WAIKIKI RESTAURANTS

Hawaii being a multi-cultural society, where East meets West, with a Polynesian embrace, Waikiki offers a wide array of culinary delights. There is an excellent choice of restaurants offering specialties from all over the world - from French and German to Japanese and Chinese, or Thai and Indian, or Hawaiian to many many more. Due to the 5 million tourists that come to Waikiki every year, the competition for patrons makes restaurants innovative and very conscious of quality. Seafood stops are a hallmark of the island and Waikiki has some of the finest.

Waikiki offers so many food possibilities that recommendations are inevitably highly personal. For fine dining, all the larger Waikiki hotels have good restaurants. Outrigger Reef Hotel’s Shore Bird Beach Broiler is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is a sumptuous array of fresh fruit, pastries, egg dishes and meats, with the beach and Diamond Head as a stunning backdrop. There are many choices for steak. The original Chucks Steakhouse in the Edgewater Hotel is in the top tier for beef, and the A1 Steakhouse & Oyster Bar in the Marc Suites is a strong contender. Seafood stops are a hallmark of the island and Waikiki has some of the finest. Some of the best are Sarentos Top of the "I" at the top of the Ilikai/Hotel Nikko Waikiki, where the fish preparations have a northern Italian flair, and the Lobster & Crab House in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. A large tank of live Maine lobsters is positioned at the entrance so that you may pick your clawed choice for dinner. Orchids Restaurant in the posh Halekulani Hotel offers an elegant seafood menu in an open-air setting, and La Mer, also in the Halekulani, is a Triple A Diamond Award restaurant where the seafood dishes are prepared in a Provencal style. Matteos in the Marine Surf Hotel is considered to be the finest Italian restaurant in Waikiki. The superb menu is served in an intimate setting and the wine list here is also one of the best in town.

Hotels are not the only places that offer good food. There are excellent reasonably priced choices all over Waikiki. If you’re looking for a place to entertain your children, then the Official All Star Café is the place. They have a great kids’ menu, 38 TV screens, a scoreboard and video games. It’s located in the King Kalakaua Plaza next to NikeTown.

For Japanese cuisine, Kobe at the end of Ala Moana Boulevard, and Tanaka of Tokyo with three locations in Waikiki are great choices. Wide choices are available for Chinese cuisine as well. Lotus Moon Restaurant in the Sheraton Princess is one of the best. Then there’s China Garden on Kuhio Avenue, and Lau Yee Chai on Kalakaua Avenue. For Thai cuisine, Bangkok Lanai located on Seaside Avenue and Keo's In Waikiki of Kuhio Avenue are great places, and for French/Continental cuisine Micnel's At The Colony Surf, also on Kalakaua.

Since you’re in Hawaii, an experience of Hawaiian food is a must. Hawaiian cuisine is a melding of European techniques with ingredients from Asia and the Pacific. The traditional Luau, a sumptuous feast of traditional foods including fish, pork and rootcrops cooked in an underground oven and garnished with coconut cream, is something not to be missed. Luau evenings are put on for tourists at most major centers, either at one of the large hotels or on a secluded beach and usually include a traditional hula or dance show.

South Seas Village Theatre Restaurant is also a great place for Polynesian meal with an excellent Pacific Basin show. It is located on Atkinson Street on the border between Waikiki and Ala Moana. If you’re looking for something typical with Hawaiian music and a location right on the beach, then Dukes Restaurant and Barefoot Bar is in a class all by itself. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon after a refreshing dip in the blue Pacific. Other reasonably priced places that offer Hawaiian fare are Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab and Acqua Restaurant.

If an elegant, intimate dining experience is desired, try Arancino, a cozy little place on Beachwalk Avenue. The special thin-crust pizza covered with shrimp, cheese and Maui onions is a must. Then one of the absolute best dining experiences available in Honolulu is at the original Chart House Restaurant overlooking the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. There are excellent fast-food malls in the Ala Moana Center, and the much cheaper and more exotic Maunakea Marketplace on Maunakea Street in Chinatown, while Waikiki's Kuhio Avenue is lined with snack outlets and fast-food franchises.

Choices of restaurants are numerous and to name them all impossible. We suggest that you look up all the places and treat yourself to something new and interesting each day of your stay.

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