Azure Restaurant, located in the Royal Hawaiian is their newest fine dining restaurant, which specializes in island seafood. A little over a year ago the iconic Royal Hawaii received a $85 million renovation and redesign. Part of this project included the creation of Azure.
Jon Matsubara is Azure’s head chef and behind a menu where fish and the freshest fruits de mer are featured. Local fish like ahi, opah, onaga, uku, or moi are selected each morning at daybreak from the Hawaii fish auction. Food here is a mixture of French and Hawaiian regional cuisines prepared with fresh and local ingredients.
I had the oppurtunity to dine at Azure recently with some friends. The renovation and redesign of this space into Azure was breathtaking. The decor was modern European with an island feel. The restaurant was sophisticated with a hint of relaxation found in their comfy stylish pillows accompanying each seat. The outdoor area beachfront was the place of envy where customers can rent private canopies and enjoy their food and cocktails in a more relaxed setting while still among style and luxury.
For our meal we ordered several appetizers such as the Baby Back Ribs with a Kona coffee bbq sauce ($18), the Grilled Coriander Prawns ($19), and the Azure Sashimi with Hawaiian yellowtail ahi ($21). Accompanying the starters we ordered salads one in particular was the Hirabara Farms’ Baby Romaine Caesar Salad ($14), which was served with a heirloom tomato that was the size of a softball. For my entree I ordered the Kona Shellfish Bowl with lobster, prawns, clams, scallops, abalone mushrooms, and konyaku noodles in a kaffir lime and chile broth ($47). For dessert I ordered the Warm Cookie Pie a trio of warm cookies with Hawaiian chocolate ice cream ($9). Our table also ordered a bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay.
Based on the food alone I was disappointed with the meal. I was disappointed not because the food was bad but because the food was not exceptional. Being the Royal Hawaiian and paying these high prices, I was expected to be “wow-ed” and was “okayed” by the food itself. The starters were all tasty, but nothing left me wanting more. The Azure Sashimi was so small that I only got about half a bite. My Kona Shelfish Bowl was filled with a large portion of well cooked seafood, but it lacked taste and flavor. The best part about this dish was the toasted bread spear that accompanied the plate. My dessert was also in the same good not great ballpark. I felt the service at Azure helped redeem the restaurant’s mediocre food. Our servers were polite and professional and aimed to please our party.
I would return to Azure for the atmosphere and to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar, or even to lounge in the canopy area beachside. For a celebratory dinner with excellent food I would rather go to Mariposa at Ala Moana, Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel and Resort, or Orchids in The Halekulani Hotel.
Azure is open daily from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm and the dress code is smart casual. The address of the Royal Hawaiian is 2259 Kalakaua Avenue Honolulu, HI 96815. For more information or reservations please call (808) 923-7311. To see photos and view the restaurant’s menu visit: http://www.royal-hawaiian.com/resort_dining_azure.