New Restaurants Open on Oahu

New Releases: We check out three new restaurants, two big time, one better.


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Like an old movie, an established restaurant may be a classic, worth revisiting. But the excitement comes when both movies and restaurants are new.

I love to sniff the air of a new restaurant, feel the crackling, nervous anticipation of the new staff, open a new menu.

With three new restaurants to visit, I had a wonderful month in store.

Two were big deals—multimillion-dollar hotel restaurants. One sprang up along the semicircular lagoon at the new Disney Aulani Resort; the other’s the result of the $20 million renovation of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki’s third-floor pool deck.

Restaurants like that are like summer blockbuster movies, so much riding on their success.

Those two weren’t bad, but the best of the three newbies was like a sleeper indie film—a storefront restaurant in a Kailua shopping center, from a chef whose last restaurant was a food truck.

Such are the surprises of art.

Ama Ama

Aulani, 92-1185 Aliinui Drive, Kapolei, 674-6200. Daily Breakfast 7-11 a.m., Lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Dinner 5:30-10 p.m. Free validated valet parking if you spend more than $35, major credit cards.
 

I had a great time eating at the new Disney Ko Olina resort. Not entirely because of the meal.

Now that our children are more or less adults, there’s far less dining en famille. It was a rare occasion to have the little one fly home from Washington, D.C., and the other to find her way home from the wilds of Pearl City.

It called for a gala dinner, but where? It’s not like they’ve ever agreed on anything.

Gotta love that Disney magic. One mention of Aulani, and suddenly everyone was on board.

“Can we do Breakfast with Mickey?” asked the oldest, who’s 24. I presumed she was kidding, and booked a table at the resort’s top eatery, called Ama Ama.

Disney “imagineered” Ama Ama within an inch of its life. It’s supposed to look like an extension of a 19th-century building, including a rustic-looking concrete fish tank. There are lights to make it look like it’s filled with illuminated fish.

For all the efforts, Ama Ama looks like what it is, a high-end, beachfront resort restaurant.

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