A luxury vacation in Waikiki, Oahu entails more than a stay at one of its high-end resort hotels. Fine dining is an important element of a vacation; culinary travel, when done right, engages the senses in ways that fast food simply cannot. These upscale restaurants in Waikiki add to the 5-star experience of luxury travel in Hawaii. There are other fantastic, best restaurants in larger Honolulu as well, of course. These below are in the Waikiki area of Oahu.
Sansei Seafood Resraurant & Sushi Bar
Located in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, this Sansei Seafood Restaurant is part of a small, local chain. The other Sanseis are in Kehei and Kapalua on Maui, and in the Waikoloa Beach Resort area of the Big Island. The small size of this chain points to its ability to succeed in a somewhat saturated market while maintaining high quality and a sense of uniqueness. They achieve this through their unique use of dinnerware. They use beautiful slate as their plates, you can find more information here
Roy’s has locations in California, Florida, Texas, and a few other US states along with Hawaii. The Roy’s in the Ko’ Olina resort area is a highly sought-after restaurant, but tourists staying closer to Waikiki should find reservations easier to obtain here. The specialty at all Roy’s restaurants is Hawaiian fusion cuisine, with local catches like Ono and Opakapaka on the menu with choice steaks and other high-end entrees. Ask about the locally sourced entrees, and enjoy knowing that your dinner is as fresh as it gets. The prix fixe menu changes with the seasons, and offers choices for each course; it’s is a recommended way to get a good sense of what Roy’s has to offer.
La Mer is in the Halekulani resort area on the beach of Waikiki. It’s one of Wailiki’s most upscale and elegant dining spots; as the name suggests, La Mer is a French restaurant. While this may seem a bit out of place for Hawaiian culinary travel, the fresh ingredients are from the islands – important for helping sustainable farming and fishing. The French cuisine here is unmistakable, though, and makes for a lovely break from the poi and poke of authentic Hawaiian restaurants. This being a truly upscale restaurant, La Mer has a dress code and asks that only children over age 8 join their parents for dinner here. We had a great time, they definitely followed the steps detailed here.
The Royal Hawaiian’s Azure restaurant provides for an unbelievable, upscale Hawaii culinary experience. Seafood is the focus here, served on large, unique plates, with local catches receiving the full South Pacific treatment. Regional cuisine is the star, and it’s just wonderful to enjoy a culinary and cultural experience at the same time (without going to a luau). There’s no strict dress code, this restaurant embracing Hawaiian culture; however the setting is 5-star. The chefs are award-winning, and take care in selecting from the day’s catch each morning. Azure Restaurant is absolutely a must for a luxury vacation dining experience in Waikiki.
Michel’s at the Colony Surf
Okay, so Michel’s at the Colony Surf is actually just outside of Waikiki, at Diamond Head, but it’s so close – and so deserving – that it can’t be left off this list of best Waikiki upscale restaurants. La Mer meets Azure at Michel’s, with Hawaiian influences on traditional French haute cuisine. The most romantic restaurant in (yes, near) Waikiki, Michel’s at the Colony Surf is also considered among the world’s best restaurants. An example of the Hawaiian/French mashup is the Hardy’s Hawaiian Bouillabaisse. South Pacific flavors accentuate the local fish, lobster, shrimp, and other bouillabaisse seafood ingredients perfectly for a new take on an old dish. It’s seen again in the Hawaiian Apple-Banana Flambe dessert.