The Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki offers the best Sunday Brunch on O’ahu in the lovely setting of its Orchids restaurant. I have been to Sunday brunch here several times and it has always been a treat.
Besides the excellent food, you will enjoy a beautiful and soft dining atmosphere with trades coming from the open patio area and live music by two talented musicians: harpist Carol Miyamoto and flutist Aileen Kawakami.
The quality of their Sunday brunch is on par with the overall quality of the hotel – which is the best in Waikiki. Everything is well organized, and the buffet tables are structured in specific areas that make it easy to move around. Considering how popular this brunch is, and how many diners attend each Sunday, I have never had to wait in line or had trouble accessing the food I wanted.
Service is attentive and svelte and, from what I have noticed, some of the servers have worked here for many years.
The buffet is rich with selections that vary slightly each Sunday: there is a Hawaiian/Asian fusion area with everything from sushi and miso soup, to poke and lomilomi salmon, to green papaya salad and Hamakua mushroom salad and everything in between; a hot food section with breakfast items like eggs Benedict (the style of which changes every time), pancakes, cream cheese crepes, breakfast meats (bacon, sausage etc.), and also a carving board for roast meats (pork, beef, turkey etc.), as well as one or two fresh fish of the day, vegetables and all the trimmings.
There is also a lovely selection of breakfast breads and pastries, delights like mini pop-overs, chocolate croissants, almond danish, brioche, scones, biscuits et all. I love that they are small, so you get to try different ones.
Freshly made omelettes are available on demand at the omelet station, where you can select your favorite fillings and toppings.
Center stage, as it should be, is the dessert table, rich with delightful selections. Just look at the face of the lady on the right in the image below. Make sure to save room for dessert! They are all oh-so-good! Cakes, puddings, mousses, tarts, pies in all sorts of flavors and textures, and in delightful mini sizes so – once more – you can try different things, or go back for more of the same. Every now and then I still think of the banana cream and chocolate pie I had there one time, and I sigh.
Let’s not forget ice cream, which has its own station nearby where you can also choose your favorite toppings.
Coffee and coffee drinks are also good here, something that is important to me as I enjoy a cappuccino or a latte with my brunch. For those of you who prefer a different zing than coffee, the barman does an excellent job!
This is a very, very popular event and there is usually a waiting list for tables. Reserve yours early, even a month in advance (or more if over the Holidays, during spring break or for Mother’s Day), especially for larger parties. I have never managed (yet) to get a table at the last minute, not even for just two people.
Even though located in Waikiki and interspersed with tourists, the majority of the crowd at this event is local, with families having made this brunch a tradition.
Sunday Brunch at Orchids is from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm every Sunday. I find it best to book my table for the central hours, so between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm. As of today, the price per person is $57 and includes fresh juice or coffee/tea. There is a mild dress code for this event, and resort attire is required. The guidelines are: no beachwear, tank tops, t-shirts or rubber beach sandals. Dress shorts are welcome.
ORCHIDS at the Halekulani Hotel
2199 Kalia Road – Honolulu-Waikiki, Hi 96815 l 808-923-2311 l website
Other excellent restaurants and bakeries on O’ahu: