What is one of the best things about vacation…? The food! No cooking, no washing dishes and ordering local cuisine. It is one of the small things that makes me appreciate a vacation that much more. At the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii there are plenty of options for indulgence after long days of sightseeing and beach-going.
In the Hawaiian Islands there are many different influences on their history of food. Immigrants from China, Portugal, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines have made the combination of tastes in Hawaii unlike anything else you’ve ever tasted. Their featured restaurants will leave you satisfied and certainly never bored. The mouthwatering dishes are full of creativity and combinations you won’t find at home. Below are samples at what you’ll find in the local restaurants. *NOTE* Whistler and I stayed for 5 days and still didn’t have the opportunity to eat at every option!
At the ‘AMA’AMA – Contemporary Island Cooking the beach house atmosphere gives you a breathtaking view of the ocean while you enjoy your meal. Named after a popular local fish, this restaurant is open for all breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Chocolate dipped haupia bread French toast and filled with bananas and peanut butter
- Sweet Potato and Portuguese sausage hash with poached eggs and marinated heart palms
- The “Loco Moco” Specialty with sunny side up egg , white rice, and a hamburger patty topped with gravy
- Seared Island Fish
- They also serve the traditional breakfast items such as waffles, eggs, bacon, and more.
- Angus ground beef burger with avocado, shaved radish, and Maui onion-tomato jam
- Kalua roasted pulled pork sandwich served in a steamed bun
- Crab and Lobster rolls with wasabi mayo and cucumber
- Catch fish tacos with coleslaw and salsa
Main Dishes for Dinner
- New York Strip Steak with creamed Swiss chard, soufflé potatoes, and poivrade sauce
- Grilled Lobster served with vanilla sauce and a Korean pancakes
- There are even options for vegetarians such as the goat cheese ravioli with local baby vegetable stew
The AMA’AMA also serves over a dozen cocktails and let’s not forget dessert. They have strawberry and lychee sorbet, pineapple tarte tartin with caramel cream, and Floating Island with guava.
I have only touched on few items this restaurant has to offer but had the opportunity to have it’s Chef Kevin Chong show me in person how to make one of his dishes served at Ama Ama – Snapper Lau Lau. This restaurant is a great choice for a romantic date night while the kids are at Aunty’s Beach House. It is the perfect place to let the ocean breeze wash over you while you devour meals fit for a king.
The Bounty of the Islands – The restaurant is at the center of the resort and has exhibits of local artists which include everything from paintings to glass art. It is meant to express the Makahiki season of peace, play, and renewal. In traditional Hawaiian celebration Makahiki is the celebration of the harvest. Wood carvings within the restaurant depict the events of the special season. There is a daily Buffet for Breakfast and Dinner.
- Everyday “American” favorites: pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc.
- Baked beans and barbecued ham
- Asian buffet with crispy dough, greens, steamed and fried rice, congee and lots more (my favorite!)
There is also a buffet for children called the “Keiki Corner” with Mickey Mouse waffles, granola, fruit, yogurt, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, etc.
- Line-caught sustainable seafood
- Fresh salad with local greens
- Rotating carving stations
- Asian inspired entrees
- Plenty of deserts to satisfy your sweet tooth including cheesecake and banana cream puffs
- There is also the “Keiki Corner” at dinner time with hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza on a stick, something for even the pickiest little eaters.
Makahiki is also where your family can enjoy Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration (Character Breakfast) daily. This is definitely a MUST DO once during your stay. Not only do the characters make their way from table to table while you eat, but Aunty joins in for an interactive show and learning experience. All the children were encouraged to take part in the celebration as they marched and sang throughout the restaurant.
Off the Hook
This seaside bistro is inspired by the nautical charm of a fisherman’s shack. It is open every day at 11 a.m. for cocktails and snacks.
Grab and go menu items include –
- Kobe Beef sliders
- Feast of the Sea Platter
- Pecking duck flatbread
- Desert Sampler
While you enjoy your nosh or a mid-afternoon beverage, you can watch the dazzling colored fish swim in the aquarium above the bar.
If you can’t seem to find that one item you’re craving there is also dining at the Lava Shack, the newly added Ulu Café (which is poolside and a great grab and go option), or Little ‘Opihi’s, all of which offer a variety of selections.
TIP: Purchase a Resort-refillable mug for at either Lava Shack or Kālepa’s Store and enjoy complimentary refills of non-alcoholic beverages throughout your stay.
For a refreshing snack you can also check out Papalua Shave Ice and Rip Curl Yogurt Bar for a sweet treat….and don’t forget about Room Service!
Thank you to Disney for hosting my son and I at Aulani. All opinions remain my own.