HONOLULU DINING

53 BY THE SEA  Located at the spot of one Honolulu’s top restaurants of years past, John Dominis, this waterfront eatery offers superb views of Diamond Head, along with a contemporary Italian menu created by chef Hiroshi Hayakawa. Be sure to linger over a cocktail or two in the sumptuous lounge. 53 ‘Ahui Street. 536.5353 $$$ 

ALAN WONG’S  James Beard Award-winning chef Alan Wong has created countless innovative dishes and menus. Signature dishes include the New Wave ‘opihi shooter, poki-pines and twice-cooked short ribs. 1857 S. King Street. 949.2526 $$$  

AZURE Same-day catch offerings from Pier 38 provide an abundantly fresh option for seafood. Try the seared yellowfin ‘ahi, Kona shellfish bowl or lobster chermoula. Stand-out meat dish, choose the grilled mountain meadow lamb chops or rib-eye served with creamed Big Island sweet corn and Hamakua mushrooms. The Royal Hawaiian, 2259 Kalakaua Avenue. 923.7311 $$$$  

THE BEACHHOUSE at THE MOANA  BeachHouse serves Angus beef and American Wagyu, alongside a stellar wine list and island-fresh fish. The outdoor lounge offers up stunning ocean views, Hawaiian entertainment and signature cocktails. Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, 2365 Kalakaua Avenue. 921.4600 $$$$

BLT   Get comfortable at this posh Waikiki bistro, which takes the steakhouse concept to a new level. Start off the experience with a handcrafted cocktail at the gorgeous bar. While the beef selection is stellar, be sure to also try the starters—the charcuterie is excellent—along with the raw bar, which features oysters, shrimp, poke and more. Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk, 223 Saratoga Road. 683.7440 $$$$  

CHEF CHAI  With his goal of serving healthier food, Chef Chai has banned butter from the kitchen and is focusing on herbs and spices in lieu of fat and salt. The menu is seafood heavy with options such as braised whole rainbow trout and grilled mahi with Thai red curry sauce. Vegetarian dishes include house made soft tofu with shiitake mushrooms in a coconut ginger broth and a number of stir fries. Everything can be prepared gluten-free.  1009 Kapiolani Blvd., Pacifica Honolulu Tower, 585-0011 $$$

CHEF MAVRO  James Beard Award-winning George Mavrothalassitis offers a seasonal prix-fixe menu of nouvelle cuisine at his namesake eatery. Food and wine is the dynamic duo at this renowned restaurant—no wine list, but perfect wine pairings instead. 1969 S. King Street, (808) 944-4714 $$$$  

HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY   Enjoy continental cuisine and classic cocktails while watching the sunset over Waikiki Beach. Expect traditional Hawaiian music and hula, courtesy of the exquisite Kanoe Miller. The restaurant features Sunset Kiawe Grill on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9PM. Halekulani, 2199 Kalia Road, Waikiki, (808) 923-2311 $$  

LA MER  Perhaps nowhere is the Halekulani spirit captured more than at La Mer. That's because La Mer is more than just a restaurant. It is Halekulani's finest and is the first of only two Five Diamond Award restaurants in Hawaii. The internationally-acclaimed menu features Neoclassic French cuisine expertly crafted and served amid majestic oceanfront views. Fresh island ingredients are uniquely blended in dishes inspired by flavors from the south of France to produce a dining experience unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Menus are pre-selected, with a choice of entrees offered to satisfy individual preference. An award-winning wine list is also available to complement these fine foods.  Long-sleeved collared shirt or jacket required for gentlemen.  Halekulani, 2199 Kalia Road, (808) 923-2311 $$$$  

Le BISTRO  French expats sing the praises of the classic fare from this relaxed bistro tucked away in Niu Valley that offers beef tartare, Muscovy duck breast and country beef stew. 5730 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, Niu Valley, 373.7990 $$  

LUCKY BELLY  While noodles are easy to come by in Chinatown, no other establishment serves them up with such panache and style as this sexy, dimly lit bastion. Feast on steaming bowls of ramen, along with savory oxtail dumplings, or a terrine of beets and chèvre served with fresh greens. 50 N. Hotel St., Chinatown, (808) 531-888 $$  

MORIMOTO The vibrant decor and buzzing scene make for a festive backdrop for Iron Chef ’s Masaharu Morimoto’s innovative take on Japanese cuisine, which tempts with dishes like hamachi tartare, Wagyu carpaccio and roasted lobster épicé. But the beauty of simplicity is not forgotten, as demonstrated by the kitchen’s take on a local favorite, oxtail soup. The Modern Honolulu, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. (808) 943-5900 $$$ 

MW RESTAURANT  Alan Wong protégés (and husband-and-wife team) Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka have perfected their Hawaiian-inflected menu since opening in 2014 a few blocks from Ala Moana Shopping Center. Their style weaves Hawaiian ingredients and flavors seamlessly and whimsically, like loco moco meatloaf and butterfish arancini. In February 2014, MW Restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Foundation in the category of Best New Restaurant. 1538 Kapiolani Boulevard, (808) 955-6506. $$$

NANZAN GIRO GIRO On the Ala Moana edge of Kaka‘ako shines this modernist jewel box of a Japanese eatery. On the menu is exquisitely prepared kaiseki cuisine, an artful sequence of beautiful dishes that originated with the Japanese tea ceremony centuries ago. 560 Pensacola Street, (808) 524-0141 $$$  

NOBU  Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s world-famous eatery came onto the Honolulu culinary scene like a rock star stepping onstage. The neo-Japanese menu features many favorites, including the yellowtail with jalapeño, black cod with miso, and squid pasta. For the true Nobu experience, go omakase and let the expert staffers choose for you. Waiea, 1118 Ala Moana Boulevard, (808) 237-6999 $$$$  

ORCHIDS  Celebrated for its international Sunday brunch, signature Steamed Onaga—oriental-style or basil—as well as olive-crusted lamb chop, exceptional wine list and panoramic Diamond Head view, Orchids is a must experience. Halekulani, 2199 Kalia Road, (808) 923-2311 $$$$ 

SUSHI IZAKAYA GAKU   Many of Honolulu’s savviest foodies consider Gaku the island’s top izakaya, given its exquisitely fresh seafood that’s described as sweet and buttery. The detailed presentation by master sushi chefs is also part of Gaku’s allure. This is a place to appreciate the careful plating of the gorgeously arranged dishes. 1329 S. King Street. (808) 589-1329 $$$  

TOWN  This charming neighborhood bistro has a laid-back attitude about everything except the cuisine. Chef-owner Ed Kenney changes the menus daily, offering spectacular, farm-to-table cuisine that showcases the islands’ freshest fish, meats and produce. 3435 Wai‘alae Avenue. (808) 735-5900 $$  

VINTAGE CAVE  Honolulu has a new elite dining spot, in possibly one of the most unlikely places—the basement of Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center. But rest assured, since rising chef Chris Kajioka, formerly of Per Se in New York and Parallel 37 in San Francisco, is at the helm. The concept is to create a private society of diners, fitting for the eight-table dining room, where the $295 tasting menu aspires to be a veritable work of art.  Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 441-1744 $$$$  

WOLFGANG’S STEAKHOUSE  The celebrated NY steakhouse, founded by former Peter Luger Head Waiter Wolfgang Zwiener, features melt-in-your-mouth steaks. The restaurant boasts its own dry-aging room, so diners can expect a uniquely NY-style steak dinner in the heart of Waikiki. Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki, (808) 922-3600 $$$$

A Halekulani Concierge Favorite