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HAWAII Magazine picks: Six great dinners on Oahu


Kai Market

Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua Ave.
(808) 921-4600, www.sheraton-waikiki.com/dining/kai

Say you have a large family or group traveling together. You need a spacious restaurant, a diversity of menu offerings, and you want everyone to have a full meal at a reasonable cost.

Welcome to Kai Market, the newest restaurant at the Sheraton Waikīkī, situated to provide a view of the hotel’s new infinity pool and the Pacific Ocean.

Kai Market is a buffet, one of the most attractive we’ve ever seen. The restaurant buys its ingredients fresh from local farms. You’ll find salad greens grown 20 minutes away on O‘ahu’s windward coast, asparagus from the North Shore, baby romaine from Maui, tomatoes from the Big Island, sweet potatoes from Moloka‘i.

Those are not all the Hawai‘i flavors you will encounter. The entrées, cooked in small batches, reflect the multicultural cuisine of the Islands: to name a few, miso-marinated Hawaiian sea bass, Chinese-style roast duck, Kona coffee-rubbed baby back ribs, Japanese yakisoba, local-style fried rice and even good old American prime rib, crusted in Hawaiian ‘alaea salt. Pictured above, the Portuguese comfort food favorite Vinha d' Alhos—garlic, vinegar and wine-marinated pork.

The desserts—always a critical part of a buffet—are bounteous and include passion fruit flan, chocolate pot au crème with whipped cream and raspberries, gooey, rich sweetbread pudding, and the best, richest, freshest chocolate haupia pie we have ever tasted.

All of this seaside, with one child under 12 eating free for every paying adult.


Roy's Restaurant
Roy's Waikiki Beach, 226 Lewers St., (808) 923-7697
Roy's Hawaii Kai, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, (808) 396-7697
Roy's Ko Olina, 92-1220 Aliinui Drive, (808) 676-7697

Roy Yamaguchi is Hawai‘i’s superstar chef—four cookbooks, a PBS television series, an appearance on Iron Chef USA, even his own line of cookware. He now has 32 restaurants, in Hawai‘i and across America, on Guam and in Japan.

After early success in Los Angeles, Yamaguchi came to prominence when he returned to his roots in Hawai‘i in 1988, creating a vivid cuisine that blends French, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Polynesian influences.

His first Roy’s, in the Honolulu suburb of Hawai‘i Kai, remains his flagship. More conveniently for visitors, he’s also opened a restaurant in the new Waikīkī Beach Walk development that has all the relaxed Hawai‘i style and the dramatic flavors of his original.

We love Roy’s appetizers—coconut-crusted shrimp, ponzu hibachi salmon, Szechwan spiced baby back ribs, lobster potstickers and (pictured above) ahi poketini. Among the entrées, don’t miss the macadamia nut crusted mahimahi in lobster cognac butter or, if you’re a meat eater, the soy-braised beef short ribs with Roy’s mashed potatoes. It’s hard to go wrong here: Even the meatloaf is exceptional. For dessert, we always order Roy’s melting chocolate cake, with ice cream, of course.

A special bonus: Roy’s is more reasonably priced than most restaurants of this quality.

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