The first time I went to Oceanarium Restaurant, it was Thanksgiving Day. I was nearly 10 years old. At the time, I had a clever idea to starve myself until lunch time, so that I could eat as much food as possible for our spectacular Thanksgiving Day buffet lunch at Oceanarium.
By the time we got to the restaurant after driving in circles to find the place, however, I was sick to my stomach. I couldn't even take a single bite of my food. A waiter passed by, commenting, "you must be really full!" My parents laughed. If only the waiter knew ...
By the time I got home after eating absolutely nothing at the buffet, I suddenly felt hungry again at home. My parents weren't too pleased, although we laugh about it now. That was my most memorable experience at Oceanarium Restaurant - until tonight.
It's almost Valentine's Day, so my husband and I thought it would be special to take my parents out to dinner. We decided to go to Oceanarium Restaurant. I always thought it was an interesting restaurant with a gigantic aquarium inside, but this would be the first time I actually had the chance to try the food too.
Inside the restaurant, it was a bit crowded. There were people lining up by 8 p.m. Luckily, we had reservations for 7:00 p.m. and beat most of the crowds.
The restaurant is actually two stories.
It's relaxing to watch the fish and the sting rays swim in the aquarium. I tried so hard to capture a sting ray in the window. They sure do swim by fast! Everytime I tried to take a photo, the sting ray would disappear and I couldn't capture it on camera. When I finally got the chance, a waiter happened to pop into the photo accidentally. It's kind of funny. I tried!
The buffet at Oceanarium Restaurant was really, really good! I was impressed (truly) by the food. It was better than I expected. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. There was a lot of fresh seafood and a variety of it, which instantly sold me. There was tako and ahi poke, slabs of sashimi, lomi lomi salmon, oysters, muscles, sushi, and more.
I also loved the fresh fruit and the tasty main dishes. I love fresh pineapple (if you haven't figured this out from my other posts). The creamy garlic mashed potatoes and prime rib were full of flavor. My all time favorite had to be the salmon main dish though. I have no clue how they made it, but it was soft and seasoned to perfection (in my eyes at least). I couldn't stop eating it.
There were also deserts and a chocolate fondue fountain to dip fruit in. The strawberries were incredibly sweet. I indulged in the peanut butter cheese cake and ice cream. I wanted to eat more desert, but I would've exploded if I ate any more. The Haupia pie looked sooooo good too. I guess there's always next time.
The salad bar was my favorite because of all the seafood, vegetables, and fruit.
I wish I could've taken a photo of more of the main dishes, but there were too many people around. I didn't get to try everything, but the salmon (right) you cannot miss. It's a must try.
I thought I could eat more than I did, but I had a late lunch. I was able to eat two plates of wonderful food though.
My first plate:
My second plate:
While we were eating, I noticed signs dropping in the water with "Happy Birthday" written on them. I wondered what was going on until I noticed a man in diving gear. The diver swam towards the glass and held up a sign next to two tables. One girl had been celebrating her birthday and was surprised by the note. Then, the diver swam to the other side of the restaurant and held up a sign for a couple celebrating their anniversary. It was really sweet! It's a creative way to surprise someone for sure.
I love watching the fish swim. It's so relaxing.
We really scored a deal tonight too! On Fridays, there definitely are deals at Oceanarium. For one, my dad drank three beers and it only cost $3 each. The buffet was also discounted since it's Friday! Instead of paying $35.00, it was only $27.00 ... What a deal! It was the best surprise ever. There are some buffets that cost $30.00 per person and offer a lot of food that isn't always the greatest, but at Oceanarium I can at least say that the food is good and worth the price.
It isn't easy to find a great, yet affordable buffet in Hawaii. However, if you go to Oceanarium Restaurant on Fridays, it's a deal because where else can eat that much seafood for $27.00 dollars? You will not only be able to eat to your heart's content, but you will also be able to indulge in a variety of FRESH seafood and healthy entrees. I really had a great time at Oceanarium today.
I would highly recommend reservations because it was PACKED like crazy. Also, be sure to bring a camera if you want to take photos of the fish.
Oceanarium Restaurant has a great buffet! I'm glad I finally know what the food tastes like. The quality of the food was excellent too. I would return. More than aything, I'm glad everyone had a great time tonight.
Happy Valentine's Day!