Everywhere you turn in Hawaii is paradise. However, on Oahu’s Waikiki Beach, there is a new slice of paradise that is utter heaven. It’s a stunning open-air 12,000 square-foot space directly on the powdery sands of the Pacific Ocean with epic views of Diamond Head and the sunset. It offers delectable food from the founder of Hawaii regional cuisine, iconic cocktails, and local craft brews in a fun and joyful environment. It’s the warm, welcoming Aloha spirit in physical form. It’s Monkeypod Kitchen’s newest location.
It’s A Dream Come True
“The opening of Monkeypod Waikiki marks the completion of one of my lifetime goals. For over 20 years, it has been my dream to have a restaurant on Waikiki Beach in a space that celebrates our island home,” says Peter Merriman, Chairman and co-founder at Handcrafted Restaurants.
It Anchors The $ 85-million Renovated Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
The opening of Monkeypod Kitchen Waikiki in July marked the completion of OUTRIGGER Reef Waikiki Beach Resort’s transformation. Guests will experience a contemporary retreat in central Waikiki Beach rooted in Hawaiian culture.
“The synergy between Outrigger and Monkeypod Kitchen stems from our shared Hawai‘i roots and heartfelt desire to foster authentic guest experiences with world-class hospitality,” said Jeff Wagoner, president and CEO of Outrigger Hospitality Group.
It’s Foodie Food in a Fun and Family-Friendly Environment
And that unique Hawaiian hospitality was felt by our family of five when we visited for dinner. This meal and our evening at Monkeypod Kitchen was one of the top highlights of our trip – even for my young kids.
It’s Elevated Food With an Awesome Vibe
Hawaii is a place where food is culture and love combined; you feel that at Monkeypod Kitchen and Chef Merriman’s other restaurants across the Hawaiian Islands.
“We look forward to sharing the bounty of Hawai‘i’s ranchers, farmers, and fishers on the beach in Waikīkī and providing a sublime space for kama‘āina (locals) and visitors alike to reconnect with friends and family while celebrating the craft of food, drink, and merrymaking, with aloha,” Merriman continued.
What Kind of Restaurant Is It?
Monkeypod Kitchen is a modern, casual, chef-driven concept founded on a passion for the art of craft. Each item on the menu demonstrates a commitment to high-quality local fare, creative preparations, and impeccable execution. The menu highlights Hawai‘i’s local bounty with socially conscious ingredients and distinctive pairings of upmarket items with upcountry favorites.
It Can Be Described in One Word: Delicious
Take, for example, their saimin; it brings to life the idea of high-quality local fare. A contemporary Hawaiian take on Japanese ramen, their combination of homemade roasted chicken broth with Iwamoto family noodles, local pork, broccoli, bean sprouts, red onion, peanuts, cilantro, and mint totally knocked our socks off. Even my picky kids were in heaven, and we ordered a second bowl.
The Beauty of the Space Hits You as Soon as You Walk In
Complementing the contemporary design of the new Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, the architecture of Monkeypod Kitchen will evoke an island sense of place to honor and connect guests to the local community while showcasing the stunning views.
The restaurant’s décor and art feature sustainable materials crafted by local artists and artisans, including a twenty-foot glass case filled with found-glass fishing floats, reclaimed wood finishes, and a hand-painted mural by local artist Jeff Gress.
It’s a Handcrafted Hawaiian Experience
Authenticity is a hallmark of the dining experience at Monkeypod Kitchen, enabling guests to connect deeply to the islands through food, drink, live music, and the land that surrounds it. The high-quality, socially conscious ingredients at Monkeypod Kitchen are chosen in such a way as to support the local community and create positive change.
Monkeypod Kitchen is committed to taking every step possible to reduce the company’s environmental impact. Locally sourced, renewable, and sustainable products are incorporated at every opportunity.
So Come Hungry
The restaurant embodies Merriman’s passion for superior ingredients and excellence in preparations and exudes the enchantment innate in the islands. From fresh Kualoa Ranch oysters and Big Island goat cheese bruschetta to Waipoli Farms organic greens and Maui Cattle Co. wood-grilled burger, each dish is delicious and tells a unique story.
Don’t Overlook the Drinks
Similarly, the passion for craft carries over to the philosophy surrounding the drinks served at Monkeypod Kitchen. The robust wine list focuses on sustainability, drinkability, and fun, while all draft beers are handcrafted micro-brews. Even the liquors are small-batch craft spirits. Monkeypod Kitchen’s culinary cocktails highlight house-made sodas, shrubs, syrups and foams, fresh-squeezed juices, and bright, local garnishes.
The restaurant also showcases 36 craft beers on tap, including Pete’s Island Wheat – Merriman’s namesake brew, crafted by Kohola Brewing on Maui.
The Iconic Mai Tai is a Must Try
For libations, guests can indulge in the award-winning Monkeypod Mai Tai topped with a signature lilikoi foam or choose another handcrafted cocktail featuring local spirits such as Ko Hana Rum and Ocean Vodka.
The Monkeypod Mai Tai has taken on a life of its own and garnered a cult following. The signature liliko‘i foam earned it the title of best cocktail on Maui two years running. No wonder Monkeypod Kitchen sold its one-millionth mai tai last year!
Don’t Forget To Leave Room for Dessert
“My family loves going to Monkeypod when we are in Maui. We’ve been to both locations on the island, and the atmosphere is so lively and fun,” said Casandra, a frequent traveler. “The food is delicious, but the coconut cream pie keeps us coming back! It’s to die for and a must if you have room left at the end of your meal.”
You’ll Return for Another Meal, Trust Me
The Waikiki location is the first Monkeypod Kitchen to offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and happy hour.
Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., with happy hour from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The restaurant is primarily walk-in seating with limited reservations online.
Where Else Can You Find a Monkeypod Kitchen?
This marks Handcrafted Restaurants’ fourth Monkeypod Kitchen and its sixth restaurant overall. Each Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman delivers handcrafted dishes in a festive, casual atmosphere with live music three times a day. The first Monkeypod opened on Wailea, Maui, in 2011 to resounding success, paving the way for locations in Kā‘anapali on Maui and Ko‘olina, 20 miles west of Honolulu Airport.
With Chef Merriman at the helm, the menu at Monkeypod Kitchen never disappoints. It’s a favorite spot no matter which location diners visit.
Mix Up A Mai Tai at Home With One of These 10 Recipes From Hawaii’s Best Bars, Restaurants and Hotels
If you need a reason to enjoy paradise in a glass, now you have one. Whether you like yours strong or sweet, here are ten Mai Tai recipes from the best cocktail creators to make at home. And if you’re planning on visiting Hawaii, stop by one of these top bars, restaurants, and hotels to enjoy one in person.
A Local’s North Shore Oahu List: The Best 11 Things to Do
The legendary surf mecca’s towering, glassy winter waves attract the world’s best surfers, while smaller and gentler summer waves are ideal for smaller kids. But what else is there to do there if you’re not an epic surfer?
It’s time to head to the countryside and explore the laid-back North Shore! It just a one-hour push from bustling Waikiki to the Hawaiian countryside.
We Visited the Attraction Voted #1 in Hawaii – Here are 6 Reasons Why The Polynesian Cultural Center Deserves a Spot on Your Itinerary
55% of Americans said they travel to learn something new about a place, culture, or history. So perhaps it is not a surprise that over one million people visit The Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu a year, voted the top thing to do in Hawaii.
Located on Oahu’s eastern North Shore, about 1 hour from Waikiki, it is the only cultural attraction of its kind in the world. Across 42 acres, they’ve recreated six historical villages to explore and experience – Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). But, what really shines are the people.
This Mom Has Traveled to Hawaii 35 Times – Here’s Her Best Family Trip Advice
I’ve visited Hawaii more than 35 times, and my kids have already extensively explored Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Are you planning a trip to Hawaii with the kids? Find my top tips for traveling to Hawaii with kids for an easy and stress-free Hawaiian vacation.
Say Aloha to 18 Stunning Hawaiian Flowers (Plus Mainland Friendly Ones)
They don’t call Hawaii paradise just for its beaches. The whole place is magic. With rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls, and a whole island nicknamed The Garden Isle, you can’t help but rhapsodize at all the beauty of this special land.
It titillates your senses at every turn too. The colors, flavors, smells, sounds, and scenery hold a unique and spellbinding allure that draws you in and doesn’t let you go. One of those pieces is part of the warm welcome visitors receive in the form of a lei – Hawaiian flowers.