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large family having Christmas DinnerBY: MARIA KANAI

Make Christmas day extra special by visiting one of these restaurants around Hawaii that’s serving up delicious food for dinner. Think beyond roast turkey or carved ham with mashed potatoes (though there’s nothing wrong with that!) – these are all establishments known for local flair and being creative with their dishes, which is why seats fill up early. Be sure to call ahead to make reservations so you and your family have a place to dine out.


Start with an amuse bouche of Hamakua mushroom bisque, appetizer choice of tako and country bread, Tamimi farm tomato, avocado and jicama salad, hapa poke, hot seared ono, hirabara baby romaine salad or house-made cavatelli pasta. The main course is your choice of roasted prime filet mignon, macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi, double cut Colorado lamb chops, pan-seared opakapaka and Kauai shrimp and vegetable wellington. Finish with dessert you can share with the table: chocolate flourless cake, strawberry shortcake and ginger cake. Gluten-free and vegan options are available.

December 25, $105 per person, $50 for keiki, Merriman’s Hawaii -Kapalua, 1 Bay Club Place, (808) 669-6400

Maui Tour

Maui Tour


Along with the traditional menu, The Surfjack Hotel’s restaurant will offer a three-course meal. For the first course, choose between creamy kabocha soup or fresh beet salad. Main dish entrées include braised lamb shanks with polenta, fried half chicken with green papaya salad, seafood stew with monchong, lobster, hee, shrimp, fennel and tomato; and miso opah with bok choy and paiai. Finish off your dinner with a sweet dessert: a peppermint chocolate tart, black sesame gelato ice cream sandwich and cinnamon hot chocolate, or a chef’s selection of gelato.

December 24 and 25, 5:30 to 10 p.m., $75 per person . The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, 412 Lewers Street, (808) 924-5810

Hawaii Island – SAM CHOY’S KAI LANAI

Sam Choys Kai Lanai throws a special buffet for Christmas, priced at $55 per person, $15 for keiki and free for keiki under six, starting at 11 a.m. through 7:30 p.m. The spread includes traditional Hawaiian foods, salads, traditional dishes. Entrée meats include prime rib, fish, chicken and pork. Expect poke and shrimp as well.

Decmber 25, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sam Choys Kai Lanai, 78-6831 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, $55 per person, $15 for keiki and free for keiki under six, (808) 333-3434


Donderos at the Grand Hyatt Kauai offers authentic Italian fare and its regular menu offers dishes like cacio e pepe gnocchi, Atlantic lobster and crab with handmade linguini, veal milanese and cioppino. There’s also an array of appetizers like the seafood fritti, fig bruschetta and fried mozzarella. For Christmas Day though, there’s a special pre-fixe menu: crab bisque, filet and mousse cake.

Decmber 25, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort, 1571 Poipu Road, $70 per person, (808) 240-6456