Feeling Festive At PagodaCover Story Features
December 4, 2016
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
As you wander through the koi ponds and Japanese gardens that surround Pagoda Floating Restaurant, you’ll come across the charming local eatery with its halls decked for Christmas and plenty of holiday cheer to go around. In the spirit of the season, Pagoda is giving the gift of special deals and festive eats that are sure to bring you joy this time of year.
For starters, customers who purchase a $100 gift card for the oasis of old-school, local-style fare throughout December will receive a complimentary order of prime rib and crab legs. General manager Tracy Yadao explains that patrons may eat up the meat and seafood while dining at the restaurant or take them to go (gift card must be redeemed separately). This is an especially great offer to take advantage of Monday-Thursday, when prime rib and crab are not part of the regular buffet.
As a plus, there are more Alaskan snow crab specials to speak of. During lunch Monday through Saturday, customers may upgrade the regular buffet priced at $17.95 ($8.95 for kids 5-8) to include all-you-can-eat crab legs for just $27.95. The same deal applies during the dinner buffet Monday through Thursday, which is normally $19.95 ($9.95 keiki), but $29.95 with the addition of crab legs.
“It’s a really good deal. You’re not going to get prices that low for all-you-can-eat crab legs (at other restaurants),” says Yadao.
Diners who find themselves in the neighborhood from 5 to 6 p.m. any day of the week should stop into Pagoda for its happy hour specials available at the bar. Take advantage of reduced prices for beer, wine and yummy eats, including fresh Goose Point oysters. These whopping, juicy oysters from the Pacific North West are yours for $1.50 apiece during happy hour ($2.50 regularly).
Executive chef Michael Arita continues to offer the beloved local flavors generations of kamaaina have adored at Pagoda Floating Restaurant since it opened over 50 years ago. Since taking over the kitchen about a year ago, he’s also introduced new menu items for his regular clientele to embrace. “We try to keep the things that people like, but always look for something that would appeal to a lot of people that they might not have tried before,” he says.
Pagoda is perhaps best known for its island-style buffet spread, which offers various chicken, pork, beef, seafood and fish entrees on any given day. In addition to the aforementioned lunch and dinner buffets, the restaurant dishes out a breakfast buffet daily from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. ($12.95 adults, $6.95 keiki), as well as a special dinner buffet Friday through Sunday ($39.95 adults, $18.95 children). On Sunday, there’s also a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($36.95 adults, $17.95 keiki), and during the weekend, the regular spread is supplemented with prime rib, snow crab and tempura.
Other buffet highlights are the poke bar, sushi and salad bar, but for those who prefer to pick and choose from the menu, a la carte menus are available throughout the day.
“We listen to what our repeat customers have to say, and we make sure we have entrees that they come back for,” adds Yadao.
YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR
In addition to its dining space, Pagoda offers catering services perfect for any and every special occasion. Mark your calendar for the Holiday Brunch & Show featuring renowned local comedian Frank De Lima Sunday, Dec. 18 at Pagoda International Ballroom. Brunch starts at 10:45 a.m. with the show to follow at noon. For $60 (and $30 for kids), dine on Roasted Prime Rib, Hoisin Glazed Pork, Sweet Bread Portuguese Toast and much more.
Pagoda’s catering department also is offering a can’t miss special: If you book a function by the end of December for next January-March, you’ll receive complimentary crab legs on your buffet spread.
For reservations and for more info, call 948-8370.
FLAVORS OF THE WEEK
One of the ways in which Pagoda keeps things fresh for its customers is with different themed lunch buffets during the week. A popular day to come in is Tuesday, when the spread fills up with Filipino favorites like Pork Lechon, Chicken Papaya Soup and Pinakbet with crispy pork and vegetables. On Fridays, patrons can’t get enough of the Hawaiian buffet, including lau lau, kalua pig, lomi salmon, poi and huli huli chicken.
Pagoda Floating Restaurant
1525 Rycroft St., Honolulu
Buffet hours: Breakfast daily, 6:30-9:30 a.m.; lunch Monday-Saturday, 11 am-2 p.m.; dinner nightly, 5-9 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.;
A la carte hours: Breakfast Monday-Saturday, 6:30-11 a.m., Sunday, 6:30-9:30 a.m.; Lunch Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Dinner Monday-Saturday, 5-8 p.m.
Keiki prices are for ages 5-8