The 'Bounty of the Island' Buffet Dinner at Makahiki: An Aulani Dining Review - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  


The 'Bounty of the Island' Buffet Dinner at Makahiki: An Aulani Dining Review

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 07-10-2014
  



PassPorter.com > Articles > U.S. Travel > Dining  

Want to sample a traditional Hawaiian buffet during your stay at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa at Ko Olina, Hawaii?


Then dinner is the time to head to Makahiki, which also plays host to a character breakfast.

Makahiki is a beautiful restaurant, and well worth a visit to admire the setting alone. As you walk in, there’s a striking mural of Pele, the goddess of fire. She certainly keeps an eye on everyone there; trust me, it feels as if her eyes follow you around the room! Opposite is a unique wall, created with small squares cut from coconut shells. I was so glad I’d learned that before our visit there, as it gave me an even greater appreciation of what I was seeing.

When you walk into the dining room there are yet more striking, vividly-colored murals on the wall behind the buffet, relating to the food you’re about to enjoy. That theme is continued with the ceiling decorations, with various foods dangling temptingly down. I have to be honest, I sat at our table for quite some time just taking that in, as there’s so much detail in this.

You can be seated either indoors or outside, and we were lucky enough to sample both options during our two dinners there. When I say the tables are outside, parts are open to the sky, and others are roofed-over, so if you’re unlucky and the weather is bad, there’s a good chance you will get wet here. The sides are also open to the elements, but when we ate there, there were blinds covering them up. Even if your table is inside, you still get to sample the outdoor atmosphere, as there are large floor-to-ceiling openings between the two sections.

Aulani - Makahiki photo
Aulani - Makahiki

Inside Makahiki. - photo by chezp

The buffet, known as the Bounty of the Island, features a range of local products, and the menu is certainly wide ranging. During our stay, the selection of appetizers featured a market-fresh salad bar with house-made dressing, lomilomi salmon, poi, sushi, and minestrone soup. Immediately, you can probably spot a far Eastern feel to the food here, and that’s very much the case, given the large proportion of Japanese visitors that Aulani receives.

You then move on to my favorite part of the meal, a selection of seafood on ice, including snow crab legs, shrimp, poke, sashimi, and oysters on the half shell. I wasn’t brave enough to sample the oysters, but I can vouch for the quality of the crab, which was absolutely superb. Sadly, the shrimp couldn’t match that quality, and were lacking in taste, which was a great shame.

The selection of entrées was very comprehensive, with something for everyone’s tastes. There was teriyaki chicken, barbecue beef brisket, grilled mahi mahi with tropical salsa, pizza, vegetable chow mein, miso-glazed salmon, pizza, and rigatonia carbonara among the offerings during our stay. I found the items I sampled to be a bit hit or miss. For example, the salmon was absolutely beautiful, while the mahi mahi didn’t impress me, as it had been overcooked. There was also a carving station for meat eaters, which I didn’t sample, but my husband had no issues with the quality of meat he got from there.

To go with this, we could choose from a range of seasonal vegetables, including some unusual options, which I always enjoy seeing on the menu, such as roasted squash with eggplant and bell peppers, stir-fried long beans, and sautéed broccoli.

This line-up of food is enough for most people, and I have to confess on our first visit to Makahiki, I did suffer from that buffet-diner's problem, with very little room left for dessert. Having managed to force myself to sample a few (for research purposes of course!), I made sure that on our return visit to the restaurant, I was a little more restrained, as the desserts here are definitely worth saving room for.

Again, there’s plenty to pick from, although I found a couple of firm favorites during our meals. The first was the guava cake, very unusual, and full of flavor. I absolutely adored it! A close runner-up was the tropical coconut panna cotta, which was just beautiful. The molten chocolate cake was divine, but also exceptionally rich, and try as I might, I couldn’t manage much of it as a result. Other options included the more traditional chocolate brownies, bread pudding, cookies, and Rice Krispie treats, just in case you were thinking that all the desserts were on the unusual side.

The service here was, a bit like some of the food, a bit hit and miss. We weren’t there at the busiest time, and Makahiki was pretty deserted, and yet we didn’t get the attentive service we'd hoped for.

Dinner here doesn’t come cheaply, although having said that, this is a Disney resort, with associated pricing. On our stay, dinner cost $43/adults, and $23/children. It’s hard to compare the price to anything at a Disney park, as most buffets there come with characters, but Epcot's Biergarten is only a few dollars less. However, to charge this much, they really do need to work on ensuring that all of the food at the buffet is spot on, along with the service. I’d certainly go back to Makahiki on a return visit, as it’s a good way to load up for the night, and it is a beautiful setting, but it is an expensive meal, and I’m not sure whether, for us, it would warrant more than one visit per stay.


Aulani - Makahiki photo
Aulani - Makahiki

Some of the options at the dinner buffet. - photo by chezp





TING!
You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!
About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!


Recent U.S. Travel Articles:
Honolulu and and Waikiki - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-30-2015
The Eastern Coast of Oahu, Hawaii - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-23-2015
The Pearl Harbor Memorial - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-16-2015
Kennedy Space Center - Things to Do Near Port Canaveral last updated 04-09-2015
The Bishop Museum in Oahu - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-09-2015

More Related Links:
Veggie Dining At Disney - Table Service Locations last updated 12/11/2008
Veggie Dining At Disney - Counter Service Locations last updated 12/04/2008
The Kosher Traveler At Walt Disney World - A Guide last updated 02/05/2009
Dining at Walt Disney World - An Introduction last updated 2/5/2009
Yachtsman Steakhouse From a Vegetarian's Point of View - A Dining Review last updated 5/14/2009




Reader Comments:


We went to Aulani Jan. 2013. I agree with this review.

The buffet and service were hit and miss. The service could be great or just plain. Sometimes the staff seems to be on target and other time acting as if they were paid to talk to each other about off work topics.



The food was wonderful to plain. Fresh seafood was great. Some of the cooked dishes seemed like a filler.



Price is high but so is the whole state. The themeing is lovely and very restful to just sit there.



Susan

     Suzy Q'Disney on July 13, 2014 @ 1:25 pm
View all 1 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 07-10-2014 - Article #1094 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com


Road Trip to Florida but not Disney
by mcneal
21 Jul 2015 at 6:54pm
We are celebrating our 25th anniversary next March. After several discussions, we decided to take a 2 week road trip from Houston - KeyWest, FL. ...
(click title above to view replies)

Costa Rica May 2016
by ksimas
12 Jul 2015 at 3:52pm
Hi All We just booked a only all inclusive only adult trip to Costa Rica 2016. We will be staying at Occidental Grand Papagao which is in...
(click title above to view replies)

Whistler or Grouse Mountain/Capilano Suspension Bridge
by chezp
11 Jul 2015 at 7:33am
We have a day when we get back from our Alaskan cruise on the Wonder at the start of September before we fly down to Los Angeles and I still can't...
(click title above to view replies)

US - 50 states - what to do
by TinkerbellJenn99
10 Jul 2015 at 8:55am
:hi: everyone... My significant other and I decided that we want to visit each state together. This will take quite a bit of time, I am sure,...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 2194


PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.