Themed eatery shines with warmth of Hawaii
There's nothing better than a Hawaiian holiday. Well, there’s no need to pack your bags, just head to Tiki Tiki Hawaiian Restaurant, minutes from Yokohama Station.
Tiki Tiki’s exotic islander atmosphere will have you winding down in no time. Looking for a romantic date? Ask for a table close to the screen illuminated with gorgeous photos of tropical beaches and aquamarine water.
You’ll want to check out the set menu. For about 1,800 yen (about $23) per person you can enjoy an appetizer, a starter, a light-fare option and an entrée. Other set-menu options even include dessert.
If you have your family in tow, ask for a central table or booth. That will put you up front and center for the nightly hula performances.
On a recent visit to Tiki Tiki my friends and I were feeling adventurous so we ordered the crocodile appetizer (about 900 yen), which arrived hot and crispy, served with a spicy dipping sauce and a fresh orchid decoration. Then we selected drinks (about 700 yen each).
I had the hummingbird, which came in a fake coconut with a tiny plastic-and-feather bird perched atop a real orchid. My friends ordered the nonalcoholic loco girl and volcano goddess. One came in a highball glass that looked like bamboo and both came garnished with tropical leaves or flowers.
Our entrees arrived soon afterward. My friends’ salmon avocado fettuccine (about 1,100 yen) was delicious and too big for one person (a rarity in Japan). I was intrigued by the spicy cheese curry rice (about 1,300 yen). It was served in a little cauldron with a hamburger patty and spicy sauce on top. Our server mixed it all up right at our table then cautioned us; it was hot enough to crisp the rice along the sides – delicious!
Other options included a variety of Hawaiian and Polynesian fare, plus pizza, “satay” (skewered grilled meat) and salads. Most appetizers were under 1,000 yen and most entrees were under 1,500 yen. Our total for one appetizer, three entrees, three drinks and one dessert was about 8,500 yen – surprisingly affordable for a themed restaurant that includes a show.
At 9 p.m. on the dot the lights dimmed. A line of hula dancers circled the dining room floor, drums boomed, and the swaying began. They shimmied, they shook, they smiled and hulaed. Just when I thought the dance was over, a smiling girl approached our table, grabbed my friend by the arm, fastened a grass skirt around her waist and pulled her into the action.
I laughed really hard – until they returned for me. We tried to follow along, but in truth we were laughing too hard. Once we returned to our seats our server brought us a free thanks-for-participating drink.
Then people celebrating their birthdays were asked to stand while the entire restaurant sang them happy birthday. After that, the attention came back to our group. Our very pregnant friend was presented with a lei, and simultaneously congratulated by everyone in the restaurant.
We left that night surprised and jubilant. Who knew we could have a sunny beach vacation on a Friday night so close to home?
Tiki Tiki is open for dinner nightly from 5 p.m. to 11:30 pm. The English and Japanese menu features more than 30 tropical drinks, many without alcohol. For reservations call 045-312-3397. Tiki Tiki is located in the Sotetsu Iwasaki Gakuen Building: B1F, 2-17-1 Tsuruya-cho, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 221-0835.
For more information and a map, visit their Web site (in Japanese) at <r.gnavi.co.jp/g851564> or (for English) visit <www.eok.jp/restaurants-bars/casual-dining/hawaiian/tiki-tiki-yokohama>. Tiki Tiki has a similarly named sister restaurant in Shinjuku near Shinjuku Station.
Note: This story was originally published in Stripes Kanto, Feb. 4, 2011 edition.