I had the pleasure of being invited to Tommy Bahama (store, restaurant, and bar) last month to try their new, Frozen Mai Tais. I thought Tommy Bahama was going to be a touristy, chain restaurant, but I was surprised to see that it is a very nice place, with a unique menu that has some local flavors! There are many unique dishes created by the restaurant chefs. I went with a good friend who enjoys nice restaurants and we tried it together.
Description: It’s a Nice Restaurant and Bar and Store
It’s a restaurant, bar, and store. There are 3 floors here: 1st floor is the store. 2nd floor is the restaurant and and a bar. 3rd floor is the rooftop restaurant, lounge, and bar.
Yelp lists Tommy Bahama as $$$ to describe their prices. Their appetizers cost between $15-20 and entrees cost between $25-40. Martinis are around $15. They have a wide selection of wine, with many being $15-25 for a glass or you can buy a bottle.
This is a brunch, lunch, dinner, and late dinner place. It’s also good for getting drinks. They are open from 10am till 11pm. On the weekends they open at 9am. Happy hour is 2pm till 5pm.
It’s mainly tourists, Japanese tourists, families, dates. On my visit here (Wednesday night), it seemed to be a very quiet and tame crowd.
Live music. There was live music when we got in at 7pm and it ended shortly after. I think the waiter mentioned they have live music almost everyday.
EVERYTHING ON THE MENU SOUNDED GOOD. Neither of us had been to Tommy Bahama before, so we basically chose from a short list of recommendations from our very friendly waiter. All of the recommendations were great! Our waiter also mentioned that the chefs use whatever ingredients are available that day, so the menu can fluctuate day-to-day.
Appetizers: Coconut Shrimp, the Fanciest-Looking Bread, and Frozen Mai Tais
To start us off, we ordered Coconut Shrimp, which the waiter said is one of their most popular dishes. It is a breaded, deep-fried shrimp with coconut pieces, on top of a mango sauce. My friend liked it a lot. I thought it was a great dish, though I prefer my shrimp more salty than sweet.
Next, the waiter brought out some complimentary bread (and our Frozen Mai Tais :D) while we waited for our food. The bread was this fancy-looking shape that looked like Russian roofs. The butter was this interesting mix that included cinnamon and nutmeg — yes, that’s right, it’s in the butter! It’s a nice mix and it tasted like a Pumpkin Spice Latte mixed from Starbucks mixed with butter.
Finally, we enjoyed trying the Frozen Mai Tais that we were invited for. I generally do not like to order mixed drinks because many places will go light on the liquor, but this one had a gracious amount of rum that I could taste with my very first sip :D.
Entrees: A Fancy Pizza and Filet Mignon
While my friend and I were feeling good from the ambiance, chatting with our waiter about food, and the Mai Tais, our food came out.
My friend loves Italian food, so it was no surprise to me that she picked the Pizza. For myself, I wanted to try something that I rarely eat: Filet Mignon steak.
My Filet Mignon was medium-well done (odd choice, but I don’t like my steak too bloody). It came with some greens, gravy, and mashed potatoes. It was actually a lot of food, when you consider that I also had appetizers and Frozen Mai Tais. I was very happily satiated from the food.
Dessert: Crème Brûlée… in a Pineapple?!?
After the steak, I was absolutely stuffed. I am a slender man, so you can imagine my belly was sticking out of my body like Diamond Head Crater. My friend naturally orders Pineapple Crème Brûlée. Wait… what? Yes, that’s right, it’s Crème Brûlée inside a pineapple housing! We all know that if you take something and add pineapple, it automatically becomes Hawaiian 😀.
How’d they make it? My guess is they take a big slice of pineapple, hollow out the top portion, stuff it, then put a thing slice of pineapple top back on to glaze. Aside from the crackling top, you are not meant to eat the pineapple with your spoon… because only the top is soft.
Preview the Menu
I took some pictures of the menu so that you can preview some of the items on the menu. Note that the menu changes all the time. Also note how big their drink menu is.
Reservations or Walk In?
Summary: peak times are 7pm and weekends are always busier! They have phone and online reservations!
I went with my friend at 7pm on a Wednesday. We had reservations, but walk-ins would’ve been fine. However, Waikiki can become very busy during the weekend during dinner time. So, I asked our lovely waiter about when to get reservations.
To get a reservation, call their number (808) 923-8785. Ask to get through to the restaurant. There, you can make a reservation. Alternatively, I found out that they also use Reserve with Google for online reservations!
Location and Parking
The store/restaurant/bar is located at:
298 Beachwalk Dr
Honolulu, HI 96815
The easiest way to drive here is to enter Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue (which is 1-way) and turn right at Beachwalk Drive, shortly after you pass Fort Derussy Park. You will almost immediately see the store on your right after turning onto Beachwalk. As for parking, their validated parking will be on the left, a little in front of where you pass Tommy Bahama. It will be a parking lot with a downward sloped entrance.
For $7 validated parking, get your validation ticket from the waiter at Tommy Bahama. This should be good for 4 hours. When you get back to the parking lot, go to that machine by the elevators. First insert your original ticket. Then insert your validation ticket. Then pay with a credit card. The machine will stamp it. Then, when you exit, give your original ticket to the machine.
Alternatively, you can try find street parking, though you would have to park up a block, since there is much more street parking towards the Ala Wai Canal and Kuhio Avenue than near Beachwalk.