Go gluten-free, island style

Columns Lite Bites

May 10, 2015

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

When it comes to dining in Hawaii, there’s nothing better than an evening of tasty Island cuisine in a casual, elegant setting on world-famous Waikiki beach.

At Ocean House in the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, you get all of that and more.

“You get the view, the food and the service — the best of all three, right here,” says general manager David Nagaishi. “Once they come, they always come back. We have a lot of repeat, loyal customers.”

On the menu, Ocean House’s signature dish is its Hawaiian Sea Salt Premium Angus Prime Rib, slow roasted for 10 to 12 hours. However, there also are many great options for those who prefer lighter, healthy fare.

If that’s you, Nagaishi recommends trying the Maui Onion and Tomato Salad ($8.50), Sauteed Vegetables and Macadamia Nut Saffron Quinoa ($24.50) and Grilled Mahi Mahi ($33.50) — all of which are gluten-free.

The Maui Onion and Tomato Salad is one of Ocean House’s best selling salads and uses all local ingredients. It has a nice, flavorful mix of Hamakua vine ripened tomatoes and Maui onions over organic greens tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and finished with gorgonzola cheese and strips of crispy won ton chips.

The Sauteed Vegetables and Macadamia Nut Saffron Quinoa is a vegan dish featuring a great assortment of broccoli, snap peas, carrots, onions, squash, zucchini, mushrooms and asparagus sauteed in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and ginger, and served over macadamia nut saffron quinoa.

The Grilled Mahi Mahi is made with fresh Island mahi mahi seasoned with olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon; topped with a sweet tropical fruit salsa of strawberries, papaya, lychee and pineapple; and served with a unique pineapple, basmati and wild rice blend.

“We offer an island style menu with a few international items,” notes Nagaishi. “But we use a lot of Island ingredients and fresh products. All of our fish is local except for butterfish, it’s (from) Alaska. And our butterfish is fantastic. If you like butterfish, we probably have the best. Also, we use Tamari as our soy, so a lot of our dishes have become gluten-free.”

Locally owned and operated, Ocean House celebrates its 11th anniversary this year. The restaurant’s plantation-style interior offers a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Add the sounds of waves crashing on the shore, and you just might lose track of time and slip into another world.

Nagaishi compares it to the inside of Auntie’s house, where it’s welcoming and comforting. Sister restaurant Shore Bird, located just next door, can be considered the outside of Auntie’s house, complete with a beach bar and grill.

But it’s not the location, the award-winning food, or even the free sunsets that Nagaishi is most proud of. It’s his staff. “They work very well together and I think that’s the biggest part of the success of our restaurant,” he explains. “They really care about what comes on the plate and on the table, and they make sure our guests have a great time.”

Ocean House is open for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. daily, serving many traditional breakfast favorites, such as acai bowls, omelets, eggs Benedict, Belgian waffles and more.

The restaurant is closed for lunch, but available for private parties for up to 100 people. Validated valet parking is available for $6 for four hours. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins always are welcome.

Ocean House

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
2169 Kalia Road
923-2277
Breakfast: 7-11 a.m.
Dinner: 5-10 p.m.
Oceanhousewaikiki.com

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