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Honolulu travel 2014: Top 5 restaurants for the elite dining experience

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There are four basic types of travelers. Budget, luxury, somewhere in between the two and business. Unless you have an unlimited expense account for business? The meal expenditures for a vacation can vary depending on one's taste and budget.

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When visiting Honolulu, you will find that most of the hotels have restaurants on the premises. It's convenient, until you dine there and discover that the food is not to your liking.

The Waikiki, section of Honolulu, is the Mecca for visitors. Chances are you will be a guest at an area hotel. Waikiki, is a great walking district, with a cluster of hotels, shops and restaurants. This gives visitors easy access to dining options at their doorstep.

If you are a foodie or simply enjoy a fine dining experience, my review covers the delicious details of Honolulu's Best of the Best: Top 5 fine dining restaurants.

When visiting Oahu, I recommend renting a vehicle for your stay, at least for a couple of days. A short 10-15 minute drive outside of Waikiki, will open up a lot of other food and fun options.

Commuting around Honolulu is a breeze. Honolulu, from end-to-end is less than 35 miles round-trip. This route extends from the Honolulu Airport to East Oahu's Hawaii Kai. Leaving from Waikiki, to Hawaii Kai, is approximately 18 miles, round-trip. One of the Top 5 restaurants is located in the Hawaii Kai, section of Honolulu.

Without further ado, here are my reviews.

Number 5. Mariposa at Neiman Marcus-Ala Moana Center

For a Sunday Champagne Brunch, Mariposa offers a spectacular ocean view, posh surroundings and impeccable service. This place serves the best Eggs Benedict on the island, it's exquisite.

The Belgian Waffles are sheer perfection and served with a snow-capped mountain of whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Mariposa's Southwestern Omelet is flavorful. Tiny diced artichoke hearts are added creating a delicious spin on a breakfast staple.

If you prefer the lunch side of brunch, I suggest the Lobster Club Sandwich. It's freshly steamed sweet lobster meat served with bacon, roasted peppers, fresh local avocado, and seasoned mayo. Champagne anyone? It's offered by the glass. Mariposa is a class act and the place to be seen or people watch. That is if you can take your eyes off of the amazing ocean view. See location and hours of operation.

Number 4. Roy's Honolulu-East Oahu

Roy's Hawaii Kai is the original restaurant in the growing chain of 28 restaurants throughout the U.S. Roy's offers impeccable service, a spectacular ocean view and meal options using a wonderful concept. 'Perfectly Paired' meal selections feature an appetizer, entree and dessert in a suggested collection. All of the dishes compliment each other and enhance the dining experience.

I've dined at this restaurant for over 12-years and I've seen a number of menu changes. This is a good thing. This restaurant is tucked away in the suburbs of Honolulu and gets most of it's business from locals VS visitors. See menu, location and hours of operation.

Number 3. Stage Restaurant at The Honolulu Design Center

Stage Restaurant's modern aesthetic makes it an interior design marvel. The excellent level of service at Stage is by far, the most consistent over most restaurants. I've had every dish on the menu many times over. Stage is one of the rare restaurants in Honolulu, where every menu selection is a winner. See menu, location and hours of operation.

Number 2. Chef Chai

Chef Chai is an upscale Thai-fusion restaurant in the trendy Kaka'ako section of Honolulu. The owner of Chef Chai is a longtime restaurateur in Honolulu, and owner of the relocated Chai's Thai Bistro. Chef Chai's new restaurant has an elegant and warm aesthetic.

The decor is downright fashionable, and the service is exemplary. The menu boast one of a kind Thai fusion specialty dishes that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. I was not always a big fan of the Thai food. Let's just say I've been converted in a big way. See menu, location and hour of operations.

Number 1. Hoku at The Kahala Hotel & Resort

In a word, extraordinary. Hoku's is the premiere dining experience on the Island, catering to a very distinguished clientele The atmosphere is elegant and unpretentious. The wait staff meticulously attends to your every need. No need to flag your server. A slight glance in the server's direction is sufficient. Hoku's offers a five-star menu and five-star service.

The food presentation is exquisite and worthy of applause. The high quality of the ingredients used in the dishes is evident upon the first bite. The selection of wines is a marvel.

My personal favorite is the Prime Bone-In Ribeye Crème Fraiche, Wasabi, Garlic Kale, Black Truffle Fondue, $58.00.

Also the Free Range Whole Chicken for Two, is absolutely regal. It's served with Kahuku Creamed Corn, Black Trumpet Mushroom Fricassee, Foie Gras Sauce, $75.00.

For the seafood lover, Butter Poached Whole Maine Lobster Bok Choi, Pancetta, Passion Fruit Jus $65.00. See menu, location and hours of operation.

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