We ate there on a Saturday and coming from the Ko Olina area, it took about an hour to drive there. This is mainly because one, travel on any Hawaiian island may not be a far distance but still takes a while due to a lack of highways and other main roads and two, once we made it to the North Shore, traffic literally crawled along Interstate 83 which is not surprising since on the other side is the beach, parking is a constant clogged nightmare, and it was a Saturday over a holiday weekend with perfect weather.
Back to the Turtle Bay Resort-most of you may know it as the setting for the Hollywood comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. What's funny is that the resort looked nothing like in the movie. Sure, the lobby area was stunning and like many other Hawaiian resorts, the incorporation of the outside with the inside is always a nice touch, but did it look anything spectacular? Not really. I had contemplated staying there but ultimately decided against it due to the high room rates; after the drive there with all the congestion and seeing in person how secluded an area it was, I'm really glad we didn't.
Ola's big draw is that it's literally right on the beach. While it has some tables "inside" (i.e. on wooden floors and under a roof) many of its tables are outside which is what we opted for. Our reservation was at 5:30 which is when they start serving dinner. In Hawaii in October the sun sets about 6:05ish (unfortunately the location of the resort is not ideal if you actually want to see the sunset).
As I was in Hawaii and wanted to keep with tradition since my other beach side dining experience at Merriman's on Maui, I ordered a seafood dish, Togarashi Glazed New Zealand King Salmon ($28.95) accompanied by Okinawan Sweet Potato, Kahuku Corn, Edamame, Mixed Peppers, and an Asparagus medley. I'm not a huge salmon fan but I do like to eat it on occasion. I hadn't thought at the time to suggest how I like it cooked (I've been to restaurants where they ask this). Unfortunately, it came out a lot rarer than I would have liked.
It got to the point where I literally just wanted the check so we could pay and go but D wanted to order dessert. When our waiter finally did come over to see how we were doing, he rattled off the dessert selections orally; we opted for the Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brule. And it was then that we waited some more, more than we should have for such a simple dessert selection. Exacerbating the situation was that some sort of fly contingent made a terrible nuisance to anyone sitting near the lit tiki torches (we of course were). So while the waiting was bad enough, we were also having to slap flies away from our bare skin every couple of seconds. Thankfully they were not of the biting variety. But the large group next to us was also seated near a faux torch and they actually had the waiter remove the light bulb (because there was no one else that could have handled that?). So that of course added to our waiting and waiting.
It's not a slight against the food at Ola as it was very good, just a perfect instance on how bad service can really mar a meal. Case in point-we were seated near to tables of two just like us and those couples were finished and long gone before our dessert ever came. This was on our second night on Oahu but thankfully meals for the rest of the trip were a lot better.
More in this series!
USS Missouri-a photo essay
Oahu Beaches-a recap