Chef Chai

4.3
42 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Chai Chaowasaree owner and Chef of Chef Chai at Pacifica Honolulu is recognized as one of Hawaii’s top Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs. Known for fusing fresh Hawaii ingredients with the exotic flavors of Asia, Chef Chai has created a culinary style that reflects the cultural diversity of Oahu and the Hawaiian Islands.

To further strengthen the partnership with Hawaii’s local farmers and fishermen, Chef Chai co-founded Hawaii Island Chefs (HIC), the second generation of Hawaii Regional Cuisine Chefs. This group of HIC chefs is on a mission to provide the world with the best of Hawaii’s diverse culinary resources from the culture of the people and the bounty of the land and sea.

Chef Chai is constantly seeking out new spices and ingredients at Oahu’s farmers markets and in Honolulu’s Chinatown, which brings back childhood memories of shopping the local markets in Bangkok to find the freshest ingredients for his family’s popular restaurant.

What 42 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
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LT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

We did a groupon and to say the least we felt like we were definitely not welcomed! Our server only talked to us 3 times, however waited on the table next to us 20 times. Food was very good but unfortunately the service ruined for us.

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S
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

This is a good restaurant that serves good food at very very high prices. There was nothing about the food that was superlative. The shrimp appetizer was fried, a detail I did not discern from the menu, and the butterfish was good but very heavy amounts of that sweet sauce. So, overall, this restaurant was simply good. If the prices were half what they are, I would go from three stars to four stars.

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JR
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went to chef chai for a celebratory meal and were so well looked after, our waiter was lovely and provided us with welcome Prosecco and a lovely complimentary desert. The food was wonderful and we were not rushed at all, overall a lovely evening with great food and wine and good value for the quality of food. Would highly recommend.

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f
Seattle
6 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Great food!

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HD
New England
7 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

We should have left after not receiving any service for 15 minutes. Continued to spiral downward from there. The waitress was totally incompetent from spilling the drinks with no concern to disappearing throughout our meal. At least the meals were delivered hot from the kitchen staff!

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JD
1 review
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

We went early for dinner on a Sunday and had a perfect evening - before the crowds came. I recall that last time we ate there the noise level was way too high - couldn't hear easily across the table. This last time was perfect. Food, as always, exquisite!

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

For the most part everything was very good, we were seated quickly and the server was fairly prompt and knowledgeable. Unfortunately both people I went with including myself, all wanted the “whole fish” and they were sold out!! On a good note the Chilean see bass was exceptional, cooked perfectly and was delicious, we also ordered the vegetable dish with green curry and this dish was not only plated beautifully it was cooked to perfection and the green curry was absolutely mouth watering.

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OT
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Good experience overall. The one complaint that I have is the Chilean Sea Bass was overpriced because the side dish vegetables served with them were pickled carrots! Although the flavor combo between the sea bass and pickled vegetables worked well together, I feel another non-pickled vegetable accompaniment would have also benefited the dish.

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WD
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent, friendly service, exceptional food. always enjoy a meal here.

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JL
Hawaii
9 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

We arrived at 4:00; i thought the reservations I made were for Happy Hour but apparently it was for dinner. That was my only disappointment b/c we would have eaten and drank more. Upon inquiry, I was told that they were booked and were not having happy hour that evening. Had we known that, we would have come back another time. Not sure how the mishap occurred. In any event, the food, service and ambiance were great.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

A double birthday celebration made even more special by excellent food in a friendly place.

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M
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Wonderful food, nice decor. Perfect for pre-concert pupus

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LS
Hawaii
7 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Chai's ambience is pretty cool. The food is good and priced right for what you get. Chef Chai was there receiving customers at the front area, but surpisingly not friendly or welcoming. The rest of the staff seemed to have the same careless attitude.

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OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My girlfriend and I were on vacation in Honolulu and we wanted to celebrate with some gourmet food. We wanted Hawaiian Asian fusion so after checking out the restaurant reviews we selected Chef Chai’s. The ambience was sleek modern tasteful; the service was top notch; the food was outstanding. My girlfriend went with the tasting menu. The appetizer sampler was fantastic. Yes she shared with me. The Filet Mignon with mushroom puff pastry was great. I had the New Zealand King Salman with steamed coconut milk ginger brown rice and spicy pineapple. Moist but firm. Just right. We shared the white chocolate gelato truffle for dessert. Best ice cream dessert i have ever had. We will he back. Oh we even got to meet Chef Chai! Our waiter said he is there often.

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MM
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Service was great. The food was great and they honored our double-birthday request on the spot. The desert provided was delish. The bulb in the lamp above our table was out, but not a big issue for our dining experience. Staff were very professional and polite and attentive. Really appreciate the convenience of after-event (Blaisdell Center concert) dinner here. Valet parking on site.

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OT
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 2

pretentious menu~~~terrible food. two of us felt digestively uncomfortable in the night. not fresh. prepared ahead of time and re-cooked.

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L
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent place with great food and amazing service. We were treated so well!

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BP
Michoacán
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We ordered the pupu platter for 3 and a souffle of eggplant and zucchini. It was a great light meal so we could order desserts. Next time skipping dessert and sharing an entree. Also thinking of going for early seating (4-5 PM) for the more budget friend fixed price menu.

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S
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We enjoyed an excellent four course special menu atChef Chai. The seafood was especially notable, very fresh and creatively prepared. The service, decor and ambiance all contributed to a memorable evening!

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KD
Hawaii
4 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Although we arrived 30 minutes early for our reservation, they were able to accommodate us within 5 minutes, which was great as the bar area was full.

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P
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent moderately priced food and wine. We had the tasting menu with wines and it was super good.

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f
New England
13 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food, strong service, not stuffy. One of the best fine-dining options in Honolulu.

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l
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Dinner on NYE, service a bit slow, but good food. We enjoyed every thing.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Food was tasty and fresh. Prices are very expensive for the food and drink itself, but for white table cloth service and the location it’s expected. Service was so-so and they ran out of our top choices, but we came during high season. Also, the restaurant just started using OpenTable so call to confirm they will accept reward certificates prior to booking.

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K
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went to this place twice (on accident) when I was visiting Honolulu. I was on vacation with a group, and the night before New Years my boyfriend and I went to Chef Chai on our own. When we got home, we found out it was the place our group had booked for New Years! Everything was so amazing that I wasn't at all disappointed to go back. The first night, we had the duck tacos for an appetizer. They bring you chicken satay as an appetizer, but the duck tacos are great and should not be missed! For entrees, we did Kurobata pork and the filet. Both were incredible, but if I had to order only one of them again, I would go for the pork because it was so unique. There was a prix fix menu for New Years, and one of the options was a Wagyu beef which was delicious (I don't think it's on their regular menu, but if you are lucky enough to go on a night with a special menu that includes it, I would highly recommend it). The wine options are great too. The service was excellent and the ambiance is very nice. I will definitely be coming back next time I'm in town!

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JG
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

The food was disappointing. My steak was tough and over cooked, and cost over $40.00. The salad was tiny and boring. The reisling was wasn’t as fruity as Dr Loosen usually is. The whole fish was dry too. The vegetables were cold and uncooked, couldn’t be pierced with a fork. The ambiance is great, the holiday decorations were beautiful. The French waiter was attentive despite having a lot of tables. I wouldn’t eat there again nor recommend it. I think it’s tired.

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H
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Overall we all loved our meal here. I’ve been here many times over the years with my family and have never been disappointed so we decided to bring friends here who were visiting. Standouts for me was the foie gras chawanmushi appetizer and the scallops and risotto entree. The whole appetizer platter was actually very yummy with the only slightly underwhelming dish being the gravlax salmon roulade. I would definitely come back!

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MK
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Chef chai was gracious and personalized our reservations and dining experience. The staff was attentive and knowledgeable! Thank you for accommodating our large party at New Year’s Eve !

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OT
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner was outstanding.

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KK
Raleigh
16 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

This was more than a disappointment. We went for my birthday and it was fair at best. We were seated in the bar by the door making it loud and busy, the food was average, and the wait staff although cordial and nice were somehow distracted. Will not do this one again. We did order the whole fish- it was dry, the vegetarian stir fry-very tofu heavy rather than lots of veg, the steak was nothing to get excited about.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice ambiance, low-key, and amazing food. Every course was phenomenal. This was absolutely the best food we had in Honolulu!

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RZ
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

WE haven't been to your place in more than a year but remembered it positively. WE were very glad we chose you again to entertain some friends. Food was great , our server Micheal (sp) (he is French), was excellent in all ways start to finish. I was very pleasantly surprised at the bill . We'll be back much sooner this time
Great Job all around
Rich Z

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WH
1 review
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I took my girlfriend to your restaurant for her birthday last week, as I did the 2 years prior. Here are my observations:

-Dining experience was brutally long.
-We heard the same Christmas playlist on repeat the whole time.
-I was nodding off at the table. I overheard the party next to us and one of them was falling asleep too.
-We had one server in the beginning and then another with no mention of a switch.
We didn't see our first server for the rest of the night
-We only had water and it was not refilled often .
-There were three other tables sat after us and they all left long before us.
-The servers don't seem like they even want to be there.
-The vegetarian options seem like they have been the same for years, nothing new. And you only had one order left of the vegetarian entree at 730pm? We were offered another option, which was the same thing as our appetizer, minus a few ingredients and black truffle sauce.

Sorry, but this was not worth $160 for two people.
What happened?
Don't get content.
Please do something.
Put in the effort, because your customers notice.

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GD
Hawaii
15 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The Tasting Menu is well worth the price! Enjoyed everything that was served! Celebrated mom’s birthday on this day she was impressed by how large the scallops were.

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L
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Felt very welcomed. Upon our departure, all of the staff mentioned, thank you and come again. In additon, they opened the door which was really nice.

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OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Friends visiting the islands

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2
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Our waiter was exceptional, food always tasty with Chai’s special flavors, ambience is elegant sometimes noisy with large parties ...remains a special restaurant for all occasions.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

A little pricey for the quality of the food. Place was empty on a Friday night which was a little too quiet for my taste.

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JP
Hawaii
4 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Service a bit slow. Food portions and flavors were good. No sure if it was glassware or plastic ware. No “clink” sounds when cheering.

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OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We checked in a little early for our 7:30 reservation and got seated right away. Our server was quick and efficient throughout the whole service. Our beverages, food and desserts were absolutely amazing. It was restaurant week and we were eager to try the featured menu, but adding on the crab cakes to our appetizer course was the best decision ever, they were so fresh and tasty, and it was my boyfriends first time trying real crab cakes and he definitely fell in love. Even the special edible happy birthday sign and candle on the dessert was a nice touch to make our evening perfect for a birthday, restaurant week and our first time there.

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