Home Food & Beverage Our Anniversary Dinner At Roy’s Ko Olina Hawaii

Our Anniversary Dinner At Roy’s Ko Olina Hawaii

by joeheg

Sharon and I have an unusual affection for Roy’s Restaurants. The James Beard award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi started Roy’s in Honolulu in 1988 and the chain eventually became a part of Bloomin Brands. The parent of Outback Steakhouse is based in Tampa and I guess that’s how we ended up with a Roy’s outpost in Orlando.

Over the course of a decade, Roy’s was a great place to go for a special occasion. Every once in a while, Roy would even stop in to host a special dinner, which one time we were able to attend (and I can’t find a single picture to prove it happened). The chain has since been sold and many mainland locations, including the Orlando outpost, closed during the pandemic. Roy still holds ownership of the locations on the Hawaiian islands.

When we planned our anniversary trip to Hawaii, to commemorate our Honeymoon trip, we had no idea of where we’d eat on our anniversary. It wasn’t until we knew that we would be staying at Disney’s Aulani in Ko Olina that we tried to find a place for dinner.

It didn’t take long for me to find that there’s a Roy’s Restaurant in Ko Olina. While I knew the answer, I asked Sharon if that’s where she’d like to have dinner on our anniversary. Of course, she said that would be great. Even better was that the restaurant was within walking distance from our hotel.

Roy’s has overlooked the 18th hold of the Ko Olina golf course since 2004. Honestly, the restaurant gives off a very 90’s vibe. It reminded me of the Hyatt Grand Cypress golf club in Orlando.

In fact, since the restaurant is part of the Ko Olina golf club complex, you’re not able to get a picture of the establishment. The entrance is through a set of sliding glass doors.

Just past the check-in desk is a small bar area. Here you can get a sense of the 90’s golf club aesthetic that permeates the restaurant.

We were led to our table, which was in the middle of the large main dining area.

While we looked over the menu, we both were interested in the prix fixe option. A three-course meal for $69 seemed reasonable for an anniversary dinner.

We were a bit confused by the menu as we’re accustomed to choosing from options on a prix fixe but in this instance, you received everything on the menu for each course.

We started the evening with cocktails and a serving of Roy’s signature edamame.

For the appetizer, we were served Blackened Ahi and Chicken Spring Rolls.

For the main course, we were served a pairing of Braised Beef Short Rib and Macadamia Nut Hawaiian Fish.

The dessert course consisted of Roy’s signature hot chocolate souffle.

In addition, we received a complimentary anniversary dessert, which was unnecessary as we were already stuffed.

I ordered a bourbon to sip while we enjoyed the end of the evening. The bartender apparently felt I needed a little extra encouragement for our special night. (I’ll forgive the extra ice as it wasn’t an expensive pour)

We took our time with dinner and since we had a later seating, the staff didn’t rush us to leave.

Final Thoughts

Roy’s Ko Olina is definitely part of the old guard restaurants in the area. The crowd seemed to be more people who own condos on the golf course than people who are staying in the nearby hotels. The food was excellent and exactly what we’d expected, thanks to our previous trips to Roy’s in Orlando.

The decor was strange, as it seemed to be more golf club than Hawaiian. I’m sure that’s because it’s located in the Ko Olina golf complex and serves golfers for most of the afternoon.

I’d recommend the restaurant for the food and the service but it’s not an iconic Hawaiian dinner. There’s not much of a view and it’s more “clubby” than a tropical paradise. However, that seemed to be what most of the clientele desired and you can’t fault a place for giving people what they want.

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2 comments

Island Miler September 27, 2022 - 2:22 pm

Interesting that you guys found the Ko Olina location comparable to the former Orlando one. In recent years, Roy has been trying to distance himself (at least locally) as much as possible from the chain locations. And, boy, he has a TON of different concepts here now. If you guys stay in Waikiki next time around, I encourage you to give Eating House 1849 a try at the International Market Place. But, my friends that are Roy’s fans say there is nothing comparable to dining at the original out in Hawaii Kai.

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joeheg September 27, 2022 - 6:54 pm

In doing research for this article, it looks like Bloomin Brands (Outback Steakhouse) sold the US locations of Roy’s to an Applebee’s franchisee in 2014. That company, called United Ohana, LLC all but destroyed the chain, leaving only 4 locations on the mainland. Roy always maintained full ownership of the restaurants on the islands. Our experiences in Orlando were always good. From a quick stop at the bar for some drinks and snacks or a nice dinner, we were never disappointed. Prices were a bit steep but the restaurant was in the convention corridor and they priced for people on expense accounts.

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