Consistently voted "most romantic restaurant" in local publications' reader polls, Michel's is an old-school French favorite on Waikiki's tranquil Gold Coast. You pay for the beachside view, which you watch turn from blue to fireball orange at sunset. (To get a window table you need to reserve at least a month in advance.) Opened in 1962, the place retains a Mad Men feel, with lots of wood and stone and bow-tied servers preparing things like steak tartare tableside. Among the French classics (garlicky escargots, mustard-crusted rack of lamb) are local twists, such as the yellowfin ahi tartare with tobiko and Hawaiian salt and the Chinese-style steamed onaga (pink snapper). Brunch is served the first Sunday of every month.
Mar 3, 2009
This is one of those classic Honolulu landmarks at which you must dine at least once in your life. The atmosphere has become much more casual than it was when I was a kid back in the 60's and you had to wear a jacket and tie to get in, but the room hasn't changed a bit. In fact on my recent visit to this restaurant there were a couple of patrons (men) in shorts and also jeans - a bit underdressed in my opinion for a restaurant of this caliber.
Many of the menu items from the past remain and they have several dishes prepared tableside with the flaming dishes for effect. The service is still a bit stuffy and surly, with tuxedoed waiters serving although they are very efficient and professional. Our most recent meal began with the steak tartare, one of the few restaurants where you can still order this, and it was prepared tableside - always a nice touch. This was followed by the Caesar Salad, also prepared tableside which was very good. For our entrees we shared the trio of fish and the beef wellington, both of which were well prepared and very tasty. After completing all this, neither of us had room for dessert which was kind of disappointing as they still prepared Cherries Jubilee and Hawaiian Apple-Banana Flambe, both of which are flamed and prepared tableside. Food here is good, although not outstanding, but the experience and atmosphere are not to be forgotten. There are better culinary experiences in Oahu, but always enjoy dining here at least once during our visit for the memories of the past.
Apr 28, 2007
Have been going there for over 30 years. Food and ambiance are both excellent.