Billing itself as a "cafe and wine bar," this restaurant is rather unique, especially given its central Waikiki location. The menu is equal parts ... More
Billing itself as a "cafe and wine bar," this restaurant is rather unique, especially given its central Waikiki location. The menu is equal parts Japanese and Continental, while the decor is several steps up from anything else in the area. However, the prices are low. The menu items range from scallop terrine ($8) to Italian pasta and fried garlic rice. The restaurant is tucked away in an upstairs corner, which makes it feel somewhat private. There is a bright and cheerful dining room and a breezy, shaded balcony.
After hearing so much about this restaurant, I decided to try. The place is a dump surrounded by tall buildings. I wanted to try their anniversary course dinner which they were out of. I then tried to order three more different dishes which they didn't have. What kind of restaurant is that? One appetizer was good, but the rest (pasta dish) were just so so. We decided to go eat at Formaggios afterwards for better foods. What a disappointment!
The food itself is quite tasty, the dishes are served elegantly and sauces are plated well. The Garlic Teriyaki rib-eye is tender, and the Seafood Bouillabaisse is served with an excellent sauce complementing the various seafood items. Cream sauces such as those for pasta are rich as expected. Sadly, we were unable to try desserts (not due to any fault of the restaurant), although some of them appeared quite delectable.
The ambiance is cozy, even outside due to Hawaii's warm climate. The restaurant will almost always be packed with a majority of Japanese-speaking individuals. However, the noise level is never at an uncomfortable level. I personally didn't mind, being familiar with the barest level of Japanese.
The service is definitely the most lacking aspect of the restaurant. We could not make reservations hours in advance, and when we got there, we were informed that the wait time would be thirty minutes or more (nowhere near the ten minutes promised by the man answering the telephone just fifteen minutes before). Hot water for tea was lukewarm, napkins and utensils were not laid out, and the bill was not given until asked for (even though we'd been sitting bored at the table for quite some time already).
The value of this restaurant is highly debatable. The dish sizes are small (for the price) compared to restaurants that most American mainland tourists will be familiar with. The rib-eye steak, although tender and delicious, was not quite enough to satiate. However, this is partially atoned for due to the quality of the food. If you're on a budget, this restaurant is probably not for you.
If I could, I'd give it a 3.5 but that doesn't appear to be an option. I'd say it's closer to a 4-star than a 3-star anyways.
We love Petite Garlic. The setting, above a street in Waikiki, with outdoor dining an option is beautiful. The Paris-trained chef creates delicious entrees and appetizers. Service is good. We find ourselves going to Petite Garlic every time we are in our beloved Waikiki, and we have always had a wonderful evening. The fish dishes are among the best on the island, in our opinion.
The ambience, food quality and charm of Petite Garlic make it a great value. You will find an enchanted evening!
We actually already wrote a review in DaKine magazine. We gave this place a fairly high rating. The crowd is mostly Japanese, which made us feel like tourists in our own town. But the wait staff is young and cute and attentive.
Tried the fried garlic and ahi appitizers which were great. Entree portions were on the small side, but everything was tasty. I recommend the bouillabaisse which comes with large pieces of shrimp, crab and scallops along with saffron rice. Try the creme brulee - very tasty and eye-catching - served with fresh fruit slices.
The waiters were not very attentive and slow to refill our drinks. They left us with empty dishes for 15 minutes while they cleared tables that had already left. Very poor service.
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