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The Willows Sunday Brunch Buffet v.2.17

When it comes to restaurants in Honolulu serving a really good breakfast and Sunday brunch buffet, a few of the most popular are Hoku’s and Plumeria in the Kahala Resort, 100 Sails (formerly Prince Court) in the Hawaii Prince, Pagoda, and here at The Willows. I would have added the Oceanarium into that list, however as you may know, that once popular restaurant with its massive salt water fish tank is no longer, as the Pacific Beach Hotel it resided in is currently undergoing a major renovation.

“Really good buffet”, meaning they have a very expansive selection featuring multiple types of cuisine from across the Pacific. Of course we all know “Really good” as in the actual quality and taste of the food on the buffet line can be hit or miss, depending exactly what dish, where, when (who’s  cooking at the time), and simply overall timing on your part.

As I’ve dined there numerous times in the past, once again I had the Sunday Brunch yesterday at The Willows yesterday. Price was $38.50 per person, while seniors (two with me at the time) received a 10% discount per person on that. Thus, this is a good time to give you an update on The Willows Sunday Brunch, and whether you should consider going there soon for your next buffet dining adventure. Or party, which is what you’ll often find at The Willows, having large groups of folks either celebrating birthdays or a wedding reception, as was the case yesterday.

Following is a photo gallery of The Willows entire Sunday Brunch Buffet taken yesterday morning, plus shots from the lush surrounding gardenscapes, ponds and waterfalls that are a major part of the “hidden oasis in urban Honolulu” dining experience that makes The Willows so special. It really is a neat place! Enjoy. :-)

And? Overall The Willows Sunday Brunch Buffet was EXCELLENT! The raw fish dishes (I always hit that first!), including the salmon and ahi Sashimi, spicy ahi, ahi poke and tako poke were all high quality and super-fresh tasting, with that “melts like buttah” truly sashimi-grade mouthfeel.

The Prime Rib was super tender and seasoned to perfection, while the au Jus it was served with was deep and rich. I also tried their Squid Luau and Willows famous Chicken and Shrimp Curry, both of which were delicious.

The Squid Luau was a little salty, however the balance of unsweetened coconut milk (very important) and properly cooked tender luau leaves flavor was spot-on, plus da’ buggah when get plenty super tender squid (Tako) in it.  The poi was also nice and thick, with that perfect “couple days old” slightly sour poi taste. Hey, where else can you conveniently eat Prime Rib with Poi!

For dessert, I only had a Pineapple Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone, but even that was great. Yeah, I’m easy to please when it comes to dessert. Others at my table really enjoyed the various dessert cakes they tried, particularly the Butter Mochi, while they also overall gave a big thumbs up to the various main dishes they tried. Lau Lau was said to be “money”! While nobody on our table got the crab legs, I asked another diner who was returning for second helpings of it, and he said it was “solid” (winnah!).

Our waiter was friendly, where our water and ice tea glasses were always kept topped, and empty dishes cleared out promptly. Then of course you have that lush open air garden and waterfalls oasis to take in for your ambiance, which is half of what makes The Willows so attractive to dine at. Which to note, there weren’t any problems with any pests such as rogue birds, flies or mosquitos. Very clean and clear open air space if you will. It must also be noted they took all the Koi and other fish out of the main pond, where while I didn’t ask why, my guess is to save on maintenance costs. Also a note on parking, there’s a lot across the street that’s used for valet service, which is $3, plus tip. Also, there’s a 2 hour dining limit. We were actually there longer than that, yet they didn’t kick us out. ;-)

For $38.50 per adult, I think the very diverse, excellent quality, well executed and presented Sunday Brunch Buffet spread at The Willows is a great value, with just about everything you’d want and expect, and then some for the price, plus an almost magical “hidden oasis” ambiance to boot. The only frustrating thing like all “mega-buffets” is not having enough opu (tummy) space to try everything!

The Willows
Sunday Breakfast Brunch
901 Hausten Street (turn right off S. King right by Longs; formerly Star Market)
Honolulu, Hawaii   96826

(808) 952-9200

The Tasty Island rating:
4 SPAM Musubi (excellent!)

The Willows Sunday Brunch Buffet Menu
10:00am to 2:00pm
$38.95 per adult / $19.50 per child (4-10yrs)
Senior citizen discount (65yrs+) – 10% off
Military discount – 10% off
Menu items subject to change
15% service charge will be added on for parties of 9 or more

Portuguese Sausage
Fried Rice
French Toast
Create your own Omelet Station

Mixed Field Greens Salad
Caesar Salad
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Green Pea Salad
Potato & Macaroni Salad

Includes steamed white rice & soup of the day
Togarashi Crusted Sashimi
Somen Salad
Chilled Tofu Salad
Grilled Vegetables w/Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tako Poke
Ahi Poke
Lomi Lomi Salmon
Lau Lau
Kalua Pig & Cabbage
Chicken Long Rice
Poi Stew
The Willows Famous Hawaiian Style Curry
(Chicken & Shrimp)

Slow Roasted Prime Rib w/au jus & horseradish

Chilled Snow Crab Legs

Fresh Fruit Salad
Pina Colada Bread Pudding
Walnut Brownies
Strawberry Panna Cotta
Butter Mochi
Tiramisu Cake
Haupia Cake
Guava Chiffon Cake
Lilikoi Chiffon Cake
Orange Chiffon Cake
Dobash Haupia Cake
Soft Serve Ice Cream w/assorted toppings

Beverages included with the buffet ~ champagne (2 glasses), iced tea, hot tea, and coffee


5 thoughts on “The Willows Sunday Brunch Buffet v.2.17

  • February 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm


    $38.95 is not a bad price to pay for a all-you-can-eat Sunday Buffet. There are a lot of restaurants that offer Sunday Brunch at higher prices with less choices but some specialized in seafood buffets only.

    Back in RI we had a number of buffets that ran every day. My favorite was Custy’s which is now closed. Last time I was there it cost $17 all-you-can-eat including lobster, prime rib and 70 options.

    Nordic Lodge is still in operation but is $96 including. tax and tip but limits you to 2-hr. All-you-can-eat including lobster, prime rib, steaks, ribs, crab legs, shrimp etc. about 85 options.

    My favorite is China Buffet $12 which is all-you-can-eat featuring fresh. Made to order sushi and sashimi bar and fresh shucked raw bar, prime rib, crab legs and over 100 Chinese cuisine dishes plus dessert and ice cream Sunday bar.

    Wright’s Farm is a legend for it’s all-you-can-eat family style chicken dinner and it’s only thing on menu beside 1-steak dinner. 1/4 roasted chicken, hot rolls, salad, French fries and pasta with sauce $12.75. When you finish a platter the server will automatically bring you another till you tell them to stop.

    • February 28, 2017 at 2:12 pm


      Speaking of all-you-can-eat Maine Lobster and so much more (also including Rack of Lamb and Oysters!), check out the Sunday Brunch Buffet menu at Hoku’s, right on the beach at the Kahala Resort:

      HOKU’S Restaurant at Kahala Resort
      Sunday Brunch 9:00am – 3:00pm
      Chilled on Ice
      Maine Lobster, New Zealand Oysters, Shrimp, Mussels
      Sashimi & Sushi
      Ahi Sashimi, Lomi Salmon,
      Ahi Nigiri, Hamachi Nigiri, Salmon Nigiri, Spicy Ahi Roll, Blue Crab Roll
      Shrimp, Asparagus, Kabocha Pumpkin, Classic Dashi Dip
      Smoked Salmon with Condiments, Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella, Short Pasta Salad
      Romaine, Baby Arugula, Baby Spinach, Radicchio, Cherry Tomato, Cucumber, Beans,
      Mediterranean Toppings and Three Kinds of Vinaigrette
      Bagna Càuda
      Seasonal Garden Vegetable, Anchovy-Virgin Olive Oil
      Buffet Main Courses
      Butter Poached King Crab Legs
      Miso Glazed Butterfish – 2 Kinds of Miso
      Sunday Rib Roast – Red Wine Reduction, Horseradish Cream
      Oven Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb
      Hoku’s Chicken – Chef’s Creation
      Chef’s Breakfast
      Traditional Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Hash Potatoes, Sausage, Bacon
      Soup of the Day, Assorted Pastries
      Domestic & Imported Cheese
      Banana French Toast and Baked Almond Croissants
      Made to Order Items Delivered to Your Table
      Soft Shell Crab Pasta
      Ahi Poke Musubi
      Eggs and Omelets
      Mushrooms, Maui Onion, Ham, Bacon, Tomatoes, White Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, Spinach
      Dessert Buffet
      Kahala Chocolate Fountain, Seasonal Fruit, Special Petit Pastries by Chef de Pâtissier
      Coffee, Tea, Specialty Tea, Fresh Juice
      Adults – $75.00
      Children (ages 6-12) – $37.50

      I think that’s a STEAL OF A DEAL, all things considered!

  • February 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I have only been here for wedding rehearsal dinners of late, but that is my kind of buffet. Unfortunately the younger generation trends towards the hotel style.

  • March 1, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Pomai:  I wish you posted this a couple of weeks ago.  I returned from an 8 day vacation in HNL just this Monday and I would have partaken of the Willows Brunch had I known.  Being an expat Kamaaina, I used to love the Willows and ate their buffet dinner at least once a return trip to HNL each year.  But a couple of years ago in 2015, I thought the food was very crappy and poorly prepared and seasoned.  The only good thing on the menu that night was the Lilikoi Chiffon Cake.  Do you happen to know if the dinner buffet is good again?  Also, while in HNL, I went to eat at the Pagoda’s Friday night buffet which I also loved.  But this time the food was also poorly prepared and seasoned.  The poke bar was adequate, even though they took off the tako poke and raw crab.  But the seasoning was very bland.  The so-called pancit was inedible and the shoyu chicken was tasteless and over cooked.  I will not be going back to the Pagoda’s buffet, despite loving it for years and years.  But if the Willows is again good, I have an old-time, local style food buffet to put back on my list.  Please share your comments with me.


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