7 Best French Restaurants in Hawaii

It would be a mistake to think that food choices in Hawaii are limited to island favorites like poi, poke, lomi lomi or, even, spam. Instead, chefs throughout the islands are creating dishes that merge the flavors of different cultures, none more unique than these French restaurants.

La Mer, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

When you think of Waikiki Beach, surfing, not fine dining, generally comes to mind. This restaurant changes that mindset. It is an award-winning AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes 5 Star restaurant famous for food that has infused Hawaiian culture and French cuisine for the past three decades. Ingredients sourced from across the Hawaiian Islands are used in dishes inspired by the flavors of the south of France, located in the Halekulani Hotel.

La Vie, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

From the eighth floor of the Ritz-Carlton Residences on Waikiki Beach, you can enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as delight in a fantastic aloha-inspired French meal. The menu, prix fixe, offers a choice of three or five courses. Dishes feature many local Hawaiian ingredients like Hawaiian snapper, Maui venison, Laie vanilla, and Honoka’a chocolate. The open-air dining room is the perfect place to experience a fantastic meal and a beautiful Hawaiian evening.

La Bourgogne, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, HI

Step inside this small but intimate family-run restaurant, and you leave behind Hawaii for a moment in the Fresh countryside. The fare is traditional French specialties from the frog legs to escargot to cassoulet and veal normande. Save room for dessert — chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé, creme brulee, pot au creme, and, of course, profiteroles. Look for the green awning in a very unassuming mall. Reservations required.

JO2 Restaurant, Kapaʻa, Kauai, HI

In Chef Jean-Marie Josselin’s world, food is art. His dishes, inspired by locally-grown vegetables and the best the sea offers, are a tribute to his native French roots and influenced by Hawaiian and Asian cooking. A three-course prix fixe meal, the daily menu celebrates the chef’s creativity with seasonal ingredients. Pair a Kauai organic tomato sampler with a seared Hawaiian hapu and local banana cream pie for a meal that captures the flavor of the islands. Reservations required.

Cafe des Amis, Paia, HI

When is a pancake not a pancake? When it’s a crepe. And crepes — sweet and savory — highlight the fare here. This compact restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and provides a relaxed and casual atmosphere for diners. Sit inside or out in the covered patio area. Crepes are filled with the best local and organic produce and are an excellent tribute to France’s most iconic foods. Beer, wine, and specialty cocktails complement the food—live music. Dine-in or take out.

Duc’s Bistro, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

What do you call a restaurant that serves classic French and traditional Vietnamese food in the middle of Chinatown? Duc’s! The bistro setting, typically French, is accented by Asian flair. The same holds for the menu. Here you can order foie gras or Cha Gio spring rolls,  steak au poivre or steak Saigon, creme brulée, or tapioca with fresh coconut creme. Wine, beer, and house specialty cocktails. Live music on the weekends adds a festive flair.

Michel’s at the Colony Surf, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Lobster bisque, a classic French entree, is a signature dish at this well-established restaurant on the shores of Kaimana Beach. It’s been on the menu for more than 40 years, and when it arrives tableside, it’s finished with a flambé of lobster meat in cognac. The six-course menu is prix fixe, and the remaining course is just as extravagant as the lobster bisque. Dishes are made with local and fresh seasonal ingredients, including Kona abalone, Kunoa Beef, Manoa honey, and free-range chicken from Haleiwa. Reservations are a must.

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