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Waikiki Eats: The Cheesecake Factory

We’ve all seen our fair share of cheesy post-2am infomercials, including those disguised reinvented and recycled fitness products and programs that must go down as the most absurdly-comical out there. Just last night I was rudely-awoken by an almost nightmarish push of Cheryl Burke’s DISCO ABS®. Between that, Shaun T’s Hip Hop Abs® and Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies, I’m not sure which one is right for me to get rid of all the extra pounds I’m picking up doing this food blogging thing.

So I’m thinking of creating my own infomercial called “The Cheese-Cakewalk-off”. To complete my program, all you have to do is walk one lap around Kapiolani park, then walk from there to The Cheesecake Factory in the Royal Hawaiian Hawaiian Shopping Center to eat. Then after you’re done enjoying a fantastic breakfast, lunch or dinner from their extensive menu, concluded by several slices of their most-decadent cheesecakes, which are also extensive, walk back and around Kapiolani Park for one more lap. Then you’re free to go home and sleep it off, or at least until you, too, are rudely awoken by yet another cheesy exercise or diet program infomercial at 2am in the morning.

Well indeed, if for anything else, this place is for all you BAD GIRLS as you’ll FREAK OUT like there was a DISCO INFERNO burning at The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki.

Diner C is actually a good girl (make that, young lady), and in celebration of that we took her there for her birthday yesterday. Yay!

The Cheesecake Factory’s one-and-only Hawaii location is situated on the ground floor at the far-Diamond Head end of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki…

Spock Diner A making shaka sign sitting down inside. Clown. lol

The decor in here is classy and opulent, yet casual-feeling at the same time…

All in the details…

We were given a spacious and rather private corner booth…

Just a stairway down and behind from where we were sitting was a large bar section…

A few of neighboring diners from our table…

A complimentary basket of fresh-baked bread starts the meal…

Click on bread basket to view a slice of each one

We knew this place served massive portions, so we didn’t order any appetizers, and went straight for entrees, starting with Birthday Girl Diner C, who chose the Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic…

The Cheesecake Factory (Waikiki) – Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic: Bow-tie Pasta, Chicken, Mushrooms, Tomato, Pancetta, Peas and Caramelized Onions in a Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Cream Sauce, $15.95

Diner AC went with the Santa Fe Salad…

The Cheesecake Factory (Waikiki) – Santa Fe Salad: Lime-Marinated Chicken, Fresh Corn, Black Beans, Cheese, Tortilla Strips, Tomato and Mixed Lettuces with a Spicy Peanut-Cilantro Vinaigrette, $13.95

As advertised, this comes with Tortilla Strips, dished separately so they stay crisp…

Putting the “S” in Santa Fe dressing…

Diner A wanted some Latin Heat, so he couldn’t resist the Cuban…

The Cheesecake Factory (Waikiki) – Cuban Sandwich: Slow-roasted Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Pickles, Mustard and Mayonnase on a Grilled and Pressed Cuban-style Roll. Served with French Fries, $11.95

Diner E parted with beef burgers for the day, and instead went with Portabella…

The Cheesecake Factory (Waikiki) – Grilled Portabella on a Bun: A Giant Portabella Mushroom Grilled with Herbs and Served on a Bun with Lettuce, Tomato, Grilled Red Onion, Melted Cheese and Spicy Mayonnaise, Served with Fries, $10.95

Diner E’s Raspberry Lemonade in a sugar-coated chilled glass…

Here’s a look inside this Grilled Portabella…

Grilled Portabella cut in half

Last but not least, yours truly did an encore tribute to last week’s Kiawe Grill Kobe Burger by ordering The Cheesecake Factory’s take on the dish…

The Cheesecake Factory (Waikiki) – Kobe Burger: American Kobe Beef with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions on a Toasted Brioche Bun. Served with Fries, $13.50

Here it is assembled…

The Cheesecake Factory’s Kobe Burger

This burger was way too big and tall to cut in half using just a butter knife I had available, so I’ll show you inside by biting through it….

The Cheesecake Factory’s Kobe Burger, cooked medium-rare

Here adorned in Birthday garb for Diner C is a generous slice of Vanilla Bean Cheesecake…

The Cheesecake Factory (Waikiki) – Vanilla Bean Cheesecake: Layers of Creamy Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse and Chocolate Ganache

Where there’s vanilla, there must be chocolate…

The Cheesecake Factory- 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

So what did we think of our meal? Overall, WHINNAHZ! Everyone gave a thumbs-up BIG SHAKA seal of approval.

Speaking just for my Kobe Burger, it was very good, but not quite up to snuff with the one from Kiawe Grill. My biggest disappointment about it was that they put some kind of Teriyaki glaze on it, which isn’t at all specified on the menu. While I like a great Teri’ burger when in the mood, that’s NOT what I was in the mood for on this occasion, yet that’s what I got. Not being one to complain (although I should have for $13.50), accepted what I got and went with it. With that,very tasty, but not as BEEFY and certainly not as smokey as the offering as the patty that so wonderfully graced the bun over at Kiawe Grill. Also, what’s up with the way they cut their Romaine Lettuce? What is this, McDonald’s? What a waste! Don’t chiffonade lettuce! Especially Romaine!That sweet Teri style sauce also kinda’ canceled out the earthy mushrooms and sauteed onions.

Aside of the cons, the sum of its parts still made my Kobe Burger a very satisfying and filling lunch. Oh, the fries were cooked perfectly too. That certainly helped.

Not surprisingly the star of the table were those two amazing Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Bean Cheesecakes. My fave’ of the two was the Vanilla Bean, but everyone else was going “Ga-Ga” over the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake. Either way, pure ecstasy on a plate, if that’s any way to explain it. I could go deeper, but we gotta’ keep it ‘G’ here.

I’d say one day, come here for a sitting of just Cheesecake. Don’t order an appetizer or entree or anything else. Just order cheesecakes, sampling as many as your party is interested in, shared family style. Even better, go massively Ala Mode with some ice cream on the side as a buffer, along with a Latte or Capucino. Oh yes, you know it.

The portions are huge, so certainly come here hungry, because you’ll need an appetite and then some in order to finish your dish. In fact three of us ended up taking a “doggie bag” home.

The ambiance is pleasantly elegant, yet casual, while also being relatively quiet, which is nice. Best of all, our server Steve was great. Very attentive, friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. Based on our visit while being served by him, if the bosses read this, give that man either a raise or promotion! Seriously, excellent customer service.

Also adding to the great food and service was the parking, which was abundant, as well as – with validation – FREE! In Waikiki? Well, that’s A-OK by me!

Keepin’ it ‘G’, here’s more of their cheesecakes for your viewing pleasure…

Whew, that was so ono. Now I need to work that all off by popping in DVD disc 3 titled “Boogie Oogie Buns ‘n Thighs”. lol

The Cheesecake Factory
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center Waikiki (on the Diamond Head <east> end)
The Cheesecake Factory Waikiki MENU <—click to download PDF (includes prices, current as of 2/09)

The Tasty Island rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

12 thoughts on “Waikiki Eats: The Cheesecake Factory

  • February 7, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I’m surprised you guys liked their food because one of the things I’ve heard about The Cheesecake Factory is that their cheesecake is awesome, but their food is mediocre.

    I’ve also heard that I should never look at the nutritional facts for a slice of their cheesecake.

  • February 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I never been to the one in San Francisco yet but now I will. It on Union Sq upstair in Macys Store. Their popular (which I don’t know why) Avocado
    spring roll is most ordered. Everybody that been there like to have dessert first before the meal.

  • February 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I’m with Marvo on not looking at the nutritional facts on the cheesecake. If I really enjoy something, I go with the “ignorance is bliss” philosophy. After all, one doesn’t eat cheesecake, burgers or baklava every day. (And if you do eat these every day, then, yes, perhaps some nutritional info would be needed then.) ;)

  • February 7, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Jenny, you know what we all noticed, is that although the cheesecakes LOOK heavy, their texture on the palate is rather light, so they do a good job whipping them up, almost having you think they’re actually lighter (on the cheese) than your typical cheesecake.

    But yeah, it’s not like I’m looking at Cheesecake as my daily source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Although, hey, why not! I’ll have to check Whole Foods and see what kinds of Cheesecake they have in stock!

    Nate, thanks!

    Betty, I think if I ordered the cheesecake before the meal, I too wouldn’t order the meal, and just stick with the cheesecakes. Looking at the Waikiki menu, I see it also lists the Avocado Eggroll in the appetizer section for $10.95. It’s described as “Chunks of Fresh Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro, Deep Fried in a Crisp Chinese Wrapper, Served with a Tamarind-Cashew Dipping Sauce”. Wow, those are some bold flavors in there, and it sounds very interesting. I’ll put that on my must-try list on my next visit there!

    Marvo, whatever the nutritional facts are on their cheesecakes, I’m sure, all things considered, the pros easily outweigh the cons (no pun intended) over those for JITB’s Taco Nachos or Jumbo Deal.

  • February 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    aloha betty–i’ve been to the CF at union sq. many a times—the wait’s not too bad….if you get yourself a drink :D

    pomai! the avocado egg rolls are quite tasty. the trick to getting an appetizer with your meal…is to split the entree! there’s no charge to do that. i like the bistro shrimp pasta–which is batterred fried shrimp (!!!) tossed in a creamy sauce with tomatoes and basil, linguine i think is the noodle. splitting the cheesecake with another is also a good idea. finally…try not to eat all the bread no matter how hungry!!!! ppl will hate on CF, but…..it’s quite decent food, and plenty of it. cheers!!!!

  • February 12, 2009 at 5:13 am

    We have a Cheesecake factory near my home in St. Louis. Back in July I splurged for my birthday, went in, ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of plain cheesecake.

    The cheesecake SUCKED!

    C’mon, folks, this is a restaurant that named itself after the cheesecake. Hey, I was raised in New York so I know what good cheesecake is.

    Again, the cheesecake factory’s cheesecake was so far below par that I wrote the whole place off. Specifically, the cheesecake was too sweet, too light, too whipped, too overloaded with crap, syrup, cream…etc. YUK.

    Right across the street, Starbucks sells slices of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake that are actually quite good.

    So, if Starbucks can sell a decent Cheesecake Factory slice of plain cheesecake, why can’t the restaurant?

  • February 13, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Joel, I heard all the Cheesecake Factory locations get their cheesecakes shipped from a central facility, so if the Cheesecake you tried from their was bad, chances are you wouldn’t like the ones from the Waikiki location.

    I personally thought they were fantastic, with a light texture, yet full-bodied flavor. Very fresh-tasting, considering. Almost as if they had been made to order. At least that was our experience. The vanilla bean ck was great.

    Raph, I’ll take you up on those Avocado Spring Rolls! After reading other review sites on CKF, I do see it’s the appetizer choice to get.

  • February 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    i hate to admit this but i worked in waikiki for almost three years and visited the cheesecake factory anywhere from two to four times a week. my friends and i became vip cardholders and got immediate seating no matter how long the wait and an occasional free cheesecake/meal. out of all of the things i tried (which was A LOT) everything was wonderful with the exception of the monday & tuesday soups of the day mexican black bean and wild mushroom. i loved the renee’s special which included a cup of soup, a sandwich and a salad. the cheesecakes were over the top sweet but split three ways and combined with a cup of coffee it was the perfect guilty pleasure.

    i no longer work in waikiki and weigh 20 pounds lighter now that i don’t visit the cheesecake factory. i’m happy yet sad about that.

  • February 15, 2009 at 1:37 am

    Nalani, wow, them (amazing) cheesecakes can add 20 lbs. to our weight? Yikes! The VIP card doesn’t help, either. lol

  • February 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve eaten at several different locations and have to say the food is not mediocor. I don’t like everything they have but it not because it’s not properly prepared. As to the cheesecake not being NY cheescake so what. I think that is just a case of cheesecake snobbery. I loved everyone I’ve ever had and I have also had NY cheesecake. I also make a wonderful cheesecake myself!! I’ve eaten food all over the world and while something might be exactly like it’s made somewhere else doesn’t mean it’s not good. Plus that location might not pay attention to their referigation!! I don’t know but I don’t think the whole chain should be written off on a couple of comments on a blog. Get over yourself. Sorry…

  • February 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Pomai, LEAVE THE CHEESE CAKE FACTORY FOR THE TOURISTS!!! The Cheese Cake Factory has refused to publish nutritional values of the food served in the chain restaurants. In Washington State where a restaurant disclosure law has been passed a person has sent digital photographs of the entire Cheesecake Factory nutrition facts booklet to the below website for publication. Mind you the average daily intake for breakfast, lunch and dinner should be based on a 2,000 calorie total count per day (age 4 to adult): Nutrient Unit of Measure Daily Values: Total Fat grams (g) 65; Saturated fatty acids grams (g) 20; Cholesterol milligrams (mg) 300; Sodium (salt) milligrams (mg) 2400; potassium milligrams (mg) 3500; Total carbohydrate grams (g) 300; Fiber grams (g) 25 and Protein grams (g) 50. After looking at Cheese Cake Factory nutrition facts numbers now I know why Cheese Cake Factory does not publish nutritional values for food served in its restaurant! By the way, Hawaii is ranked in 2011 the 47th obese state in the nation out of 50 states. EAT LOCAL!!!!! Yes it is OK to go off track once or twice a week but not every day which makes you obese and have heart problems especially with sodium (salt) intake!!!


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