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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Feast Your Eyes on Todai

By Ali Resich Photos By Leah Friel
June 30, 2013

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Buffet buffs of Hawaii, take note: It’s time to rediscover Todai Restaurant on Ala Moana Boulevard. Entering the enormous Waikiki restaurant — which hosts up to 500 guests and houses endless buffet spreads — has always been as magical to seafood lovers as a candy store is to children. And with chef Toru Makino — who first opened the restaurant in 1999 — overseeing its operations once again alongside business partner Han Kim, every colorful morsel of sushi, seafood, meat and more is tasting better than ever.

The restaurant is known for its all-you-can-eat buffet feasts. The amazing lunch ($11.98, Monday-Friday; $15.98, Saturday-Sunday; $8.98 kamaaina seniors with Dining Out coupon) and dinner ($25.98, Monday-Thursday; $26.98, Friday-Sunday; $14.98, kamaaina seniors with Dining Out coupon) spreads dazzle with more than 30 kinds of sushi, seafood galore, tempura temptations, udon noodle delights, sweet treats and more. While you can’t go wrong with the lunch buffet, dinner in particular offers some exclusive eats you won’t want to miss.

One evening favorite patrons can’t seem to get enough of is snow crab legs. The unlimited amount of their bright, fresh flavor is a seafood afficionado’s dream come true.

Makino also insists on trying his Prime Rib, which is slow roasted with garlic and seven types of pepper to achieve its incredible tenderness and succulence. Mashed potatoes, gravy and horseradish accompany each juicy bite.

Then there’s Makino’s personal favorite, Jumbo Cocktail Shrimp with Todai’s special sauce. Hints of cucumber and horseradish dress up the sauce along with orange juice — its secret ingredient.

“I love to eat the cocktail shrimp. It’s very good with the special cocktail sauce,” Makino says.

Other buffet must-haves include Manila clams and mussels, as well as unagi and uni, which showcase the high quality level of divine seafood Todai presents to diners.

And just when you thought round seven at the buffet table was enough, be sure to finish your feast at the dessert area, which features a whimsical chocolate fountain and fruit bar. Not only does dousing pineapple, strawberries, bananas, water-melon wedges and more in a stream of chocolate taste marvelous, but it makes for an ultra fun dessert experience as well.

Todai Restaurant is the perfect place to unleash your kid-in-a-candy-store mentality and go all out on these buffet treats.

Todai Restaurant

1910 Ala Moana Blvd., Waikiki
947-1000
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5:30-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Todaiwaikiki.com

Note: Parking entrance is located behind Todai Restaurant on Ena Road. Parking is free for the first two hours on the second and third floors of the structure.