Alas, hurray, ‘tis the season once again! The planning and execution of holiday feasts can be overwhelming (even if it may have seemed like a good idea two weeks ago).
We understand, which is why we’ve compiled a list of restaurants offering holiday dining in a range of styles.
3660 On the Rise
This Kaimuki classic at the base of Wilhemina off Waialae Avenue will have a Christmas Eve buffet that highlights local ingredients. ‘Nalo greens, lomi salmon and edamame salad with quinoa will warm up your appetite. Roast beef, baked salmon with wasabi and crabmeat and shichimi seared breast of chicken are the main attractions. Traditional dessert favorites will top you off!
3660 Waialae Ave., Sat., 12/24, 5-8pm $49.50 adults, $20 children ages 3-10, 737-1177
Located between Ward Centre and Restaurant Row, the room is small but has a big heart and some ambitious offerings for both brunch and dinner Christmas Eve and Day. A few items on the festive menu–red onion duck confit tart with goat cheese, shepherd’s pie with Big Island veal, Asian five spice braised beef and Hamakua mushroom risotto. Olé!
The Willows Christmas Eve and Day lunch and dinner buffets provide an outing for any local or visiting family. Classic choices include roast beef and turkey, as well as local favorites (kim chee, tako poke, poi, kiawe smoked pork loin, misoyaki butterfish and haupia cake). Wander about the tree-lined lawns, admire the carp in the meandering ponds and feel at home in this neighborhood nest.
House Without a Key
Set in the Halekulani, this trendy yet understated restaurant lives up to its elusive name. On Christmas Eve and Day, they’ll offer the entire regular menu as well as a three-course meal, including soup, roast wild salmon with Hamakua mushrooms, braised lamb shank and a chestnut cake with citrus anglaise.
2199 Kalia Rd., Sat. 12/24 & Sun. 12/25, 7am–9pm, $38, 923-2311
Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas
Chef Hiroshi will be open for business on both days, offering a special four course holiday meal rich with local ingredients such as Big Island pork, Hauula tomatoes, Kahuku corn, Kona Kampachi and Kulana beef. Experience locally global cuisine without leaving a dent in your wallet.
Their holiday sandwich special, available until Christmas Eve, is stuffed with herbed age tofu, cranberry sauce, Dijon mustard, arugula and a macadamia nut sauce. For those on the gluten wagon, no worries, you can order it breadless, over rice or greens. There’s also a holiday inspired tempeh plate, and while they won’t be open Christmas Day, they will be jamming until 4pm on the Eve. For a guilt-free holiday treat try their vegan pumpkin ice cream, which will leave your palate full of holiday spices.
2239 S King St., Sat. 12/24, 11am–4pm, $10 meals, $3-5 desserts, 951-7555
Michel’s at the Colony Surf
An open air, seaside atmosphere mixes subtly with refined flavors and classy service to make for an evening that’s worth the price tag. Chef Hardy’s three-course prix fixe menu boasts smoked and roasted pheasant, garlic herb crusted rack of lamb, fresh island onaga, and–hold on–Christmas goose with caramelized apples.
La Mariana Sailing Club
A quirky, random, old school little joint at the end of Sand Island Access Road, La Mariana has been around long enough to know how to do the holidays the old-fashioned way. Try their original mai tai to get your holiday buzz on. Look for indulgent appetizers such as crab cakes and calamari. Main-courses include seafood, poultry and meats and a killer surf ‘n’ turf. And while you enjoy the live holiday music and decorations, let your gaze drift out to the harbor, where Christmas-lit masts and riggings give sea legs to the holiday spirit.
50 Sand Island Access Rd., Sat. 12/24. 11am–9pm, 848-2800
Hawaii Kai Roy’s is the original, but no matter which of the island locations you go to, Roy’s is Roy’s. Renowned for innovative Asian fusion menus, Roy’s is the type of place that caters to each and every customer in a way that keeps ‘em coming back. Roy’s Waikiki will be open on Christmas Eve and is offering a prix fixe menu on Christmas Day. If you’re in a rush, appetizers on the Hawaii Kai terrace such as the steamed Manila clams, volcano roll or tempura ahi roll might be all you need to slow down and feel like you are finally on holiday.
Takeout from Licious Dishes
Looking for raw, vegan, gourmet this holiday? Licious Dishes is just about the only alternative, and they will be at the Kapiolani Communty College (KCC) Farmers’ Market on Saturday selling ready to eat dishes, dips and desserts that might just be the perfect addition to wherever your Christmas dinner destination may be. The enzyme rich, plant-based foods of Licious Dishes are a refreshing, light alternative to heavy holiday foods. The no-bean hummus with tabouleh over flaxseed thins or not-tuna salad served with green onion flatbread, are perfect for a party platter. Heck, leave some out for Santa!
KCC Farmers’ market, Sat. 12/24, 8am–1pm, $7–$12,
[e-liciousdishes.com], 536-9680 or 753-0050