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Aug 8, 2013 08:00 AM

Variety of meals in oahu.... Thoughts?

2 couples late 40's headed to hawaii in late October for 10 nights, 3 on Oahu, 7 on Maui. What are your thoughts re: these choices for meals/drinks for our 1st 3 days.... We wanted a nice variety of local spots and "fancier spots".... No real budget but would like to stay under ~300/couple for dinner

1st nite - arrive ~6 pm from east coast, staying at Moana Surfrider, quickly freshen up then head to either Dukes or Hula Grill for a few drinks and appetizers (will have eaten on the plane)

2nd day - lunch ? , drinks at House without a key, dinner at Helena's
(unsure about lunch this day, we plan to hike diamond head, see Iolani Palace then hang out at the beach for the afternoon)

3rd day - ( Pearl harbor and North Shore day) - lunch on North Shore, thinking shrimp truck, dinner at Alan Wongs

4th day - lunch at Hanks Haute dogs, then fly to Maui

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Just a note that Helena's is only open on Tues-Fri, and open only until 7:30pm so drinks at HWAK might not work as it would have to be an earlier dinner.

    4 Replies
    1. re: killersmile

      Oh gosh, thanks! I think I had read that but forgot..... We're getting in on a Thursday night so that means we can only eat at Helena's the next night...... I had thought we should have a more "authentic " Hawaiian meal so I really wanted that.....guess we could do HWAK the last night.... Thx so much!

      1. re: krumley

        Not sure if you are interested but just a note that the Hilton Hawaiian Village has a weekly fireworks show on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7:45pm. I think it lasts about 10 minutes. Not a must see, but some people enjoy watching the sunset in Waikiki then seeing a fireworks show.

        1. re: killersmile

          Did not realize that they had added the Tuesday show. Mahalo for that info.

          A really good place to observe the fireworks is Mariposa, and they have great food (more casual, than many other places), and a nice wine list. Request a lanai table.


        2. re: krumley

          Switch around your sightseeing plans and do Diamond Head on a Saturday, and head out to the famous KCC Farmers Market on Saturday morning. It's right by Diamond Head. Get there early!

      2. I applaud your optimism ("will have eaten on the plane") - let us know what it was and how palatable.

        I think you have a pretty good plan. I am not a fan of of either Duke's or Hula Grill but they will be most serviceable after your long flight and related travel time.

        I hope you enjoy Hank's, I like to go there. I love the chicken dog but it it is a Sunday then the Kobe Dog is a winner. I was there when it was created by Dale Levitski, it's ono. The fries and onion rings are wonderful as is the hibiscus lemonade. I also like the mac and cheese. Sounds like you've got a great trip planned! Where are you staying on Maui? You didn't mention any plans for meals.

        17 Replies
        1. re: manomin

          We have never done Duke's, or Hula Girl, but good friends (both heavy-duty foodies), just did. They were horribly unimpressed with both.

          They both loved AW's Chef's Counter, and especially Chef Mavro's. La Mer, well not so much. However, those are not in the same price-range, as the other restaurants, so probably not viable options.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Thanks for the comments on Dukes and Hula Grill.... We definitely don't want to waste our meals on unimpressive! If we're already going to do Alan Wongs I wasn't going to do another upscale dinner until Maui...what do you rec as a substitute? I guess we could just stay at the hotel and try the Beach House..... Was thinking after the long flight we'd need the energy of a place like Dukes....

            Someone else had asked about our Maui plans. So far I have the following....We're staying in Wailea at the Grand Wailea & get in ~4 pm on Sunday

            Sund -dinner @ Humuhumu...
            Mond - lunch @ coconuts, dinner @ Duo
            Tues - RTH day.... lunch picnic, dinner @ Moneypod
            Wed - may be taking a snorkeling trip so unsure about meals...
            Thurs- upcountry day - lunch Kula Lodge, dinner Spago
            Friday - lunch @ Star noodle, although may do burgers @ Teddy's, dinner @ Ferraro's
            Saturday - lunch @ O'o farms, dinner @ Mama's

            Have a continually developing itinerary so would love to hear any thoughts/recs! Thanks!

            1. re: krumley

              You can also get your Alan Wong fix at Amasia at the Grand Wailea.

              I don't see any poke joints on your itinerary. Swap out Coconuts Fish Cafe for Eskimo Candy on Maui.

              And don't forget the shave ice!

              1. re: krumley

                i believe sheldon has left the restaurant group and is exploring his options

                1. re: macsak

                  yes, you are right about that. don't know if that influences the quality of the food or not though. it's not like he is the only cook there.

                  1. re: killersmile

                    just wanted to let the OP know that in case he wanted to eat at "sheldon's restaurant"

                  2. re: macsak

                    We were at Star last month and it was the same as before the Chef departure...

                2. re: Bill Hunt

                  There's nothing particularly exciting at Duke's, but it is nice to listen to the live music and watch the ocean there. Get a cocktail and some mediocre bar food while you're doing it, but don't expect any memorable food. Their nachos and burgers are OK.

                  1. re: Hoc

                    Personally, I would rather have better food, and listen to the music at HWAK - mediocre bar food is just not my thing, and was obviously not the "thing" of my foodie friends.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Im thinking that Dukes is a 'more happening scene" as we used to term it in my day. HWAK is a wonderful experience, but it is a subdued but intense experience and you have to pay attention. Dukes for cocktails and pupus is about people watching, noise, and more laughing, joking, flirting, etc. Different experiences for different moods.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Thanks for all the comments, they are very helpful! So how long does the music last at HWAK and Duke's on a Thursday evening? If our flight gets in @ 5:50 I'm guessing we would get to the hotel ~ 6:45. Checking in and quickly changing we could be out the door in ~ 30 minutes.... I'm sure we'll be exhausted, but excited! Just really looking for something fun within walking distance. I completely agree with Hunt and hate to "waste a meal", but I'm guessing we'll be more about a big drink at that point! :)) Also, where do you suggest for lunch on Friday after our Diamond Head hike and the Iolani Palace? Haven't gotten my bearings yet so I can't quite figure out where on the island we'll be. On that day we plan on spending the afternoon lounging around by the pool.. Thx!

                        1. re: krumley

                          HWAK has a music schedule here, looks like until 8:30pm:

                          Note: if you arrive after the music has started & it has been raining (so they have moved everyone inside from the patio), you may not be able to get a seat.

                          I would again urge you to switch around your sightseeing plans and do Diamond Head on a Saturday, and head out to the famous KCC Farmers Market on Saturday AM, eat, and then hike Diamond Head next door. The Saturday KCC market is an AMAZING, world class farmers market with lots of food vendors. Never experienced anything like it. So much unusual produce. Fresh pineapple and pineapple juice. Great Vietnamese food from Pig & Lady. Freshly grilled Big Island abalone. Passionfruit butter! Fresh strawberry-red bean mochi! Would be a shame to miss it.

                          Another thing to keep in mind is if you really want to do your "driving around the island" day on a Saturday, when beaches/destinations will be more crowded.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            I think kathryn makes some good points.

                            Depending on when you want to wake up, the Diamond Head trail opens at 6am, the farmers market at 7:30 and closes at 11am. You really want to get there before 10 for the best variety. It would certainly be possible to do Iolani Palace later the same day.

                            In addition to reading reviews on Dukes, I'd check reviews on Tiki's as well.

                          2. re: krumley

                            If you've decided to lunch near to Iolani Palace, here are a couple of nearby places (at Hotel and Richards Sts) that you can walk to in 5 minutes, or less. First, is the restaurant at the State Museum of Art. Second, is Cafe Julia which is on the ground floor of the YWCA on Richards St. Both have decent food and pleasant surroundings.

                          3. re: KaimukiMan


                            I agree with you.

                            My great friends, who just did Duke's and Hula Grill, are into fine-dining, and though younger, than I am, just did not get it. They were there for the food, and the experience.

                            "A happening place," is just what I wish to avoid. I also wish to avoid "buzz." I do not need that.

                            What I want is great food and great service. I do not need validation that I have chosen correctly. When I get what I want (see above), I know it, when I taste, or experience it. Loud screaming, loud music, drunken patrons, etc., are not needed, required, or necessary.

                            I often use such adjectives to help me to eliminate certain places. When I see "happening," "buzz," etc., I go elsewhere, and in a hurry.

                            What I want is enough quiet to carry on a conversation, like our's at AW. Also great food, and service.

                            Just got back from Sydney, and the bars in our hotel were the "top of the top," and the Bentleys, the Ferrairis and the Lamboginis, were all lined up. The paparazzi was in attendance, to get photos of "the chosen." The same for the bars/discos in a few of the restaurants. All I cared about was the food, and the service.

                            OTOH, many folk question all of their choices, so need validation to prove that they chose well. I do not.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              I agree, you and I are on the same track here. If i were with a few friends who wanted to enjoy some wonderful cultural entertainment, pleasant relaxed conversation, and great food with superb service, HWAK would be hard to beat anywhere.

                              If I was with a group of friends out to paint the town red, then I would make other choices.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                Now, being the Mainland haole tourist that I am, "painting the town" is seldom on the schedule. Even going back to the 1970's that was not my thing, when visiting.


                  2. the beach house at the moana surfrider is great in case your plans change and you need somewhere to eat.

                    sometimes hank's has a food truck on kapahulu ave, much closer to your hotel than the kakaako location.

                    1. Dukes is great for lunch, not so much for dinner. Swap it out for Hau Tree Lanai, a nice walk down the beach in the evening. Michel's is also a possibility, Much nice view of the cuve of Waikiki beach, although the plywood fence at the natitorium doesn't help. If you don't want to go that far then Tiki's across the street and down a couple of blocks from the Moana is pretty popular. And actually Chuck's steakhouse right above Dukes isn't too bad either. It's not Hy's or DK but if you get a good table there is a view. As indelible mentioned The Beach House is good too. Down the other way and more in the locals sometimes go there list is the Shorebird. If you really want to spend some money, try Azure at the Royal Hawaiian. Possibly the best service I have ever had, and the food was very good - although not as good as I expected. And yes, definitely keep the House Without a Key on your list. It will make a dent in your wallet (even for pupu's) but you will know without question you are in Hawaii.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Again, thanks so much! Think I'll take Kathryn's advice and swap my days and do the farmers market after diamond head. Also now have lots of options for our 1st night. I'll make sure I post a trip review when we return! Kathey

                          1. re: krumley

                            Make sure you get the fresh pineapple spears from the food truck in the parking lot of Diamond Head for $3..

                            1. re: krumley

                              get the grilled abalone and the misoyaki butterfish at the market.