Feast for the Eyes

You recognize the symptoms. The perspiring brow. The furtive glances. The whispered phone conversations in the other room.

Although it happens every year, like the Super Bowl, somehow he forgot Valentine's Day. So you know you'll end up eating somewhere where you get free drink refills at the fountain.

While he's sneaking around in shame, send him this; Honolulu Magazine food critic John Heckathorne's picks for most romantic tables in Hawaii. We have some tips to help your guy find the best spot this year, or at least make it up to you in 2012.

Lei ChicRoom for a View
Merriman's, Kapalua

Champagne is optional when you arrive at Kapalua Point; the view itself will leave you feeling bubbly. Sit under the stars on the lanai, or inside where the walls open up so you can eat in the sweeping 270-degree view of the bay. Stunning sunsets are on the menu, along with the charred ahi and Maui grass-fed beef.
Tip: Merriman's is full, but there is a waiting list for Valentine's Day.
Private tents and cabanas are also available. But anytime you go, the first seating has the best chance at the best view. Click here for reservations or call 808.669.6400.

Lei Chic Oceanside Service
Bali Steak & Seafood, Hilton Hawaiian Village
Michel's, Colony Resort

At two of Waikiki's top spots for foodies, there is only one place to sit; along the rail. Six tables at Bali (at top right) and about a dozen at Michel's (lower right) put you and your date surfside for the sun's descent. And you can enjoy the city lights sparkling on the sea while digging into Bali's seafood medley, or Michel's waiters ignite cherries jubilee at your table. 

Tip: Bali Steak & Seafood has a few openings left at 5:30 p.m. Lei Chic Valentine's night. Railside tables are first reserved, first served. You can start booking 2012 a year in advance at 808.949.4321.

At last check, Michel's only had one space left for next Monday, and some spots are already taken for NEXT Valentine's Day. But you can taste the special romantic menu Saturday and Sunday; there are limited seats left. Call 808.923.6552.


Lei ChicLove Letters in the Sand
Ola, Turtle Bay Resort
Love may have you walking on air, but one spot lets you do it with your feet in the sand. Ola at Turtle Bay features a dozen tables actually on the beach. So you can wiggle your toes or curl them in delight, while breaking into your King Crab legs and wasabi cocktail.

Tip: Ola has a few spots left for Valentine's night. You can dine on its special romantic menu Friday the 11th through Monday. The best time to get seat on the beach, is at 11:00 a.m. for lunch, 5:30 p.m. for dinner. Call 808.293.0801.

Lei Chic Table for Two
La Mer, Halekulani
When it comes to one specific table, the Halekulani's award-winning restaurant actually has two that snag a spot. Both are tucked away in the corner above other Halekulani favorite, House Without a Key. Meaning you can have your Onaga with truffle jus in front of two breathtaking views; Diamond Head on one side, and the ocean on the other.
Tip: La Mer is booked up for Valentine's Day. But get out of the doghouse for 2012. You can make reservations up to a year in advance. 6:30 and 8:00 time slots are your best bet for window tables anytime. Click here or call 923-2311.

Lei ChicSitting Pretty
Chef Mavro
But if you're just planning to spend the evening staring into your loved one's eyes, Chef Mavro has created the perfect place. When building his King Street restaurant, the French-born chef Mavrothalassitis wanted two things: to bring the feel of Hawaii indoors, and for women to look beautiful when they visit. Two of Hawaii's premiere lighting designers not only selected and placed each individual bulb specifically for each table, but the wall colors and custom commissioned art, leaves every diner feeling like a dish.
Tip: Chef Mavro is booked up for Valentine's Day (you need to call by Christmas). But you can score some points, the restaurant offers the same special menu Sunday the 13th, and Tuesday the 15th. Click here or call 944-4714 for reservations.