Don Ho’s Island Grill

So slowly trying to focus on getting back to blogging, I’m going start on blogging on hawaii adventures and eats.  Bryan’s Hawaii Adventures and Eats!  That’s got a nice ring, right?  Please feel free to leave feedback as I slowly try to create a format that works for everyone.  Please feel free to leave feedback how I can improve this blog and my writing.  Each article I’m going learn new ways to improve the way I write and include my adventures for you all!

Time Attended: 7:30pm Hawaiian Time

So my first official blog here is about Don Ho’s Island Grill.  Located at Aloha Tower in Honolulu, it sits right on the waterfront.  Relatively an easy place to get to.  If you can find your way to Aloha Tower, its located on the ground floor in the very back.  You can park yourself, but around night time its going be most likely valet.  Don’t worry, getting your ticket validated it’ll be only about $5 for valet parking.

Since there was a visitor in town, I decided to take them out to eat on a Thursday and enjoy a few drinks.  I was kinda in the mood for something on the water front and had easy parking so I didnt have to walk very far.  Don Ho’s is just that if you can beat the crowds.  The place wasn’t to crowded so after we requested, we got a table right near the water.  It was already about 7:30pm so the sun was set and it was dark.  But the ocean breeze, crashing waves…it is all just beautiful.  You’ll get to see ships coming in and out of the port.  When it is night, the moon shines brightly on the ocean.  If you can make it here for a sunset, do so!  What’s better then watching Hawaii’s famous sunsets with a few drinks!

When we got here, we were immediately greeted, had our parking validated (IMPORTANT!) and requested seating next to the water.  Since it was a little more on the slow side for a Thursday, we were rewarded with our request.  After being seated, you have to take in the view for a few minutes.  Finally, after those few minutes disappeared, I made my way to the drink menu.  I’m a beer drinker.  Draft Beer is what I prefer on most occasions.  Some reason this place only has Coors Light on tap.  That’s it!  Everything else was Bottles or Mixed Drinks.  I was disappointed of course, but I settled for the coors light.  It’s not priced that bad either  $4.50!  It’s Hawaii, so that is not a bad price for a non-happy hour draft beer.

I want to note about 5minutes into looking over the drink menu our waitress still has yet to come.  I always felt it was important to get drink orders asap.  It keeps everyone a lot less antsy and relaxed!  Since our waitress had yet to arrive, I made my way to the Dinner Menu.  I want to make a quick point here to visitors of the island.  You’re in Hawaii, and I believe you should take in as much of our local eats as possible!  So when I seen things like Chicken Alferado and such, I can recommend staying away from them.  Not because they’re bad, but because you really should indulge on a true Hawaiian experience.

I have been told the Kaula Pork Quesadillas here are good.  I love Kalua Pork! explains all about this yummy Hawaiian food.  You should really experience eating some good Hawaiian kalua pork while on the island.  Read on later where I suggest where to get some of the best around!

Not seeing much else on the menu that sparked my interest, I set my mind on the Quesadillas.  It took about 10minutes for our waitress to show from since we arrived though.  When she did, she was very nice.  I know waiting 10minutes for service isn’t the greatest thing, but in Hawaii we really don’t move as fast as other cities.  We laid back, happy, relaxed and tend to be a lot less stress free.  So it didnt bother me as much as it did my guest.

Our drinks did arrive right away after we placed the order though!  Very happy to get a nice cold beer to drink while we waited for our food.  The food?  It took all but 5minutes to arrive.  It wasn’t super hot, more like warm.  I think maybe it was sitting or prepared before hand.  I’m not to sure.  However, they did look good.  They put some type of sweet and sour (with a little spiciness to it) on top of it.

Immediately upon biting into my quesadilla, my first thought is why did they put this sauce on top of my quesadilla?  It really ruined the taste of the pork and cheese.  The Kalua Pork was ok here.  My guest thought it was good, as it was there first time having Kalua Pork.

About half way done my first of 4 quesadillas, my beer was now gone. The waitress was quick this time and it barely sat there empty for a few seconds.  I’m going say after a few more beers, the service was just as quick!  However, another note, it always irks me when they do not fill my beer all the way.  Some reason they didn’t.  They left about an inch and half unfilled.  The beer wasn’t as crisp as I like it, but it wasn’t anything that’ll disappoint you.

There was a point towards the end of the meal I did have to goto the bathroom.  You’re probably wondering why I”m even bringing this up, right?  Well, the bathrooms are located on the 2nd floor of the mall.  The whole Aloha Tower shares those bathrooms.  These were some of the most disgusting bathrooms I have been in for a long time!  They kinda smelled, there was urine all over the floor, and I would not dare touching the handles!  Very disappointing.

What I ate: Kaula Pork Quesadillas – $12

What I drank: Coors Light Draft Beer – $4.50/per


My rating system is a work in progress, so for now here is how I structured it.  My ratings are Bad, Fair, Good, Amazing.  So no fancy star system or percentage points.  The difference between Fair and Good is Fair is a little below average.  Its not bad, but its edible, or doable.  Good means its above average, you’d probably order that again and such.  Fair is like a C grade.  Good is a B grade. Fair is like barely passing your class.  Good is you passed but you’re not Mr. Amazing.  Haha, ok I’m done explaining that.

  • Wait Time to Be Seated:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Food Quality:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Food Quantity:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Drinks Selection:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Drink Prices:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Drink Quality:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Drink Quantity:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Restaurant Cleanliness:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Parking:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Drinks:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Restaurant Atmosphere:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Restaurant Restrooms
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Prices:
    • Bad Fair Good Great
  • Overall:
    • Bad Fair Good Great

My Final Word:  The atmosphere here is what makes Don Ho’s worth it.  If this place was in a bad location, it would not have the business it does have.  The food is ok to fair at best.  The quantity of the food is good.  The pricing is what you should expect to pay right in Waikiki without being in Waikiki.  Drinks are priced ok.  I love the atmosphere here if I can get a seat by the water, or if a live band is playing.  Sometimes they have horrible electronica music playing that ruins the Hawaii vibe you seek.  If you want Hawaiian Food that taste great, this isnt the place.  I think more of this place as a nice place to get a few drinks and appetizers, in a great atmosphere.


What is Kalua Pork?

How much should I tip in Hawaii?

How do I get my parking validated?

  • Ask the hostess or your waitress!  Give them your parking ticket and they’ll put a sticker on it.

What time does the sun set in Hawaii?

Quick Tips!

– Parking is relatively cheap.  $5 when I went.  Just make sure you do not forget to get your parking validated!  As soon as you walk into the restaurant ask them to validate it!  Failure to do this and youre parking can be way past $15!

– Aloha Tower is usually slow around dinner time.  So you will probably feel lost.  Don Ho’s is on the first floor.  So when you enter Aloha Tower’s front entrance.  Keep walking straight towards the water.  At the end you’ll see Don Ho’s on the right.

– Make sure to request seating next to the water!- Its the same price to get your car valet’d then to park it yourself.  Only difference is you should tip the valet a few dollars.  However the valet’s park your car in a garage.  So its protected from the weather.

– Ask for the Quesdilla’s without the sauce on top!  Maybe it was just me but I didnt enjoy it.  I thought the Quesdilla’s would of been better without the sauce on top.


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