Overall: corkagecorkagecorkage

Service: The service is very professional at Mariposa. The staff is very well trained they hire excellent  servers for the most part. They give you just enough attention that you feel taken care of but not rushed. You absolutely must have a reservation during rush lunch hour (12-1pm)  if you don’t want to wait for a table for ages.

Food: The food is used to be better at Mariposas! We used to think that everything and anything you order was cooked and seasoned to perfection but lately its been so-so and its harder to find something that you want to order on the menu. The menu consists of American and Asian-Pacific classics like Salads, Sandwiches, Pasta, Fresh Fish and other seasonal delights. Also Mariposas treats each diner to a little sip of turkey consomme followed by a huge flaky and delicious popover to hold you over before your appetizers / entree make their debut (these are still very good). They also removed our favorite passionfruit non-sweetened ice tea from the menu which was disappointing. Our advice is go for lunch and stick to the salads!

Favorite Dishes: Crab Salad, Applewood Salmon Salad, Mariposa Burger,  Lobster BLT, and Seared Diver Scallops.

Atmosphere: I just love the ambiance at Mariposa’s and Nieman Marcus in general. The restaurant is located on the third floor and has a beautiful view of Ala Moana beach park and ocean. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating which is nice for versatility. The restaurant is large and in-charge with tropical vibrant art and beautiful ceiling fans. The moment you walk into Mariposa you feel like you are in a luxurious and tropical hot spot of food and culture. I find lunch a nicer overall experience than dinner – the day light and the lunch crowd are more casual and its an overall more pleasant experience than dinner.

Consistency: Again lately Mariposa hasnt been so memorable. Its been consistntly ok but the atmopshere is amazing and we still enjoy going. I hope that it returns to its usual mouth watering food. I think they need a menu refresh and until that happens we are lowering them from a 4 star to a 3 star.

Parking:Parking is as easy as pie since Mariposa is located at the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Nieman Marcus. Literally you can enter the mall from any entrance point and find ample   parking somewhere – best news it’s free! Another option if you are looking to impress someone or late for a date you can use the valet service offered at Nieman Marcus.

Price Range: Medium ($14-$24) per Entree
Corkage Fee $25 per Bottle
Reservations Recommended
Take Out Available
Hale ‘Aina Award Winner!

1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96814
Tel: (808) 951-3420
Website: /

Hours of Operation:
Open for Lunch & Dinner Daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m

Mariposa restaurant review in hawaii by private chef ryan covert

Shrimp Salad

Mariposa Crab Salad

Crab Salad

Mariposa restaurant review in hawaii

Seafood Pasta

Mariposa Salmon Entree



12th Ave Grill

Overall: corkagecorkage

Service: The service was so-so. The waiter took his time taking our orders and wasn’t very knowledgeable about the menu – in fact he even had to come back twice to inform us the items we ordered where no longer available. I mean if you only have 5 desserts and 3 are out how hard is it to remember what you DO have? Its not rocket science!  Also if your not going to put the wine we ordered on the table for us to fill up ourselves than it would be reasonable to think the waiter would frequently check back on our glass status…. unfortunately this was not the case. We give it a big two thumbs down on the service.

Food: ummm where to begin…. about half of the food we ordered was pretty good and half was uneatable and just plan laugh out loud bad. The scallops from the specials menu where undercooked and rubbery. The pecan pie sandwich was burned and actually so unappetizing we sent it back. Another person ordered the Afogado which was believe it or not… pre-made and had freezer burn all over it…. I mean it’s ice cream – does it really need to be pre-glassed? How lazy can you get! Also when the menu noted it should come “drowned” in an expresso shot one would think it would be a warm fresh shot that was poured over the ice cream. Not a little frozen glob of cold espresso stuck to the  bottom of the glass – that’s just GROSS. On the positive note we did have two good entrees including the Opah fresh catch of the day and the BBQ Spare Ribs which just feel right off the bone and where delicious. The sides where few and far between, and over seasoned but it was the best thing we ate that night. The menu does change seasonally and 12th Ave Grill offers a lot of daily specials – however, being a personal chef I can say its better to have less specials and really make sure your core dishes are properly executed than to have new dishes all the time that are missing crucial elements or not cooked properly.
Download 12th Ave Grill Menu in Honolulu

Favorite Dishes: Fresh Fish of the Day, BBQ Maui Cattle Co. Short Ribs, and Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Atmosphere: The 12 Ave Grill is a cute little restaurant. The atmosphere is warm – with light/cheery wood furniture, orange dim lights and small in diameter. The restaurant also has a small unique bar seating area which is charming and nice if you are solo or + 1. The worst thing about this restaurant is the noise factor. It has such bad acoustics that when full its really hard to hear the people at your table without screaming at each other. Not very pleasant and def not recommended for a first date where you want to get to know someone better. (TIP: if you decide to try it out – go early or go late – too avoid a full restaurant so you can at least hear yourself think! or…. and its recommended to go somewhere else!)

Consistency: Consistently the dishes are pretty bad. It’s been 4 years since we have been and I would be lying if I said it would we would return before another 4 passes at least!

Parking: Parking is pretty easy at 12th Ave Grill. The restaurant is located close to the Kamuki shopping center on the side street between Koko Head Ave and 12th Ave. So the best place to park is the maniciple parking lot right next to it which has metered parking. If you can’t find a spot you can go to the other parking lot (where the Big City Diner is located) which has ticketed parking ($1 per hour).

Price Range: Medium-High ($18-$32-Market Price) per Entree
Corkage Fee $15 per Bottle
Reservations Accepted & Recommended
Take Out Available

1145C 12th Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
Tel: (808) 732-9469

Hours of Operation:
Open for Dinner:
Mon-Thurs: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sun: Closed

Spare Rib from 12th Ave Grill in Honolulu, HI

Spare Rib's

Scallops from 12th Ave Grill in Honolulu, HI


12th ave fresh fish opha

Fresh Opha

Du Vin

Overall: corkagecorkagecorkage

Service: The overall service is so so at Du Vin. The staff is very friendly but not fast by any means and historically we have had better service for dinner than lunch.

Food: The food is pretty good. It’s Italian french inspired and they use a lot of yummy ingredients such as Arugula, Prosciutto,  Assorted Meats, Cheese and Fresh Fish so its hard to go wrong. For lunch and dinner they always have great specials and a Prix Fixe menu for only $25 a person. The deal comes complete with the daily appetizer, entree and dessert. (FYI: Du Vin doesnt allow any substitutes on these items)

Favorite Dishes: Moules frites, Escargot, Roasted Beet Salad, Crostini of warm Gorgonzola Dolce and Prosciutto, Pork Chop, Fresh Fish of the day

Atmosphere: Du Vin is absolutely one of the most wonderful restaurants in all of Hawaii when it comes to its Atmosphere. The restaurant screams Italy or Spain with its series of small connecting rooms all with intimate lighting and indoor/outdoor seating options. The Salon is the place you want to sit after work with your mates and have a glass of wine, cheese selection, and unwind. The Patio is the romantic place to sit with a date or close friend under the stars. The Cask Room you may find yourself in for a wine tasting or a family reunion. This room can be rented out for large functions and has a beautiful old bar at its center.

Consistency: The restaurant is pretty consistent. Sometimes the bread is a bit old but they heat it up which helps it taste fresher. On first Friday Du Vin gets extremely busy so for better food and better service come sometime during the week.

Parking: Du Vin is located in the heart of Honolulu so there are numerous public parking garages or if you have parkma (parking karma) that day you may snag a street spot. If not its recommend parking at the China Town lot of Beretania and walking to the restaurant but remember to check because some lots close up after 12am!

Price Range: Medium ($10-$22) per Entree
Corkage Free $25 per Bottle
Reservations Not Accepted
Take Out Available

1115 Bethel Street
(Across from Hawaii Theatre)
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Tel: (808) 545-1115

Hours of Operation:
Lunch served 11:30 am – 4:00 pm Monday – Saturday
Dinner served 4:00 pm to late, Monday – Saturday

Du Vin Restaurant review

Daily Special

Du Vin review by hawaii private chef

Shrimp Salad


Overall: corkagecorkagecorkagecorkage

Service: The service was top notch at BLT. They have plenty of staff and I never had an empty glass of water throughout dinner. The waiter was extremely nice and also very helpful in answering questions we had about what was in each dish.

Food: The menu at BLT is classic Steakhouse meets French bistro. They have a very diverse menu and wonderful raw seafood selections. BLT spoils you with two table appetizers starting with grilled bread and warm pate, followed by hot popovers covered with cheese. They have everything you would expect on a traditional Steakhouse menu in addition to a Chefs Daily Special 3 course menu which everyone at our table took advantage of for only $60 per a person! The dishes where inspiring, had very generous portions and an island pacific flare to it.

Favorite Dishes: The free appetizers of course! From our 3 course dinners – Spicy King Crab Dumplings in Miso Soup, Tenderloin, Crusted Shutome, and Coconut Parfait with Guava Curd and Pineapple Soup was the most delicious dessert we have had in a while.

Atmosphere: BLT has a wonderful atmosphere. The restaurant has both with indoor and outdoor seating perfect for any occasion. The ambiance is beautiful with walnut floors, dark leather banquettes and highlighted with tropical art and murals. The restaurants design has fantastic flow from room to room and even the bar area is separated enough from the main restaurant that it creates another interesting dinning experience and really helps reduce the traffic and noise to the dining room.

Consistency: We have only been once so far but promise to update this section when we go again which will be soon since it was so delicious!

Parking: BLT is located in Waikiki so parking is challenging on the street and Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center is a bit of a walk. We recommend valeting your car as the restaurant validates and you can even enjoy a free bottled water while waiting for your car after dinner (or after dinner drinks upstairs).

Price Range: High ($29-$50) per Entree
Corkage Fee: $25 per bottle
Reservations Recommended

Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk
223 Saratoga Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
Telephone: 808-683-7440

Hours of Operation: Open For Dinner Only
Sunday – Thursday: 5:30PM – 10PM
Friday & Saturday: 5:30PM – 11PM

BLT restaurant review

Pâté BLT Starter

BLT in Waikiki review

Tenderloin Special


Overall: corkagecorkagecorkagecorkage

Service: The service was exceptional at Apartment 3. Even when the night crowd started to filter in our waitress was on top of her game. As she bobbed and weaved through people she never forgetting our orders or missing a beat. The bartenders are also top notch and mix up some delicious drinks.

Food: Apartment3 has a very interesting menu and takes modern play on traditional comfort foods such as Ratatouille, Mac & Cheese and French Onion Soup and integrates locally and sustainably ingredients to make dynamic and bold dishes. Happy Hour is one of the best in town with $5 specialty drinks, $4 drafts, and $5 pizzas to name a few. (TIP: Tuesday night is Happy Hour All Night!)

Favorite Dishes: Beet Salad (amazing!), The Yard Sale, Cheese & Honey, Stacked Ratatouille, and The Parma thin Crusted Pizza. (TIP: All the appetizers are large enough to share and only $5 each for happy hour – making it one of the best deals in town!)

Atmosphere: The atmosphere is very cozy, classy and inviting. The room is very dark, lounge like and features a fireplace in the bar area. Apartment 3 also has pool tables and a special room for private parties. The main dinning room is off to the side of the bar and not quite as exciting as the lounge but has nice booth seating if your looking for a more intimate dinning experience. It’s not a very casual place so if you want to fit in you should dress to impress anytime after 8pm.

Consistency: The food and experience has been consistently strong since they opened. It continues to be one of our favorite places to go meet people after work as they have such a great happy hour, good music and friendly staff.

Parking: Apartment3 is located at the Century Center which has about 20 guest stalls which you can park in. The restaurant/bar also validates so the parking is free which makes this a very convenient place to go 🙂

Price Range: Medium ($9-$24) per Entree
Corkage Fee $25 per Bottle
Reservations Accepted & Recommended
(For Dinner in the Main Dinning Room Only)

1750 Kalakaua Ave
3rd Floor
Honolulu, HI 96826
Phone Number: (808) 955-9300

Hours of Operation:
Tue – Fri: 6pm – 2am | Sat: 7pm – 2am
Happy Hour Daily till 8pm (All day Tuesday)
Food served until 12:30am

Panya Bistro

Overall: corkage corkagecorkage

Service: The service is not very good at Panya Bistro. More than once our server forgot our appetizer which was disappointing. It also appears they only have two servers working at a time making it almost impossible to get a refill on your drink, and even paying the check can become a chore!

Food: The food is good. The menu is very interesting and borrows items from around the globe. You can a wide range of foods such as Vietnamese Summer Rolls, New England Clam Chowder, Spaghetti, Char Siu Ramen, or even Miso Soup and Curry! (Tip: Panya is also a walk-in bakery with cakes, breads and wonderful pastries!)

Favorite Dishes: Thai Style Rib Eye Steak Salad, Tofu Salad, Panya Burger, Homemade Gyoza, and Green Beans.

Atmosphere: The restaurant is very trendy, small and chic. The decor is minimalistic and the bar has a beautiful recycled counter top and cool glass bottles illuminate on the wall. The restaurant is small and very popular so it can be hard to go with big groups.

Consistency: Panya’s food is contestant and a good recommendation for a trendy lunch date with a friend.

Parking: Panya has a great location right next to Longs in Ala Moana Shopping Center. Parking is free anywhere in the mall and typically you can find parking on the second floor (close to Sears & Longs) and walking to the Bistro/Bakery.

Price Range: Medium ($8-$18) per Entree
Corkage Fee $20 per Bottle
Take Out Available
Reservations Not Needed

Panya Bakery, Bistro & Bar
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Ala Moana Center, 2054B
Honolulu, HI 96814 USA
Phone: (808) 946-6388

Hours of Operation:
M-Sat: 7:30am-11:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-10:00pm


Overall: corkagecorkagecorkage

Service: The service is so so – it’s not really good, and it’s not really bad, it’s just slow…and you are at the mercy of your server. Often times they ignore you all together but its really hit or miss, we have also had very good service at Tango. Historically it has been much better for lunch than for dinner.

Food: Food is fresh and well executed. The presentation and menu have a very strong Scandinavian flare and its something you won’t find at any other restaurant in Hawaii. Frequently they run out of dishes and in all the times we have gone they have never had the Rhubarb dessert that’s on the menu since they opened!

Favorite Dishes: Salmon Salad, Gravlax Sandwich

Atmosphere: Very small restaurant and crowded so be ready to sit close to your neighbor. The atmosphere is nice and airy and the restaurant has loft ceiling. Modern art complements the bright space. Very noisy when full.

Consistency: You get what you where expecting every time. The dishes are also consistently good between one anther, so trying something different isn’t quite as much of a “risk” at a restaurant like this which is nice.

Parking: It’s located at The Hokua condominium building next to P.F. Chang’s at Ward Center. Tango validates parking so be sure to remember your ticket stub.

Price Range: Medium ($10-$25) per Entree
Corkage Fee $15 per Bottle
Reservations Accepted for Parties over 6
Take Out & Catering Available

Tango: Contemporary Cafe at The Hokua
1288 Ala Moana Blvd Suite 120

Hours of Operation:
Breakfast : Mon – Fri: 7 am – 10 am   Sat & Sun: 8 am – 10:30 am
Lunch : Daily, 11 am – 4:30 pm
Dinner : Daily, 5 pm – 9:30 pm

Tango restaurant review hawaii

Gravlax Sandwich

Tango french onion soup

French Onion Soup