Casual yet elegant cuisine set the mood

Inside Feature

August 18, 2019

Story By: Elima Pangorang | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

The open-air Waiolu Ocean Cuisine restaurant, perched on the second floor of The Trump International Hotel Waikiki presents a casual yet sophisticated environment. It boasts a plethora of options for customers, starting with its popular sushi bar serving up fresh island fish right in front guests. It is the ideal location for family meals, a gathering with friends or an intimate date with that special someone.

Additionally the menu itself is filled with Raw Bar (such as oysters), fixed menu — like its most popular Anuenue Course ($67) that comes with Rainbow Ceviche, Mixed Green Salad, Whole Maine Lobster and Creme Brulee — and meat options, plus more.

There are a lot of reasons to love the menu, and most recently, a new reason includes the talents of sous chef Demi Samson who is executive chef Shoji Namatame’s right hand woman. Having been with Waiolu Ocean Cuisine for five years now, Samson recently stepped into her current role in May earlier this year.

“I enjoy my new position,” shares Samson. “It’s a lot more freedom, but also more responsibility. I add a little bit of what I want on the menu with chef Shoji’s supervision. He is really building me as a chef right now and I am learning a lot.”

Samson encourages guests to pay a visit during Waiolu’s Late Night Happy Hour for sushi that starts at only $2 and ranges to $14. For both the Sunset and Late Night Happy Hour there is a special menu featuring customer favorites like Cold Soba Noodle, Garlic Shrimp with Linguine and New York Steak Pupu Style (10-ounce).

And, it’s a great idea to trust the chef. Samson’s top picks overall include Miso Butterfish that is wonderfully marinated for three days giving off a balanced flavor that’s not too sweet and not too salty, according to the chef. She also suggests opting for the Nasi Goreng ($12), a Malayasian-style seafood fried rice topped with an over easy egg. It can be ordered as a side as well as a starch for the fixed menus.


These clams are prepared Mediterranean-style with garlic glazed in white wine and finished off with butter, creating a smooth and savory profile. Customers may also choose Japaneseor Fricassee-style preparations.


This inside out roll sprinkled in tobiko is a real charmer ($14 during Late Night Happy Hour). The golden shrimp tempura adds a nice crunch to the accompanying spicy ahi, cucumber and avocado. Sous chef Demi Samson says it’s called the Sunset Roll because of its color and is a great way to get into the sunset-time mood and kickoff the night.


Waiolu Ocean Cuisine’s Risotto is a real winner and a rare find in the islands, which can be ordered as a side. The rich dish comprises truffle, truffle paste, truffle pieces and truffle oil with Parmesan cheese and cream. It’s a comforting selection that warms diners’ palates and souls.


More than just seafood, Waiolu also presents protein options like this steak that additionally comes in 6 ($21), 8 ($28), and 24 ($84) ounces. What’s more, other land favorites include lamp chops, chicken and pasta.

Honolulu, HI 96815

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