Top Honolulu Restaurants: I Go Somewhere Else

RestaurantNormally, you don’t want to argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel. I suppose that’s how they buy ink over at the Honolulu Advertiser (Hawaii’s largest daily newspaper).

Each year they rank Hawaii’s Best 150 Restaurants according to readers and Advertiser critics. Is there a better way?

I’d like to think so. You see, years ago An American Bistro was considered one of the island’s best restaurants. We ate there one night. It was OK. Not great. But OK.

Apparently we were not the only couple not fully satisfied with the menu, the décor, the service, or that “certain something” that gets you to come back.

The next week An American Bistro closed down.

“The next week An American Bistro closed down.”Not long after that we had dinner with friends at Bobby McGee’s in Waikiki. It’s been a favorite for many years. The service is special as the help dress up in various costumes and act out their character as they’re taking your order and serving your food. Cool.

I should say, “acted out” because it wasn’t long after that meal that the help showed up at the door only to find the door was closed. Bobby McGee’s had closed down. For good.

Do you see a trend here?

Waikiki is the home to many fine restaurants. We saved up enough money to treat ourselves at Canlis—a fine and legendary dining establishment known for its service and steaks. On the night we treated ourselves at Canlis we were in for a surprise.

While the food was fair, it was memorable only because there wasn’t anything special about it to remember? Service? OK, fine dining is supposed to be a little more relaxed, right?

Relaxed, I can handle. Comatose? No thanks.

Shortly after that visit, Canlis closed down for good. Shortly afterwards, it opened as a satellite Police Station.

Do you see a trend here?

“When people ask me my opinion of a restaurant, I hem and haw and change the subject.”For about a year we didn’t go out at all because we were afraid our curse would spread to other well known and memorable dining establishments.

It did. Late one evening we stopped at King’s Bakery on King Street. They served the freshest, warmest, tastiest Hawaiian Sweet Bread you’ve ever had. Until a few weeks later when they closed down and moved everything to California.

Today, when people ask me my opinion of a restaurant, I hem and haw and change the subject. As to what I think is the best restaurant in town? Well, someone asked me that a few months ago.


  1. Aint it the truth! I have the same problem from perfumes to, well, restaurants. We moved to Kauai about 3 years ago and I wanted to treat my sister from Jersey to Bobby McGee’s in Honolulu when she came to visit. I’d talked about it for years after our first visit to Hawaii about a century ago.
    Now, I wouldn’t dare ask you for your opinion because of you-know-what, but I’m really not looking forward to a “Hotel Restaurant”. That being said, we’re staying at the Ilikai. Anything better than Outback Steakhouse that you wouldn’t miss toooooo very much if it closed down?