Ready, Set, Eat!Cover Story
April 3, 2022
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Restaurant Suntory
Diners can set a course for culinary excellence as a newly transformed Restaurant Suntory has reemerged with an elegant new design, a reimagined “Grand Menu” and a hidden sushi counter that is unlike any other in Hawaii.
While Restaurant Suntory was refreshed with an alluring new look and world-class Japanese dining experiences during this spring season of rebirth when it reopened on March 27, the iconic Japanese restaurant in Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Center continues to serve as a favorite dining destination for local and visiting patrons alike since originally opening more than 40 years ago. Restaurant Suntory remains the only original tenant of Royal Hawaiian Center, proving that the steadfast dedication to delivering outstanding experiences via authentic Japanese cuisine and unparalleled “omotenashi,” a keen level of hospitality that far surpasses simple service, withstands the test of time.
Restaurant Suntory has made some interior updates over the years since opening in 1980, and the dining destination is welcoming guests back after undergoing its biggest upgrade yet: a $2 million renovation. The overall redesign draws visible inspiration from the Japanese art of minimalism as a neutral color palette is accentuated by soft lighting, sleek furniture and elements from Honolulu’s natural scenery. Lined with aged wooden panels representing the prized whisky barrels that catapulted Suntory to fame as a leading maker of fine spirits, the refined space designed by Kazutaka Kondo of Brown Ink feels, as Restaurant Suntory general manager Nobuyuki Aoyama explains, “intentionally balanced with a sense of comfort and sophistication that effortlessly invites people in with a warm atmospheres that feels both contemporary and timeless in design.”
When it comes to its popular menu, Restaurant Suntory still offers guests the ability to choose from multiple authentic Japanese dining experiences, including sushi tokiwa (served at a newly transformed counter area stewarded by sushi masters from Japan), teppan (the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine that Restaurant Suntory elevates with USDA Prime beef and exquisite Miyazaki Wagyu), or different types of washoku (traditional Japanese fare including shabu shabu and sukiyaki hot pot, tempura, donburi, multiple noodle varieties and even kaiseki — a four-course tasting menu modeled after Japan’s four seasons).
Restaurant Suntory has introduced an upscale lounge wherein guests can enjoy plates off the washoku menu along with Suntory’s famous craft spirits, including Roku Gin, Haku Vodka and the award-winning (and rare) Hibiki, Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies. Later this year, the lounge will also host whisky tasting events and other special private affairs.
Additionally, a private dining room seats up to 12 guests and is ideal for all types of celebrations, company parties and special gatherings. Reservations, including preorders from the menu, must be made by emailing email@example.com, and there is a $400 minimum spend during lunch and a $1,000 minimum during dinner.
Reservations for the various experiences can be made online through the new booking platform, Resy, at resy.com/cities/hnl/restaurant-suntory. Guests can also look forward to one-hour validated parking at Royal Hawaiian Center.