Welcome to Honolulu City Dates

Monday, February 25, 2008



(In the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center)

We arrived at Doraku by following the board walk, up through the Waikiki Beach Walk, and out onto the sidewalk on Kalakaua. We were looking for a place to dance—Zanzabar (recommended by a concierge)—and, fortunately, followed a youthful crowd and ended up at Doraku’s instead.

Doraku Sushi features innovative Asian fusion cuisine/ sushi for lunch and dinner along with hand selected sakes from various regions in Japan, but on every other Saturday night Kevin Aoki's restaurant and bar turns into a night club featuring hip hop and contemporary dance tunes for a great time after all the other establishments in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center close down. It looks like this will be a popular feature of Doraku’s, which opened January 2008 in the newly renovated Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

Doraku’s is cozy, with Japanese style booth seating as well as sushi bar and outdoors seating. Didn’t get to try the food, but the dancing was fun.

Thanks Kevin!

Cost: $10 per head cover charge.

Do’s and don’ts on this date: Call ahead to see if there will be dancing. Don’t worry about the blue cat stamp still on your hand for the next 24 hours. It eventually washes off. (Just worry if you can’t remember where you got it!)

TAPA BAR (At Hilton Hawaiian Village)


(At Hilton Hawaiian Village)

Never would have gone there if it weren’t for out-of-town (former Hawaii residents) who were staying there. But the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a fun place to hang out—complete with shops, art galleries, great dining, and even fire works (on Friday nights). The Tapa Bar, in particular, is a relaxing place to lounge with friends and listen to music by local musicians.

David and Kamuela were playing a pertinent song the night we visited the Tapa Bar called, “She’s Grumpy and It’s My Fault.” Given that Valentine’s Day had just passed, it was easy to spot which guys in the audience had screwed up—the ones sitting next to the girls pointing at them.

From the Tapa Bar, it’s a quick walk out of the Hilton Hawaiian Resort and onto the beach, where a board walk takes you over the sands, past the Hale Koa Hotel, towards the new Waikiki Beach Walk and alongside Waikiki hotels and restaurants.

Cost of date: Pizza split with numerous friends and one Mai Tai ($8.00 each) —not bad

Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Do kick your shoes off and take a walk on the beach. Don’t climb the fences or life guard stands.



Mariner’s Ridge Hike is a quick, yet moderate to steep hike. You drive half way up the mountain through Mariner’s Ridge (in Hawaii Kai) residential community on Kaluanui Road, which ends at a cul-de-sac and the trail head. Although a sign at the trail head sign warns hikers to keep out, the trail is marked with signs telling hikers which way to go.

The view from the top is awesome, showing the south-east coast of Oahu, from Kaneohe to Makapuu, yet close enough to the coastline to see the variegated green and blue waters off of Waiamanalo. The steep and jagged Ko’olau Mountain Range is also a stunning view at the end of this hike.

This hike takes about one and a half hours or less, depending on your cadence.

Cost of date: FREE

Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Do take some water. Hike on a week day if possible, as this hike is a more popular one. Don’t fret about the heat when you start trekking up through open terrain; there are enough trees—and possibly rain—at the top to cool you down.

Friday, February 15, 2008


(At The Aloha Tower Marketplace)

Chai's Island Bistro is one of our favorite places to go for Valentine's Day dinner because Chai himself makes it so special—with four course gourmet meals and wine pairings and his personal attention to his guests.

Valentine’s Day is one of Chai's Bistro's busiest nights, with two seatings, one at 5:30 p.m.; the other at 8 p.m., and a featured musician. In the past, it's been the Cazimero Brothers among others. This year, jazz diva Melveen Leed was featured.

We chose to have a cozy and romantic (not) Valentine's Day with two other couples. Parking was an issue and we arrived late, but everyone relaxed after the first drink and the pupus arrived. From then on, the food was impressive, from Almond Crusted Fresh Oyster with Crab Meat Bernaise Sauce to Tenderloin Wellington with Baked Foie Gras Mushroom Puff and Pan Seared Fresh Chilean Seabass. We also enjoyed the wine pairings- Domaine Chandon "Riche" first, followed by choices of White Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.

The desert was as delectable as usual— Heart Shaped White Chocolate Amore Truffle with Fresh Raspberry Guava Puree; along with Dark Chocolate Mocha Pot de Crème with Chocolate Truffle Pop accented with fresh berries.

One thing I missed that was special in year's past, was the rose the hosts gave to the women and soap leis at the table for each couple.

Cost: $69 per head, plus drinks.

Do's and don'ts on this date: Don't sit right under the speaker (we love Melveen, but couldn't hear each other at our table). Do walk around the outskirts of Aloha Tower Marketplace dockside because you'll run into other happenings---like Kapena's CD release party at Gordon Biersch.

Full Menu: http://www.chaisislandbistro.com/events.html
Chai's Website: http://www.chaisislandbistro.com/home.html



On Waialae Avenue, across the street from City Mill, at the bottom of Saint Louis Heights in Kaimuki.

Unpretentious, with a casual ambiance, the Fat Greek is a place to go when you don't want to worry about a dress code and want to eat something good—and healthy. The menu is full of light fare---like hummus, lamb, and traditional salads. For our group of 14, the pupu platters which, included baba ganoush, hummus, clams, Greek salad, pita bread, and feta cheese were perfect. We brought our own wine and each couple selected their own entrée and paid for it at the counter—simple!

Owner, Francois, greeting people and talking with friends at the table adds a European flavor to the Fat Greek, inviting you to eat slowly and enjoy conversation. We'd like to suggest to him that he add some music in the background.



Pupu platter $36.00 each (2 for 14 people)

Shawarma $10.00
Souvlaki $10.00

Do's and Don'ts on this date: Don't park in the City Mill parking lot after hours or you'll have to move your car in the middle of dinner. If it's raining, suggest everyone at your table get up and move it so the awning doesn't drip on your head. Hmmmm…maybe we should also suggest to Francois that he extend the awnings…


(At the Ala Moana Hotel)

If you're into people watching and dancing, Rumours still holds a charm regardless of your age. Most people are just there to have fun—especially on '80's night, when the deejay pumps in 80's chart toppers. Although roving eyes and the number of men and women in clusters suggests that there could be some serious hunting going on.

Rumours wouldn't be the same without the entertainment value provided by the cages, in which anyone is invited to dance. And just about anyone who's had too

much to drink does.

A great stop for some exercise and fun—especially if you get there before the 11 p.m. crowd that formed a block long line at the door.


Cover charge $7.00

Beer $7.00

Do's and Don'ts on this date: If you're there for the hunt, don't plan to meet your perfect mate in the cage!!! Do park at Ala Moana Center; the Ala Moana Hotel, under new management, has jacked up their parking prices.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The Ka’iwi Coast walk in East Honolulu to Pele’s Chair is quick and easy, and full of rewards. Named for the protruding rock that resembles a chair that the Volcano Goddess—Pele—could have sat in, the walk is a detour from the more popular walk to the Makapu'u lighthouse, where whales and WWII bunkers can be seen. By contrast, the walk to Pele’s Chair ends at a small beach and a swimming hole protected by reef.

Cost: FREE

Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Plan to get wet and relax!!! Take a picnic lunch.

The Lost Episode: http://www.lostvirtualtour.com/lost/filming_locations/kaiwicoast/index.html

Save Ka'iwi Coast: http://www.hawaiikaihui.org

Tuesday, February 5, 2008



Need something to uplift you or help you regain peace of mind? The Contemporary Art Museum in Makiki Heights can help you out. Walk on a path through a meandering garden of tropical plants.

Or sit in David Hockney's L'Enfant et les Sortil ges (The Child and the Enchantment), installed in the Milton Cades Pavilion. On the day of our visit, aerial beach and water scenes that were part of On the Beach: Photographs by Richard Misrach were on display.

The restaurant offers light fare and the Art Shop is the best place to find fun and unique gifts that anyone can appreciate. (Maybe!)


Entry fee: $5.00 or $45 annual membership for you and a guest

Restaurant: Sweet & Sour Soup $3.50, Grilled Veggies on focaccia $10.50 (we split one) and Freshly-Squeezed Lemonade $3.50

Do's and Don'ts on this date: As long as you're up in Makiki Heights, take a drive around Tantalus and Round Top for the most exquisite scenic views of Honolulu, and/or do a Tantalus Hike.

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

Café Menu