I know I'm probably one of the few people in the world who can be invited to what has been honored by Fodor's as one of the top ten restaurants in the world as well as a American Automobile Association (AAA) Five Diamond restaurant, and who yet approached the whole thought with some trepidation. That, however, is precisely how I approached my dinner at Chef Mavro in Honolulu.
Chef George Mavrothalassitis and His Restaurant Chef Mavro
Somehow when reading chef/proprietor George Mavrothalassitis's bio on the restaurant's website all I focused on was that he was French. As bizarre as it is, I am not a great fan of French cuisine.
Somehow I totally skipped over the fact that Chef Mavro is a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine who also holds the prestigious James Beard Foundation award as the Best Chef in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. He and the restaurant have also won more awards than I can mention here, but you can read about them on the restaurant's website.
I was much too worried when reviewing (online) Chef Mavro's prix fixe menu because I don't like mushrooms, foie gras or goat cheese. I couldn't imagine how I could have a dinner that I would enjoy, much less a dinner that I would remember for years to come. Needless to say, very few things are as they might seem and even fewer are as you fear.
As soon as I entered Chef Mavro and was greeted by their maitre d' and restaurant manager, I realized that everything would not only be alright, it would be fantastic. A brief chat with Chef Mavro assured me that the menu could easily be adjusted to present me with selections that I would greatly enjoy.
With a background which includes stays at Halekulani and the Four Seasons on Maui, Chef Mavro and his entire staff have but one goal in mind and that is providing a dining experience and wine pairing that is perfect for each guest.
One of Hawaii's Truly Unique Dining Experiences
I don't pretend to be a food critic. I leave that for those who devote their careers to that field. What I try to do is find places in Hawaii that offer a unique dining experience and encourage folks to step away from the norm and try something different whether it be a really great "hole-the-wall" gem or fine restaurant.
Understand, a dinner at Chef Mavro is expensive. (Please keep reading!) You'll likely pay between $100-$150 per person (See menu below), but that pays for a multi-course dinner overseen by one of the world's top, multi-award winning chefs and includes wine pairings with each course. Just add those numbers up in your mind and suddenly the price becomes very reasonable.
When you visit Oahu there has to be at least one night when you decide to splurge, whether it be a special anniversary, birthday, or, perhaps, that one fine meal before you return home. If that's the case, you definitely should consider an evening at Chef Mavro.
The restaurant itself is only about five to ten minutes from Waikiki. Remarkably affordable valet parking is on site. With seating for just 68 and over 20 staff, you know that you'll be getting lots of personal attention from an amazingly knowledgeable staff and, quite likely, a table-side visit from the chef himself.
One of the really neat things about Chef Mavro is that the atmosphere is anything but stuffy. The decor is perfect for Hawaii, the wait staff is dressed in a neat and clean, yet relaxing attire, and if you meet Chef Mavro himself, he's not at all what you'd imagine. Let's just say his hair style alone relaxes you.
Chef Mavro offers a seasonally changing menu with completely new offerings four times annually. Chef Mavro offers a three, four or six course prix-fixe menu. Prices begin at sixty-five dollars for the three course offering without wine selections up to one hundred forty-eight dollars for the six course menu with wine selections (2.5oz). Prices are subject to change.
A special "Chef's Table Tasting Menu" features all of the chef's dishes - eleven courses in quarter portions, for the whole table only. Prices for this special menu are one hundred fifty dollars without wine selections or two hundred eight dollars with sommelier rare wine selections.
You can view Chef Mavro's current menu online.
If You Go to Chef Mavro
The majority of the patrons at Chef Mavro are kamaaina or local folks who love the restaurant and come back on a regular basis. Most visitors never dare to leave the "safe" confines of Waikiki to dine. But whether you're a local resident, someone on a business trip or a visitor who wants to experience something unique and very special, you're sure to consider a visit to Chef Mavro as a highlight of your Hawaii experience.
Chef Mavro is located at 1969 South King Street in Honolulu. It's only about a five minute drive from Waikiki. Valet parking is onsite. Their phone number for reservations is (808) 944-4714. Dinner is served from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.