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Jun 24, 2013 10:30 AM


We are traveling to Oahu in Sept. We are staying on the windward side of the island, but planning a day in Honolulu. We plan on going to see Pearl Harbor and some other sites that day. My wife is really excited about eating at Duke's, she has been there in the past & loved it. What are their specialties and/or their go to dishes??? We will probably be there for lunch most likely. Any other can't miss places where we could maybe grab some apps & an adult beverage?? ~ Mahalo ~

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    1. Dukes is DEFINITELY not what I would consider fine dining especially if that's what you are seeking. Dukes is great for families and expect a very crowded venue w a buffet style salad bar. There are so many other places for adults to enjoy an "adult" meal in Waikiki. Consider: Azure at the Royal Hawaiian, Top of Waikiki, Halekulani (several spots within the Halekulani-google website), Michels at Colony Surf, Hy's Steakhouse for the best tasting steaks done over hardwood, Nobu where you can also get a vast array of small plates, Hoku's at the quieter end of Waikiki near Diamond Head.

      1 Reply
      1. re: UES Mayor

        I agree, not what I would consider fine dining either. If you want to go for lunch and get fish tacos, fine, it's a pleasant place with great views.

        Adding one recommendation if you like sushi, check out Sasabune. Very high grade sushi, with the prices (and snooty attitude) to match. Flawless food and presentation.

      2. Aloha..
        Duke's is best for happy hour..mai tais and app's.
        Hula grill has a great HH too.
        Roys in Waikiki is one of the best..
        House without a key is my fave for drinks/apps.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beach Chick

          2nd House Without A Key for late afternoon drinks & apps.

        2. I disagree with most of the comments below. If you want to have a meal there, by all means go for lunch (as you planned), and get whatever fish they recommend 'Duke's Style.' The fish taco's are usually quite good too. If possible try to arrive for lunch before 11:30. And lunch prices are far more reasonable than dinner.

          Most of the comments by others relate to dinner service. I've always found lunch there to be quite nice, beautiful views, ocean breezes, very good food, pleasant staff. Dinner was a different experience, won't voluntarily be back for that.

          5 Replies
          1. re: KaimukiMan

            E, KM, Aloha Kaua:

            +1 on your analysis.

            Duke's has struck a difficult compromise between being good and being touristy. Got that nasty Waikiki/Southbeach vibe there.

            Duke's at Kalapaki Beach, Kaua'i mohbettahs, IMO. Nevermind it's the 'ule of the Merriott.


            1. re: kaleokahu

              it looks like my previous posts got deleted, but 'ule = risqué male anatomy? I wanted to know if that is positive or not?

              I also was saying that duke's wasn't so good as to compel me to return, but it's a low-key restaurant that is semipricey. (had dinner there.) some would call it a tourist trap; I had a nice steak there.

            2. re: KaimukiMan

              KaimukiMan-U are so correct about lunch service being fine there. I missed the fact they were probably going for lunch. I just feel like I'm in a scence from the Brady Bunch at dinner time.

              1. re: UES Mayor

                kaleo, UES

                glad you agree on the difference between lunch and dinner. and getting seated by the beach/pool shower can provide additional scenery. LOL But even at dinner I would not consider this to be 'fine dining'. And Kaleo, I've not seen 'ule used in that context before . . .

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  E, KM:

                  No 'ule? It's the Marriott way, hiki no?

                  My aikane Kamal books his charters (True Blue, you try--beeg a'u) out of the desk right next to Duke's sandy-foot bar at Kalapaki. Weird symbiosis twixt historical Kalapaki, pink hewa hotel, and 'ai.


            3. Also, one of Oahu's best restaurants is right there on the windward side, in Kailua. It's Moroccan, maybe not what you think of first in Hawaii, but there it is. I can't think of the name right now, but do a search. How many Moroccan restaurants can there be in Kailua? It even worked with a party including young children and a couple of picky eaters. Highly recommended.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Bodyslam

                Name of the restaurant is Casablanca. I used to love going there for their B'stilla but the service was so slow that we stopped going about 15 years ago. But they are still in business in the same location next to the Laundromat on Hoolai Street so they must be doing something right.

                1. re: honu2

                  That's the one. Thanks, I really should have looked it up myself, it feels like bad form to recommend a restaurant here and not even be able to list its name.

                  Yes, now that you mention it, the service was pretty leisurely. Of course, we were on vacation so maybe it didn't matter as much to us.

                2. re: Bodyslam

                  Buzz's is still right across from the beach in Kailua as well.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    if Haleiwa joe's is open for lunch, it's in Kaneohe, about ten minutes away

                    1. re: indelibledotink

                      Haleiwa Joe's is not open for lunch in Kaneohe.