Moani Island Bistro & Bar: RECOMMENDED

Moani Island Bistro & Bar at Ka Makana Aliʻi is a huge hit. Their recent grand opening was so popular, they had to turn people away. Bands tell their fans to show up early to find a spot. They’ve got a very high rating on Yelp, too.


Moani Island Bistro & Bar
Menu
Hours: 11:30am–12pm, Su-Th; 11:30am – 1:30am, F-Sa.
Location: Ka Makana Aliʻi
Happy Hour: 3pm-5pm
Reservations: Only for special events


When I took a west side lifer there, she said: “This was just what we needed.” What she means is:

  • Local-style food
  • Good beer prices
  • Plenty of room for large parties
  • Live music

Moani founders Micah and Anna Keolanui were going for a Hawaiian-family-party vibe, and they’ve absolutely nailed it.

That’s Micah and Anna on the left in the photo below. If you go to the restaurant, you’ll probably see them. Say hi, and thanks.

Live Music Done Right

The music is a big draw, because the Keolanuis, who have a background in the music industry, made the effort to set it up right.

(Micah’s uncle Danny Kennedy was a founding member of Hawaiian reggae pioneers The Manaʻo Company, and Micah himself has performed as Micah G.)

They built a real sound booth, and speaker system, and installed acoustical tiles in the ceiling. That means the music sounds good to the people who want to listen, but doesn’t echo all over the room, disrupting conversation for everyone.

Moani Island Music Schedule (As of 7/22/2019)

Here are the artists on the current Moani schedule, or who have played Moani recently:

  • Jeff Rasmussen (Mondays, 8pm-11pm
  • Keilana (Tuesdays, 8pm-11pm)
  • Kimo Opiana (Wednesdays, 8pm-11pm)
  • Jasmin Nicole (Thursdays, 8pm-11pm)
  • Keolu (Fridays, 7pm-9pm
  • Kaipo Kapua (Fridays, 10pm-Midnight)
  • Kona (Saturdays, 7pm-10pm)
  • Keolanui Bros (Sundays, 8pm-10pm)

These other artists have played Moani recently — keep an eye on their Instagram to see if any might come back.

  • Kaulana Pakele
  • Bamboo Cru(Cial)
  • Kona
  • Freddy Leone
  • Likkle Jordee
  • Gabriel of Twelvenoon & Midnite

The schedule isn’t always set — and musicians drop in from time to time, so call ahead if you want to know the artist for sure.

They’ve also announced a special concert series in August.

 

Stars of the Moani Menu

The menu is big, and I haven’t made a bad choice yet. (Go to the restaurant home page and scroll down to see the whole thing.)

Here are some of the highlights:

Micah G’s 2-lb Sizzling Hamburger Steak

I’m afraid to try unless I have at least a few people with me:

This is It comes out sizzling on a cast-iron plate, topped with onions, sunnyside up eggs, and brown gravy. You could call it a meat-forward loco moco.

Pipikaula

Pipikaula at Moani Island Bar & Bistro
Incredibly meaty, flavorful pipikaula, some of the best I’ve had.

Teri Burger

Teri Burger at Moani Island Bar & Bistro
A nice thick burger, with a gorgeous bun and crisp veggies

Pono Pork Dumplings

Pono Pork Dumplings at Teri Burger at Moani Island Bar & Bistro
Gently steamed dumplings, with a umami-bomb dried opah sauce

Bacon & Kim Chee Yakisoba

Bacon and Kim Chee Yakisoba at Teri Burger at Moani Island Bar & Bistro
A very hearty serving, with really nice texture from the bacon and kim chee. Moani serves kim chee with a lot of dishes, and it’s always really crunchy and fresh-tasting.

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