Thursday, May 27, 2010

Le Guignol French Restaurant - Honolulu, Hawaii

For the first time in my life, I finally had a chance to eat at a French restaurant, another goal on my 101 on 1001 list.

I've always wanted to try French food.  I absolutely love exploring food from other countries, which is a favorite pastime of mine. 

There are a handful of French restaurants in Hawaii, but the one that I am most familiar with is Le Guignol, a restaurant I have walked past several times upon returning home.  My sister and I always wanted to eat there to explore the food.

Le Guignol, an Ilima Award winning restaurant, offers contemporary and classic French cuisine.   Across from Thomas Square and Blaisdell Arena, Le Guignol is easy to find, as it's on the street corner nearest to the arena. Inside, the restaurant offers a casual, yet romantic atmosphere.  There's indoor and outdoor seating available depending your preference.  As a side note, if you are interested in drinking alcohol, it is BYOB, meaning you must bring your own to the restaurant.

The service at Le Guignol is excellent.  If you plan to eat at Le Guignol, I would recommend you dress appropriately because you may feel awkward wearing shorts and a T-shirt there.  Unfortunately, I had no choice because I had come home late from snorkeling and horseback riding. 

I could sense the pride Chef and owner Ala places in creating such exquisite French food. 

Before the meal, french bread is offered on the table, along with a spread that tastes much like blue cheese butter.

Suprisingly, I can't recall ever eating French onion soup before, so what better place to have it than at a French restaurant?  It was a light soup, yet rich in flavor.  There was a piece of french bread soaked in French onion soup, covered in guyere cheese. It was delicious.

I tried escargot (snails) for the first time too.  Yes, snails.  I was feeling a bit adventerous and decided that I would at least eat one in my lifetime.  It reminded me of a tiny, round clam.  It was chewy and deeply reminded me of seafood.  It was immersed in parsley butter, which added to the flavor.

Boullibase (bu-yi-base) is delicious too.  I wasn't sure how to pronounce it at first, but the waitress kindly informed me after I asked since I couldn't prounounce half of what was listed on the menu.  A seafood soup, Bouillibase, is a simple, classic dish that any seafood lover would enjoy. 

My all time favorite at Le Guignol, however, was the creme brulee.  I imagined creme brulee to be a slice of cake with layers of pudding inside since I had never eaten it before. When I ate it at Le Guignol, however, it was a custard-like pudding, thick in consistency and rich in flavor.  It was torch fired on top, reminding me of flan with a layer of crispy, caramel flavored goodness.  I have no other way of describing it.

I felt as if I would explode if I ate anymore, but I gladfully forced myself to eat the creme brulee since it could not be taken home.   I ate every ounce of it, as if I had been starving.  It was worth every bite.

It was an interesting experience eating French food at Le Guignol.  The food appears light, but tastes extremely rich in flavor.  It's almost as if the food has been simmering for hours, adding enormous amounts of flavor to every bite.

I now want to try the other French restaurants I have heard about in Honolulu.

While eating at Le Guignol, I also noticed an on-going party that caught my attention. Chef Ala had prepared a 7-course meal for the party, while he made a chocolate souffle.  From what I hear, the chocolate souffle is amazing, but one must order it in advance.  If you are interested in having a party there, you must also request in advance. 

Hope you enjoy eating at Le Guignol!


  1. Oh! I love Escargot. It can be a bit heavy on the butter but man the taste is so delicious. Plus on that bread it must have been magnifique!

  2. You went?! Hope it was good. I wasn't even sure if it was a real restaurant anymore because I could never see people in there.

  3. Hi Kyle! I didn't know you liked escargot. That's cool =)

    Buhay, thanks for your comment! It was pretty good. =)

    Lorie, yep. It's still open! We'll have to go sometime.


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