A Feast for the Senses in Honolulu

For sunsets and special occasions, suggest the Hau Tree Lanai restaurant

By: By Marty Wentzel

The Details

Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant


Hau Tree Lanai // (c) 2010

Hau Tree Lanai

Digging its toes into Sans Souci beach and a stone’s throw away from the ocean, the Hau Tree Lanai is one of Honolulu’s few al fresco restaurants, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors in the know. Underscoring that point, the readers of Honolulu magazine recently voted it as the city’s best restaurant for outdoor dining.

As part of the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, the Hau Tree Lanai boasts a location that is second to none. No less than famed 19th-century Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson described it this way:

“If anyone desires such old-fashioned things as lovely scenery, quiet pure air, clear sea water, good food and heavenly sunsets hung out before his eyes over the Pacific and the distant hills of Waianae, I recommend him cordially to Sans Souci beach.”

[Subhed]Island and Continental Flavors Combined
Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant chef Rene Caba celebrates the restaurant’s dramatic location with equally inviting menus blending local favorites with traditional continental cuisine. Breakfast options include the loco moco, an island invention combining corned beef hash and a cutlet of ground chuck, pork and sausage on a bed of rice, topped with a fried egg and mushroom gravy. But by far the most popular morning menu item is eggs Benedict, prepared traditionally as well as with salmon, crab or vine-ripened tomatoes and sauteed spinach.

Popular lunch items include the fresh mahimahi burger, while dinner brings fresh-fish entrees like Chinese-style steamed opakapaka, Colorado lamb chops, flame-broiled filet mignon and Hawaiian-style grilled chicken.

Like Caba, who has been at the restaurant for 20 years (the last five as chef), many of the Hau Tree Lanai’s employees count their tenure in decades, not months or years. Maitre d’ Mathew Leong has worked there for 30 years, and the average length of service is 15 years. The result, according to food and beverage manager Jay Walfhoff, is a team that works together seamlessly, acknowledges repeat patrons and accommodates special requests.

If clients must pick just one time to visit the Hau Tree Lanai, agents should suggest late afternoon and evening. With its unparalleled oceanside perch, it boasts some of the best views of Waikiki Beach, the ocean and mountains in the distance, making it an incomparable spot to savor the sunset as well as the flavors.