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The Luau in Beverly Hills

I just saw The Luau was reemerging on Bedford Dr...!!!! I have such memories of the old tiki joint... So, does anybody know the scoop on it???

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  1. I googled your title and came up with a bunch of stuff on both the old place that was a special occasion place for my family and the new place that is supposed to open soon.
    I have mentioned here that when I was a kid I would order their drink called a Bo Lo that was a fruit and rum drink served in a hollowed out pineapple. It was supposed to be served sans rum but more often the bartender screwed up and I received the adult version! The only entree that I remember really liking was their Shrimp Curry (ordered spicy/hot) that was served with a lazy susan of condiments including shredded coconut, Major Grey's Mango Chutney, peanuts, rasins....... Those were the days!


    6 Replies
    1. re: sel

      I can't wait....!!!! I checked out the photos of the old Luau... check out the drink prices!!!!

      1. re: bellabar

        I met the new bar manager last week - she said they will have the same drinks as the original!

        1. re: shebop

          I would be very surprised if this resembled the old Luau in any way, shape or form.

          1. re: deadre

            The door was open when I walked by the other morning..... I peeked inside and it looked great... Retro tiki with a hip twist.... I'm sure it will be quite the hang out... It will probably become the native westsider's friday night hang to replace Trader Vics... I miss Trader Vics on Christmas Eve.... Perhaps the Luau will be the new tradition..

            1. re: bellabar

              Hopefully the food will be better. Memories are great, but the food was terrible!

      2. re: sel

        “I really love this place. I called to make a last minute reservation and the hostess was very accommodating for a Friday night. The food was really great. It was the type of food that is traditional and yet, they add a kick to it that makes it fun and unique. I loved the salmon wrapped in a Banana leaf and the chicken curry was sensational (I didn't know what Jidori chicken was, now I am a huge fan) it comes with something called LUAU NAAN. It was so good. The pupu platters that they served as an appetizer were amazing (better than Trader Vic's). That combination was truly inspiring. I think it's a great place for a date or just a night out with some friends. Its chic without being overwhelming. I felt very comfortable there. We had Mai Tai's which were made with all natural ingredients nothing artificial here. Finished dinner with Key Lime pie that was superb. The bill was reasonable. We will be back."

      3. Luau represents Chef Makoto "Mako" Tanaka's newest restaurant. Most may know him from his Mako restaurant on Beverly, and more recently, Robata-Ya on Sawtelle. I had a chance to briefly speak with the executive chef, and he hints at a Hawaiian-fusion style cuisine. I am looking forward to trying it.

        1. The Grand Opening is looking like the 20th of this month.

          6 Replies
            1. re: Obessed

              Yes, I was at the opening last night. There were three kinds of drinks served - a mai tai, something blue made out of vodka and rum, and a pina colada type drink that they called a Morino or something like that that was a sort of rum/pineapple/coconut iceee. That was my favorite one, but there's more ice than drink (and it's not a slushie like a margarita, but more like a shaved ice concoction).

              The passed apps were a spare rib that I loved (very retro in flavor - both sweet and tangy), kobe meatball that I also loved (also more on the sweet side), a very good chicken curry (in a little pastry shell), fried shrimp (didn't try it), lots of different pulled pork apps (none of which I went back for, for seconds), and a veggie wrap (didn't try it). There was also a chicken leg or wing that was always gone when it got round to me.

              Beautiful room, both a throwback but modern (kudos on the design), cozy feel, and the food is promising (if one has a craving for polynesian fusion).

              1. re: yogachik

                Sounds like the kobe meatball served at Mako is now making at appearance at this new restaurant, yum!! Although, at Mako, it isn't served with a sweet/sour sauce.

                1. re: vinosnob

                  The meatball did not have a sweet and sour sauce. It was a little bit sweet.

                  1. re: vinosnob

                    So right - Mako consulted for the menu here.
                    That is why it deserves at least a try - let the nostalgia die, as the pics do not look ANYTHING like the original way back when.

                    1. re: carter

                      I happened to talk to the interior designer, and she wanted to have fun with it, but not be out-and-out kitschy. I think that's the direction the food is going, too. And it turns out Jeff Berry, who's like, a professional rum lover, decoded the original drink recipes. Yes, they were written in code. Here's an article about rum and Luau: http://www.blackbookmag.com/article/l...

            2. Going to Luau tonight for dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. re: vinosnob

                The place was packed mostly with the crowd that used to go to the original luau. After a 20-25 minute wait, we were seated.

                Of course, I had to do the mai tai challenge and compare their mai tai to Trader Vic's. Luau's ($14) is strong like TV's, but not nearly as sweet which I really appreciated. I can't pick one over the other; they're both solid tiki drinks.

                As for the food, it's leagues above TV's, but that's too be expected since the chef from Mako is handling the menu.

                We started with the pupu platter for 4 ($60) which included coconut shrimp, spare ribs, kalua pig spring rolls and kobe meatballs. BTW, these are the same meatballs that are served at Mako, but at Luau they are lightly brushed with a sweet pineapple glaze.

                All were tasty, but $60 is a bit steep for only 16 pieces.

                The entrees are meant to be shared family style and we ordered the filet mignon with red curry sauce (which comes with naan bread and jasmin rice), the tuna tataki (which comes with a wasabi and pea puree) and a side order of fresh corn.

                Again, everything was well executed with nice flavors. I also ordered another tiki drink; it was called something "blue" due to the large amount of curacao. I didn't care for it that much; tasted like spiked OJ.

                Overall, I won't be running back to Luau for dinner. For the money we spent (~$65/pp), I can get much better food elsewhere, but it was a fun, kitchy experience.

              2. So I went to Luau last night...it was a friend's birthday and she wanted to go here. There were 5 of us and we had a blast but it was due to the company and I will not likely return. The space & atmosphere were fun but the food was okay, nothing to write home about and it ridiciously priced. The wine list was absurdly expensive (~$20+ for a glass of medicore wine). We stuck with the foo-foo fruity drinks - they were tasty but added up at $14-$18 a drink. We started with 4 appetizers - then split a fish dish, lamb chops (5 small lamb chops for $42), and the pei chicken (this was probably the best dish and the most value for the money as it was an entire chicken). We had 3 side dishes - including fried rice which was not so good. We had 2 desserts which were fine. All said in done our bill was close to $500 (inlcuding tip). Definitely not worth the price for what we got.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Obessed

                  My sister and I took my mom for her birthday tonight and we could not have been happier!
                  We had glazed ribs, unagi on risotto cakes and firecracker shrimp for starters - which were all wonderful - then ono, lychee chicken, and halibut for main courses - the mains were very large portions - we could have skipped one - but they were all so tasty that we were glad to have them to try!
                  Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Crust and Coconut Cheesecake for dessert!
                  The staff was exteremely friendly and attentive - we'll definitely be back!

                2. Sorry to say this is like going to see a remake of a classic film. No umbrellas in the over-iced and wildly over-priced drinks--the Scorpion Bowl was $35--and lasted about 40 seconds. The Navy Grog was missing the rock sugar swizzle stick and any other semblance of garni. Food is as remembered fondly from my teens and the room is nice looking but we never really went for the food.

                  1. I went to the Luau quite often as a kid and teenager. The best thing on the menu in those days was the pressed almond duck....I have fond memories of going there after senior prom with a group and ordering those sweet fruity drink . It doesn't sound like the new one can ever recapture those "Gidget" days. I'm sorry to hear most of you were disappointed with the new version. I might have to pass on trying it and just be happy with my memories.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: delishdonna

                      "Be happy with my memories" sounds like a good idea. The Luau was the place to order "Scorpions" with a gardenia in the middle of the big drink; order rumaki, sit in big straw chairs and be terrified that you would be "carded." I am thankful for the memories. (One advantage of growing older).

                    2. Did Luau already close? I tried calling to make a reservation but it just keeps ringing and ringing...

                      7 Replies
                          1. re: budsoftaste

                            I'd actually looked at that one first but decided not to link to it because Eater LA said the closing was "unconfirmed" and the LA Times posted a big, bold "CLOSED" on their page (and say what you will about the LA Times - they confirm the facts in cases like this before putting it up in virtual print).

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Keys were turned back to the landlord a couple of weeks ago.

                              1. re: carter

                                I took my grandfather to the oringinal Luau for his 83rd birthday. My grandfather asked what the renonown of the restaurant was and I told him it was a meet market on Friday nights. After explaining to him what a meet market was he inquired why I did not bring him on a Friday night. Ahhh memories.

                                1. re: Hughlipton

                                  I think we had the same grandpa's....
                                  Thanks for sharing that memory!

                        1. re: cidneyd

                          Ouch. To paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, perhaps "you can't go home again."

                          Happily, I have food memories of the old Luau (and 2 prized salt shakers from the old place). Regretfully, I was in my late teens when it closed (and missed out on the Scorpions).

                        2. Refresh my memory, please. Wasn't the original Luau on La Cienega?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            I believe the Luau was on N Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills. You may be thinking of the Islander which was at 385 N. La Cienega Blvd. just outside of the Beverly Hills PO.

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              mucho gordo I think you are talking about The Islander restaurant on La Cienega that was there in the 1960's and later became a series of Mexican restaurants across the street from what is now the Largo. As a kid I thought it was really cool because it had thunderstorms inside the building, Take a look at this link with photos:

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                Yes! That's it, thanks to you and servorg. I was remembering the Moongate Inn and Ah Fongs and confusing them with the Luau.

                                1. re: wienermobile

                                  With 385 North from Roy Yamaguchi in between the Islander and Acapulco-ish places.

                              2. I worked there as a teenager in the 60's. So did my grandfather, a bartender, my uncle, also a bartender, and my dad a waiter over 20 years. I remember all the good food I ate as an employee. I worked at other restaurants Steve Crane owned in town. Au Petit Jean, Scam 9000. Looking back it was a blast running around Bev Hills and West LA in the late 60's. I got to collect and keep all the coins tossed into the pools...$80-$100.