Savor the Islands at Hula Grill
By Maria K. Regan
Enjoy Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine in an indoor-outdoor setting with an ocean backdrop.
Hula Grill serves up the fresh flavors of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine in a setting that evokes the comfortable elegance of a 1920s Hawaiian plantation home. A mix of rich woods and rattan, graceful upholstered chairs, engaging pieces of Hawaiian traditional art and heartfelt friendly service make Hula Grill a place to relax and savor the islands.
Set on the second floor of Outrigger Waikiki, directly above Duke’s, Hula Grill is a great choice when you want water views in a more intimate setting. Whether you’re dining at an outdoor table that overlooks the beach and the ocean beyond or enjoying Aloha Hour in the handsome bar, you’ll feast on tropical breezes along with fresh island flavors in food, cocktails and beer.
“We want guests to get a taste of what Hawai‘i’s all about,” says executive chef Paul Rivera. “We want to give them choices they can’t get at home. And for Hawai‘i residents, our focus on fresh, local foods means the menu is always changing so there are new things to try every time you visit.”
Each night, the menu features six species of fresh fish—always sustainable—choices. Also on the bill of fare: rib-eye steak from the Big Island and pork from O‘ahu’s windward side. Locally grown vegetables, including fresh lettuces, kale and Okinawan sweet potatoes, are the perfect complements.
Photos courtesy of Hula Grill
“We’ve formed relationships with our local farmers and producers,” says Chef Rivera. “We work with our purveyors and try to utilize what they have available. For example, if they have a lot of tomatoes, we’ll create dishes that take advantage of that availability. In the same way, if I have a dish in mind and need a particular item, they’ll try to find a way to provide it. So it works both ways.”
Desserts are all house-made and include Hula Grill’s signature ice-cream sandwich; macadamia-nut tiramisu; Hula Pie (a Hawaiian take on mud pie with macadamia-nut ice cream and chocolate sauce), and pineapple coconut creme brulee served in a fresh pineapple bowl.
Hula Grill’s breakfast menu also is stocked with local favorites, from papaya and pineapple to star fruit and dragon fruit. Waffles and pancakes come with a house-made mascarpone whipped top-ping, and sausage is locally sourced. Other menu highlights include seared peppered ‘Ahi benedict, and Loco Moco featuring a burger from Maui Cattle Company.
The Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine philosophy extends to the Plantation Bar, where you’ll find specialty mixed drinks that highlight local products, including Hawaiian rum, fresh-squeezed juices, fresh mint (from Chef Rivera’s back-yard garden) and O‘ahu-made Pacifikool ginger syrup. On tap: selections from Maui Brewing, Kona Brewing and Mehana Brewing Company. Bottled, you can enjoy Aloha Lager from Honolulu’s Aloha Beer Company and several mainland favorites.
The Plantation Bar serves pupus, salads and sandwiches, and offers daily Aloha Hour specials. Its decor continues the restaurant’s theme. Low lava-rock walls form a rustic perimeter around the bar area. Though indoors, the bar itself is covered by a palapa thatch roof. Next to it, a koa outrigger canoe—one tested in the demanding Waikiki to Moloka‘i race— is suspended from the ceiling, which is decorated with woven lauhala and dotted with plantation-style fans.
Musicians play nightly from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, a hula dancer also entertains and is happy to teach keiki and other guests a graceful hula movement or two.
Whether you visit for breakfast, brunch, Aloha Hour or dinner, Hula Grill serves up expertly prepared fresh and flavorful foods in a welcoming Hawaiian atmosphere with ocean views. In short, a dining experience to be savored like a sun-kissed afternoon on the beach below.
2335 Kalakaua Ave., Ste. 203 [C:8, Waikiki Map]
Daily in the Plantation Cafe
Monday – Friday 4 to 6 p.m.
Saturday 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Sunday 2 to 6 p.m.
Nightly 7 to 9 p.m.
Chef’s Tasting Menu:
Monday – Friday 4:45 to 5:45 pm.
Three-course menu (smaller-than-entree portions) for $25.75
Brunch specials from 9 to 2 pm. Half-price mimosas until 2 p.m.
Validated valet at Outrigger Waikiki: $5 for 3 hours. Or, Ohana East Parking Garage on Kuhio and Kaiulani Avenues: $4 for 3 hours (3 hours free on weekends).