This weekend we had lunch at one of our favorite spots: Hula Grill! We’ve eaten dinner here a couple of times and loved it! We were running errands around town and took an opportunity to sample their lunch/breakfast menu.
The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. The waiting area has a bathroom right outside the entrance and a very comfortable lounge. There are a lot of seats to relax if placed on the waiting list. Another cool aspect is that throughout the floor of Hula Grill there are plenty of informative pictures with backgrounds of the area, history of the hotel, and its founders. However, being lunch time, there were plenty tables readily available so we were seated right away with great hospitality and Aloha.
This was one of our views from the table, Waikiki beach. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a picture facing the other way but it was a perfect place to take a snapshot of Diamond Head and the other side of Waikiki beach.
As soon as we sat down, we we’re given menus for the weekend ‘Brunch on the Beach’ during the hours of 11:45am to 3:00pm.
This is a virgin drink named Island fruit smoothie. It consists of a blend of pineapple, mango, strawberry, and coconut. You have to try it! By far the most delicious smoothie we’ve tasted! Not too sweet, just perfect!
The menu has a great list of virgin drinks that include many natural ingredients with no added preservatives/fructose etc.
We also ordered a root beer soda – it was lightly carbonated, not too sweet, it went down real smooth (for a soda), and I’d say the best part of it all was that it is locally made. Maui No Ka Oi is the company responsible for such a great tasting drink. They are based on the island of Maui but have factories on Oahu where it is distributed. Other sodas, from what I recall, include Ginger Ale, Pineapple, and Lemon flavored soda.
A great theme Hula Grill is consistent with is how local everything is. While waiting for our food we listened to live entertainment that played pleasant Hawaiian music.
Our appetizers: Poke Tacos and Honey Mac Nut Shrimp. Poke is a local favorite – It’s raw fish. More specifically, Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna).
Honey Mac Nut Shrimp – Crispy battered, candied mac nuts, and citrus marmalade glaze. Many restaurants in Waikiki have sweet glazed shrimp but not like Hula Grill. Again, they had a local ingredient – Macadamia Nut. The shrimp did not taste too seaworthy nor was it too sweet – it had a perfect balance! It did not taste like refrigerated shrimp.
Poke Tacos – Marinated raw ahi, avocado, Maui onion, and wasabi aioli.
Poke tastes best when fresh and Hula Grill did not disappoint! This had to be our favorite dish of the entire day! We promised ourselves that we will return here just for this appetizer. If you’re a raw fish lover, we have no doubt that you’ll enjoy it!
Kalbi Beef and Watermelon Salad – Nalo farms greens and watercress, fresh watermelon, strawberries, shoyu ginger vinaigrette. This dish was delicious! The meat was cooked to a perfect well done and sliced to a tender juicy cut. It was an interesting combination with the fruits and steak, but the sweet and spicy mixture went quite well together. The greens are from Nalo farms which is locally based on the East side of Oahu, Waimanalo.
Hula Cheeseburgers and Fries – Makaweli 100% grass-fed beef hand-formed patty, cheddar cheese on a La Tour Bakery onion roll. For those uncomfortable with trying new dishes, you can’t go wrong with a classic cheeseburger and fries! I went with it to see if the 100% grass-fed beef (first timer!) made the patty taste any different than a regular one. On the bright side, it tasted like a normal burger which didn’t stop me from getting a “to-go box” to eat it later!
Hula Pie – Oreo cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, toasted mac nuts sprinkled on top and whipped cream. To top it off, although we were so full, we of course had room for this dessert! At such a huge portion size, this could have most likely fed a family of four for such a reasonable price. It was a great way to end our lunch and we would also definitely return just to eat this dish!
To be honest, many locations in downtown Waikiki attempt and fall short at bringing local dishes to life. I believe this happens due to tourist expectations (that are unfamiliar with local favorites) and the restaurant’s attempt mix too many known pieces for a ‘local’ dish which eliminates a taste locals are familiar with.
However, Hula Grill without fail nor second thought has achieved a wonderful balance of local ingredients as well as “familiar-to-all” dishes. It’s a wonderful place to bring tourists, locals, family, and friends alike. Hula Grill provides a taste for everyone.
One huge factor in why this is one of our favorite spots is that many items on the menu have an ingredient from a local farm or company – Hula Grill is supportive of the community and gives back in purchasing local foods.
*Disclaimer – This review was not persuaded by anyone from Hula Grill in any way nor are we forced to say any specifics. All opinions are honest and purely decided from our own experience. Conclusions are solely based off of food taste and customer service; which were both outstanding!
“Are you Hungry for Hawaii? Experience the taste, sights, and sounds of old Hawaii every Friday starting at noon” – Hula Grill
For more information on Hula Grill Waikiki, visit here.
Thank you to Hula Grill Waikiki for hosting us. All opinion are our own.
“We are all alike, on the inside.”
– Mark Twain