These folks at their tables don’t look a least-bit interested in the aquarium’s entertainment. lol
OK, you’re not gonna’ find Nemo or Spongebob Squarepants wishing you a happy birthday in the Oceanarium’s 280,000 gallon, 3-story indoor saltwater aquarium in Waikiki anytime soon. But you will find plenty of entertainment and subject for conversation as you gaze at over 70 different species of marine life swim across the other side of the towering glass windows of the tank which makes up the entire inner-wall of the restaurant.
While all of us have been here on our own for various functions throughout the years, never has our office gang come to the Oceanarium together for any of our annual birthday functions. So granting his own request, we brought Diner E here for the Aloha Friday Lunch Buffet (just this past Friday) in celebration of his birthday.
An Oceanarium Diver feeds the fishies fresh lettuce leaves
As you seen in the first photo, Spongebob had the sign-waving job covered! Of course that’s just a Photoshop fantasy, but you can have a diver hold up a sign (for a fee) in the tank with any special message you’d like. “Happy Birthday!” “Congratulations!” “Will You Marry Me?” or even, “I want a divorce”. lol
These fish went into a feeding frenzy over the lettuce
Here’s the deal…
Aloha Friday Lunch Buffet
11am to 2pm (on Fridays only)
$15.50 adults, $8.50 children 5-10 years old, $9.50 seniors 65 years and over
Salads & Appetizers
Fresh Island Tossed Greens, Chef’s Assorted Specialty Salads, Island Sashimi, Fish and Tako Poke, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Potato Macaroni Salad and Fresh Fruit.
Chef’s selection featuring Miniature Pork Lau Lau, Island Chicken, Beef or Pork Specialty, Catch of the Day, Noodles or Pasta, and Hot Vegetable of the Day.
Far East Specialties
Chirashi, Hosomaki, Futomaki, California Roll, Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura, Nimono and Miso Soup.
Pastry Chef’s selection of tasty treats featuring: Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie, Lilikoi Chiffon Pie, Custard Pie,
Chocolate Haupia Cake, Chef’s Special, Mochi, Assorted Petite Pastries, Almond Float and Zenzai
With that said, here’s a few plates that some of da’ gang chose at the buffet line that landed on our table…
Clockwise from top: Potato Salad, Steamed Monchong, Shrimp Tempura & Dipping Sauce, Charashi Rice, California Maki Roll, Roast Pork, Sashimi, Tako Poke & Ahi Poke
None of us knew what the heck this fish was called. It was quite strange-looking.
Clockwise from top (10 o’clock): Miso Soup, Tako Poke, Ahi Poke, Pickled Ginger, Sashimi, Wasabi (choke), Shrimp Cocktail, Cucumber Maki and California Maki
One of the larger rays makes a round
Chowfunn noodles, Steamed Monchong with Lup Cheong!, Chirashi Rice, California Maki, Shrimp Tempura, Oden (you’re supposed to put that in a bowl!), and smoke-roasted pork (they said this was awesome!)
These laulau weren’t so “mini”. More full-size if you ask me! Enough that Diner “AC” split one with me. The execution was excellent as well, using a really fatty, generous piece of pork, wrapped in REAL Luau leaves and steamed in Ti Leaves. Of course, no can touch Young’s or Ono’s, but for what it’s worth, solid. I think all it needed was a little more Hawaiian Salt, some poi on da’ side and this would have been perfect.
Yeah, most of the choices on the entree dishes above were the same. That’s because we all have similar tastes in what we like! There certainly were many other choices available that you must see, pick and choose for yourself here at the Oceanarium’s buffet.
Now you ask, was this lunch buffet worth $15.99? Absolutely! I was most impressed with the freshness of the Tako Poke, Ahi Poke and Sashimi. You see that second plate (the round one)? That’s mine. Minimal starch (rice) and maximum fresh seafood. Go for da’ gold!
Any complaints? Well, primarily that they kept running out of the popular items, not having a replacement immediately ready. This was especially problematic for the Tempura station. They were bringing new pans out in very small batches, which didn’t take even minutes before they were attacked and cleaned out. lol Not that their Tempura was anything special either. Not bad, but not great. As you can tell by the batter, speed more than attention to detail is the name of the game. But hey, for just $16, including everything else offered, what can you expect?
Service is typical buffet restaurant style, and I must say, they were quick to take away our finished plates, while keeping our water glasses full. So kudos to the Oceanarium staff on that.
As for the aquarium, the tank had a couple of large rays, standard size eagle rays, most of the typical Hawaiian reef fish, but no sharks. Also gone were the massive Ulua they used to have. The largest fish (besides the rays) in there was one Awa. I don’t recall seeing any eels or lobsters on the bottom, but than again, none of us really were paying that much attention to the tank, and more into enjoying our lunch.
Of course, this is a great place to bring kids, and they do have lower prices for the keiki.
Here’s The Oceanarium’s current prices:
• Breakfast Buffet (Mon-Saturday 5:30am-10am): $17.50 per person, $7.75 children 5-10 years old
• Nightly Dinner Buffet (4:30pm-10:00pm) $34.95 adults, $15.25 children 5-10 years old
• Saturday Brunch Buffet (11am-2:30pm) $21.95 adults, $11.50 children 5-10 years old
• Sunday Brunch Buffet (10am-2:30pm) $26.95 per person, $11.50 children 5-10 years old
• Aloha Friday Lunch Buffet* (11am-2pm) $15.50 adults, $8.50 children 5-10 years old, $9.50 seniors 65 years and older
*The lunch menu on all other days except Fridays are served ala carte (not buffet) off the menu.
So if you’re tired of Todai, Willowed out, or mad at Makino Chaya, consider Aloha Friday at the Oceanarium!
2490 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
(located lobby level of the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki)
Open daily from 5:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Dinner 4:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
The Tasty Island Rating:
(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)