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Ko Olina--anything noteworthy?

Hi, I'm staying at the JW Marriott at Ko Olina next week and am having a difficult time researching the area. Am I making a mistake staying over here?

Any recommendations for lunch or dinner? Any price range or atmosphere will do. Thanks!

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  1. That part of the island is suppossed to be a sever CH wasteland. There is a Roy's in Ko Olina... but its not suppossed to be any better than the Hawaii Kai branch... its decent but nothing to write home about.

    The communities around Ko'Olina are Kapolei, Makakilo Heights & Ewa Beach... typical mainland chain ridden sub-urbs to the degree you would find in Middle America.

    Wainea is a slice of real Pidgin pie... not many Haoles wander there... but it might be a good opportunity to try local hole in the walls.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Eat_Nopal

      If you happen to be out there, Roy's isn't bad...you can sit out on the terrace overlooking the golf course where Michelle Wie practices when she's in town. I spent one afternoon out there watching her hit ball after ball as I ate my crab salad sandwich.

    2. it is a nice hotel, the hotel restaurants are not bad (mostly), but it is not a culinary smorgasborg. It is a getaway spot on a getaway island.

      If you are going to go chowing in Waianae (west of Ko Olina), remember that mainland people are not welcome by everyone there (a century of bad cultural relations.) That being said, the VAST majority of people in West Oahu are warm, friendly, and love to share their culture.

      6 Replies
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        I like to spend weekends over at Ko Olina - I would not recommend a room on the side
        with the pool. It gets very noisy in the day and at night people in the bar yell a lot and
        are quite loud. The Azul is a great place for brunch, we have enjoyed it many times
        it is practically everything in miniature from the dining menu a real feast and unlimited
        wine. Roy's is good for lunch and the view of the signature 18th hole is very nice.
        We've enjoyed the Japanese restaurant as well but the name escapes me. The spa
        is completely wonderful as well with great treatments. Do try to eat at Azul. I must say it
        is GREAT to see Roy's Hawaii Kai win so many Hale Aina awards at the recent ceremony.
        The last few years I've missed that event due to November travel. I've never had a bad
        meal or experience there and am going for dinner this Saturday.

        1. re: manomin

          The Japanesse restaurant is Ushio-Tei. It too looked good, but we have not dined there.

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            when it first opened it had great reviews. I've not heard bad thing since, just haven't heard much of anything.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              When that happens, I always wonder if maybe the clientle just is not into posting reviews, the food is not worth posting about, or people just do not like it (or dislike it) enough to post.

              I'm with you, in that this is not an area of O`ahu, that gets much press. If we can put the golf trip together, I'll report on whatever we find.

              Yes, it's off the "beaten path," but still "looks" good. Same for Makaha. Ever hear of any of the restaurants there? I have not, and it's a lovely area of O`ahu. Most tourists do not even know that it exists. Gotta' be some good food there.

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I have to admit, I don't know of any chowhound/foodie types living in the Waianae district of Oahu. This area suffers from serious economic problems, has high poverty levels, and from what I know, most of the great food in the area is to be found at local family parties, not in restaurants. Somewhere out on that side there is a bar that supposedly has good pupu's, but it is not someplace I would send unaccompanied tourists. On the other hand, I am a townie... maybe someone can enlighten me as well.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  That mirrors my observations entirely. Now, being an obvious Mainlander, I have no "inside" knowledge of the area. To me, it is such a shame that the economics of tourism have not been spread to that part of the Island. However, with the $'s would likely come other problems. For every yin, there is always a yang.

                  Still, I'd love to hear of some of the food from that area. I know that Chef Wong haunts the western end of the Island and tries to draw from it.

                  As the economies of Hawai`i change, military, pineapples, sugar and possibly tourism, I'd love to see other things fill in the gaps - coffee, farming, livestock raising. There has to be a better life available. I'd love to see western O`ahu benefit in the long run. It too lovely and intriguing a spot to suffer - it has suffered enough. Maybe fields of micro-greens for chefs in Honolulu? Makaha is known for music, maybe produce in the future. Here's my big hope for it.

                  I also understand "bedroom coummunities" and the aspect that most dining is done in the home. With this, there is less likely to be commercial establishments opened. In my travels, I often ask "where is a great breakfast spot?" Very often the answer is "we always eat breakfast at home with the family. We don't know who even does breakfast." I understand that. If someone asks me, "who has the best wine selection in Phoenix?" My answer is, "I do, and that's often why I enjoy most of my wines at home... "

                  Aloha,

                  Hunt

      2. If you have a car, Julie'Z (Phillipine) and Fortune Chinese in Kapolei aren't bad. Try the Lechon Kawali at the former.

        1. We did a little walk-about and had lunch at Roy's there. It was good. It was Roy's. However, the higher-end restaurant, Azul, looked excellent, judging from the room, the menu and the wine list. It has also gotten some good recs. on this board, but I'd guess that most of those comments were back a bit.

          We were in the planning phase for an upcoming golf vacation there, and have not stayed/dined (other than a quick lunch at Roy's) yet.

          Might want to do a "Search This Board" for Azul. I'd also hope that some folk, who have dined there recently can update your info.

          Aloha,

          Hunt

          1. Must try the sushi buffet at the asian restaurant at the Ihilani Marriott inside Ko Olina. The food is super

            1 Reply
            1. re: lala09

              Had not heard of this one. Mahalo.

              We're hoping to do one of our normal O`ahu trips, and I'd like to throw in a few days out to the west for golf. I've only done the Roy's for lunch and it was good - as Roys' tend to be. The Azul (I kept calling it Azure - duh!) looked good, and their wine list looked nice, but we were only passing through, and did not stay out at that end of the Island. Nice to know that there is more. Makes it worth the trip.

              Hunt

            2. I'm heading to Ko Olina in a few months. Does anyone have any updates to the original posting? Any recommendations for lunch or dinner around there?

              5 Replies
              1. re: quine9

                We have eaten twice at Azul in the last two months, having liked it enough the first time to go back again. There is a $45 tasting menu that was a good deal. The lobster bisque is good, but the splash of (admittedly top quality) olive oil was overkill. They do a nice job with fish, and (maybe because they cannot sell $5-6 plates of spinach, potatoes, etc.), they were comping bowls of veg. The short ribs are good, but not great. If you eat outside, the garden is pretty until it gets dark. The wine list seemed overpriced to me, and $6-12 for a cup of coffee seems high too. Overall, it is slightly better value than Roy's, unless you are a golfer, perhaps.

                As I have posted elsewhere, Fortune Chinese Rest. in Kapolei is good for home-style dishes e.g., pig foreleg appetizer, pork and taro hot pot, etc.

                1. re: Joebob

                  Thank you Joebob! I look forward to reading your other post.

                  1. re: quine9

                    You are most welcome. Will you have a car?

                    1. re: Joebob

                      We will have a car. My husband is pretty familiar with the area - but hasn't been in many years.

                      1. re: quine9

                        Kapolei is just a few miles from Ko Olina. A few more miles eastward is Waipahu with some good Filipino food at Thelmas and Elenas, which is a real dump to look at but has v. good adobos and superlative lechon kawali (pork cracklings with onions and tomatoes), when it is available. Unfortunately, they seem to sell out of it quickly. The lechon in coconut milk at Max's of Manila is good too, but their specialty, fried chicken, did not impress.
                        The island is not large, so, if you are not here for complete R&R, a half-hour drive will put you downtown (so long as it is not rush hours, 3-6PM). There are lots of good eats there as indicated in other threads.