2013 Hale Aina Awards: When to eat where
Our readers named the best restaurants in the Islands. To help you navigate the wealth of great dining, we lead you through a year-long itinerary of Hale Aina eating: when to eat where.
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Here, Bastille Day doesn’t inspire heavy carousing anywhere near that of Cinco de Mayo. But then, it’s probably because Serg’s gas-station-turned-outdoor-takeout-counter and other mariachi-saturated Mexican eateries are more conducive to partying than, say, the polished ambience of Le Bistro (Restaurant of the Year, bronze; Favorite Little Neighborhood Restaurant, silver; Best French, gold; Chef’s Choice). Order such spot-on French classics as escargot, French onion soup and a perfect tarte tatin, with thin, caramelized apple slices fanned over flaky puff pastry. But it’s not just the classics here: Le Bistro also wows with blow-out meatfest dishes like the quartet of beef presented with a foie and beef slider, short rib, and a Wagyu filet; as well as its vegetarian counterpart, the off-the-menu vegetable tasting.
It wouldn’t be July, though, if we didn’t celebrate American independence and freedom fries. The original Roy’s (Restaurant of the Year, gold; Best O‘ahu Restaurant, gold; Best Service, silver; Best Pupu, silver) in Hawaii Kai offers a summer barbecue—last year featured a whole roast pig—against the backdrop of Maunalana Bay fireworks. Fireworks never get old, just like Roy’s classics such as its tender braised short ribs and a hot, oozing chocolate soufflé. A soufflé? That’s not American! It is now, France. It is now.
But chefs can’t keep cooking the same thing; nightly specials have kept Roy’s at the top of its game. They have included Wagyu Bolognese on gnocchi and shrimp scampi on roasted shimeji risotto, a nod perhaps to Giovanni of Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (Best Food Truck, gold), recently spotted at Roy’s.
Among the Hale Aina awards Le Bistro won: Best French and Chef's Choice.
Photo by Linny Morris