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Nov 7, 2012 03:50 PM

Where to eat near Hilton Hawaiian Village

I am traveling with my family to Waikiki and am looking for foodie worthy suggestions.We live in Austin TX and are adventurous eaters with a well behaved four year old. We will be staying at Hilton Hawaiian Village and will have a car. We are willing to drive, but dont mind walking either. We have a flexible budget. So far I have a dinner reservation at Alan Wongs. House without a Key for the sunset gourmet grill looks interesting (any thoughts on the food quality there? The view sounds amazing, and seems kid friendly too). Other options like Orchids, Pineapple Room, Morimoto have been suggested. We unfortunately cannot make it to Sunday Orchids brunch. La Mer looks great but too quiet and romantic with a toddler. Also we would love a great ramen place, and I am thinking of Goma Tei, but not sure we could walk there from the hotel, and whether there would be a long wait. Also maybe agood izakaye, or plate lunch spot (esp near the hotel) would be great. Any recs would be appreciated!

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  1. That HWAK dining sounds a bit new to me. In the past, they have been known for pu`pus and drinks on the patio, with the great Hawaiian review on-stage. The food aspect WAS lacking, and one that I would not have recommended. However, it sounds like things might have changed. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on such a change.

    La Mer IS a formal venue, though the food has always been great. If a "dress-up" event does not fit the bill, I completely understand, and agree. We love it, but are NOT traveling with children, and HWAK would be a better, more fun venue, if the food has improved.

    AW's on King Street should be great, as should the less-formal Pineapple Room. I would definitely do at least one.

    Roy's, just across the street from the Halekulani, gets very high recs., but we have not dined at that Roy's, so I cannot comment. Still, some vaunted reviewers praise it, and I believe them. We will try to add it for a lunch, in Dec.

    As for Orchids' Sunday Brunch, it is a shame that you will miss that. We will too, though we have done it in the past. Even for a younger diner, it is wonderful, and great fun.

    Unfortunately, the HHV does not seem to have any good dining options. Once, several years ago, the Bali by the Sea restaurant was good, and a bit less formal, than La Mer. However, we dined there, in the last year of its existence, and things had gone way downhill. The location is now a steakhouse, and has not gotten good reviews. The other restaurants in that sprawling complex were never very good - beyond a pizza for the family. Not sure if there is anything new, and worthwhile now, but I doubt it. Over the decades, we have tried many of those, and have always been disappointed. We're actually doing the HHV, due to a Hilton promotion, next year, but I just doubt that we'll eat on property.

    While we've done the Orchids' Sunday Brunch, and enjoyed it each time, we have never done dinner there (added fairly recently), but will do so in Dec., because we have enjoyed so many breakfasts and brunches there. Still, I cannot recommend it - at least not yet.

    A short drive from the HHV, I do recommend 3660 on the Rise, as it has always been great, and a bit more "relaxed," than La Mer, or Chef Mavro's. Might be a good one?

    Enjoy, and travel safely,


    1. I went to the summer BBQ (which I thought ended last month) at HWAK and thought the food was on par with their regular menu meaning it was fine but not particularly noteworthy. My husband actually said he preferred their regular menu. The atmosphere and entertainment are wonderful and it's child friendly. If you go there, get the coconut cake!

      2 Replies
      1. re: PattyC

        I called them today and the grill is still available. On those nights I wonder if they have the regular menu available.

        1. re: mlin1

          We weren't presented with the regular menu in addition to the grill menu but we didn't ask either. Some of the items, such as starters, on the regular menu are also on the grill menu.

      2. The House Without a Key has served dinner ever since it reopened in the new Halekulani. The ordinary menu is okay, I do love the Sunset Kiawe Grill which is every Tues & Thurs. It is the only time we eat dinner at HWAK.

        Morimoto is nothing special. Sushi places I'd look at are Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Imanas Tei Restaurant, Sushi ii and Morio's Sushi Bistro, to name a few that are better.

        Near the hotel is the McCully Shopping Center that has a good plate lunch place (Regal Diner), a good ramen place (Yotteko-ya Kyoto Ramen), a good izakaya (Bistro A Un), a good Viet place (Pho777), a good Thai place (Phuket Thai), Japanese curry chain and Curry House Coco Ichibanya and Hot Pot Heaven.

        Other great ramen places are Goma Ichi Ramen, Goma Tei Ramen and Ezogiku. Good izakayas are Ichiriki and Tokkuri-Tei. Okonomiyaki Chibo is great for okonomiyaki and a good Japanese place with a bit of everything is Restaurant Suntory. They have teppan, sushi bar, shabu shabu and good kaiseki dinners.

        Since you have a car look at Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar, Town, Duc's Bistro and Indigo.

        For old school Hawaiian look at Helena's Hawaiian Food, Rainbow Drive-in, Yama's Fish Market and Sugoi for plate lunches, Libby Manapua Shop, Char Hung Sut Restaurant for manapua and local dim sum, Palace Saimin Stand and Shiro’s Saimin Haven for saimin.

        I would have Orchids and Alan Wong's as my top two places not to miss for dinner.

        For good yakiniku look at Yakiniku Don-Day, Seoul Garden Yakiniku, Yakiniku Seoul and Million Restaurant.

        Don't forget Leonard's for malasada's, Tamura's Fine Wines for poke and Mariposa at Neiman Marcus if you love popovers.

        1. Scott made a lot of great suggestions

          Because you have a child I'll focus on some additional informal places. I'd add South Shore Grill, the portions are big enough that you and spouse can share your plates with your child. Another suggestion is the Queen's Surf Cafe and Lanai. It's outdoor and you can eat on the grass and enjoy the music or sit at one of the picnic tables. Moose's is kind of a fun place for a kid, lots of stuff to look at on the walls. It's not gourmet, but the basic food isn't bad, and its reasonably priced for Waikiki. Teddy's Bigger Burger's on Kapahulu is also good, and casual. You can dine in or take out, the beach is virtually across the street. I would personally avoid Cheeseburger in Paradise, but not everyone agrees.

          Going a little more upscale either Dukes (esp. at lunch) or the Shorebird would be good choices. If you want to head up to Kaimuki, Salt and Town are both good suggestions. Less chowish but still good is Big City Diner, they also have a Ward Center Location. I've been compelled to take Kakaako Kitchen off my recommendations from the Ward area because of the bad experience friends have had recently. Kua Aina Burgers and Wahoo's Tacos are both pretty good selections in the Ward areas as well.

          Right across from you is Wailana Coffee Shop, 24/7. Their lunch and dinner menu isn't that great (preformed hamburger's etc) but they do a good job on breakfast for a reasonable price. Egg's N Things is also a couple of blocks away, but its going to be a long line, not always good with a small child.

          Keo's is good Thai food, fairly close and wouldn't be bad with a well behaved child.

          I assume you want to avoid things you can get most other places, such as California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, etc. Those are all available in Waikiki, as is Bubba Gump's in Ala Moana. Your 4 year old might enjoy sitting under the Hau Trees at Hau Tree Lanai at the east end of Waikiki. The food is very good, the view and setting incomparable, the service is slow but friendly.

          Goma Tei, Ichi Riki, and Goma Ichi are all good choices for Noodles. There are a bunch of Izakaya restaurants, I'll let someone else address that.

          For plate lunch Rainbow Drive in on Kapahulu and Regal Diner that Scott mentioned are both relatively close and both are good choices, Rainbow is better known. There is also a good Thai Restaurant and Noodle House at McCully Shopping Center. There is a well known Chinese resturant as well, but I've never been a big fan.

          Have a great time here.

          1. Thanks for all the great recs! Too bad I only have three days in Waikiki. Will report back