Ko Olina Resort Week—Food, Glorious Food
All it took was one dish at Roy’s Ko Olina and we knew we were in good hands. The blue crab maki, made with Japanese hamachi, sweet chile mango salsa, and firecracker aioli, was consumed by my family of four in a matter of seconds. The Ko Olina Resort might be best known for its properties, including the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Disney’s Aulani Resort, but it’s the restaurants outside the resorts that truly shine. Grab a seat at Roy’s Ko Olina overlooking the golf course and you’ll soon realize that this sister restaurant to the legendary Roy’s in Honolulu is a memorable meal. All the signature dishes are here, including heavenly blackened ahi tuna and the misoyaki marinated butterfish, both so tender that you know it was caught that morning. Save room for the decadent macadamia nut tart.
Roy Yamaguchi is not the only Hawaiian celebrity chef with a restaurant in Ko Olina. Peter Merriman of Merriman’s fame on the Big Island has opened the casual Monkeypod Kitchen directly across the street from the resorts. Start with a blueberry mojito or one of the 36 microbrews on tap including Longboard Lager from Kona. Then dive into an appetizer of ahi poke, so addictive that I guarantee you’ll order it twice once the first threesome is devoured. The pumpkin patch ravioli, created from roasted squash, spinach, chevre cheese, and walnut sage pesto is also a winner. Then move on to the macadamia-crusted mahi mahi, or the lobster, coconut, and fresh fish stew made with a nice Thai curry sauce. The kids will like the wood-fired pizza and burger choices.
It’s been a great week at Ko Olina! I’m fortunate to finally have the chance to check out the leeward side of Oahu. I want to thank Sweetie Nelson and Leonie Lam for giving me the inside scoop. I’m off to the Big Island and San Francisco, which I’ll blog about when I return home. Please check back the week of July 21st. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!
(Photo by Jake Jermanok)