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Thursday, April 17, 2014

HAU TREE LANAI

HAU TREE LANAI
AT THE NEW OTANI
HONOLULU, HAWAII

HAU TREE LANAI
AT THE NEW OTANI
2863 KALAKAUA AVENUE
HONOLULU, HI  96815
808-921-7066 Reservations Recommended
HOURS:  Breakfast 7:00 AM - 10:45 AM
                 Lunch 11:45 AM - 2:00 PM Daily (12:00 - 2:00 Sunday)
                 Dinner 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM

It is getting tough to find those hidden Hawaii gems that you want to share with friends and visitors. As concrete, designer retail stores and high rises buildings take over Waikiki and Honolulu our choices for outdoor oceanfront dining have become slim.  Really slim.  There is however one little gem just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki that will take you back to the old Hawaii and let you feel what Hawaii is all about.  The place is the Hau Tree Lanai and it is located near Diamond Head inside the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel.  This place has history with me as I lived in this hotel for almost two months when I was first transferred to Hawaii back in 1986.  Believe it or not I was afraid to venture into Waikiki and stayed mostly around this hotel for my entire stay.  Loved having Kapiolani Park, the beach and Diamond Head at my doorstep.  I remember the rooms being very small but it was all i needed and it was on the beach.  On weekend mornings I would dine at the Hau Tree Lanai and enjoy Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce served with rice.  This was one of my favorite breakfasts of all time and now it on the menu at our house at least once a month.  You can search this blog for my recipe and preparation.  I loved the fact that it is quiet on this end of Waikiki.  It is removed from the tour buses, sirens and drunken screams that overwhelm Waikiki.  You can hear the birds here, the wind and the ocean.  Place is so special that immediately after being married in Honolulu me and my wife came to the Hau Tree Lanai to enjoy a very private meal.  Fast forward to today and I was happy to be invited to back to the Hau Tree Lanai by a friend.  Shame on me for staying away from this place for so long.  I arrived at the small entrance and it seemed like yesterday as the Bellman came forward to valet my car.  I walked up the steps to the hotel entrance and nothing really had changed except for maybe the furniture.  Concierge desk, front desk, bathroom, bar and Hau Tree Lanai were all the same just remodeled and refreshed a bit.  The bar is cooled by trade winds and a few ceiling fans.  No air conditioning here.  Just the cool Hawaii breezes coming up from the ocean which is right in front of you.  This is paradise to me.  We enjoyed a drink in the bar area along with some Sliced Steak served pupu style.  Cut into small bite size pieces and served with some fresh and crisp Cole Slaw that was really delicious.  At 5:30 they opened the restaurant which is directly below the bar.  The huge Hau Tree magically covers most of the dining area and the view is of a beautiful white sand beach and the ocean.  I noticed a plaque on the rail in front of my table.  I was surprised to see that it paid tribute to the old Hamburger Stand that stood on the beach here for decades.  I remember eating those burgers during my stay here many moons ago and was sad when the stand was removed from the beach.  The dining area has not changed much.  Just new tables, chairs and tablecloths.  Service was good on this evening but not great.  Waitress was really good about checking on drinks and the waiter was very friendly.  Just a bit slow at times.  I ordered the Caesar Salad ($15).  Salad was good but not worth the price.  There was too much dressing and next time I would ask for half the dressing or have it on the side.  For my main course I went for the Seafood Mixed Grill ($46).  Saw that it had Mahi Mahi, Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops.  I looked at the menu and saw that the Mahi Mahi alone was $43.  So for another $3 I went for the Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops too.   Glad I did.  All were good and so was the Mahi Mahi.  Served with Couscous and sautéed vegetables.  Food was really good.  No complaints at all.  The evening was beautiful with a great sunset and mild breeze.  We were here on a weeknight and ate during sunset.  The restaurant was only about 1/3 full.  I thought of all the tourists down the road in Waikiki eating at chain restaurants and hotel restaurants that are loud, crowded, overpriced and lousy.  This is the place to be I thought.  Even after all these years in Hawaii the Hau Tree Lanai delivers that old Hawaii feeling that reminds me of why I love this place so much.  The Hau Tree Lanai is a 
TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE! 

THE HAU TREE LANAI BAR IS GREAT PLACE TO ENJOY A COCKTAIL AND PUPUS
HAU TREE LANAI  OCEANFRONT SEATING 
TABLES OVERLOOKING ONE OF THE NICEST BEACHES IN WAIKIKI
THE VIEW FROM OUR TABLE WAS INCREDIBLE 
I REMEMBER EATING AT THE BURGER STAND THAT ONCE STOOD ON THIS BEACH
ONE OF THE BEST VIEWS AWAY FROM THE CROWDS IN WAIKIKI
CAESAR SALAD WAS GOOD BUT NOT $15 GOOD
SEAFOOD MIXED GRILL SERVED WITH VEGETABLES AND COUSCOUS 
SEAFOOD MIXED GRILL INCLUDES LOBSTER, MAHI MAHI, SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS
BEAUTIFUL SUNSET AT THE HAU TREE LANAI
DOES NOT GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS IN WAIKIKI
SO LUCKY TO LIVE HAWAII

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