On a recent too-short visit to Honolulu for a dance competition I decided that the best use of my few free dining opportunities would be to visit some of Honolulu's most highly recommended restaurants in and near the neighbourhood of Waikiki. My picks for dinner were La Mer at the Halekulani Hotel and the Beachhouse at the Moana Surfrider, both a short walk from the Sheraton Waikiki which was the host hotel for the competition; and Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, a short taxi-ride away. I also managed to enjoy a lunch at the Surf Lanai at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The links in this post will take you to my brief review for each restaurant.
Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel and Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
Ph: (808) 739-8760 or reserve online
The Kahala Hotel is a luxury resort in the Kahala district of Honolulu, about a twenty minute taxi ride from the hotel where we were staying in Waikiki. Hoku's is one of about five dining options at the hotel, and offers innovative fusion food melding Hawaiian, Asian and European influences.
We booked for an early dinner hoping for a spectacular sunset. We were warmly welcomed and shown to a pleasant window table. Our view was more north-west than west so I didn't really see the spectacular sunset. I sipped a glass of Riesling from the Weingut Gunderloch winery in the Rheinhessen region of Germany while perusing the menu. As I read, I realized I really need a primer of terms used in the local menus.
at the Moana Surfrider Hotel
2365 Kalkaua Ave.,
cross street Kaiulani
Ph: (808) 921 4600 or reserve online
Arriving at the Beachhouse restaurant we waited a few minutes to be shown to our patio table. While waiting I enjoyed the view over the garden pub to the sea beyond. We were seated on the Beachhouse verandah overlooking the bandstand in the garden area below. This evening we enjoyed a perfect view to the west so that we could actually watch the sun dip below the horizon. I watched for the perfect green flash but did not see it. Perhaps I was too focused on taking a picture.
Ça Va Brasserie by Todd English
310 West 44th Street (Cross Street 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 803 4545 or reserve online
During my brief stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for evening dining before I was to once again board Cunard's majestic Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. The QM2 features a Todd English restaurant as their fine dining alternative. On previous trips I had dined several times at this restaurant and tried many of the menu items. I was curious to compare the Todd English Brasserie in New York (which serves French cuisine) with the current menu items of the on-board restaurant.
So before heading off to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical we had dinner at Ça Va Brasserie. It was only a short distance away from the theatre so we could relax over an early dinner.
Benares - Mid-town West
240 West 56th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 397 0707 or reserve online
On this brief pre-cruise stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for restaurant dinners. Having picked French cuisine (Ca Va Brasserie) for the first dinner, my second choice was Indian cuisine, a favorite cuisine of my fellow diner.
The Mid-town West location of Benares was my first choice.
Stella 34 Trattoria
at Macy's Herald Square 6th Floor
151 West 34th Street, New York
What a surprise it was to me to find an excellent restaurant located in a major department store and this discovery came about in quite an unexpected way. My westbound trans-Atlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 ended in Brooklyn early on a Wednesday morning, and my direct flight from JFK to Vancouver YVR was scheduled to leave at 7 that evening. So unusually for me, I decided to sign up for a ship's transfer to the airport, with a half day tour of Manhattan included. So after disembarking, our bags were placed on the bus, and a tour guide came on board to give a commentary on the various neighborhoods we passed through. At lunch time the bus dropped us off near Macy's for an hour of free time, during which we could get lunch for ourselves.
Triomphe at the Iroquois Hotel
49 West 44th (between 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY,10036
Ph: (212) 453 4233 or reserve online
Walking along West 44 th looking for 49, I nearly missed the entrance for Triomphe, not realizing that it is the restaurant of the Iroquois Hotel, a four star mid-town Manhattan boutique hotel. I had arranged to meet a friend there for brunch.
As I was enjoying a cup of coffee, I noticed on the menu that they offered fresh squeezed orange juice. The waiter assured me that it was indeed fresh squeezed and brought me a glass. I decided to indulge in the "build your own omelet" - one can pick three fillings from the choice of peppers, onions, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, bacon, ham, prosciutto, gruyere, cheddar and goat cheese. I opted for onions, prosciutto and cheddar cheese. It comes with breakfast potatoes and toast - both of which I opted only to taste.
Pacifica Seafood Restaurant
73505 El Paseo F-2608
Ph: (760) 674-8666 or reserve online
With only one evening to dine out and a plethora of fine dining options in the area to choose from, I decided to try a seafood restaurant. Pacifica Seafood seemed to be a popular recommendation so that's where we went.
With two main dining possibilities other than room service as Sirocco was closed, on my first evening at the hotel I opted to try Cava for supper. Cava is the hotel restaurant adjacent to the pool area, serving fresh California cuisine.
After some debate with myself about the carbohydrate/caloric load of a burger I ended up ordering the Greg Norman Kobe burger and fries. It came with aged cheddar cheese and caramelized onions, and a sundried tomato horseradish sauce. I only took a couple of bites of the bun but enjoyed the Kobe beef patty with the onions, lettuce and cheese. The burger was very satisfying after the foodless plane trip and I also treated myself to a glass of Wairau River New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
This time en route to board the Crystal Symphony for a short cruise from New York to Halifax, I planned a two night stop-over in New York for dining and theatre. Despite the limited time I managed to enjoy several excellent restaurant meals and three shows.