When in Hawaii, you may be amazed at the beauty that is the tropical islands. However, you will also need to eat! Try our list of options for fine dining in Hawaii for flavorful cuisine and unique options. These must-visit restaurants are in the heart of paradise for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Star Noodle on Maui is known for their Steamed Pork Buns. What could be better than a full sake bar to go with your fresh house made noodles & Asian specialties. And when you are ready for dessert, indulge yourself in the Malasadas – a Portuguese style donut, covered in chocolate and butterscotch caramel sauces. They also boast an innovative menu of island-inspired Asian fare like hapa ramen (which features fresh noodles cranked out daily on an 80-year-old machine from Japan). The restaurant was even on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fierei.
Merriman’s Restaurants are driven by their long-standing commitment to Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Ingredients come from local farmers, offering fresh, authentic regional cuisine at its peak flavor. Each day, Merriman’s Restaurants strive to “Do The Right Thing!” for the earth, for each other and for their guests. Each of the three Merriman’s restaurants on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island feature authentic regional cuisine. While each has its unique flair and flavor, all locations offer Hawaii’s finest ingredients and recipes.
Alan Wong’s restaurant, without a doubt, is one of the best restaurants to visit when in Honolulu. It’s very popular with both locals and tourists, and creates the most wonderful, flavorful Asian-fusion dishes. It’s a perfect choice for romantic dinners or celebrations. Alan Wong’s Honolulu restaurant was one of the pioneers of the farm-to-table movement. Native ingredients mix with Asian flavors to deliciously, create a five course prix-fixe menu. Located in a quiet neighborhood outside Waikiki, Wong’s is the perfect spot to sample Hawaiian fine dining with the service level to match.
Maru Sushi is one of the trendiest restaurants Hawaii. This remarkable Oahu dining establishment was created from the success of the original Michelin-starred establishment in Sapporo, Hokkaido, back in Chef Takeshi Kawasaki’s native Japan. Maru Sushi is the first Michelin sushi bar in Honolulu and presents exquisite creations that satisfy both the palate and visual experience.
La Mer French restaurant in Waikiki has been awarded Five Stars by the Forbes Travel Guide and is the only place in Hawaii to receive such a high rating – as well as being ranked an AAA Five-Diamond Restaurant for a number of consecutive years. The food resembles neo-classical French cooking, inspired by local and tropical delicacies. You’ll find everything from foie gras and caviar to decadent fish and meat dishes to satisfy your palate.
George Mavrothalassitis the is chef/proprietor of Chef Mavro, Honolulu’s fine dining, top-rated restaurant. Chef Mavrothalassitis holds the prestigious James Beard award. He is a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and was recognized by Wine Spectator as one of the eleven most important French chefs working in America. Mavro’s brigade of young cooks share his approach to cooking, recipe development, and commitment to local farmers. They cook from the philosophy: Always buy the best and freshest, buy local, treat all products with great respect, and start afresh every season with new ideas and creative recipes.
Located underground, this visionary Honolulu club is the brainchild of Japanese investor Takeshi Sekiguchi. Chef Misao Masuda began his career at the Prince Hotel before mastering local Hawaiian ingredients combined with high-end French fare at Vintage Cave. Make sure to take a tour of the venue’s impressive art collection too, which features ceramics by Fujimoto Yoshimichi, Baccarat crystal ware and paintings by Picasso. The chef’s special French-Japonais prix fixe is a must.
Offering magnificent views across Maunalua Bay, the flagship restaurant of US celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi first opened back in 1988. Since then, it has been at the forefront of Hawaii’s fine dining scene, celebrating native ingredients and forging strong relationships with local fishermen and farmers. The original – and perhaps best – of Yamaguchi’s chain of more than 30 restaurants, Roy’s Hawaii Kai mixes traditional foodstuffs with Roy’s Japanese influences to superb effect.
Arancino at The Kahala
With an updated take on Italian classics, Arancino at The Kahala Hotel & Resort is a breath of fresh air on Hawaii’s fine dining scene. Arancino Restaurants have been serving authentic Italian cuisine in the heart of world-famous Waikiki to visitors from around the world. Its recipes reflect Napoli-style epicurean delights made with imported cheeses, meats and pastas from Italy while incorporating fresh local seafood and produce to create unique Italian dining experience.
So, which of these will you start with? Choosing your favorite from this list may not be an easy task, but it will be fun! If you love fine dining in beautiful settings, you may also love reading about California Cuisine.