Getting Romantic

January 15, 2015 | By Waikiki Magazine Team

Special restaurants to enjoy with your sweetheart

Nothing screams romance more than an intimate dining experience in one of the world’s most beautiful places. Waikiki plays home to dozens of amazing restaurants that look to spice up your date night with delicious food in amorous settings.

Nobu Waikiki

Husband and wife team Matt Raso and Yuka Hinoda Raso made the move to Nobu Waikiki earlier this year after a successful run at Nobu Dallas. Matt takes charge in the kitchen as executive chef, while Yuka tends to matters in the front of the house as general manager.

Couples searching for that intimate getaway will find the perfect venue in Nobu Waikiki—that’s also run by a couple.

Nobu’s style of dining is perfect for couples, as each dish is meant to be shared, savored and enjoyed.

Dive into the Bigeye Ahi Poke Nobu Style ($24), which features a traditional Japanese mustard miso sauce with a hint of chili and sesame oil. Hearts of palm and ogo (local seaweed) also play a role in manufacturing a signature dish like this.

Another favorite is the Black Cod Miso ($32), which utilizes Alaskan black cod, in a sweet miso sauce. An extensive menu with delicious hot and cold dishes will fit any diners’ cravings, and even at the end of the meal, Raso makes sure not to disappoint.

“For couples, it always has to end with sweets,” adds Raso. “Our pastry chef (Jenny Sumpter) always brings in seasonal items and uses local ingredients like fresh fruits.”

Those celebrating a special occasion will also receive a small gift of little macarons or candles courtesy of the restaurant – just be sure to give advanced notice.

Nobu Waikiki 2233 Helumoa Road
Honolulu, HI 96815 [D:7 Waikiki Map]
(808) 237-6999 |

Ocean House

Environment is everything when it comes to romantic dining, and the beachfront view from Ocean House is hard to beat.

Start your meal off with the Sizzling Ahi Carpaccio ($14.50) complete with sashimi-style tuna over a bed of radish sprouts, Maui and green onions, togarashi and Hawaiian salt. The combination is laced with a sizzling peanut oil.

“We drizzle it with a little tamari and finish it with Hawaiian chili sauce on the side,” explains general manager David Nagaishi. “You grab a piece of the ‘ahi and a little bit of the salad and enjoy. It’s refreshing and a little spicy, to keep the spice alive in your romance.”

Salad is next on the list of fine dining, and Nagaishi recommends the Curly Kale Salad ($11.50). Nature’s super food is tossed in basil papaya seed vinaigrette and topped with strawberries, avocado and almond slivers.

Entrees run abundant at Ocean House, but one signature dish sticks out in Nagaishi’s mind.

The Beef Tenderloin Polynesia ($37.50) is a cacophony of flavors ranging thanks to excellent preparation.

Applewood-smoked bacon is wrapped around an 8-oz. portion of filet mignon and topped with blue crab, and the whole dish is served in a béarnaise sauce, complete with mushrooms and Maui onion mashed potatoes.

And Ocean House has something special just for lovers in Uncle Moki’s Chocolate Lava Flow ($10).

“It’s a nice big hockey-puck size, tall chocolate fudge cake with a ganache center,” Nagaishi explains.

Ocean House 2169 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815 [D:7 Waikiki Map]
(808) 923-2277 |

Top of Waikiki

Top of Waikiki has a retro feel to it in terms of ambiance, but at night reveals a breathtaking view of the Island. “It’s revolving so you don’t just see one thing,” says executive chef Lance Kosaka. “If you’re local, it’s like a little getaway. It’s an escape for couples.”

On the menu are dishes perfectly suited for pairs, and superb service and a romantic setting make for the perfect date night.

Divvy up the Duck Two Ways ($33) that offers up sweet, tart, savory and tangy flavors all in one dish.

Duck breast is pan roasted, while the leg is served confit with bacon and a delectable foie gras ume sauce.

Those searching for flavors from the water will enjoy the Achiote Shrimp Pasta ($36) served with local MA‘O Farms kale and Hamakua tomatoes. Balancing out the dish is achiote oil, which gives the dish more earthiness.

Of course no date night is complete without a dessert or two, and Top of Waikiki has you covered.

Toasted Hazlenut Gelato Pie ($9) is topped with bacon brittle and hazelnut and sits on a bed of homemade crust and gelato.

“It’s nice and refreshing,” says Kosaka. “That’s my kryptonite.”

Those searching for a richer treat can indulge in the Chocolate Cremeux Semifreddo ($9) that features layers of milk and dark chocolate and Hawaiian sea salt caramel.

Top of Waikiki 2270 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815 [C:8 Waikiki Map]
(808) 923-3877 |