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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

The Tastiest Way to Be Worldly

By Ali Resich Photos By Rachel Breit
January 20, 2013

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As its name implies, Five Star International Buffet presents diners with la creme de la creme of all-you-can-eat dining experiences on Oahu. As the fourth in a chain of eateries originating in Hokkaido, Japan in 2003, the Royal Hawaiian Center locale marks the business’ first venture outside of Japan, giving Hawaii patrons the opportunity to enjoy its unique spread of exquisite, worldly flavors.

In addition to an array of internationally inspired eats, head chef Yasushi Kawai has come to the Islands from Hokkaido as well, helping Five Star’s menu rise to success in just one year.

“We try to exceed the customers’ expectations,” says Kawai, who blends Japanese, French and Italian flavors among others on his buffet line. Since being in Hawaii, he has experimented with popular regional cuisines, adding Filipino touches here and Korean flavors there for an extra dose of local spice.

Patrons may enjoy the restaurant’s lunch buffet ($19) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and its dinner buffet ($48) from 5 to 10 p.m. daily.

The evening spread features everything from prime rib and fresh crab to miso butterfish, sushi and tempura. Kawai and his staff also love to switch up the menu regularly so that there is always something new to try. For starters, he suggests his cold Vichyssoise Soup made with potatoes and leeks. Kawai uses fresh papaya halves as bowls, which lends to a wonderful contrast of flavors and some local flair.

Diners also are encouraged to dive into a bounty of grilled Lobster Tail, which is slathered with lemon butter sauce before it is grilled to perfection. Occasionally the chef will switch things up by serving it with a smooth French bearnaise sauce as well.

Believe it or not, these dishes make up just a small corner of the gourmet world Five Star International Buffet has to offer. It’s time to put your exploration cap on!

Five Star International Buffet

Royal Hawaiian Center (third level of Building C)
2201 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki
380.9300
11 a.m.-2 p.m., Lunch buffet 2-5 p.m., Happy hour 5-10 p.m., Dinner buffet