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One of the best places in Hawaii for a romantic dinner? It's on Lanai.

Hawaii_romantic_dinner_Lanai(Continued from previous page)

Jojo allowed us ample time to take in the Ocean Hale's amazing sunset view of Hulopoe Beach—the resort’s signature expanse of white sand, where we'd just spent the day. When our excitement had settled a bit, Jojo excused himself to begin delivering our courses.

Dinner was exquisite. The ahi ceviche I’d selected for my appetizer course arrived heavy with deep red morsels of fresh Big Island ocean farmed tuna in a light, slightly spicy tomato gelee tempered with a sweet note of coconut water.  A side serving of papadum chips delivered with the ceviche proved particularly irresistible to my wife, who confiscated a few as a savory match for the sweet fruitiness of her Waimea tomato and melon gazpacho.

For our second course, we split bites of kicky Tandoori chicken satay (my wife’s) and a seafood trio of shrimp, kampachi—or Hawaiian yellowtail—and scallops (mine) in a rich Malaysian curry sauce poured tableside. Our entrees, which arrived next, were shared too, albeit reluctantly and in spare forkfuls because they were so delicious.

A hearty portion of onaga (ruby snapper) steamed, then topped Chinese-style with soy sauce, hot oil and fresh ginger and cilantro was pretty much my wife’s to enjoy solo. Likewise, a pan-seared tenderloin—served on flavorful bed of celery puree, chimichurri, asparagus and Big Island-grown shimeji mushrooms, all of it topped with a luxurious red wine reduction—was all mine.

Hawaii_romantic_dinner_LanaiFor dessert, we went back to splitting plates—a flourless chocolate cake with a dollop of pistachio ice cream and fresh raspberries, and a pineapple upside down cake, the latter recalling the island’s plantation heritage.

I still don’t know how far Jojo had to journey from the resort’s kitchen to deliver each of our courses to the hale as if they’d just been plated—ever the gentleman, he wouldn’t tell. But we thanked him profusely for his quiet, unobtrusive service and attention to detail.

Our view of the beach and bay replaced by an unimpeded view of Lanai's clear star-filled sky, we spent the remainder of our evening scanning the heavens with the hale's binoculars and planning our next day on Lanai from the couch. All things considered, it was a perfect romantic evening. A bit pricey? Sure. But for anyone looking to make a memorable romantic impression, well worth it.

“Don’t forget to tell your readers about my engagement suggestion when you write this up,” reminded my wife, for at least the third time that evening. 

Guys, you are hereby alerted.

Dinner at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay’s Ocean Hale starts at $500 per couple. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/manelebay. For reservations, call (808) 565-2388.

Photos: Dawn Sakamoto

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