By Bill Pirraglia
Along with the magic of spectacular weather, scenery, and beaches, trips to Hawaii would not be complete without an evening at one of it’s many award-winning restaurants. From award-winning chefs to some of the most spectacular seafood you’ve ever tasted, restaurants across the Hawaiian islands can almost do no wrong. How to tell the very best from the great? Created in 1984, the Hale Aina (“eating place” in the Hawaiian language) Award recognizes Hawaii’s most notable dining establishments and those most worthy of a traveler’s appetite.
When your Hawaii vacation takes you to Honolulu, visit Alan Wong’s Restaurant, which has won Restaurant of the Year an incredible ten times since 1996. Another perennial challenger and multiple winner, Roy’s Restaurant, captured the top spot for 2010, helped by the wonderful culinary creations of Executive Chef Ronald Nasuti.
For your next Hawaii vacation, you’ll want to call and book reservations at these other perennial restaurant award winners, too: the Lahaina Grill and Mama’s Fish House (in Paia) on Maui, Peter Merriman’s Waimea and Café Pesto on the Big Island,Todd Barrett’s The Beach House Restaurant on Kauai and the 2010 Best New Restaurant winner, Azure, at the Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki.
You’ll find your own personal award winners. For example, you might love Longhi’s, a Maui fixture since 1976. Now with three locations (Lahaina, Wailea and Honolulu), you can enjoy their delectable Mediterranean cuisine even while island hopping. Founder Bob Longhi has kept quality standards high with his sons Peter and Charlie managing. Their commitment to excellence shines through via the cuisine and surroundings. Bob and his daughter, Gabrielle, have also authored multiple not-your-typical-recipe-only cookbooks for your dining and dancing pleasure.
If you love escargot, I recommend that you indulge your passion at The Beach House Restaurant on Kauai, which offers some of the best escargot on the islands. If romance is high on your list, watch the incredible sunsets at Michel’s at the Colony Surf on the slopes of Diamond Head, voted the most romantic island restaurant every year since 1985.
Over his 30-year corporate executive career, Bill Pirraglia developed a passion for travel. Rooted in Warwick, R.I. and now a full-time freelance writer, he loves sharing his favorite destinations.