Mina’s Fish House
Today's Supporting Sponsor: Kapolei Lofts | Studio-living in the heart of Kapolei
There may be bars with better ocean views and there may be bars with better cocktails. But is there a bar anywhere on the island with a better combination of the two than Mina’s Fish House at Four Seasons O’ahu?
You sip and stare from the elevated bar, or from the broad wooden lanai below. Either way, you’re feasting your eyes on the gentle sands of Kohola Lagoon and a massive expanse of the world’s biggest body of water. The nearest object that could block your view is Samoa.
The vibe is casual. The service is attentive and friendly. The drinks and pupus are top-notch. During Happy Hour, every day from 3pm-5pm and again from 9pm-11pm, draft beer is $4 and wine is $5. That’s a screaming deal.
Parking? It’s free if you come to Mina’s Fish House. There’s no drink or food minimum in play here—order something and they’ll validate.
I’ve had two cocktails here so far and recommend both.
This ridiculously refreshing gin-based drink lives on Mina’s happy hour menu. A gin and tonic is nearly perfect—it takes some confidence to mess with. This version adds kiwi and Chareau, a 21st century aloe liqueur made in California. I liked the little bit of island fruit flavor, it’s a simple twist that makes the drink more memorable.
If Can, Can
One of the more playful concepts at any cocktail bar on the island, this drink comes with your choice of liquor, combined with traditional Mai Tai ingredients, and served in a SPAM can. It’s tasty no matter how you have it (I stuck with gin), and a good way to introduce visitors to the island to Pidgin in case they plan on traveling further up the west coast.
Vegetarians: Do not worry about Spam residue in the drink, it has been thoroughly cleaned.
Mina’s beer list is heavy on local brews. As of April 2018, they list beers from Maui Brewing, Honolulu Beerworks, Waikiki Brewing, and Lanikai Brewing. Sapporo (of course) and Firestone Walker round out the list. Again—$4 drafts at happy hour. That’s worth the drive. They also have some specialty Lanikai brews in bottles.
Mina’s wine list is extensive, and, let’s not mince words, expensive. These are wines for aficionados, featuring selections from France, Italy, and California, mostly. By the bottle, you’re looking at $70 and up. But, again, during happy hour, a glass is $5. A bottle holds 6 glasses, so [math] yeah good deal.
I ordered exclusively off of the happy hour menu. The portion sizes are decent
Smoked Local Marlin Fish Dip
I could eat this for the rest of my life. Both creamy and meaty, it’s served with delicious taro chips. The smoke flavor is very subtle. There’s a lot of fish in here, it’s a good deal for eight bucks.
A lighter snack with terrific texture and lots of flavor. A good substitute if you don’t want a heavier appetizer like fries.
Chilled, shrimp, served off-the-boat style with the heads on. Perfectly cooked, tasted really fresh.
The type of oyster you’ll get will depend on the time of year. They had Kumamotos on my visit, the small, flavorful oyster that’s mostly harvested in Washington state. Served on the half-shell with the traditional vinaigrette and cocktail sauce, but also with island-style chili water. If you like oysters, this is a new way to enjoy them.
The main menu sounds incredible—the restaurant serves whole fish, family-style. Before you order, a “fish sommelier” comes to the table with the actual, fresh-caught fish you’re about to enjoy. This is all hearsay, but I hope to report back soon.
In the meantime, I’m consulting the happy hour menu and planning my next mission to the beach.