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“Superb Desserts and Service, So-So Entrees”

Alan Wong's Restaurant
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Ranked #25 of 2,510 Restaurants in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $50 - $51
Cuisines: Hawaiian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Punahou Street and McCully Street
Description: Consistently voted as one of Hawaii's best restaurants, James Beard award-winning Chef Alan Wong uses the freshest locally grown produce and the bounty of the Pacific Ocean to create local favorites with a contemporary twist. Inspired by the unique ethnic influences found in Hawaii today, his menu reflects Hawaii's cultural diversity of its people, traditions, and lifestyles. "Taste Hawaii."
Reviewed February 2, 2014

Had dinner here in late January 2014, with an early reservation (which may largely explain the disparity that we encountered with service versus many of those recent reviews complaining about service who apparently ate later when the restaurant was more crowded). Overall, it was a combination of exceeding our expectations and underwhelming them.


Our server was excellent, he was perfectly prompt, polite, friendly but not too familiar or intrusive, interesting, gave good recommendations, and enthusiastically responded to our inquiry of whether he had worked the night the previous month that the First Family had visited. Timing of delivery of courses was perfect, water glasses were refilled promptly, everything was excellent with two tiny exceptions, only one attributable to our waiter: he gave pretty meager pours from our two bottles of wine, and the manager should have stepped in to escort a mom with a screaming infant out of the restaurant but instead waited for her to finally decide to take her baby out of the restaurant ten minutes later.


We had the Keahole Lobster “Escargot” Style, which was very good, essentially lobster chunks served with melted butter and garlic. The lobster was perfectly cooked and with the two simple ingredients of butter and garlic to accent it, there was no


I was in the mood for something with an Asian flavor to it and had the shrimp and clams linguine in chili coconut lemongrass basil sauce. The basic flavor was good, but familiar, with a pretty standard red coconut curry sauce that I've had in half a dozen Thai restaurants. However, that sauce was too heavily salted and I would have sent it back but for not wanting to upset our family member who was treating us to this dinner. That family member ordered the ginger crusted onaga, long-tail red snapper miso sesame vinaigrette, hamakua mushroom & corn, which she found delightful; I tried it and it was a pretty non-descript fish dish with a mildly pleasant sauce with a soy sauce flavor to it, pretty good but not spectacular. My spouse had the Kuahiwi Ranch beef tenderloin with Hollandaise Keahole lobster, and spicy Hawaii Island Goat Dairy chevre. For over 25 years I have noticed exactly what we encountered with that steak, namely, that it is always a bad decision to order a steak from a high-end restaurant that does not specialize in steaks, as invariably it will be an USDA Choice piece of meat, never a premium cut of meat and never a good value. That was entirely the case with this tenderloin - it was tender, but not entirely flavorful and rather than the between medium and medium-well temperature that was requested, it was medium-rare and undercooked.


The desserts were probably the finest desserts I've ever had from any restaurant, well worth the very premium price charged. I had The Coconut, which was a semi-spherical chocolate shell encrusted with shaved coconut and filled with a sorbet that was slightly coconut, slightly vanilla in flavor and it was so artfully constructed, it looked like a small, real half-coconut. The flavors were superb and it might be the finest dessert I've ever had. We also had the pineapple shave ice and it was similarly outstanding, with intense natural pineapple flavor, with perfectly restrained sweetness levels. The Waialua Chocolate “Crunch Bars” were a divine mix of chocolate and crunchy macadamia nuts. They also have a broad coffee selection of very high-end gourmet coffee, much of it priced like a port or sherry at a slightly lower end restaurant.


Overall, I would have to say that our meal would have been a significant disappointment, but for the outrageously delicious desserts and the excellent service. The entrees were all flawed and for perhaps the most famous restaurant in Hawaii - the very favorite restaurant of President Barrack Obama - there is simply no excuse for an over-salted curry, a pleasant but uninspired fish dish, and an undercooked, mediocre steak. This was one of the more expensive restaurants I've ever visited, and the value was not high. I probably would only visit here again if I could get a late reservation, just for desserts.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank lousygolfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 31, 2014

Had a great dinner here. The food was fantastic. Was a good as some Michelin 3 stars we have dined at (but not 3 star service). The poki pines and the tuni tartar appetizers are not to be passed up. The wine is good but they focus on famous labels and then charge high multiples on them. Therefore you have to pay heavily if you like anything beyond a cabernet. They did a fantastic job with our friend who has a mortal shell fish allergy. They used separate kitchen utensils for him and the chef adapted the dishes for his benefit. Great dinner, would recommend it to anyone!

1  Thank dlagerbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2014 via mobile

Service was great. My husband went to the restroom and one of our courses came out. I waited for him to return and one of the servers jokingly leaned in and said "just take a bite!" They know how good it is too. Every course in the pre-fixe meal was amazing and worth the money. We did not have wine pairings and I'm glad because we could hardly eat dessert. This location is not the one in Waikiki. Go to this one. You won't be sorry and will be wishing you could have the lobster or coconut sorbet again.

Thank RtravelNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2014

I'm very glad I was able to eat at Alan Wong's before leaving Hawaii, as it was a wonderful experience. I started with the lilikoi (passion fruit) shot, which consisted of purely cold pressed passion fruit - it was quite fantastic. We began with the cheese course, which came with six types of cheeses and delicious accompaniments, including candied macadamia nuts, pickled Maui onion, tomato jam, starfruit, and dried cranberries. The whole tomato salad comes with li hing mui ume vinaigrette. I'll admit I had no idea what that was, but it certainly packed a punch, and while it wasn't my absolute favorite, having never trying it before, it was worth a try. The onaga entree and macadamia crunch bar dessert were also quite delicious, although my table had to share the latter to be able to finish. Service was very professional. The only problem with the evening was the pace, which was extremely slow. The management realized and sent us a strawberry yuzu sorbet intermezzo, and our server apologized, but three hours for only four courses was a bit excessive. Prices, though not listed on the website, are very reasonable, with appetizers from $12-25, salads from $8-15, entrees from $33-65 (mostly around $40), and two tasting menus ($85 and $125). This was an outstanding meal, and I will definitely return the next time I'm on Oahu.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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2  Thank ph7719
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

Alan Wong's is about a $15 cab ride northeast from Waikiki and wouldn't be an enjoyable walk so take the bus or a cab. We first tried Alan Wong's two years ago and had a terrific dinner, one of the best we'd ever had in all of North America. On our recent trip to Oahu we decided to try it again to find out if it continued putting our consistently great food and the answer is a resounding YES. Since you are in the islands give the tropical colada a try, I had two and considered a third it was that good. I had the fixed price dinner which apparently is a staple on the menu and each of the 6 dishes included were among the best entrees I have had anywhere. The three most memorable dishes included in the fixed price were the kalua pig and foie gras grilled cheese starter and the braised short rib. Both had flavours that will impress the pickiest of diners and I include myself in that. And for dessert "the coconut" will make you very happy if you like chocolate and coconut. The coconut sorbet is just plain fantastic. If you are looking for a dining experience that has it all - great service, good atmosphere and incredible food then come here. It has garnered a reputation for being the best and it very well may be the best restaurant among all of the islands. Decide for yourself and just remember to bring the visa because great food costs a lot of money. If this is your first trip to Hawaii or Oahu then put Alan Wong's on your list of must try restaurants.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank BRUCE W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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