Dine with the fishes at Oceanarium

Columns What's Cooking?

August 9, 2015

Story By: Lindsey Appleton | Photos by: MISSY ROMERO

Mango Pudding, Strawberry Panna Cotta and Tropical Cobbler

Mango Pudding, Strawberry Panna Cotta and Tropical Cobbler

Almost three years ago, hand-in-hand with a handsome man, I first stepped into an underwater seascape, ate platefuls of king and snow crab while a giant fish swam past me, and watched a mermaid wave while holding a personalized sign. With my red dress and my equally red hair, I felt like Ariel as I experienced the surreal atmosphere of Oceanarium Restaurant at Pacific Beach Hotel.

To this day, Oceanarium continues to allow patrons to get a glimpse of what’s beneath the ocean’s surface while remaining dry and well fed.

Bringing the ocean right to your dining table, the restaurant’s 280,000 gallon, three-story aquarium houses 400 different species, including four local stingrays and a 170-pound grouper.

“Before working at the Oceanarium, I would take my daughter here for breakfast,” says executive chef Mariano Lalica. “She loved being able to eat with the fishes, and who doesn’t? It’s quite the novelty experience.”

Oceanarium is more than a visual delight; it’s an experience for the taste buds, too. The eatery serves an expansive buffet with nightly themes.

Make a plate of the chef’s newest specialty: Kalbi-glazed Pork Belly. Pair it with a fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad and assorted, hand-rolled sushi. Reserve a table for King Crab Night ($49.95) on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. Come Tuesday for Shrimp Night ($47.95), Wednesday for Hog Heaven ($47.95), or Saturday for Oyster Night ($47.95). Don’t forget Aloha Barbecue Fridays ($47.95), offering ribs, corn on the cob, beef oxtail soup and other local favorites. Savor the Mango Pudding with pineapple, blueberries and strawberries, dig into creamy Strawberry Panna Cotta, and indulge your sweet tooth with pineapple and peach Tropical Cobbler.

Now, you also can enjoy the flavors of the North Shore right on Waikiki Beach — prepared for you by Oceanarium. Wednesday to Sunday from 12:30 to 9 p.m., hungry Waikiki beachgoers line up for the restaurant’s North Shore-Style Garlic Shrimp Tent. The Shrimp Plate ($13 large; $7 small) and Chicken and Shrimp Combo ($14) come with garlic salt-water shrimp, steamed rice and salad. Quench your thirst with handcrafted, fresh-squeezed lemonade in a stylish mason jar ($8) and refill it as much as you want (refills $4). Complete your meal with a fresh-made croissada. Inspired by the New-York cronut, the croissada combines a croissant and a malasada. Enjoy this week’s fillings, including vanilla and chocolate.

WHERE Pacific Beach Hotel 2490 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki
CALL 921-6111
HOURS Daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m., and 4-10 p.m.

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