Monday, September 1, 2014

Restaurant Review: Dinner at 'Ohana

By: Lindsey

We’ve eaten at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort twice. We also have reservations for our upcoming December trip. I’m just going to put this out there, ‘Ohana is, hands down, our favorite Disney restaurant out of all the restaurants we’ve tried so far.

I know I’ve said this a few times already, but when we were making reservations for our 2011 trip, we didn’t know a thing about any of the restaurants. We just happened to stumble across ‘Ohana and crossed our fingers it would be decent. It was the best stumble we’ve ever made. It was amazing.

We’ve only been to dinner but I imagine the breakfast buffet is similar to the ones at Chef Mickey’s and the other restaurants. The dinner is priced per person and served “family-style.” It is oh-so-yummy. Reservations are a MUST.

After you are seated, the meal immediately begins. There is no ordering; everything is the same for each table. They start you off with a starter of pineapple-coconut bread and a mixed green salad with Lilikoi dressing. Before eating this, I was leery of the dressing. It was SO good.

Next up are the appetizers, pork dumplings tossed in a garlic-ginger sauce and honey-coriander chicken wings. I can’t comment on the chicken wings, not my thing, but I can tell you that I wanted to eat every single dumpling on that plate. And here is the kicker: I don’t even really like pork. But I love those dumplings! These are brought out on plates big enough for the table. You pick what you want, pass the plate to the next person at your table, and dig in. I guess I should point out at this point in the review that you are seated with only your people. You don’t have to share a table with strangers. If that were the case, I probably wouldn't be writing this review right now.

The main course is served a little differently. The meat is cooked over an open flame and brought straight from the fire to your table on skewers by servers. They ask you if you’d like it and if so, they put some on your plate. The three meats are sweet and sour pork loin, Szechuan sirloin steak, and spicy grilled peel-n-eat shrimp. Don’t let the spicy scare you. My daughter doesn’t do spicy and she inhales those shrimp. I wish I had counted how many she ate. Nick could probably tell you. He had to peel them all.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, there are also side dishes to go along with that main course; noodles tossed in a terriyaki sauce with fresh vegetables and stir-fried vegetables. The noodles are very similar to a lo mein dish.

And last but certainly not least, dessert. I would give up meat in a heartbeat and never look back. Desserts? Not a chance. This girl NEEDS them. When I read the menu before we went the first time, I was so disappointed to read what the dessert was. I thought there was no way I’d like it. Then I tasted it and it was like manna from heaven, bread pudding a la mode with a bananas-caramel sauce. If you need more for your table, and you probably will, you may ask for more. Ask for more.

We normally walk away from this meal completely and miserably full. But since it’s one of the best meals we’ve ever had, we don’t mind. In fact, I had hoped that on our next trip we might be able to eat there twice. We ultimately decided that instead of limiting ourselves to the same places over and over, we’d branch out and try something new. Does that mean we’ll miss ‘Ohana? Not a chance. It is the one restaurant that I want to make sure we go to every time we visit. It’s that good.

Not to mention the servers are helpful and nice, live music (most of the time), and a dance for the kids. There is also a great view from the restaurant. I’ve heard of several people making reservations during firework displays but we haven’t done that before. And after dinner when you need to walk off that huge meal? Walk around the grounds of the Polynesian. It’s a gorgeous resort.

Have you eaten there? If so, what was your experience like?

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