Most travelers book their hotel, and then their restaurants. In Honolulu, those in the know put together their itinerary in reverse order. First, they track reservations to Sushi Sho, and then they book their stay at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach accordingly.
Sushi Sho is arguably one of the hottest reservations in Waikiki Beach right now, and it has been since its opening in 2016. Booking a seat six months in advance is by no means out of the ordinary for Sushi Sho.
The operation is run by Keiji Nakazawa, which is the primary reason for the omakase-style restaurant’s hype. Nakazawa originally opened Sushi Sho in Tokyo, and his restaurant in Waikiki is his first foray into the American culinary scene—a move his fans have been clamoring for.
Among his accolades, he’s competed against Iron Chef Morimoto and is revered as one of Japan’s best sushi chefs. So you can instantly see the appeal of his Sushi Sho within The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach—it’s a chance for foodies from the North American continent to sample the omakase Japan is known for without flying all the way over the Pacific Ocean.
Because Sushi Sho is one of Oahu’s most-coveted establishments, the song and dance that comes with getting a reservation is, predictably, somewhat arduous. You have to call the restaurant between 2 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to make a reservation. There are 10 seats and two seatings daily, and the omakase meal, which averages about 32-courses, comes in at $300 per person.
While Sushi Sho maintains the quality Nakazawa delivers at his Tokyo restaurant, he makes a concerted effort to weave local catches and flavors into the omakase presentation, showcasing ingredients like Kona abalone or Moloka’i prawns. Nakazawa also brings a vast amount of sake knowledge to the table, so indulging in his sake pairings is worth the additional splurge.
And of course, though you’ll come to Waikiki just for Nakazawa’s 32-courses of melt-in-your-mouth sushi, you’ll stay for the ambiance at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach. Their property just completed a renovation in October 2018 and they now have the two highest infinity pools in Waikiki. Beyond the hotel, the shopping along Luxury Row is known worldwide, with the institutional luxury brands lining Kalakaua Avenue and the up-and-coming hotspots popping up on Kuhio Avenue.