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First time to Oahu

I've been digging around on here for about a month now, and I've got a pretty good idea of a few places I want to eat. One big problem though. It's a family vacation for a wedding and were staying on the north shore. We will have a rental car and will more than likely be able to make it to Honolulu a couple times. I'm the most adventurous eater of our bunch by far, so Chef Mavro looks great to me, but, I don't think my girlfriend or my folks could handle it. I'm looking for at least one nice dinner to take my folks to in Honolulu. We are from North Dakota and there is no such thing as a good restaurant(locals love their Applebee's....gross) I've read up on most of the big names(Roy's, Alan Wong's, chef Mavro).
Any suggestions on a prix fixe menu that some not so crazy eaters could handle. I'll try anything, but the folks are all about meat and potatoes. I want to show them there's way more out there.

I checked out the menu at arencino at the kahala and was interested in that. Haven't seen anything about it on here though. Same with hau tree lanai. If any of you hounders have been to either place I would love to hear what you think. Thanks in advance!!

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    1. re: macsak

      Thanks macsak. My gf and I will be doing Roy's for sure one night. We are both in the service industry so 12th ave seems like a place we would both really like. If we have the opportunity, chef mavro or Alan Wongs. One of the best meals I've ever had was in a restaurant in New Orleans called Dante's Kitchen. I never saw a thing about it on here and it was right up there with Cochon in Nola, and the Publican in Chicago as my favorite places. I'm quite curious as I haven't seen a thing about arencino. Is it overpriced at $100 for 5 courses? The menu looks intriguing to me

      1. re: Brettpgillespie

        By arencino, are you referring to Arancino? If so, there are three Arancino restaurants in Honolulu, with the newly opened one at the Kahala Mandarin Hotel being very upscale and expensive. .

        1. re: honu2

          That's the one, the 5 course chefs menu at the kahala. I wasn't sure if the other locations were the same or not

          1. re: Brettpgillespie

            other two locations are NOT the same
            they are regular italian restaurants, IMO pretty decent ones for hawaii

            the one at The Kahala is more expensive, and more of a molecular gastronomy style of food
            we don't have these types of restaurants in hawaii, so it will be interesting how it does

      1. re: Joebob

        halekulani
        prince court
        kai market
        hakone for japanese

        oceanarium is very popular
        i went once a LONG time ago and was not impressed

        1. re: macsak

          Yes, the Halekulani, but I was asking Brettpgillespie.

            1. re: Joebob

              I really don't care about a buffet. I tend to try to avoid them at all costs. I do have to do a luau though if you guys know a good one

              1. re: Brettpgillespie

                Regrettably, the good luaus seem to be private family affairs.

                1. re: Brettpgillespie

                  This luau thread may help:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/916044

                  Given the picky eaters in your party and your own high standards for food, I think drinks & apps and some live music at House without a Key would be better than a luau.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thanks Kathryn. I hadn't seen that thread. I'm not expecting great food at a luau by any means. It's just a thing I think we need to experience in Hawaii as a family. It would be more about the show than the food. And I would say the eaters aren't so picky, just never exposed to some things like high quality seafood. We are a cattle raising family from the Midwest. it's been farm raised angus and herferd beef that we butcher ourselves. My mother finally had lamb done properly and loved it after never liking it her whole life. House without a key is on my radar. Thanks again

                    1. re: Brettpgillespie

                      If you are into experiencing Polynesian culture, Paradise Cove or Germaine's Luau on the west coast would be a good start. There are tour buses that will take you there. If you drive, then visit Aulani/Disney Hotel -- but food is not worth the price. But a nice place for the kids to enjoy... with lagoons to swim in as well.

                      1. re: roro808

                        IMO, the best way to get the culture is to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau
                        it is part of the Mormon Church/BYU-Hawaii complex
                        you will get performances done by people from that part of Polynesia
                        Paradise Cove and Germaine's will have a troupe of dancers that do all the different dances

                        1. re: macsak

                          Absolutely -- that too, but you need to spend the whole day to truly enjoy the Polynesian Culture Center. It depends on how much time the OP has to spend to truly enjoy the place.

                          1. re: roro808

                            I'm sure we'll spend close to a full day at the Polynesian cultural center. That's one of my must does

                            1. re: Brettpgillespie

                              I don't remember whether they do the imu ceremonies (for luau)... it's been a while since I last visited the Center. You might want to check with them.

                              1. re: roro808

                                Thanks for the help. I don't know when or if I'll get to go back

                                1. re: Brettpgillespie

                                  i just got some food from big city diner and noticed they have hawaiian food now. if you don't do the luau, try lau lau, lomi salmon, etc. from there. convenient locations and regular food if the others in your party are not feeling as adventurous.

                              2. re: Brettpgillespie

                                i hear there's two buffet menus
                                one with crab and one without
                                two different prices, and you have to pay extra to go to the other side
                                i imagine it's like the episode of M*A*S*H where hawkeye is under house arrest, and frank burns is saying i can go in, out, in, out

                        2. re: Brettpgillespie

                          my parents just attended a luau at the hilton hawaiian village (which is in honolulu in waikiki/ala moana area).

                          http://www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com/...

                          they've been to plenny local kine luaus, including one the other day, and said the food was quite good and featured 'regular american food' like roast beef in addition to luau staples.

                          1. re: indelibledotink

                            Never been to Hilton's luau -- does it also have Polynesian shows - e.g. fire/Tahitian and Hawaiian dances... and does it have imu ceremony?

                        3. re: kathryn

                          drinks and apps at sunset at house without a key is amazing

                          1. re: macsak

                            We were just at House without a key for apps/drinks and music at sunset and its one of our faves that says Aloha..
                            Roy's Waikiki is the best and like no other Roy's.
                            Royal Hawaiian is so lovely and your parents would love the resort...have mai tai's at the oceanfront bar..Azure is quite good.
                            Beach House next door at the Moana too.

                            Aloha