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Hawaii: New Zagat survey finds pricey meals, top restaurants

May 05, 2011|By Rosemary McClure | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • The French restaurant La Mer, on Oahu, wins top awards for food, service and décor in the new Zagat Hawaii survey.
The French restaurant La Mer, on Oahu, wins top awards for food, service… (Zagat )

Hawaii diners may enjoy sensational views, vivid sunsets and fresh-from-the-Pacific seafood when they eat out, but they pay top prices for the privilege, according to a new Zagat Survey of the Hawaiian Islands.

The restaurant rating guide, which surveyed nearly 3,000 local diners across the state, covers 389 restaurants. Participants, who dined out an average of 3.1 times per week, spent an average of $37.66 per meal. The national average is $35.62.

Zagat has included Hawaii restaurants in its Top Restaurants surveys since the early 1990s, but this is only its second full survey of the islands. The popularity poll includes restaurants on each island, as well as diners’ opinions about celebrity chefs and other issues.

Among the top winners were Oahu restaurants Sushi Sasabune, which won the award for top food, and La Mer, which was first in both service and décor. Roy’s, with locations on several islands, as well as several Southern California locations,  won the most popular award.

"We’ve always rated restaurants separately on their food, décor, and service and then estimated the cost; therefore a restaurant can be highly rated for its food and yet be little more than a beachside shack," said Tim Zagat, chief executive of Zagat Survey.

That doesn’t mean it’s inexpensive, however. Restaurants rated in the survey’s top 10 for food are all pricey. They include eight Oahu restaurants: Sushi Sasbune; Hiroshi Eurasion; Alan Wongs; La Mer at Halekulani Hotel; Chef Mavro; Le Bistro (no website); Michel’s at Colony Surf Hotel; and Nobu at Waikiki Parc Hotel. Two Maui restaurants are on the list: Mama’s Fish House, Paia; Hali’imaile General Store, Makawao.

In addition to the print guide, ratings and reviews can be accessed on the Zagat website, which offers additional features such as menus, photos, stats, ratings and comments.

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