Review: ‘Ama ‘Ama Dinner at Disney’s Aulani Resort

Welcome back DFB Reporter James Armstrong. Today, we get to peek at his Hawaiian dinner at ‘Ama ‘Ama at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii!

Let’s go back to Hawaii once again for dinner — this time at Aulani’s upscale restaurant ‘Ama ‘Ama.

Atmosphere

This seaside open air restaurant is the perfect romantic venue for any special occasion. ‘Ama ‘Ama has a perfect view of Hawaii’s famous sunsets!

And listening to the sound of the waves from the nearby lagoon while savoring your meal is a memorable experience.

Sunset View

Sunset View

The decor of the restaurant itself was rather minimalist to emphasize the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Dining Room

Dining Room

‘Ama ‘Ama is named after a type of mullet fish native to Hawai’i, also known as striped mullet. The restaurant itself is meant to look like a fishing shack from the 1890’s.

'Ama 'Ama Details

‘Ama ‘Ama Details

Aulani-AmaAma-Dinner-Story

The tables are setup to emphasize panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean no matter where you sit, but I recommend requesting a table closest to the open air windows for the maximum effect.

Hawaiian Sunset

Hawaiian Sunset

Eats

The menu is designed to use fresh locally grown produce, sustainably caught fresh fish, and house made desserts. The cuisine is considered Hawaiian and Asian with some European influences.

Front of Dinner Menu

Front of Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu Starters

aulani-AmaAma-Dinner-MenuEntrees

Aulani-AmaAma-Dinner-MenuMenuForTwo

aulani-AmaAma-Dinner-MenuDesserts

After ordering drinks, crusty sourdough bread was delivered to our table. It is served with two different kinds of Hawaiian Sea Salt — Pink Hawaiian and Black Lava. The black lava salt had a smokey taste to it while the pink sea salt almost had a floral taste.

Sourdough Bread with Sea Salts

Sourdough Bread with Sea Salts

After the bread, we started the meal with some appetizers. First up, we chose the Big Eye Tuna Poke with Rice Chips and Avocado Mousse. This was a gourmet twist on a common Hawaiian appetizer poke. We tried poke at several places on the island including Aulani’s Buffet restaurant Makahiki, a luau, and several local places. This had to be one of the best.

Tuna Poke Appetizer

Tuna Poke Appetizer

The Tuna was fresh and flavorful and the Avocado Mousse added a nice richness that complimented the acidity of the lime juice in the poke. The rice cracker on top added a little crunch to contrast to an otherwise buttery texture of the poke.

Tuna Poke

Tuna Poke

We also got the Crispy Singaporean Pepper Shrimp with Green Papaya Salad and Thai Ketchup. This dish sounded like it was going to be something interesting and exotic but ended up just being fried shrimp with papaya on top.

The shrimp was average and the Thai ketchup tasted like ketchup with a little chili paste added. When I think Asian food I imagine bold flavors and this didn’t seem to deliver. Don’t get me wrong it was good, but considering the cost ($18) and what seemed like a lot of potential in the ingredients, it could have been more interesting.

Pepper Shrimp

Pepper Shrimp

For our main course, I had the Island Seafood Thai Curry served with Japanese Eggplant and Choi Sum (Chinese Flowering Cabbage) served with Jasmine Rice. This was cooked in a parchment packet that was opened and served tableside.

Thai Curry

Thai Curry

The seafood featured was [Read more…]

Review: Disney’s Aulani Loco Mocos

I’m back from my first visit to Hawaii with, of course, a visit to Aulani, Disney’s outpost in the Aloha state. Since it was my first visit, I was particularly excited to explore Hawaii’s unique culture.

Aulani View

Aulani View

During our initial morning on site, we chose to have breakfast at Ama Ama, the more upscale of the resort’s table service restaurants.

Ama Ama breakfast menu.

Ama Ama breakfast menu.

The rest of the family chose to eat traditional American style food: pancakes, scrambled eggs, and French toast (can I call French toast American? :-)). But I chatted with the server, a native Hawaiian, and asked what the most traditional local dish was. She responded, “Loco Moco,” and told me that the Ama Ama version was excellent. So Loco Moco it was!

For those of you not in the know, a Loco Moco consists of rice, topped by a hamburger patty, topped by a fried egg, topped by a brown, usually onion or mushroom based, gravy.

Here’s the Ama Ama Loco Moco. (Try saying that five times fast.)

IMG_9964-001

I loved the way the semi-cooked yolk and gravy oozed into [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘AMA ‘AMA Beachside Restaurant at Disney’s Aulani Resort

We’re so excited to have a review of Disney’s Aulani Resort’s premier restaurant just a few days after its opening! Mark Hickson is a Disney fan, a former Disney Imagineer, and a Hawai’i resident and food blogger (among many other things). We’re honored to share this article with our readers. Thanks, Mark!

'Ama 'Ama Beachside Restaurant

So the resort has been open for five days now and I thought it would be the perfect time to dine in the resort’s signature restaurant, ‘AMA ‘AMA. The restaurant is named after the tasty mullet fish ʻamaʻama that us locals enjoy.

Atmosphere

The setting is an open air thatched roof fishing shack and a minimalist fishing factory with concrete pillars and a large fish holding tanks complete with pipeline and spigot. Of all the beautiful facilities at Aulani Resort this place’s theme is the only one that doesn’t work.

Our reservations were for 5:30pm and my wife and I were seated directly. Unfortunately since it is an open air dining area (no walls), the sun was low enough to shine in so it was very bright and hot at our table. In retrospect I would wait until sunset to be seated.

Eats

Take a look at the official ‘AMA ‘AMA menus below:

click image for larger version

click image for larger version

For drinks I ordered a Pineapple Papaya Cosmo. It was fun, tropical and fresh with a light foam on top. Good enough to order a second, which I did! My wife’s coffee was [Read more…]

Disney Hires Patrick Callarec as Aulani Executive Chef

Ama Ama Beachside Restaurant Concept Art

Aulani, Disney’s new Hawaiian resort, will open in late 2011 in Ko Olina, Oahu, with Chef Patrick Callarec at the helm of Aulani’s dining establishments.

Honolulu Magazine is reporting that the chef — trained in France and a veteran of the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotels — has worked [Read more…]