After a stroll around the shops at Mauna Lani, we decided to pop into the Tommy Bahama’s Cafe for some drinks and appetizers. Though we were familiar with the Tommy Bahama brand, we had never heard of their restaurants. Apparently there are several others.
The cafe is located on the second level above a Tommy Bahama retail shop. The immediate view is of the parking lot, however, the distant views of the Mauna Lani resort grounds are pleasant. There are tables on the lanai and tables indoors, though the restaurant was open air throughout.
As you would expect, the restaurant is very tastefully decorated in an island motif. I did find it odd that the decor was Caribbean themed. When in Hawaii, I prefer a Hawaiian theme.
Live music was playing, which was pleasant, however it was also more of a Jimmy Buffet type music. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Jimmy Buffet music, but when I’m in Hawaii, I want to soak up all things Hawaiian. So, I would have preferred music with a local vibe.
We arrived at about 7:30pm and were surprised to be seated immediately. Our server started out being attentive, then he was assigned two nearby tables of six people each. Then we were kicked to the curb. We had to wait long periods of time just to order our appetizers, wait for drinks, etc. As an example of the wait, we probably had to wait 15 minutes or longer just to order our appetizers. At this point, frustrations mounted and our plans of sharing a slice of Pina Colada cake went out the window. We are very easy going people, but when we get bad service, we can’t wait to leave.
We ordered three appetizers to share and they were tremendous. We ordered Big Island Goat Cheese, coconut shrimp, and Antiqua quesadilla. (You can see the full dinner menu here.) All their appetizers are large portions and extremely sharable.
Now, I ask myself, "Would I go back?" Even though the quality of food was quite nice, the prices were high. Appetizers ranged in price from $13.50 to $19.50. Dinner entree prices start at $31.50 (pasta dish) to $42.50 for the evening special. For those kind of prices, I’d rather go to the Hualani Grill at the Four Seasons. I’d rather dine a a place with more of a Hawaiian influence.