Dine In and Chill Out

Cover Story

January 14, 2020

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Chef Elvia Villatoro and chef Nani Keaulana-Kuloloia with the Whole Deep Sea Snapper

As guests enjoy the local-style comfort food and delicious beverages at Mahina & Sun’s, diners quickly notice the excellent cuisine, service and atmosphere presented by the all-female leadership team that keeps the restaurant running for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night merriment.

Situated in the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Waikiki on Lewer’s Street, Lynette Eastman serves as general manager who oversees Mahina & Sun’s — a concept of esteemed chef Ed Kenney, his fourth restaurant and lone establishment in Waikiki. Eastman credits the “daughters” of the Mahina & Sun’s team for perpetuating the group’s ohana philosophy and dedication.

An array of Mahina & Sun’s delicious foods.

“We create our work environment with a warm, friendly, family vibe,” says Eastman. “This feeling extends to our valued guests of Mahina & Sun’s and the hotel.”

Eastman is joined at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club and Mahina & Sun’s by director of food and beverage Lisa Taibi; executive chef Nani Kuloloia; chef de cuisine Elvia Villatoro; restaurant supervisors Elan Recca and Mihey Lee; director of experience Jordyn Kilgore; director of guest services Channy-Lyn Motoyama; director of maintenance Pam Kaina; and director of housekeeping Flora Bumanglag.

A closer look at the Whole Deep Sea Snapper (part of the Mahina’s Family Feast, $37 per guest plus fish is market price)

Diners can look forward to local-style cuisine at Mahina & Sun’s that is simple, yet flavorful, and highlights seafood and other local eats that are fresh and sustainably sourced.

The service and heart-of-the house teams strive to create a welcoming, comfortable and warm vibe. Mahina’s Feast (market price) is a must-try option when visiting Mahina & Sun’s. Opakapaka is spotlighted as the whole fish, which is caught fresh in local waters and prepared deep fried to perfection. The feast also includes side dishes served family-style such as: ulu (breadfruit) sauteed in butter, seasoned and topped with chili pepper aioli; roasted local root vegetables with limu and inamona tossed in a savory soy, sesame and ginger sauce; hapa rice; housemade pickles with locally grown produce; and pohole (wairabi) salad with fresh, local onions and cherry tomatoes. This is all tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and topped with toasted sesame seeds and opae.

Roasted Roots with Ogo and Inamona (part of the Mahina’s Family feast)

Guests can also enjoy nightly live local music by “Hawaii’s Finest Revive the Live” starting at 7 p.m. and featuring Kelly Boy Delima, Weldon Kekauoha, Jeff Rasmussen and more.

Happy Hour deals are available daily from 2 to 6 p.m. and then again from 9 p.m. to closing. What’s more, as a special aloha to those in the lodging, hospitality and food service industries, those employees receive happy hour deals “every day, all day, and all night.”

House Pickles (part of the Mahina’s Family Feast)

Guests can enjoy “Old School by the Pool” every third Saturday of each month with hits from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and “The Big Chill” every first Saturday with ’60s tunes, Motown and rock hits.

Buttered Ulu with Chili Pepper Water Aioli (part of the Mahina’s Family Feast)

Loungin’ Around

Mahina & Sun’s off ers free local live music nightly from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday-Th ursday, and 7:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, on Sunday, the restaurant features its popular “Mahina Lounge Live!” brunch from 10 a.m. to noon.

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