It All Happens at Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki

The heartbeat, the pulse, the corollary artery. Whatever you want to call it, Royal Hawaiian Center is where something is always happening and a place where you will spend a lot of time while in Waikiki.

Spanning three city blocks on famous Kalākaua Ave, RHC is situated on Helumoa, Waikiki’s historic coconut grove. Set amidst an abundance of local flora and fauna, the Royal Grove is RHC’s vortex. Here you will find entertainment, fairs, events, and workshops led by expert professional artisans. The outdoor courtyard, with ample seating and raised stage, is home to weekly music and dance performances. It’s the ideal spot to gather for a relaxing evening after a day of shopping, sunbathing, or just chill with shaved ice after dinner. There is also an expanded rooftop meeting space for those planning a memorable private or corporate event.

Royal Hawaiian Center

RHC boasts 310,000 square feet, seamlessly connecting nearly 90 unique shops across four levels. Renowned international luxury ateliers sit alongside one-of-a-kind boutiques for a truly diverse shopping experience. RHC is part and parcel of the local experience. This is especially true of the innovative and varied dining experiences. From specialty teas and Hawaiian coffee to shaved ice, Asian street fare and handmade malasadas (an imported Portuguese doughnut), RHC is a foodie paradise that is anything but a bite at a local mall.

While we would love to give a shout out to them all, there are a few very notable stand outs that you should not miss.

Island Vintage Wine Bar – Don’t gasp in disbelief if you spot the Obama’s here. This is one of their regular spots, and for good reason – the food and service are unmatched. Neither too fancy nor pretentious, you will feel right at home the moment you step inside.

Photo by Jody Miller

Winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for three consecutive years, IVWB features a selection of rare and highly allocated wines, as well as a sampling dispenser with over 40 choices. IVWB features a diverse menu of fresh, organic, and expertly prepared dishes that are simply some of the tastiest on the island.

TsuruTonTan–If you are an udon snob and think you can only get the real thing in Japan because the water and flour are different–you are absolutely right! That is why Tsuru Ton Tan imports all its ingredients from Japan, including the flour to make fresh noodles daily and kombu kelp and bonito for the dashi broth. Since they can’t import the water, the very finicky owners and chef have developed a water filtration system to duplicate the water from Japan. All this, plus locally grown vegetables and meats are carefully chosen to showcase the highest quality noodles. The result is intense flavor (they are not shy about the spice here) served in hand-crafted bowls big enough to share.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse–When you have the hankering for a great steak no matter where you are in the world, it needs to be quenched. With its white tablecloths and star-level service, Wolfgangs’s is a bit of New York in the tropics. A top-secret dry-aging process happens on-premises in a clandestine back room. Lusciously tender and juicy, the steaks are caramelized to perfection. The staff is on point without a hitch and the VIP room is a top choice among celebs and athletes.

Island Vintage Wine Bar & Island Vintage Shave Ice–The same exacting standards as IVWB at these very popular satellites. Expect long lines any time of day. They are that good and everyone knows it. Worth the wait and then some.

Noi Thai CuisineContinuing the tradition of the Bai Tong Thai restaurants in Seattle, Washington, which began as a favorite stopover for Thai Airways crews at Sea-Tac airport. When restaurant owner Noi Lapangkura visited Hawaii, she was inspired to bring her family’s authentic Thai cooking to the island, but with a royal elegance and world-class excellence. The chic setting of low-hanging wall fixtures, dark wood and gold-ringed napkins distinguish Noi as Southeast Asian fine-dining destination.

Banan–Cool and creamy treats are a big thing here. When it’s a banana turned into a tropical crown atop a fruit and pineapple base, it makes for a truly special Hawaiian cool-down.

Hawaiian Cane Juice–Your beach refresher made from freshly pressed sugar cane juice mixed with fresh-picked Hawaiian fruit such as pineapple, lime, and calamasi.

Junbi A leader in premium-quality matcha green tea founded by the same team from Shrimp Daddy, Chichi Dango and Wingchix. The four co-founders travel to their farms in Japan to personally oversee the whole process of Junbi’s matcha to ensure the highest quality and integrity from their farm to your cup. Innovative flavors include yuzu dragon fruit and strawberry matcha.

Stay Where You Play

One of the best features of RHC is some of the island’s finest hotels are next door. No need for costly cab rides or car rentals. Just throw on your flip-flops and hop from one to the other, with ample sunning and swimming in the turquoise waters of the Pacific in between.

Originally opened in 1907, the Halekulani is Oahu’s leading luxury property and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. Characterized by its “Seven Shades of White” signature decor and sublime attention to detail, Halekulani is also home to some of Honolulu’s best dining and entertainment options.

La Mer is Hawaii’s French cuisine gem. Honored with a AAA Five Diamond rating, La Mer and accompanying bar L’Aperitif is a journey into Belle Epoch opulence. For a more casual experience, Halekulani is home to the iconic House Without A Key. Present and past winners of Miss Hawaii perform hula weekly alongside top local musicians. Enjoy cocktails along with fresh seafood, steaks, burgers, and pizza under the moonlight.

Lewers Lounge is perhaps Honolulu’s best-kept secret. Jazz greats from every decade have made appearances here, so you never know who just might show up. A must-try is one of the recently introduced cocktails inspired by some of jazz’s most iconic entertainers that feature exotic and tempting flavors using only premium brands.

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Orchids is where the award-winning Sparkling Sunday Brunch happens. Sleep until noon, then savor a champagne and mimosa-filled brunch with panoramic views of the Pacific. A massive array of food stations, including sushi, ramen, poke, prime rib, and fresh pastries (including their famous coconut cake) awaits the hungry after a late night out or a special occasion.

Just across the street (and a very narrow one) sister property Halepuna opened just in time for the global pandemic 2019 and reopened in 2021. Now in full recovery and then some, Halepuna boasts an understated luxury and the same premium service as Halekulani at half the cost. Enjoy reciprocal privileges as well as free admission to local attractions and museums with a flash of your room key.

Halepuna is also home to two of our favorite dining venues. For your morning wake-up pastry and brew, Halekulani Bakery is your first stop out of bed. With cutting-edge European equipment and an international staff. In addition to sweets and an extensive beverage selection, there are savory options perfect for a light lunch or a grab-n-go for your beach tote.

Halepuna is proud to be the chosen locale for Honolulu’s latest and long-awaited fine-dining establishment, UMI by Vikram Garg. Helmed by global restaurateur and innovative star chef, Vikram Garg, the bold new concept, ‘Ocean’s Harvest,’ is a decadent tribute to the nurturing, life-giving abundance of the sea. features expansive dinner and breakfast menus with superior seasonal ingredients, refined traditions, progressive techniques, vibrant cultural infusion with masterful execution.