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First course: 53 By the Sea now open

September 14th, 2012

53oystersNadine Kam photos
Oysters that are part of the 53 Seafood Showcase platter. This was the grand opening selection. The actual $30 seafood platter will be portioned for two.

Now open on the site of the former John Dominis restaurant is 53 By the Sea, Honolulu's latest Italian restaurant helmed in the kitchen by a Japanese chef, Hiroshi Hayakawa.

No one who's ever been to John Dominis will see a trace of the former restaurant here. It's given way to a $16 million Mediterranean-style chapel-looking building that will also serve as a wedding venue marketed to Japanese lovebirds.

The 200-seat Italian restaurant is on the ground floor, and a ballroom staircase will lead to the Terrace by the Sea. The two-story, 18,825-square-foot building features two wedding chapels and six banquet rooms in an unbeatable setting right on the water's edge in Kakaako, with a straight-ahead view of Diamond Head.

Whereas the former restaurant was built close to the water, with waves splashing against glass walls, the new restaurant is raised, with glass doors and outdoor seating for those who want to actually feel the ocean breeze and take unobstructed photos.

The restaurant is open for dinner, and lunch service is set to begin around Sept. 26. During a media reception this morning, the restaurant offered a sampling of its menu, with entree prices ranging from $18 for spaghetti Bolgonese, to $42 for grilled Maine lobster with fried island vegetables.

*Note that the dishes below were presented in group portions, and not the actual individual portions.

Non-flash video link

53exteriorThe exterior of the new 53 By the Sea restaurant built on the site of the former John Dominis restaurant.

53staircaseThe ballroom staircase leading to the wedding chapels.

53chefChef Hiroshi Hayakawa.

53ppProsciutto and Pecorino.

53steakAmong the beef offerings is grilled Black Angus filet mignon.

53pesto scampiBow-tie pasta and pesto scampi.

53penneSeafood penne.

53escargotEscargot-stuffed mushrooms.

viewThe million-dollar view.

53diningroomThe private dining room.

53wineWine display.

53barThe bar.

53pianoTadashi Kobayashi, executive corporate advisor of World Dining Inspirations (WDI Group) with pianist Chiyo Flynn.

53lobsterChilled lobster.

53ahiAhi is part of the 53 Seafood Showcase platter, which during regular meals is portioned for two.

53capreseCaprese comprising Buffalo mozzarella and Hau'ula tomatoes.


Added Sept. 18: I went back and got a photo of the actual shellfish platter, and also saw one of the brides departing by limo:



8 Responses to “First course: 53 By the Sea now open”

  1. Lynn Ishida Barbaree:

    Hello, from Pasadena, California. My husband and I would like to congratulate you on your opening.

    Lynn and Gary Barbaree (We are sommelier, Connor Barbaree's parents.)

  2. » 53 By the Sea Opens Kakaako:

    [...] First course: 53 By the Sea now open (Star-Advertiser) [...]

  3. Nicole:

    I went to 53 by the Sea for a special occasion with my boyfriend and it was perfect. The food was absolutely delicious. Although all of the items we had tasted great, the seafood appetizer was my absolute favorite. The sashimi and oysters were the freshest I've had. The service was great too. All of the employees were cheerful and really made us feel like special guests.

    The view made the entire experience so romantic. The beautiful ocean and sunset just made everything awesome. For all this I expected to pay a small fortune but the prices were reasonable and within our budget.

    Not sure if it was just us but the assistant manager Conner actually came out and made sure everything was ok. That was very sweet and unexpected 🙂

  4. Cecilia:

    I like the helpful info you supply on your blog, that add more color beyond the articles in the paper.

  5. Tim:

    My wife and I had dinner at 53 by the Sea last night and it was absolutely perfect. From the moment we parked the car until we picked it up after dinner everything was done with total professionalism and a smile. The Filet was done to perfection and the Ahi Sashimi was some of the best my wife has every eaten. Job well done and look forward to trying lunch beginning next week.

  6. Nadine Kam:

    Glad you were able to enjoy, considering it must be very hectic there now. I had a huge response to my review in the paper and everyone said they want to check it out. I always hope it's not all at once because the restaurants become overwhelmed.

  7. Charles David Dreher:

    Aloha`e from Kaka'ako,

    Truly the BEST lunch venue on Oahu, for great food, view & atmosphere this is the spot to entertain clients, prospects and friends in a breathtaking setting. The outside lanai is a must to experience. Come hungry!!!

    Charles David Dreher
    Executive Vice-President
    Commonwealth Capital Advisors

  8. Yolanda:

    The view is fabulous. Fresh carpaccio was lovely to look at but cut too thick which made it chewy. The mushroom risotto too bland. Had to wait 20 minutes for a second glass of wine and I was sitting in the bar area!!

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