O'ahu Lodging and Dining Reviews
Included below are the reviews from our stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and most of the places where we ate during our 2012 trip (links in the list below connect to the review on Trip Advisor:
Benihana of Tokyo: Dinner and a show; food was good but the show was lacking.
Visited November 13, 2012, reviewed November 23, 2012
During our stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village we ate dinner one evening at Benihana. We got there just as the place opened at 5:00 PM so we were seated right away. The service was excellent, but the show and the food were just OK. Our chef was a bit of a klutz and dropped utensils and shakers a few times and had food flying in all directions. But the show was fun and the food was good (the beer selection was weak, so I just stuck with water). The only real issues (well, other than the beer selection)was that the vent hood over our grill/table was not working well and the smoke was blowing my way, which was more than a little annoying.
Breakers Grill: Excellent place for lunch when touring the North Shore
Visited November 18, 2012; reviewed November 23, 2012
My wife and I stopped in for lunch at Breakers Grill while taking a drive along the north shore of Oahu. We visited in mid November, so perhaps not the busy season, but we were seated immediately. The service was fast and friendly but more importantly the food was excellent. We just had a couple of appetizers plus I had a bowl of chowder and Lynn had a salad. The crab cakes and the coconut shrimp were amazing; some of the best I have ever had. Fresh, sweet coconut….yum!
This was the one of the best meals we had during our trip.
BluWater Grill: Great lunch with a view of Koko Head
Visited November 15, 2012; reviewed November 23, 2012
Based on a recommendation from the Lonely Planet guide book for Oahu, we picked the Blue Water Grill for lunch, since wanted to head to the southeast area of the island any way. Good choice. We got there around noon, but beat the lunch crowd. There was no one inside and only one table occupied on the patio we when arrived but the patio filled up quickly and there was decent number of tables filled by the time we left. Service was very speedy and the server was helpful and friendly. The food was excellent. Easily the best meal we had eaten thus far on our trip. I had the fish and chips, which was the daily special. I really like fish and chips, even though I know they are not good for me, and this dish was some of the best I had even had. The server said the fish was a Korean catfish of some sort and the breading was a macadamia nut crust that was really light. The fries were also very good (not the crinkle cut frozen bag fries that we were served elsewhere on the island). The downside was the lame beer selection (I like hoppy beers with a lot of bite, something the local brews do not offer), so bad that I just had water (besides, I was driving). For desert, we decided to try the crème brulee. The server stated that is was made with a passion fruit flavor and was very tart. It was tart, but still good. We really enjoyed our meal at BluWater Grill. If we were locals, this would be a place we would frequent.
Excellent burger and college football…who could ask for anything more!
Visited November 17, 2012; reviewed November 23, 2012
During a walk around Waikiki, we stopped for lunch at Giovanni Pastrami. We got there a little after 1:00 and got seated immediately. Excellent service. Big menu but more along the pub variety (burgers, sandwiches, etc.) A very popular place to gather for college football. There was a very large Ohio State contingent and a strong showing from both USC and UCLA, since those teams were playing each other. The UCLA folks seemed much happier with the score today. I had a burger and it was great (BBQ, bacon, cheeseburger….I’ll need to climb Diamond Head a couple more times to work that one off!).
Hilton Hawaiian Village: Lodging for a timeshare pitch.
Stayed November 12 - 18, 2012; reviewed November 23, 2012
My wife and I stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for six nights in mid-November. We got a deal on the lodging in exchange for attending a sales pitch for a timeshare opportunity.
We arrived on a Monday about mid afternoon. As there was construction going on, so the traffic flow was a bit of a mess, such that I missed the turn for the main desk and had to go around the block, but I eventually made my way to the main desk. Check in was a debacle, but as it happens that is the only problem that we had at the property all week. The staff folks that I dealt with were very helpful and friendly; their process is just slow.
We were assigned a king room on the 11th floor of the Ali’I Tower. The balcony had a partial ocean view but really overlooked the main pool and grounds of the resort. I was told that this was a bit of an upgrade from the previous reservation as it was the only king room available at the time. Fine my me. The room had plenty of space with a couch and desk in addition to the king bed. The bathroom was also large and well appointed. My wife determined that we had a newly refurbished room and it did seem to be in very good shape. The only issue with the room was that the door was sticky (I had to give it a little kick to get it to open).
Overall I thought the Hilton Hawaiian Village was a great complex but really big and really busy. It has everything you need right there on the property (hey, its 22 acres so it ought to have everything!). Our room in the Ali’I Tower was more than adequate for our needs. We got a lot of use out of our balcony as well as the second floor lounge and fitness area. But even in the off season it was crowded; I would hate to see the place in the high season!
The only downside to the room was that we could hear the neighbors through the walls (one guy was a major league snorer!). It was not that you could make out conversations but you could hear muffled talked and snoring. This was not a real problem, but I found it surprising in a resort of this caliber and in a room that was recently remodeled.
The second floor pool, fitness room and lounge are reserved for guests staying in the Ali’I Tower, which was nice. I used the fitness center a few times. It is covered, but still open air. There were 3 treadmills, 2 elliptical machines and a couple reclined bikes plus weights. Water and towels were available. The exercise machines all had built in TV monitors. The pool is small, but nice and there was a small hot tub as well. The lounge served drinks from noon until 5:00 and had a full bar but only limited beer selection. The seating along the railing of the pool overlooking the beach makes a nice place to view the Friday evening fireworks display.
There were a variety of dining options on the property coverage all prices ranges and many types of food. We ate at Tropics (at the base of the Ali’I Tower) twice, once for dinner and one for breakfast. The food was very good but the price made it a marginal value. The Benihana was average at best. We did carry out from the Pronto Pickle (sandwich shop) and Round Table pizza and dined on our balcony which might have been the best option for a relaxing dinner.
We did the self-parking in the on-site garage. A couple comments on this. It is convenient and at $24/day not an outrageous cost. However, you need to swing the turn into the garage a little wide in order to be able to reach the keycard swipe pad to gain access. Also, be careful walking in the garage; there are no pedestrian walkways so you are vying with the cars as you make your way from your car to the elevator.
BTW, we did not buy a timeshare.
Tropics: Convenient place to eat with a nice view of the beach.
Visited November 12 and 18, 2012; reviewed November 23, 2012
During our stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, my wife and I ate at Tropics twice, first for dinner on our first evening and then for breakfast on our last morning. We found the service to be very good on both occasions. The food was also very good. However, the prices were a little high for what we got, so the value was a not that high. However, the lower value was in part made up by the live music in the evening the views of the beach and sunset.
Uncle Bo's: Recommended by a local. It was good, but not great.
Visited November 14, 2012; reviewed November 23, 2012
Uncle Bo’s does not look like much from the outside plus it looks very small, but there is more room on the inside. It has a bit of an eclectic vibe to it. Parking is across the street in a pay lot; we missed it on the first pass and had to make a u-turn to get lined up with the lot, but that was just a minor thing.
I guess we arrived before 7:00 and were seated right away. Excellent service; out server was friendly and expedient and also very helpful with regards to the menu. My wife was a little put off by the lighting. There was nice artwork for sale displayed on the walls, but the spotlights that were illuminating the paintings were a little hard on the eyes. The food was very good and the portions were huge. My wife had the filet which she said was tender and cooked to her liking; it was a pretty good deal at $20. My fish dish was also quite tasty. Overall, I would say this was a pretty good value.