Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Imari, Hilton Waikoloa Hawaii

During our trip to Hawaii we stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort which is an absolute flagship location for the Hilton brand. Honeymooners and group activities abounded and the entire location was magical. Set on acres and acres of sculpted gardens the resort features live Pacific animals, a central lagoon and of course numerous high end restaurants. 

Imari is the Japanese fusion restaurant at Hilton Waikoloa with fresh modern American Japanese food and fresh Hawaiian ingredients. 

The restaurant is set in a floating teahouse pavillion setting surrounded by gorgeous Koi ponds. If you have kids or just love fish they offer a nightly fish feeding at sunset. 

Of course it wouldn't be a team event without a few drinks. The drink options were varied and suited to each taste - Japanese specials like sake and Japanese imported beers were available. Tropical and classic cocktails and high quality wines also abounded.

Oshinko $5USD

I love Japanese pickles while drinking they offer a sharp bite between cocktails to cleanse the palette.

Vegetarian hosomaki - kappamaki and kanpyomaki $5USD each

Vegetarians needn't miss out at a sushi restaurant these traditional small rolls using fresh cucumber and pickled gourd are a great choice. 

Assorted sushi - tekkamaki $12USD, Imari Roll $20USD and Hawaiian Rainbow Roll $18USD

Both traditional and modern American sushi rolls were available to every taste. The rainbow roll featured a large number of fresh local seafood options with avocado and cream cheese - like an ultra decadent California roll. The Imari roll was a fried tempura shrimp topped with spicy tuna and green onion. 

Note that they were careful to separate the seafood hosomaki to ensure the vegetarian plate was unsullied. This kind of attention to detail shows the kind of excellent customer service one would expect at such a first class Hilton establishment.

Assorted sashimi - 15 pieces $39USD

Large and small sashimi samplers were available but both featured fresh tuna, salmon, walu, hamachi and squid.

As well as our vegetarian comrade the resort was wonderfully in catering to a gluten free diner in our group as well. They ensured that there were plenty of sashimi and sushi options that were suitable to his diet restrictions. They also made sure to use wheat free soy sauce on all of the shared dishes and provided tamari for dipping with the sushi.

Hiyashi Chuka $15USD

Hiyashi chuka is the perfect dish for tropical settings - a cold seasoned noodle salad made with sesame dressing in the yoshoku "Western Japanese food" style. 

Marinated beef kushiyaki $16USD

Kushiyaki are small bites grilled on sticks and this beef was perfectly seasoned with soy and sesame with green onion.

Miso butterfish $28USD

Rich butter fish is seasoned in a miso sauce and served with tempura grean beans and sauces.

Macadamia Nut Tofu Katsu $16USD

Tofu has a really bad rap in the US and it's often presented in really boring fashion but Imari elevated it with this Japanese/Hawaiian fushion cutlet dish.

Tempura banana split $15USD

Banana fritters are fried in a tempura style batter and topped with cream, fruit and toasted coconut.

All in all it was a great experience - the customer service was immaculate and they tended to our dietary needs with great care. The drinks were plentiful and the food was delightful, it suited perfectly the mixed Asian and Western holiday crowd at the resort. The restaurant was beautifully designed and who can beat a Hawaiian sunset setting? Much recommended if you are lucky enough to find yourself at this tropical paradise.


69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa Village, HI 96738
Ph (808) 886-1234

Modern Japanese/Hawaiian fusion and Teppanyaki in a tropical resort setting

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