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Birthday Dinner in Honolulu

In 60 days I will be arriving in Honolulu with my wife and another couple. We will be on the island for a week all celebrating our 25th Anniversaries. The day we arrive will also be my birthday, so my wife wants to go out for a nice dinner, wherever "I" want!!! We are staying near the Kualoa Ranch, but figured my best bet is probably to drive back to Honolulu. We have narrowed our Anniversary dinner down to a few places, including Pah-Ke's in Kaneohe, Haleiwa Joe's & Ruth's Chris. For my b-day I need some input, I really enjoy a great steak, but also love fresh seafood, so,, I am looking for somewhere to have both. My wife says "Wherever & however much", I'm thinking if we can stay around the $200 per couple range with wine would be good. I have narrowed it down to my top 6, however if I have missed something really special let me know Here they are, in no particular order.
Chart House
d.k. Steak House
3660 on the rise
Hy's Steak House
Hau Tree Lanai

Mahalo ~ K

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  1. So I gather you have ruled out the higher end places: Alan Wong's, Mavro, LaMer, Roys, Nobu's? Just want to be clear.

    From your list I would eliminate Chart House. Once I would have included it as well, but my last couple of visits there were disappointing.

    15 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I agree on the elimination of Chart House. Haleiwa Joe's is convenient for your location, it is the "only game" in town on our side. My husband walks the dog by there most nights and the place is packed. I would vote for d.k.'s it's a great place for both steak and seafood. How about Tiki's? They have an amazing menu and a great view. I have not been to Signature but I like his philosophy to bring a great steakhouse experience without the extremely high ticket. I always vote for Roy's but everyone knows that by now. I had the most killer scallop dish as well as an amazing prawn dish last Saturday.

      1. re: manomin

        haleiwa joe's is more of a "local, family-type special occasion" place
        a kid's 12th birthday dinner with the immediate family type of deal

        if you are staying near kualoa ranch, how's about the places at turtle bay resort?

        1. re: manomin

          signature is new, and there are not many reports yet
          new concept for the owner, he owns yummy's and liliha bakery, so this is a big step up

          i hope it works out, but i would hesitate recommending a big birthday or anniversary dinner there

          1. re: macsak

            signature was good, but don't get the table right by the piano, too loud. the staff was very nice and helpful. my piece of fish was smaller than I would have liked, but of good quality, as were the steaks. I still like hy's better, though.

          2. re: manomin

            tiki's is a great location and concept, but once again, for a big celebration, i find it loud and a little too kitschy in decor

          3. re: KaimukiMan

            I have ruled out a couple of them, but I am not familiar with a couple of the others. I will research them as well.. Sounds like I can scratch Chart House though. I'll get back to you!!

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              I think I have narrowed it down to either Hy's or d.k. They both have fantastic menus & expansive wine lists. The dry aged beef at both places looks exceptional, and both have some sort of steak/seafood combos. Hy's does seem to have a larger selection of apps though. It may just come down to location & how I feel on the day we arrive!! Looking both up on TripAdvisor d.k.'s ranks # 15 in Honolulu & Hy's ranks # 56, although there were more reviews for Hy's than for d.k. It looks like d.k. may have the beautiful tropical views that us mainlanders are looking for, as opposed to the Steak House atmosphere that, like Ruth's Chris, we can find in any city. Back to you

              1. re: KowboyK

                yeah, you can find leather booths and tableside service (think caesar's salad, bananas foster, strawberries jubilee, carved rack of lamb) anywhere in the US
                but they won't have the glassed in kiawe (similar to mesquite) raging grill
                and audy kimura on the guitar

                1. re: macsak

                  you just have to be sure to be seated in the front - or maybe they closed up the back section. It was clearly set up to suck money out of the pockets of asian visitors. But I love the front section of Hy's. Still I don't know if I were flying to Hawaii if I would be at a Canadian Steak House chain for one of my important meals.

                    1. re: indelibledotink

                      oh, ok, they WERE part of a chain.

                      no wonder the interior looks a little british.

                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                      wow, kman, you are right about a canadian chain

                      re: asian visitors
                      there are many restaurants in waikiki that serve surf and turf to the asian visitors
                      it is usually included in a package with their lodgings/tours
                      they usually are turned very fast, which is actually preferable to many asian visitors
                      it pays the rent at a lot of restaurants

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        I had no clue,,,,I was told that 53 by the Sea was owned by a Japanese Corp, so is d.k. locally owned??

                        1. re: KowboyK

                          yup owned by dk kodama
                          looks like he made his longtime GM ivy a partner
                          he also owns sansei sushi, and owns or has an interest in vino and hiroshi's


                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                          One of the reasons we are going to Hawaii instead of somewhere else( possibly cheaper) is we wanted to spend our hard earned US dollars in US!! So Canadian chains & Japanese corporations were not what we were thinking. Thanks for the inside info!! Maybe we should just go to Bobo's BBQ

                  1. Aloha, KK:

                    I suggest you consider Sasebune and defer the steak.


                      1. i'll reply more later, but PLEASE take off ruth's chris
                        you can go there in most any city in the US
                        Hy's and dk's are much better choices for steak in HI

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: macsak

                          I really like ruth's chris, but macsak is right, you can find them in other cities.

                          I have not eaten at dk's or hau tree lanai.

                          most of my really enjoyable meals were not at fine dining restaurants.

                          but from your birthday list... Hy's.

                          1. re: indelibledotink

                            Hy's is great
                            old school steakhouse, formal service, tableside presentations, leather booths
                            glassed in cooking station with RAGING kiawe wood grill

                            dk's is good too, but in a more modern setting (well a hotel restaurant setting)
                            dry aged steak
                            some locavore type preparations
                            but not as much of a "special occasion" type meal

                        2. Aloha..
                          House without a Key for drinks, apps and Hawaiian music ..oceanfront for starters..
                          Walk across the street to Roys Waikiki.
                          This is NOT your typical Roys...sublime and the GM, Diva, is da best host.
                          Food is off the chain.
                          Happy 25th..
                          Aloha and Mahalo

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            this is a great suggestion
                            HWAK at sunset is awesome

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              Thanks BC, I really think I'm leaning towards d.k. or Hy's at this point. Roy's does look amazing though!! Who knows, I may change my mind a dozen times between now & then!! Thanks again for all the input, I really can't wait to get there,,,, 59 days!! (not that I'm counting or anything)

                            2. 3660 is always good, but the tables are close together and the kitchen in the back, while enclosed, makes it pretty loud in there due to the low ceilings
                              another place i would hesitate to recommend for a big anniversary or birthday

                              1. what about 53 by the sea?
                                tough to get reservations, though

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: macsak

                                  I haven't heard of it, will look into it.

                                  1. re: macsak

                                    53 looks really good too, and they have the views that us mainlanders are looking for. How do they stack up next to d.k. & Hy's???

                                    1. re: KowboyK

                                      53 by the sea is a seafood/italian restaurant run by a japanese corporation
                                      it probably has one of the best restaurant views on oahu
                                      (although signature, being on the top of the ala moana hotel has a good view too)
                                      it is right on the harbor and faces a surf break
                                      if you go on friday night, you can see the fireworks in waikiki
                                      food is pretty good, seafood is really fresh
                                      they do that thing where they present all the food for the table at once

                                      1. re: macsak

                                        Hmmmmm,, decisions, decisions, decisions!!!

                                        1. re: KowboyK

                                          did you look into the restaurants at turtle bay resorts?
                                          they don't get much coverage on chowhound

                                  2. you will enjoy pahke's on your anniversary. call ahead and see if the chef has any special dishes to make for the celebration. he likes to mix it up, and the regular menu is good. a lot of people enjoy te sweet walnut shrimp. I think it's ok, too sweet.

                                    27 Replies
                                    1. re: indelibledotink

                                      Someone had recommended that in another post, to call ahead & have him make us a special off menu type dinner for 4. It may have been you. We will try that on a week night, hopefully he will be able to. Should we try to set that up before we leave, or will a couple of days in advance be enough notice?? Mahalo~K

                                      1. re: KowboyK

                                        Re Pah-ke's: I would call Raymond Siu about a week in advance. We were there last week and had the following items that are neither Chinese nor on the menu: 1. an appetizer plate with endive, goat cheese, mango jam and onion marmalade served with toasted baguette slices and 2. roasted tomato soups, one made with red tomatoes and the other with yellow tomatoes, served side-by-side in a Martini glass. Turns out he had prepared these items for a four-some at a adjoining table who were having only party foods, and we were offered the excess that had been prepared.

                                        1. re: honu2

                                          That sounds really good, should I call him or e-mail???

                                          1. re: KowboyK

                                            Have never tried to e-mail him, so don't know anything about it. Maybe it would be best to call; also you may want to state your preferences in food (i.e, whether you want all non-Chinese or a mixture.) All of the sizzling platters, which are on the menu, are great

                                            1. re: honu2

                                              Thanks, I will give him a call & see what we can do, it's always neat to have someone who takes a special interest in you. I understand that Opal's Thai is somewhat similar, but Pah-ke's sounds more personal!! Mahalo~K

                                              1. re: KowboyK

                                                ok, i found the blog by the editor at large of wine spectator
                                                this will convince you to go there
                                                note: pahke's got written up in wine spectator even though they DO NOT SERVE WINE
                                                )you can call and tell him your per person budget and whay type of wines you are planning on, and he will help you out

                                                1. re: macsak

                                                  just talked to raymond in the parking lot
                                                  he said he checks his email often when he has downtime at the restaurant and has it on his phone too

                                                  oh, shoot, i just realized you can only read the entire text if you are a subscriber to wine spectator

                                                  1. re: macsak

                                                    I found that out, but the couple that is going with us are subscribers, so we'll get it.

                                                    1. re: macsak

                                                      I will shoot him an email in the am, thanks for all the leg work, we are really looking forward to it!!

                                                      1. re: KowboyK

                                                        not really legwork
                                                        all i had to do was walk four doors down

                                                        1. re: macsak

                                                          macsak, what is it you do for work? you mentioned patients, are you a doctor or therapist?

                                                          there doesn't appear to be a private messaging feature here at chow.com

                                                          1. re: indelibledotink

                                                            not a real doctor
                                                            i am a dentist

                                                            yeah, i don't think there's a PM system here

                                                            1. re: macsak

                                                              that's real enough to prescribe some meds, order xrays and yank out teeth!

                                                          2. re: macsak

                                                            Ok, I sent him an email this morning, probably long before he was up. Hopefully we will hear back soon, thanks again. I believe walking his "leg" work!!!! Albeit walking in Paradise

                                                            1. re: KowboyK

                                                              just after 8:30 am here
                                                              hopefully, you will hear from him soon

                                                              1. re: macsak

                                                                Not that it's a big deal, we still have 8 weeks!!! If I don't hear from him in the next couple of weeks, I'll try him again.

                                                                1. re: macsak

                                                                  Got an email back from Raymond, looks like we're good to go. Just need to hammer out the details, but we have a few weeks to get that done! We are really excited about it, can't wait. Thanks again for all the help. I will post details about our experience!!

                                                                  1. re: KowboyK

                                                                    One last thing, probably more important to wives. In Kaneohe, formal dress = long pants for men. Pah-ke's is informal. So none pf you needs to dress up, unless you really want to (but then you might feel out of place.)

                                                          3. re: macsak

                                                            If you can manage to post it here, I'd love to see the Wine Spectator article since it is so unusual for them to review of a restaurant that doesn't serve wines, especially one located in a strip mall in downtown Kaneohe.

                                                            1. re: honu2

                                                              There is a link in macsak's reply "ok, I found the blog"

                                                              1. re: honu2

                                                                That's funny - "downtown Kaneohe"!.............

                                                                1. re: manomin

                                                                  beautiful downtown kaneohe . . . wasn't that the punch line for a show? oh, that was a different city in a different state in a different time.

                                                                  so Hy's is no longer part of the Canadian Chain but has been bought by a Hawaii company, Y Kawakami International, Inc

                                                                2. re: honu2

                                                                  yes, i'd like to see the whole article as well.

                                                                  I dunno if i'd call the area a strip mall, but I get what you mean.

                                                                  windward mall is close by, you can catch a movie or stroll around and work off some of the calories. Kaneohe has it's own character and, like other parts of Hawaii, is green and lush.

                                                                  definitely hit the hygienic store, it's a landmark, but I don't think they sell fresh coconuts anymore.

                                                                  1. re: indelibledotink

                                                                    not a strip mall by mainland standards
                                                                    typical hawaii two story business building

                                                                  2. re: honu2

                                                                    i think that would run into copyright problems

                                                                    in a nutshell
                                                                    the wine spectator editor at large visited oahu stayed for a week or so, but mostly ate at the house they were staying, cooking in
                                                                    they went out three nights for dinner
                                                                    once to Chef Mavro's
                                                                    and TWICE to pahke's
                                                                    told raymond their budget and their wines and left it up to him

                                                                3. re: macsak

                                                                  a google search will show you lots of reviews, but i was not able to find a free copy of the wine spectator article, sorry

                                                            2. re: KowboyK

                                                              i just walked over to pahke's (my office is a couple of doors down)
                                                              raymond is not in right now
                                                              yvonne said the email address is info@pahkes.com, but said she doesn't know how often he checks it or which he prefers

                                                              i will check in with raymond later and let you know

                                                      2. DK Steakhouse is great, I prefer it to Hy's which would be my 2nd choice (and not a bad 2nd). 12th Avenue Grill is something to put on your list as a future possibility, a nice neighborhood spot, good food at a reasonable price.

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: curiousgeo

                                                          I'm kind of leaning towards d.k. , because of the views, however 53 by the Sea looks pretty good too!! Would like to find some more input on it.

                                                          1. re: KowboyK

                                                            dk's views are basically kalakaua avenue and waikiki beach
                                                            and it doesn't have a wide expanse
                                                            plus there are only a couple of tables that are right on the balcony area

                                                            good dry aged steak and some farm-to-table stuff
                                                            great wine list, advised by hawaii's first master sommelier, chuck furuya

                                                            i gotta see a patient
                                                            more later

                                                            1. re: macsak

                                                              Yes, the wine list is very user friendly, full of well thought out selections by partner/MS Chuck. I have really enjoyed myself there and have seen the dry aging area. You will find that if you are looking for wine assistance Ivy the GM is of great help. They do some sort of validated parking as well, can't remember if it is complimentary, I don't focus on those details - only the food,wine & service!

                                                              1. re: manomin

                                                                I notice DK's uses a lot of local products, but makes no mention of using Hawaii Raised Beef, although it is all US raised. Any comments on that?

                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  when i've been, which is admittedly a few years ago, there was always one special selection of hawaii beef
                                                                  and this was before the new chef came in and added a lot of the farm-to-table stuff

                                                                  contacting the restaurant would tell us for sure
                                                                  but i don't see any mention of that kind of special on the online menu

                                                                  1. re: macsak

                                                                    I do like the farm to table,, my wife & I grow a lot of our own food, veg garden, family orchard, wine grapes( a friend is making his 1st batch of Cab with our grapes, should be in the bottle soon), beef, lamb, goat & berkshire pork(my favorite)

                                                                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                    I thought I read that their beef was from the midwest, I remember seeing that one of the places I looked at used Harris Ranch beef, which is only a couple of hours from us.

                                                                    1. re: KowboyK

                                                                      the menu and the newsletters on the dk website have lots of information, but are short on some of the specifics on the beef

                                                          2. How about Michel's at the Colony Surf? Pricey but beautiful setting right on the ocean and some great beef and seafood dishes.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: kjjr

                                                              I will check it out, thank you.

                                                              1. re: KowboyK

                                                                have not been in a while, but michel's has always been old school
                                                                they try to require jackets, have formal decor and are heavier on the sauces
                                                                53 by the sea is more open and well lit, and being a japanese/italian/pacific rim fusion menu, it is more modern and light

                                                                1. re: macsak

                                                                  It's been a long time since their Jacket requirement. We go regularly and I'm wearing Nice Shorts , Hawaiian Shirt , Sandals. Recommended by Hunt also.

                                                                  1. re: russkar

                                                                    ok, cool
                                                                    is it still continental/french type cuisine with heavy sauces?

                                                                    1. re: macsak

                                                                      French Yes , more Nouvelle than Continental.
                                                                      Much lighter cuisine like the Seafood Platter etc

                                                            2. aware this is older but didn't think necessary to do brand new thread.

                                                              we're here on O'ahu and are curious for votes regarding Roy's or Hy's for our Anniversary dinner tonight.
                                                              if Roy's why?
                                                              if Hy's why?
                                                              ooops, also where on this island can I buy my husband an Abalone dinner?
                                                              appreciate input, we'd love it to be deliciously wonderful.


                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                Aloha iL Divo!
                                                                I was just at Roy's late last year..been going there for years and the Waikiki location is the best..for one, it has a wonderful GM, Diva, whom has so much Aloha.

                                                                The food is first rate vs. the other Roy's and the app's of Ahi Poke and the Hamachi are stellar.
                                                                I usually always get the Ahi rare or Butterfish.

                                                                Start off at the House without a Key for drinks and Aloha music...stellar and very old school Hawaiian.
                                                                It's across the street from Roy's at the Halekulani.

                                                                Where are you staying in O'ahu?

                                                                We love the Royal Hawaiian if your not staying there, at least walk around the hotel and grounds of this majestic beauty...have a mai tai at the famous Mai Tai bar.

                                                                Happy Hour at the Outrigger next door at Hula Grill or Duke's has great HH deals everyday with $4 mai tai's and great calamari apps.

                                                                Top of Waikiki with the revolving resto has a fun HH too.

                                                                Sorry to say I have never been to Hy's but everyone I know loves it for the clubby atmosphere and the steaks, which I don't eat.

                                                                Happy Anniversay and report back!


                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                  Mahalo nui loa Beach Chick, appreciate you-great suggestions.

                                                                  we'll do Roy's tonight, Jamison's tomorrow night, Hy's Thursday, ShoreBird Wednesday and wing it next 6. hubby wants TaraMisa for Italian one night also Azure for seafood. BLT also is suggested for steaks. know the dessert at Roy's is a must-better save room even if we split-

                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                    hi Beach Chick

                                                                    plans changed last night for us as Roy's ressie was too late. we're going tonight much earlier as ressie is made.
                                                                    BUT.........last night we did get in early enough at Hy's.
                                                                    staff friendly&accommodating, dinner very nice, although I can't taste or smell I can feel texture. hubby said very good. the Caesar as made table side appeared to be too heavy handed with Dijon but again I can't taste right now so I didn't know the diff.

                                                                    steak soooo tender.
                                                                    prices not quite as high as I expected.
                                                                    looking @ Roy's menu tonight will prob be double&tonight is on me-dang-should have planned diff. I shoulda paid last night ;:-/

                                                                    I'll report back after we dine @ Roy's tonight.

                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                      do you have a condition which prevents taste/smell, or just a cold?

                                                                      seems like a waste either way, although glad you enjoyed it. have fun tonight and the rest of your trip!

                                                                      1. re: indelibledotink

                                                                        my Dr's been trying to figure it out for well over a year. she told me I need to be able to smell to be able to taste-sadly I can't do either.
                                                                        really hard on me because my palette was always very good I could discern ingredients very well.

                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                          Wow, that sucks! Hope you have a resolution soon.

                                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                                            very kind of you Kathryn, appreciate you

                                                                      2. re: iL Divo

                                                                        Hope you tasted all the goodness at Roy's..
                                                                        Have fun and have a mai tai for me!

                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                          again switched out our plans and did late dinner last night @ ShoreBird.
                                                                          kind of a bust-not a good endless salad bar for me but husband bbq'd his steak perfectly so....
                                                                          got stuck in crazy rain traffic from North shore back to Waikiki so rescheduled Roy's for tonight. it's been very rainy here this week and our ressie @ Roy's is for outside. passing it around 9 last night on way to ShoreBird, we were surprised to see diners outside as the rain was coming down.

                                                                          I know I know ....
                                                                          ....you gotta do what you gotta do under circumstances that arise

                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                            ok BC I'm late.
                                                                            dinner at Roy's was wonderful.
                                                                            our server, Klioko, was so kind.
                                                                            the food was wonderful, small amounts but very good.
                                                                            I couldn't taste but hubby tasted mine so he could say how it was.
                                                                            the butterfish to me loomed on slightly undercooked.
                                                                            he had the shortribs and said they were very good.
                                                                            we got and split the Caesar salad, not made table side like it was at Hy's. it was very crunchy and beautiful to look at. again, not being able to taste but husband Roy's for sure won the CS debate hands down.
                                                                            a special dessert is made for people celebrating, we got the chocolate souffle and it was very creamy very hot and ultra chocolate (at least in appearance.) they never offered the celebratory dessert, it was never mentioned nor did it appear.

                                                                            all in all we think it's completely different experience at both places, they both get 2 thumbs up.