Dive into a Dining AdventureCover Story Features
April 5, 2015
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Bodie Collins
For a dining adventure unlike any other, Oceanarium, located on the main floor of Pacific Beach Hotel is set to impress, as patrons are surrounded by a massive, state-of-the-art live aquarium, which encompasses the dining room. The three-story, 280,000-gallon aquarium is home to hundreds of fish and other marine life such as stingrays and Leopard Groupers.
“We want to provide our guests with a once in a lifetime experience. Oceanarium attracts local residents and visitors from near and far. Plus, we’re the only restaurant that employs a mermaid,” says general manager Franklin Nagamine. “Our genuine aloha spirit, along with our bountiful buffet, has made us a family destination for years.”
This spectacle under the sea only gets better, as patrons are treated to a buffet line, which boasts an exquisite selection of restaurant classics, from prime rib and crab legs to the catch of the day, sushi, salad bar, appetizers and, of course, a variety of desserts. In addition, guests are in for a surprise because executive chef Mariano Lalica includes a few unexpected dishes on the buffet line each night. Nagamine says Crab Night ($47.95 per person Sunday, Monday and Thursday) draws quite a crowd of seafood enthusiasts.”Crab Night is my favorite because you have free range of unlimited Snow and King Crab Legs.”
No matter what part of the buffet you choose to start at wi, be it the sushi station with assorted nigiri and rolled sushi, or head straight for the salad bar, featuring Corn and Black Bean Salad, Tomato Mozzarella and Roasted Vegetable and Rotini Pasta, you must save room for prime rib, which is seasoned with rock salt and fresh herbs, and slow roasted to a perfect tenderness. You won’t regret it.
“Many think of Oceanarium for just our buffet, but we’re much more than that. Guests may choose to order from our a la carte menu during breakfast and dinner,” states Nagamine, who recommends King Crab Benedict from the a la carte breakfast menu, along with 12-ounce New York Angus Steak ($31) with peppercorn and cognac reduction for dinner. For those who want to relish in the flavors of the sea, Seafood Linguine is heavenly. Priced at $27, this a la carte item presents al dente linguine in a basil cream sauce with a seafood symphony of tiger prawns, Manila clams and sea scallops.
Finally for dessert, finish off a fantastic meal with sweet sensations such as Passion Fruit Tart, Triple Chocolate Mousse, Tiramisu and Flourless Chocolate Cake ($8 each). Or, if an assortment of fruit is more your speed, Tropical Fruit Platter is available for $40 on the amenity menu.
Under the direction of Pacific Beach Hotel executive chef Mariano Lalica, who, with more than 20 years of experience, specializes in French, Italian and Hawaii regional cuisine, Oceanarium is confident in its culinary presentation, and invites all to “sea” what the restaurant is all about.
The restaurant currently is in the planning phase for a sizable renovation.
“Plans still are in its infancy stages,” says Nagamine. However, he foresees a bar and lounge area that will rival the best on the island. “We are a family-friendly restaurant with an upscale, casual feel.”
The restaurant is open daily and features its breakfast buffet from 6 to 10 a.m.; brunch buffet Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and nightly dinner buffet from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Kamaaina rates are available. Buffet prices range from $45.95 to $47.95 (depending on the day). For more information or to make reservations, call 921-6111.
Pacific Beach Hotel
2490 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
Open daily, breakfast buffet 6-10 a.m.;
brunch buffet Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.;
dinner buffet 4:30-10 p.m.