A Review of ‘AMA’AMA at Aulani

When David and I were in Oahu, we knew that being devoted Disney fans required us to spend some time at Aulani, the incredibly beautiful Disney resort on the west side of the island. We made dinner reservations at ‘AMA’AMA, the resort’s flagship restaurant. If you’re thinking of this restaurant in Disney terms, consider is to be like a Yachtsman Steakhouse at The Yacht Club, or a Narcoossees’s at The Grand Floridian. We heard mixed reviews about ‘AMA’AMA before we dined there, with a lot of people complaining about high prices and mediocre food. We had once heard similar complaints about about our all-time favorite Walt Disney World restaurant Monsieur Paul, so we went into ‘AMA’AMA with an open mind. What followed our open minds was one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had. For starters, ‘AMA’AMA is beautiful. The restaurant is open air, with beautiful views of Aulani’s beach, and a minimalist but modern theme that is very well executed. We were expecting to be floored by the prices, as we had been warned, but we found them to be on-par with other high end restaurants on the island. ‘AMA’AMA even offers a menu for two, for a little over $100. Compared to other pre-fix menus we saw in Oahu, this was a downright bargain for fine dining.

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The menu for two came with an appetizer sampler of four different menu selections, a Chateaubriand that can feed multiple people, and a Mocha Chantilly cake. The appetizers were good, but not overly memorable, with the exception of the poke. Let me preface this by saying that David and I are POKE FANATICS. If poke had a team, we would be the quarterbacks. If poke had fan club, we would be the presidents. We sampled many variations of this popular dish all over the island, but Aulani’s was by and far the best.

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The Chateaubriand that followed the appetizers was beyond words. Covered in a wine sauce, and amazingly tender, this filet could be cut with a butter knife. While it was billed to be for two people, it was plenty of food for more than that. That didn’t stop us from eating the whole thing without any guilt, but it was a very generous serving. The Mocha Chantilly cake that followed was amazing, and David says its one of the only desserts he’s ever truly loved at a signature restaurant. We usually find desserts at signature restaurants to be over-complicated, small, and unmemorable. This cake was the exception to that standard.

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All in all, the ambiance, food, and service made this restaurant a winner for David and I. It’s still a young restaurant, so I think bad reviews should be a thing of the past, or maybe ‘AMA’AMA is just going through some growing pains. We endorse it as one of our favorite restaurants on Oahu, and encourage you to make a reservation for dinner next time you’re on the island!

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