More child (and parent) friendly restaurants on Oahu – something for the eye

by Sovidias

Oahu has lots of excellent restaurants with great meal options for everybody. Here are some suggestions for kid friendly locations with that special something.

In one article I was talking about child friendly restaurants, where more the surroundings like waterfront location offers lots of distraction for kids (in a positive way) while waiting for the food to be served and eaten. But there are also some locations in Waikiki, e.g., which have an interior and flair that is exiting and appealing to kids and parents alike.

Oceanarium, Jimmy Buffet, Tiki's, Round Table Pizza

Certainly unique is the Oceanarium located in the Pacific Beach Hotel. They have a huge 280,000 gallon fish tank, with 70 species of marine life. It offers an a little bit pricey, but delicious buffet, with incredible views of local fishes, rays, and sometimes even mermaids during your dinner.

At Jimmy Buffet’s at the Waikiki Beach Comber “you don’t know if you are inside a volcano (hot spot bar), sitting in a huge crashing wave (their booths), or swimming next to a humpback whale or Great White (hanging from the ceiling)”. At least this is how my older one explained it to me. But their design is really like a replica of several Hawaiian scenes. A large sized video wall covers one complete side of the dining area. Right next to the restaurant is the Honolulu Surfing Museum with boards and everything that has to do with the history of surfing up till now. Tiki’s Grill and Bar in the Aston Waikiki Hotel has a very nice setting with great views of sunsets over Waikiki Beach. It is a little bit touristy – but it’s Waikiki. They serve good sea food, and their keiki menu has additional local choices, served on a Frisbee to take home.

Some places one can’t fully explain why they like it, like Round Table Pizza at Enchanted Lake Shopping Center in Kailua. It is a great restaurant with the best pizza I know here on Oahu, always filled with kids, but I cannot really tell the reason why. Maybe it’s the big jukebox, their motor bike simulator, or – just that irresistible smell of their fresh pizza.

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Buffet Oceanarium
Buffet Oceanarium
Tiki's Lanai seen from Kalakaua Avenue
Tiki's Lanai seen from Kalakaua Avenue
Tiki's Bar and Grill Entrance
Tiki's Bar and Grill Entrance
Hot Spot Bar
Hot Spot Bar
Shark at Hot Spot Bar
Shark at Hot Spot Bar
Approriate Kids Menu

All those places, including the waterfront restaurants I mentioned in another article, offer an adequate amount of appropriate kids meals, which leads me to another criterion that is important to us: the selection of food on the kids menu and quality thereof. I don’t know why most of the kids menus condense the regular menu to nutritional chunk items (favorites seem to be chicken nuggets, hot and corn dogs, pizza, any kind of sandwich, mac and cheese). What makes this even worse is that most of those meals could be served at an acceptable nutritional level. For example, you can offer ‘chicken’ nuggets consisting of compressed cheap chicken parts and things I don’t want to even know from the frozen food aisle, or freshly made chicken fingers. Or Mac and Cheese coming straight from the Easy Cup; is it so hard to make a nice Sauce Alfredo and cook some fresh pasta? Hot dogs and pizza are sometimes on the edge of edible when served hot. By the time kids get about halfway through, they are cold and the salt is the only taste at best that is left. I am not an expert when it comes to franks, but I guess the more salt is needed to override the other ingredients, the less healthy it can be.

And last but not least, all of those restaurants have one more important thing that contribute to (most) parents happiness – a great selection of local beer. With some good food, I would like to have at least the option of sipping a glass of good local draft beer, or very occasionally, a glass of wine.

Updated: 06/03/2012, Sovidias
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