There’s more to Oahu than volcanic rocks, beaches, and hula dances. The most visited island also has some of the best fine dining experiences in Hawaii.
In this post, we gather ten fine dining restaurants that you must visit while in Oahu!
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Fine Dining in Oahu #1: Senia
With excellent service from attentive and knowledgeable staff and a chic, minimalist ambiance, Senia offers creative dishes with incredible attention to detail and presentation. The experience begins as soon as you enter its doors and take in its slick and modern interiors, and enjoy a superb selection of cocktails and mocktails to start. There are several standout dishes here, but a must-try is the Ahi Brioche, which consists of a freshly baked sweet bread, seared Ahi complemented with a thin layer of avocado topped with a salty and citrusy flavor.
The Charred Cabbage also showcases the chef’s creativity and skill. It is made of cabbage covered in shio kombu paired with green goddess dressing (anchovy, chives, chervil, mayonnaise, and lime) and is an easy favorite. For desserts, try the Carrot Cake Butter Mochi, which offers a unique twist on the traditional mochi and is truly delightful.
Fine Dining in Oahu #2: La Mer
Located in glitzy Halekulani Hotel, La Mer offers sumptuous fine dining in a sophisticated oceanfront setting. The restaurant offers excellent views, and the service is unparalleled. The staff are knowledgeable and make excellent recommendations about the dishes and the best wines to pair them with.
Guests can opt for one of their superb tasting menus, or order their meals a la carte. One of the highlights is truffle gnocchi, made of fragrant fresh truffle and a delicious mushroom cream sauce. The calamansi mousse with cardamom-infused boba pearls and creams with rose meringue is highly refreshing and light for dessert. The cocktails are also quite inventive and worth trying.
Fine Dining in Oahu #3: Alan Wong’s Honolulu
Known for being one of President Obama’s go-to restaurants whenever he visits Hawaii, Alan Wong’s Honolulu offers playful interpretations of Hawaiian cuisine matched with excellent service. Its multi-awarded chef is known as the undisputed king of Hawaiian regional cuisine and is well-respected for cultivating the aloha spirit in his cooking and his restaurants.
Highlights include the butter-poached Kona lobster, the pan-steamed opakapaka (pink snapper) with shrimp pork hash, and the ginger-crusted Onaga sesame oil vinaigrette over a mushroom and corn mixture. Or you can also opt for the delightful tasting menu and leave the decisions to the chef. “The Coconut” is a must-try for dessert, made of a coconut sorbet dipped in chocolate, and served with fresh fruits. Simply divine.
Fine Dining in Oahu #4: Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku Gardens
With an excellent location offering stunning views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range, Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku Gardens offers plenty of other visual splendors, including a lovely pond and a lavish garden setting. This upscale local favorite offers excellent seafood and steak entrees. A highlight is a prime rib, a popular dish that runs out early, so ordering ahead is highly recommended. Other must-tries are the generously portioned and delectable coconut shrimps and the steamed monchong. The restaurant also offers a large variety of grilled fish, fresh soups and salads, and delicious desserts. The chocolate mousse pie with Belgian chocolate sauce is a pure delight. The bar also offers a generous selection of savory appetizers, perfectly enjoyed while watching the sunset over the mountains.
Fine Dining in Oahu #5: Chef Chai
With an elegant ambiance and exquisitely presented food, Chef Chai has built an impressive legacy as one of Oahu’s best fine dining destinations. The service here is truly top-notch, and the staff is very attentive to guests’ needs and knowledgeable of the offerings. Some of the highlights include the Ahi tartare and the Hamakua mushrooms and black truffle risotto cakes, consisting of crispy patties with creamy risotto inside. The Alaskan king crab cakes are also exquisite, and the braised kurobuta pork Osso Bucco is unbelievably tender and generously-sized. Another highly recommended offering is the kabayaki salmon, which consists of a sizable salmon fillet on a bed of grilled vegetables and covered in sweet soy butter sauce.
For dessert, the lava cake and the coconut cheesecake are perennial favorites. Another must-try is the Heart Shaped White Chocolate Amore Truffle, which consists of guava puree topped with vanilla ice cream and a thin layer of white chocolate. A raspberry sorbet waits in the center, providing a nice contrast to the sweet outer flavors.
Fine Dining in Oahu #6: Orchids
Located in the famed Halekulani Hotel, just a few floors below La Mer, which appears in this list, Orchids offers excellent fine dining in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. The well-trained staff treats you like royalty as you enjoy spectacular views of Diamond Head in the background and take in the refined ambiance and the beautiful oceanside setting. Sunsets are perfect for enjoying the changing colors of the sky and the refreshing ocean breeze while after diners can enjoy live Hawaiian entertainment. The restaurant is justifiably famous for its delightful Sunday brunch and its interesting interpretations of island cuisine and international fare.
Highly recommended is the Hapu-upu’u, or Hawaiian seabass, which comes with a creamy asparagus flan and pairs with lemon-caper sauce. Halekulani’s Signature Coconut Cake is a must-try for dessert.
Fine Dining in Oahu #7: Azure
Perched along the Waikiki Beachfront, Azure is one of the Royal Hawaiian’s premier dining destinations. With a stunning oceanfront setting, Azure offers an elegant and relaxing ambiance wrapped in the hotel’s dramatic architecture. The service is superb from the watchful and friendly staff, who are always ready to give informed and useful recommendations. The restaurant offers the freshest locally sourced seafood, be it Ahi, opah, Onaga, or moi. Acquired daily at 5:30 AM with the opening of the Honolulu fish auction. Azure offers the tastiest and freshest Ahi, opah, onaga, or moi – prepa
Highly recommend is the Hibachi Garlic Kauai Shrimp, topping a bed of sea asparagus, tomato, and corn salad. It uses flavorful and fresh shrimp perfectly complemented by the salad. Another highlight is the Hawaii Rancher’s Ribeye comes with mushrooms and kale in a red wine sauce and creamy Yukon potatoes on the side. The meat is perfectly prepared and seasoned, and suitably juicy and moist.
Fine Dining in Oahu #8: The Pig and the Lady
This upscale fusion Vietnamese restaurant started life as a popular pop-up with stands at farmers’ markets around the island and is still just as buzzy as a standalone restaurant in Chinatown. A must-try is the Five Spice Pork Chop, which is frequently cited as one of the best and offers melt-in-your-mouth goodness and rich flavors accentuating the tasty fat. The Laotian Fried Chicken Wings are also excellent and one of the restaurant’s main draws, and for a good reason: the chicken wings are perfectly crispy with a savory and nutty flavor mixed with lemongrass and fish sauce.
The restaurant is also highly regarded for its weekly soft serve flavors, which are worth trying. You can finish off your visit with their Egg cream coffee, consisting of delicious egg yolks and condensed milk served on top of strong Vietnamese coffee. Absolutely divine.
Fine Dining in Oahu #9: Roy’s Hawaii Kai
Boasting a breathtaking view of Maunalua Bay, this 30-year-old establishment has been offering Roy Yamaguchi’s award-winning Hawaii inspired cuisine and aloha style of service to wide acclaim. Roy’s Hawaii Kai prides itself on using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients, rich Asian spices, bold European sauces, and the best seafood that Hawaii can offer. Service is one of the best among Oahu’s fine dining establishments, and the staff is suitably cordial and professional.
For appetizers, the escargot and crunch salad comes highly recommended. With a creamy garlic lemon butter sauce and the softest escargots, this dish is a refreshing starter. The fresh fish (snapper) Oscar with crab sauce is delectable, with the snapper melting in your mouth in its creamy goodness. One cannot miss the butterfish, which is also one of the restaurant’s most popular offerings. For dessert, the new red velvet molten lava cake is heavenly, while the ice cream selection is excellent and worth checking out.
Fine Dining in Oahu #10: Hy’s Steak House – Waikiki
An award-winning restaurant located in the heart of Waikiki, Hy’s Steak House has been a local favorite and a tourist staple since opening in 1976. The establishment prides itself on serving USDA Prime beef, the finest in the market. All the meat is handpicked by the Chef de Cuisine and cooked over native Hawaiian Kiawe wood to accentuate the premium cuts’ rich flavors. The restaurant staff is top-notch and very friendly and accommodating.
Start your Hy’s experience with the superb Ahi Sashimi/Blackened Ahi Sashimi. The 7 oz Prime Filet Mignon in Beef Wellington style with Cabernet truffle sauce is delicious and creatively prepared, while the Filet with Bacon-wrapped Hokkaido Scallops is an unforgettable highlight. The Homemade Cheesecake with raspberry sauce is a showstopper and a must-try for dessert.