Overview: Hawaiʻi is a melting pot of cuisines; tastes of home brought to the islands by immigrants from China, Portugal, Germany, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Mix all of those sunny tastes and you get multicultural fare of Hawaiʻi.
ʻAMAʻAMA – Contemporary Island Cooking
Inspired by a beachside house, ‘AMAʻAMA – Contemporary Island Cooking is a stylish open-air restaurant just steps from the ocean. ʻAMAʻAMA is a fish abundant in these waters, a local favorite. This restaurant, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is right on the ocean, an attraction in itself.
For breakfast, guests can opt for simple eggs and potatoes, or Belgian waffles. However, ʻAMAʻAMA also serves delicious Pacific Rim dishes such as seared island fish or the Japanese breakfast – with miso-glazed salmon, poached egg, miso soup, steamed rice, and pickled vegetables. The traditional “loco moco” breakfast is a sunny-side-up fried egg, white rice and hamburger patty topped with onion gravy. Another guest favorite is a simple açai bowl served with berries, banana, granola and local island honey. And Mauka Maile’s 100% Kona press pot coffee is the favorite morning beverage.
Lunch features such island favorite as melting pot poke bowl with ahi tuna, Korean-style salmon, Māui onion and crab.
At dinner, ʻAMAʻAMA serves up the best in modern interpretations of Hawaiian cooking. The signature starter is the ʻAMAʻAMA seafood platter, with crab legs, jumbo shrimps and oysters. Other appetizers include ahi poke with crispy rice, seared day boat scallop and bleu cheese salad. Main dish entrées range from regional fish stew to grilled prime New York striploin. Sweet endings include a Mocha Chantilly Cake, with coffee kanten, coffee anglaise, macadamia nut nougatine and chocolate gelato, as well as a Warm Honokaa Honey Mochi Cake with azuki gelato, haupia and caramel sauce.
The entryway of ʻAMAʻAMA is framed with a design inspired by the ancient fish traps still used by local fishermen, opening into the spacious dining room with a thatched roof, walls of mosaic, rough stone, or painted in cool shades of blue remindful of the waves of the ocean. A concrete fountain and reflecting pool are the restaurant’s fishing-themed focal point.
Makahiki – The Bounty of the Islands
With a buffet that’s open daily for breakfast and dinner, the spirit of the Makahiki – The Bounty of the Islands is celebrated in the fresh and flavorful cuisine.
Starting with breakfast, the spread includes everything from a simple continental offering to a western breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, potatoes, pancakes, waffles, French toast – even grilled island fish and loco moco. The Chinese/Japanese buffet has nishime, miso soup, steamed rice, fried rice and pickled vegetables.
For youngsters, the “Keiki Corner” features fruit, yogurt, granola, Mickey-shaped waffles, chocolate-chip pancakes, eggs, bacon, tater tots and breakfast pastries.
Favorite Disney characters celebrate with diners at “Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki” everyday.
The casual dinner buffet features line-caught sustainable seafood, fresh salads with local greens, rotating carving stations, Asian-inspired entrees and house-made desserts. A melting pot of cultures, the expansive buffet features starters from a lomilomi salmon to cheeses, and Kahuku corn chowder. On ice, poached prawns, crab claws, mussels, sushi and poke showcase the abundance of seafood. Entrees might include steamed snow crab legs, grilled island fish, and grilled shoulder steak with Hamakua mushrooms and truffle butter. For Asian flavors, there’s fried noodles, teriyaki chicken and miso-sake glazed salmon. “Keiki Corner” for youngsters may include macaroni pasta, chicken fingers, potato tots and streamed vegetables.
And there are plenty of sweets, such as chocolate brownies, no-sugar-added mango cheesecake, yuzu tart, pineapple cobbler, molten chocolate cake and cinnamon bread pudding.
The interior of Makahiki, showcases beautiful works by local artists, from paintings to glass art. In the entry, artists Butch Helemano and James Rumford collaborated to convey the story of the Makahiki season of peace, play and renewal (the Makahiki season is the traditional Hawaiian celebration of the harvest). Rumford sketched the designs and wrote texts for Helemano’s wood carvings that illustrate the sights and events of the Makahiki season. Also in the restaurant, artists Al Lagunero and Solomon Enos collaborated on a mural that depicts feasting and gaming. As day turns to night, the restaurant lighting gradually turns from rose to indigo with the setting of the sun.
Off the Hook
Next door to ‘AMAʻAMA near the ocean is Off the Hook, inspired by a fisherman’s seaside shack, decorated with makau, or fish hooks, cowry-shell lures, shark-tooth knives and specially carved fish-shaped stones.
Open daily from 11 a.m. for tropical drinks and small bites, Off the Hook favorites include the Angus cheese burger, flat breads and today’s fresh catch tacos.
Off the Hook serves creative cocktails including Lilikoʻi-lada, Mango Sangria, True Blue Hawaiʻi and Big Island Iced Tea. There’s beer on draft – Maui Bikini Blonde, Kona Longboard Lager and Primo Island Lager.
Lava Shack, across from the Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon, stocks pool snacks and beverages. Pāpālua Shave Iceis on the pool deck and serves up fruity and refreshing shave ice. Ulu Cafeis a poolside venue serving breakfast, lunch and dinner features an outdoor patio. Little ‘Opihi’sis a beachside, quick-service eatery offering convenient grab-and-go selections of salads, wraps and fresh fruit. Mama’s Snack Stopserves up poolside snacks like fish and chips, chicken tenders, and more.
Overview: Whether you are looking to cool off indoors with a mai tai or enjoy a glass of wine at sunset, Aulani Resort has several options to soak in the sights, sounds and flavors of Hawai‘i.
The ‘Ōlelo Room
Appropriately named, ‘Ōlelo (pronounced oh-leh-low) is the Hawaiian word for “word, language or to converse,” making it the ideal place to enjoy becoming more conversant in Hawaiian. In The ‘Ōlelo Room lounge, most everything is labeled with Hawaiian terms. And if guests need a little help, the bartenders all speak Hawaiian. The pub-like spot offers cocktails and small plates.
Cool starters include pristine sashimi, ahi poke and rainbow roll. Hot plates include beef sliders, Korean-style chicken wings and vegan tacos.
Delightful cocktails such as Aloha Mary, Skinny Rita and Pua Royale are among more than a dozen specialty drinks. If you prefer non-alcoholic, go for the Pineapple Ginger Splash, Passion Colada, and/or Lilikoʻi Splash.
Located in the main building on the lower level, the lounge has a design inspired by the “streamline modern” style of the 1940s, emphasizing curving forms and long horizontal lines. When guests look down, they’ll see papahele, the Hawaiian word for floor, spelled out in beautiful tile work. Dozens of shadow boxes above the bar display wooden carvings of everyday objects labeled with their Hawaiian language terms: for instance, mokulele is airplane, waʻa is canoe, heʻe is octopus, puʻuwai is heart.
More words you’ll find at ‘Ōlelo:
- maiʻa – banana
- paikikala – bicycle
- moku – boat
- pahupaʻikiʻi – camera
- waiūpaʻa – cheese
- moa – chicken
- ao – clouds
- niu – coconut
- ‘īlio – dog
- pinao – dragonfly
- pahu – drums
- iʻa – fish
- pua – flower
- kalipa aniani – glass slipper
- pāpale – hat
- moʻo – lizard
- mahina – moon
- mauna – mountain
- ‘iole – mouse
- waha – mouth
- kai – ocean
- ‘alani – orange
- puaʻa – pig
- hala– pineapple
- ānuenue – rainbow
- pūpū – shell
- palule – shirt
- papa heʻe nalu – surfboard
- ʻauʻau – swimming
- kelepona – telephone
- palaki niho – toothbrush
- kalaha – truck
- lua pele – volcano
And some word pronunciations you might need to know at Aulani:
- ‘AMAʻAMA restaurant (ah-mah-ah-mah)
- Aulani (ow-lah-nee)
- Laniwai Spa (lah-nee-vai)
- Makaʻala lobby (mah-kah ah-lah)
- Makahiki restaurant (mah-kah-hee-kee)
- Menehune Adventure Trail (meh-neh-hoo-neh)
- Waikolohe Valley (wy-ko-loh-heh)
Sip, dine, relax and enjoy a soothing escape at Wailana Pool Bar, located in the adult-exclusive pool area. At Off The Hook, Guests can grab a quick bite while enjoying a full bar an enchanting ocean views in this laid-back, pool-adjacent lounge.