Thanksgiving in Honolulu: brunch, dinner and take home feasts for everyone


Photo courtesy of annieseats

'Tis the season for turkey! Or turducken, or vegan not-turkey, or maybe you're more of a ham or prime rib or fried pork chops kind of person. Whatever the case, there's something for you out there, whether you're looking to dine out on Thanksgiving or to take a Thanksgiving meal home. 

  • The main event at The Beachhouse at the Moana Surfrider's Thanksgiving buffet is the carving station with herb-crusted strip loin, roast turkey with whiskey gravy and cranberry chutney, and leg of lamb with garam masala and mint raita. But don't overlook the other entrees and sides: a clambake, porchetta, mushroom ravioli, chestnut stuffing with pancetta, Kona lobster mac and cheese, crispy brussel sprouts, a blue crab salad with bubu arare, apples and a chili water gelee. There's a full seafood bar with sashimi, oysters, poke and snow crab claws, and over 14 desserts including pumpkin pie and a chocolate fondue station.
    $80/$40 keiki, 921-4600
  • Roast turkey too ho-hum? Then sit down to Thanksgiving dinner at Bernini, where a five course dinner starts with a tuna and bottarga bruschetta and a fresh tagliatelle and turkey ragu. The main course: turkey galantine, turkey rolled with vegetables and prosciutto, accompanied by sautéed foie gras. For dessert: monte bianco, a chestnut cream cake.
    $65, Thanksgiving dishes also available a la carte from Tuesday, November 20 to Sunday, November 25, 591-8400 
  • The Kahala Hotel and Resort has you covered for brunch and dinner:
    • Hoku's Thanksgiving brunch spread includes a seafood bar with lobster, oysters on the half shell, shrimp, crab claws, ahi, poke and made-to-order sushi. Among the hot offerings: butter-poached King crab legs; French toast with dates, pear and walnut compote; and Hoku's egg benedicts of cheddar cheese biscuits, smoked salmon and béarnaise sauce. Of course, there's roast turkey with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, as well as a Thanksgiving rib roast. But it doesn't stop there: dessert includes pumpkin, cranberry and pear pies as well as rice pudding, bread pudding, chocolate mousse and molasses cake with rum cream.
      $80 adult/$40 keiki, Thursday, November 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 739-8760 for reservations
    • Expect a slightly less extravagant, more family-friendly buffet at the Plumeria Beach House, offered at brunch and dinner. There's poke, sushi, and carving stations of roast turkey and prime rib here, too, and for brunch, a crepe and pancake bar with lots of toppings: strawberry and blueberry compote, macadamia nuts, whipped cream, coconut and maple syrups, milk chocolate Bailey's ganache. A full dessert spread for both brunch and dinner includes pumpkin pie, of course. 
      $70 adult/$35 keiki, Thursday, November 22, brunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., 739-8760 for reservations
    • For dinner, Hoku offers a five-course prix fixe meal with the traditional roast turkey plate, though the meal begins with a starter of seared foie gras on pumpkin French toast and fig jam and ends with an apple galette topped with creme fraiche and spiced cider syrup. Yeah, maybe not so traditional after all.
      $90/$120 with wine pairings, Wednesday, November 21 through Saturday, November 24, 2012, 5:30–10 p.m., 739-8760 for reservations
  • Like its everyday, impressive spread, Kai Market's Thanksgiving dinner buffet culls from Hawaii's multiethnic cuisine. Cold offerings include Hawaiian-style poke, kimchee tako poke and sashimi, while the carving station serves up bone-in ham with a pineapple rum raisin glaze; alaea salt-crusted prime rib; roast turkey with Kahuku corn stuffing and cranberry kumquat jam; and steamed Chinese-style local snapper. Sides run the gamut of smashed potatoes, garlic and kim chee fried rice, "shrimp truck style" shrimp, pork belly with bao, and huli huli chicken. For dessert: pumpkin crunch, mochi, almond float, red velvet cake, and Ted Bakery's famous pies. If any one spread could capture the hodgepodge of a Hawaii Thanksgiving, this might be it.
    $65 adult/$31.50 keiki, 921-4600
  • Thanksgiving at Shor at the Hyatt features an all-you-can-eat roast turkey carving station with sourdough-pecan stuffing. Sides also include whiskey and sugar-glazed root vegetables, maple roasted chestnuts and a Hamakua mushroom compote. For dessert: pumpkin pie with spiced Chantilly cream and pecan pie with vanilla gelato.
    $45/$15 keiki, 237-6145
  • Side Street Inn on da Strip goes all out with Thanksgiving specials and Side Street Inn favorites. The hallmarks of its Thanksgiving buffet: turkey, honey pineapple glazed ham, braised short ribs, pan fried pork chops. The fixin's: fried rice, char siu and roast pork, Hong Kong noodles, roasted shoyu chicken, a salad bar, garlic and herb mash potatoes, crab macaroni potato salad, cranberry stuffing, poke, shrimp cocktail, oyster on da half shell and tako poke. Dessert: pumpkin squares, pumpkin crunch ice cream, mango mousse cake.
    $39.50/$22 keiki, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., 739-3939,
  • Thanksgiving at Tiki's is a three-course affair beginning with spiced kabocha pumpkin bisque and ginger corn bread, moving on to turkey and fixings (which includes Portuguese sausage, pineapple dressing and potato gratin) and finishing off with sweet potato cheese cake.
    $29, 923-8454,
  • Tango Contemporary Cafe is open for Thanksgiving brunch and dinner. It steps up its a la carte brunch menu with roast turkey and prime rib options, in addition to more brunch-y items like crab hash benedict and sweet bread French toast with berry compote.
    Brunch items from $13 to $23
    Dinner at Tango is four courses. Choose from entrees such as a classic roast turkey plate; beef bourguignon; pumpkin risotto with smoked Muscovy duck breast; or pork rack with sweet potato fries, brussel sprouts and crispy bacon. For an appetizer, choices include a lobster and crab pie or chicken liver pate with beets. For dessert, pick among sweets such as a pumpkin crunch pie or Danish-style rice pudding.
    $48 to $50, 593-7288 for reservations
  • Thanksgiving at La Mer and Orchids at the Halekulani is already fully booked. Next year!

Thanksgiving takeout options:

  • Greens and Vines offers a raw and vegan option for Thanksgiving: Not-Turkey salad, Cauli-thyme "mashed potatoes" with miso shallot gravy, an onion bread mushroom medley stuffing, Waldorf salad with cashew mayonnaise and kabocha pumpkin pie.
    $45, 536-9680
  • The Kahala Hotel's takeout Thanksgiving dinner serves five and includes a 12 to 14 pound turkey with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, autumn vegetables with spiced pumpkin seeds, cranberry sauce, bread, salad and pumpkin pie.
    $175, 739-8760 or
  • Take home Thanksgiving from Kale's Deli, where options include oven-roasted, free-range turkey and lots of vegan and vegetarian sides, such as whipped potato and ulu; roasted butternut squash and yams topped with cinnamon, pecans and a date glaze; apple and beet salad with pistachio and honey basil dressing; fruit and nut quinoa salad with kale and lemon-chia seed dressing. The deli is also offering Know Krumbs' vegan pumpin pie and sweet potato pie.
    396-6993 for orders
  • Taste, the new food hub in Kakaako, is putting together an everything-but-the-turkey package to feed four. A collaboration by Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawaii, Alex Le of The Pig and the Lady and Chris Sy of the BreadShop.
    $80, pre-order online at
  • Both Whole Foods Kahala and Kailua offer a whole turkey dinner for six to just the trimmings, which include gravy, soup, cornbread stuffing, and even a vegan meal for one. (No, that's the not the saddest thing in the world—a friendless, vegan Thanksgiving—but more likely a liferaft for a vegan moored in a carnivorous gathering.) The whole range of Thanksgiving preparation is available here—from fresh, free-range turkeys to take home and cook, to entire dinners, even including the ceramic dishware to reheat and serve your feast in. Oh, and you can order your turducken here. Also, don't forget the personal shopper program at Whole Foods Kahala, to help you with your holiday shopping.
    Whole Foods Kahala, 738-0820
    Whole Foods Kailua, 263-6800
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