Local fusion fareCover Story
March 5, 2023
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
The dedicated team at Mahina & Sun’s welcomes guests to their “home” as diners are treated to local-style comfort food and delicious beverages.
Longtime customers and first-time guests become fans of the excellent cuisine and spirits served during breakfast, happy hour and dinner.
Mahina & Sun’s is the place to be in the heart of Waikiki, whether it’s a special occasion or simply relaxing for pau hana. Situated in the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Waikiki, Mahina & Sun’s is an alluring oasis tucked away from the nearby hustle and bustle.
Executive chef Erik Leong was part of the culinary team that helped open the restaurant in 2014 and is now back orchestrating harmonies in the Mahina & Sun’s kitchen after spending some time in California.
“Where we are located is awesome, we are a little off the beaten path,” Leong explains. “As you enter the Surfjack with the iconic pool, hollow tile walls and mid-century décor, you really feel this throwback vibe and want to relax.
“To play off of that vibe, me and the band like to say, ‘welcome to our home,’ where you can stop in any time. With our live entertainment every night and our outdoor/poolside seating coupled with inside dining, we want to provide a laid-back comfortable experience all around.”
Guests at Mahina & Sun’s are invited to try some new menu additions crafted just in time for spring. Arugula Salad ($16) features a refreshing assortment of pressed melon, cucumbers, tomatoes, almonds and Sweet Land Farm goat feta.
Seafood enthusiasts can reel in Clams ($22) accent ed by garbanzo beans, roasted peppers, fennel and vermouth. Kauai Shrimp Risotto ($32) features rich flavors accompanied by asparagus, corn, preserved lemon, parsley and radish. Be sure to try the day’s Fresh Catch ($34) including grilled hebi prepared in a tomato saffron broth with chayote, anise and herbs.
Roasted Half Chicken ($34) is a hearty portion complemented by butter lettuce, pickled eggplant salad and spicy pineapple chutney.
“With our concept of elevated home cooking paired with executive bar czar Christian Taibi’s awesome hand-crafted cocktail list, we want to provide visitors with a sense of comfort even if the dishes are a little different than what they’re used to,” Leong says. “For locals, we want you to feel like you’re visiting aunty or uncle’s house that you go to for good food and to kick back and chill.”
Taibi brings his experience in the New York nightlife scene to the expansive bar that serves as the poolside restaurant’s centerpiece.
His passion for mixology and creating flavor profiles shines through in each sip, especially in an array of seasonal cocktails.
“Guests at the Mahina Lounge can look forward to good vibes and even better libations,” Taibi says.
Patrons are treated to validated parking ($8 for four hours) at the nearby Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach.