Best Hawaiian Luau

Punahele Island Grill

This place is so authentic that a big pile of macaroni salad comes with every order. Only true Hawaiians know that macaroni salad is the unifying food of their modern culture. And the mound of shredded pork on every plate is so succulent it dissolves before you can begin to chew. With not much more atmosphere than a banquet hall, this is what Hawaiian luaus really look like. You get the feeling you are at a wedding reception as you sit next to strangers at the long folding tables that line the room. But no one remains a stranger. A live luau band plays the real stuff — not old Don Ho hits. Punahele Island attracts a large number of customers who are actually from Hawaii, and when the music plays, more than one middle-aged woman is moved to get up and hula dance right next to her seat, remembering the steps she learned as a child. Everyone in the joint hoots and hollers, egging on the next dancer. Though situated far in the Outer Sunset, the place is packed to the rafters every Friday and Saturday night. Reservations are a must for groups larger than two.

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