As with most tourist-centered places, Waikiki businesses tend to be more expensive than others. But if you search carefully, you just might stumble upon a few affordable finds nestled within one of Oahu’s main hubs.
Take the Ilikai Bar & Grill, for instance. We spontaneously decided on the hotel eatery after a surf sesh one evening. It happened to be within walking distance of the beach and conveniently enough, not that crowded for Friday at dusk. We easily found seats and were pleasantly greeted with a menu of affordable eats. Average cost of an entree was about $15. Appetizers (which included pizzas) costed about $13 or less.
My friends and I shared the kalua pig quesadillas and barbecue chicken pizza. Both were very tasty and very deliciously cheesy; just how I like it. They didn’t skimp on ingredients either; the pizza was packed with fresh goodies, as was the quesadillas. The portions were also plentiful; although they were listed as appetizers, the dishes seemed to be more than enough for the four of us. If we had gone during happy hour, it would have been 15-percent off appetizers.
My friends were also pleased to find cheap beers there, too. Three-dollar Steinlagers seemed to be money well spent for them. We also enjoyed some live Hawaiian music and hula at the adjacent courtyard. Visitors and locals crowded around, holding up smartphones and tablets for those ever-handy digitized memories.
The bar and grill is located on the first floor of the Ilikai Hotel. The business markets itself as “Classic American fare with an island twist and ocean view.” I liked how most of their dishes included local ingredients and catchy local names.. As for the ocean view, well, not so much; unless, you step out toward the balcony. The bar and grill is tucked inward from there, so it’s difficult to get a good view of the marina.
ILIKAI BAR & GRILL
• 1777 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96815 • Opens Mon-Sun 6am-12am • 808-949-3811 • www.ilikaibarandgrill.com • Validated parking and live music