Flavor flows through townCover Story
October 9, 2022
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
As it continues to dazzle diners with its unique blend of delicious cuisine and live musical entertainment as part of a relaxed poolside dining experience, Kani Ka Pila Grille makes a splash by incorporating global culinary traditions with local influences. It lives up to its namesake (the moniker kanikapila translates to “let’s play music” in Hawaiian), serving as a hotspot to enjoy a melody and a meal.
Situated next to the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort’s expansive pool, Kani Ka Pila Grille offers ample seating with indoor and outdoor tables flanked by a tranquil waterfall. The eatery serves as a perfect destination for breakfast, lunch, dinner and pau hana experiences throughout the week.
Kani Ka Pila Grille’s local-style comfort food is infused with fresh fish, fruits and meats sourced daily. Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort executive chef Dean Kamiya brings nearly 35 years of experience in the industry to every flavorful dish.
“Experience the fresh flavors of Hawaii at the vibrant Kani Ka Pila Grille,” Kamiya says. “Live Hawaiian music from our legendary stage is performed nightly. Diners are able to soak in the welcoming atmosphere at our poolside restaurant and bar.”
Kamiya explains that he got his culinary career going at age 16 while working at a plate lunch spot in Kaneohe called Ono’s Drive Inn. After preparing the restaurant’s breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties, he started to enjoy cooking and realized he could forge a career doing something he loved.
The seasoned chef describes the cuisine and atmosphere at Kani Ka Pile Grille as “very welcoming and open. Coming out of the pandemic, the perspective has changed for everyone. We have always had a local crowd and the menu we have created is for that palate. Guests can expect local comfort fare, as well as a little different twist at the same time. Fresh and local are important to us. I like to eat fish and cook it, and I made a point to work with local fishermen to get the best catches on the menu.”
An array of tasty appetizers start the meal on a high note.
Killer Bread ($16) features a toasted, fresh-baked sourdough loaf accented with butter, garlic and a five-cheese combination that comes together with melty goodness.
Ahi & Avocado Poke ($21) is crafted with cubes of island-caught fresh ahi, local onions and scallions, Kani Ka Pila Grille’s signature poke sauce, fresh avocado for a rich flavor, and crisp taro chips that serve as perfect vessels for scooping and dipping.
Fresh Catch Tacos ($20) reel in the flavor with pan-seared fresh local fish complemented by lomi tomato relish, chipotle aioli, Asian slaw and fresh jalapeños for an added kick.
Dive in with the Local Boy Burger ($20), as two Hawaiian beef burgers are stacked with Portuguese sausage, grilled pineapple, caramelized local onions, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and a teriyaki glaze all sandwiched between a toasted sweet roll.
Plus, a unique specialty cocktail menu features local products like Ocean Vodka, Kula Rum and a variety of beers on tap from Kona Brewing Co.
End the evening with the sweet flavors of Pineapple Crème Brûlée ($13) — caramelized pineapple, vanilla custard, burnt sugar and fresh strawberries.
Guests at Kani Ka Pila Grille are treated to live music nightly from 6-8 p.m. as popular local artists add to the relaxed, inviting ambiance. And, the restaurant has a new stage and enhanced contemporary seating.
Kamiya encourages guests to stay tuned for holiday specials and new menu items on the way soon!