53 By the Sea

53 By the Sea - Oceanfront Fine Dining Overlooking Diamond Head
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

53 By the Sea is highly regarded as one of the best fine dining establishments on Oahu. Make your reservations early for the beautiful sunset hour and enjoy dining on premium Italian-inspired entrees featuring fresh local ingredients. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

53 By the Sea is a fantastic fine dining restaurant located in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu. This location is well established, having been offering outstanding service and dishes for over a decade now, and is considered a go-to location when you want a five-star dining experience.

The number “53” in this restaurant’s name is said to partially refer to the restaurant’s location and partly to refer to their team’s dedication to premier service and food. General manager Shige Kikuchi has stated that the number “5” is meant to represent the five senses, as the restaurant’s gorgeous ocean-front location and open-air environment are purposefully designed to capture the beauty and smells of the beach. The “3” is meant to represent the restaurant’s dedication to the three primary values of customer service: warm hospitality, professionalism, and a dedication to preparation that ensures consistent, perfected experiences. 

When you walk into the gorgeous modern building that this restaurant is housed within, your hostess will walk you past a massive staircase that swoops gracefully up a second floor. That second floor houses the restaurant’s own wedding chapels that look out onto the sea as well as private dining rooms equipped for receptions and similar events. For everyday lunch, brunch, and dinner diners, the first floor offers exceptional seating overlooking the ocean and Diamond Head State Monument. 53 By the Sea is perfectly set up to offer every interior and patio table exceptional views. They’ve done this by keeping the dining area narrow but long so that it extends all the way down the oceanfront side of the building. 

In terms of food, 53 By the Sea does a bit of everything. Executive chef Hiroshi Hayawawa, Tokyo-born, and Italian-trained, keeps the Italian influences in all of the highlight entrees offered on the menu, while likewise ensuring that there are plenty of local ingredients and inspired dishes. 

Some of the most popular menu items at 53 By the Sea include:

By the Sea “Pan Roast”
This entree features locally caught Mahi Mahi that comes roasted and served with Kauai shrimp, large scallops, and stir-fried vegetables. A savory Americaine sauce is drizzled over the top. 

Saffron Pasta
The Saffron Pasta features Orzo pasta mixed with a Parmigiano Reggiano and with the freshest of vegetables. You’ll find within mistake mushrooms, broccolini, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby arugula. 

Of course, before you tuck into your entree, we certainly recommend trying at least one of 53 By the Sea’s outstanding appetizers — several of which were built to share. Consider the:

Deluxe Seafood Showcase
This massive seafood platter comes with four pieces of king crab legs, seven half-shucked oysters prepared to order, seven Kauai shrimp, two Atlantic lobster tails, and a sharable helping of ahi poke. 

Pork “Lechon”
This appetizer features pork belly served lightly fried in thin cuts and alongside tomato concasse and pickled onions. The dish is topped with adobe sauce and cilantro. 

Insider Tips:
-If possible, we recommend booking your reservation at 53 By the Sea for an hour or so before sunset. That’s because while this restaurant does not strictly face the west, diners here are still afforded some pretty amazing evening views.
-In addition to its regular menu, 53 By the Sea also offers a fantastic five-course-tasting menu. However, because of how expansive this menu is, we would recommend only committing to it if everyone in your party is doing so. A full wine pairing for each course can also be added at a surcharge.