San Diego

Go Polynesian: New Year Dining Tiki Trend

Dec 13th 2010 2:45PM / by Nanette Wiser

Nothing says 2011 like a Mai Tai ... or two. Tiki style is all the rage; you can either turn your backyard into a jungle oasis or you can let the grass-skirted barkeep serve you kaleidoscope umbrella blender drinks, pupu platters and flaming cocktails. Should you want to go Bali bopping, here are some San Diego bars and restaurants to choose from.
Bali Hai: Usher in New Year's Eve with chef Chris Powell's eclectic Asian menu and an authentic Polynesian floor show. This historic landmark is the original Tiki hut now updated, with Mr. Tiki moved from the front door to the roof, but the 360 degree bay panorama still is the star of the show as is the Mai Tai happy hour daily starting at 3pm. Nibble on coconut shrimp, Hawaiian ahi poke, Vietnamese salt and pepper calamari and some of the best umbrella drinks in town (including mango coladas, hurricanes, rum runners and lava slides).
2230 Shelter Island Drive, Point Loma; 619-222-1181
Bar Pink: Tiki Tuesday adds to the cache of this hip lounge with some of the best live funk and rock music in town. Sip Ami's Sneaky Tiki (coconut rum, almond liqueur, sweet and sour, fruit juice) while grooving in your flower lei.
3829 30th St., North Park; 619-564-7194
Islands Restaurant: This themed chain restaurant looks like Oahu, tastes like burgers and sandwiches, but the deal breakers are the luau-sized blender concoctions that pack a punch.
2441 Fenton Parkway, Mission Valley; 619-640-2727 (check website for other locations)
Lei Lounge: The Lei Lounge features aloha style and cuisine (chicken satay sticks, Hawaiian short rib sandwich), best consumed near the fire pit and flickering tiki torches. Parasols dot the Gorgeous Geisha (strawberry liqueur, lychee juice topped with champagne) and the best of show includes a sake lemongrass martini, hibiscus juice Hawaiian or pineapple coconut mojito, and white sangria made with coconut rum and tropical fruits.
4622 Park Blvd, University Heights; 619-813-2272
Tiki Hut Island Grill: The Tiki Hut's sides of curry gravy and moco honey chili sauce perk up your aloha spirit, as do the sugar cane coconut black tiger shrimp, seaweed wrapped Spam on rice, shredded Kahlua pig sandwich and diced ahi poke (sesame seed oil, cucumbers, wakame, ogo and diced onions).
9450 Scranton Road, #114D, Sorrento Valley; 858-646-0914

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