Ko olina Restaurants in and near the Disney Aulani Resort

We just got home from Hawaii, and I want to share with you all of my tips and tricks for staying at Aulani Disney Resort! Overall it was a great place to unwind, and enjoy some quality time with the kiddos on the island of Oahu. I am going to share some of our favorite finds for the best Ko olina restaurants near Disney's Aulani resort. By reading beyond this point you are agreeing to my updated privacy policy, found here, and my use of affiliate links.

The lobby at Aulani is amazingly stunning.

This post details two types of Ko olina restaurants...those within walking distance to Aulani and those on the property!

Restaurants on property

On the resort the food service is either fine dining, table service, chair service, or quick service.  I really hope this post helps you before your trip!

Fine(r) Dining


Fresh fish dinner at Makahiki

There are quite a few dining options at the Disney Aulani resort. The main restaurant (where they have character breakfast until 11 every day) is called Makahiki. You will need to make reservations, as it is also open to people that are not Aulani guests. It is a three course, price fixed, breakfast (or dinner) and is fairly family friendly. That said, I didn't see many kids during the dinner hour. It was mostly adults, and typical kiddo behavior was very noticeable. The food options were fantastic. We tried the prime steaks and fresh fish. Breakfast is $49 per adult, and $29 per child (9 and under). The dinner menu is $73 per adult, and $30 per child (9 and under). That said, my son at 11 ate from the children's menu most of the time, and they didn't care. We absolutely adored the Disney Characters that are different from the ones we see in the Disney parks. We did see Goofy, but even he was dressed in his best vacation-wear!

Ama Ama

When  the weather is bad, you can sit at Ama Ama and enjoy the view!

Ama Ama is an open-air restaurant with beautiful views of the Ko olina lagoons. It is simply spectacular, and the best ocean views at the resort! They feature fresh island fish, a full bar, and local ingredients. We did not eat there for dinner, but it is prixe fixe just like Makahiki. One interesting feature is that almost every option is gluten free! The four course tasting menu is $125 per adult. We were able to eat inside Ama Ama one day during the rain at lunch. They will open seating there for the restaurant next door during bad weather. DO THAT!

Table Service

Off the Hook

Kids menu item at Off the Hook.  Fresh mahi!  Big enough for my oldest too!

Off the Hook is the quick-service poolside eatery located next to Ama Ama and right next to the pool. You can watch the kids while they swim in the pool, and have some bites with the adults. One of the best parts about Aulani is that there are lifeguards EVERYWHERE. It is so nice. Ama Ama features some local foods like poke, and they have some good options for kids. Kiddos can even try the fresh catch (it was mahi while we were there) with a salad and fruit. A win-win for me to get something green in their bodies. LOL.

The Olelo Room

Located right next to Makahiki, this is the happy hour place to grab a quick bite and some tropical cocktails. They do offer live music, which is always a bonus in my book. It's also the only place in the resort that has sushi!

Grab and Go

Ulu Cafe

Most of the dining options are counter service at Aulani. The Ulu cafe is by far my favorite with its DIY poke. They have a couple of chef created options or the build your own (which is what I did every time). It is also the best bang for your buck, as that poke fed three of us for lunch! It's a lot of food! Also the pizzas are a great, economical way to feed a group of people. They also have a lot of grab-and-go items like salads and sandwiches. PRO TIP: buy the reusable mug. The drip coffee is $6 each, but with the reusable mug, it is free as part of the package. Sodas also apply!

Wailana Pool Bar

This is the place to get specialty coffee, and adult beverages later in the day. This is the only place to get dairy-free accoutrements for your coffee.

Papalua Shave Ice

Traditional Hawaiian Shave Ice that is Mickey shaped, you have to do it at least once!

Mama's Snack Stop

We didn't eat here but its menu is filled with fried goodness. Think fish and chips, fried fish sandwiches and the like.

Little Opihi's

Located on the beach, they have Dole Whip (which you can even get Mickey shaped), and a variety of frozen treats. They even serve canned adult beverages! I highly recommend getting the Dole Whip at least once, and they even have a watermelon flavor that I haven't ever tried!

Chair Service

If you are sitting in lounge chairs after 11 am, you can order a variety of foods, frosty beverages, and desserts. We used this several times, and loved it. My only complaint is that most of the food options weren't open until 11 am, and kids (especially jet-lagged ones) have already had an entire day by 11 am.


The kids bento was pretty great!

This is a must do! It is so easy as it is on property, and it is the first luau that I have been to where they had stations set up to try traditionally Hawaiian crafts, music, and food making. Kids can be uncertain about trying new things, but if they have a chance to play with it first, they will often be more daring. That was certainly the case with mine (even my little dude who has texture sensitivities). After making poi, he tried it, and discovered he liked it! Each child gets a bento box instead of waiting to go through the buffet line (which is awesome for impatient little ones), and they were still allowed to go through the line and try anything they wanted. It was honestly the best way to introduce different aspects of Hawaiian culture to the kids.

Off Property Options


The veggie tray was very helpful

Just go with me folks. If your room has a full kitchen (like ours which was one of the disney vacation club villas), we had a full sized fridge and freezer. I stocked up on yogurts, snacks, breakfast items, and adult beverages. Not only did it save us some money by not eating out every meal, but I was pleased to have some veggies for snacking. My kids chose to eat almost nothing green every day. LOL!

How you can stay on property at Disney for less (like we did)!!

Island Country Market

Located across the street from the resort, it is in a strip mall called Ko olina center with a few other shopping options. All of your snacking essentials, and anything you might want to stock in your fridge is there. They also have a small meal counter where you can order a plate lunch, or a sandwich to go!

Island Vintage Coffee

If $6 drip coffee isn't your jam, or you like a more specialized coffee, this is your place to go! You can also order acai bowls and breakfast. This one came highly recommended.

Monkeypod Kitchen

Everywhere I looked online I found people raving about Monkeypod. It is located in the same shopping center as the market and the coffee shop, so it's the perfect place to venture out for some delicious food and popular beers. They have a very fancy pizza oven, homemade pastas, and a great happy hour menu. It is also slightly less pricey than on the resort for dinner. Another fun thing is that it is next to the Ko olina golf course so there are lots of golf carts to watch along with the live music!

Mina's Fish House

Next door to the Aulani is the Four Seasons.  This might have been the best meal of my life, and I am not exaggerating.  They had something called a fish sommelier, that brought a fish to the table, explained about the local fish (and what they eat), and was generally fantastic for the kids!  We actually ordered a whole fish, and it was the first time we have done that as a family.  Absolutely such a delicious experience that you should try!  Reservations are available on Open Table.

The food was spectacular.  It is a must do.

There are other resorts kind of nearby, like the Marriott.  However it is about a 15 minute walk and the idea of doing that with hungry kids wasn't my jam.  I hope you enjoy all of the recommendations and I can't wait for your feedback!

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