolulu, and I don't want to change to somewhere I have to move around, and don't want to move Azure because we won't feel like dressing up when we look jet legged and want to relax. And I did not reject kathryns recommendation. As for your recommendation of Duke's at the Outriger, I will exchange it with Surf Lani. Thanks!

                        1. re: lhenry

                          lhenry-have you been to Waikiki?
                          oh wait > think I remember you mentioning that you've been to the Mai Tai Bar so that's a yes-sorry. anyway FYI-read up-do your homework on Dukes reviews for lunch like on yelp or trip advisor. every time hub and I go or I go with girlfriends around the lunch hours/early afternoon its crowded-seating is at a premium-service or getting served or getting someone to take your order can be frustratingly slow especially when the surf/sun/sand is calling your name > it's a note to self: "last time I'll do that." breakfast at their buffet is wonderful and I highly recommend it-hubby is one happy man again for breakfast, lunch he's like 'why are we here again'? if you're a big drinker never mind my lunch comments about Dukes < you'll have a great time :>} especially sitting @ the bar.

                          1. re: lhenry

                            Everything on Maui is just perfect. I have nothing to add.


                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                            kaimukiman-ditto with your remarks.
                            also +1 regarding the Shorebird. I was going to suggest that but wanted to read posts first and I saw yours :)
                            It's always on my plans when I'm in Waikiki.
                            it's just fun and cook your own or have them do it-split a potato and garlic bread order as the salad/meal bar is plentiful enough, great view/scenery-people watching too.
                            just don't let them catch you feeding the fish in their famed koi pond ;:-/
                            whale watching there during the lunch hours is fun too, of course that's during the whale migration season.

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              thanks il Divo.
                              A friend of mine works in Waikiki and she LOVES the fish prepared Duke's style, so every couple of months we go for lunch. We arrive around 11:30 and have never had a problem getting a good table or with the service. Sorry to hear you have, but maybe getting there a little early makes a difference.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                We have never made Duke's though I do see a lot of recs. and many from locals. Gotta' find a way.

                                BTW - going back to Michel's after having been ragged on. Maybe we just hit them on a very bad day. Been years, so if I am going to grade them down, I need to ante up, and dine there again. My mind is open.


                              2. re: iL Divo

                                Il Divo,

                                It has been quite sometime, since we last did Shorebird Grill, but each time was very good, and the first time was great - even magical.

                                Yes, there ARE tourists (but then I am one), and one might be able to find better, for less. However, it works, at least for us.

                                While we do more "fine-dining," than great local, neighborhood spots, I still have greatly enjoyed Shorebird Grill, on each visit. Sort of campy, sort of kitschy, but fun, none the less.

                                For us, enjoyment is where you find it.



                            2. re: lhenry

                              I apologize, as that was never my intent.

                              Maybe I should have just said, "everything is perfect," and let it go at that. However, I personally think that things could be greatly improved upon, but my recs. all have major issues.

                              Enjoy the vacation,


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                I accept your apology, and I apologize as well for saying that. Thanks again for your opinions, it's what makes chowhound work.

                      2. Did I read this whole post correctly and no one recommended Orchids or The House Without a Key for lunch or dinner?

                        Azure is not excellent, or at least not compared to Alan Wong's, La Mer, Chef Mavro's and Orchids. It comes in last in that group.

                        By the same token I wouldn't put Duke's Canoe Club or Hula Grill in the same class as Azure and certainly not Shore Bird.

                        I love Duke's Barefoot Bar for lunch and love Duke's or Hula Grill for Aloha Hour (I think only Hula Grill has Aloha Hour now), but I am not their biggest fan for dinner. I think there are better spots at the price point, but it is hard to beat the setting of both.

                        As to Maui, it is a pretty solid line-up, assuming you don't want to leave Wailea, other wise I'd look at Merriman's or the Plantation House. If you don't want to leave Wailea then I would find a way to work in Monkeypod Kitchen.

                        I like Spago a lot, but we just don't eat there often since we have it at home, we'll hit places we can't get to like Nick's Fishmarket, Hali‘imaile General Store, Joe’s in Wailea and Gannon’s.