Just returned from four days in Waikiki and we had some memorable meals and some not so memorable:
Our best meal by far was Sunday brunch at Orchids in the Halekulani. We had top notch service and the food was excellent. There was a variety of fresh sashimi and assorted fish poke, a whole kalua (sp?) pig, eggs benedict over crab hash and wonderful salads, desserts etc. We ordered a bottle of champagne and lingered over bunch in a breathtaking setting. Unfortunately, one of our less memorable meals was also at the Halekulani in the House Without a Key. There were six of us for dinner, the service was poor and the food not great. The prime rib meals looked like they had been plated in a cafeteria (picture an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes and somewhat greyish meat) and overall the food was unattractive and basic. The atmosphere and music was lovely but the service and food left a lot to be desired. It is hard to believe that the two restaurants were in the same hotel.
We stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider and had a couple of lovely breakfasts at the Veranda restaurant. They have a simple buffet each morning and a'la carte items such as macadamia almond struesel waffles which were very nice. Our best mai tais were also to be had at the Moana and we tried our best to compare them to as many other beachfront bars as we could! They have a Valentine's Day dinner menu out that looks fantastic.
We rented a car one day and drove to the Turtle Bay Resort on the northern tip of Oahu. Had lunch at Ola which was very nice but it didn't quite live up to the reviews we had read prior to booking. We were disappointed with the kalua pork sandwich which turned out to be fairly bland shredded meat with a Bullseye type barbecue sauce on a hamburger bun. The service was very good though and they also make a mean mai tai!
Last but not least, we had decent meals at Duke's and at the Cheesecake Factory. Normally we try to stay away from chain restaurants while on vacation but the rest of our party wanted to eat there and I have to say that they were two of our better dinners out.
Sorry to leave Waikiki but looking forward to returning one day and trying out some of the other Chowhound recs.