Unless you’re staying at Turtle Bay Resort, you might not think of it as a lunch destination, instead choosing to drive past it on your way to Waimea Bay or the Polynesian Cultural Center. But more and more people are catching on that this is the place to stop for lunch and to take a breather beside the ocean.
The latest offering by Hawaii celebrity chef and culinary pioneer Roy Yamaguchi, Roy’s Beach House is the perfect combination of a casual beachside picnic and a fine dining restaurant, with ultra-fresh, locally sourced cuisine from a trusted name in the biz.
Ask for a table on the patio, sit back under the large, orange beach umbrellas or take a table in the sun and soak up the peaceful, laid-back atmosphere, with the white sand and gentle breaking waves of Kuilima Cove just a step away.
Inside the main seating area of the open-air restaurant, the custom high-backed teak chairs and square tables are easily configured for groups.
The restaurant is headed up by veteran executive chef Gordon Hopkins, who was Yamaguchi’s sous chef and partner at the original Hawaii Kai restaurant in the ’80s. Lunch options, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., are light and flavorful, with ingredients like tomatoes, asparagus and greens sourced from the nearby towns of Hauula, Waialua and Haleiwa. The fresh local produce accents main entrees, such as Roy’s signature melt-in-your-mouth sweet and savory misoyaki butterfish and the macadamia nut encrusted mahimahi, both using fresh fish caught by local fishermen.
If youʻre not in the mood for a full entree, the menu also has huge burgers, an island-style poke bowl, grilled kalbi short ribs, and sandwiches and salads, in addition to several smaller appetizers.
Unique to this Roy’s restaurant is a take-out counter, dubbed Roy’s Shorebreak Grill, which is open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and features gourmet to-go options for beachgoers like salads, sandwiches, pupu (appetizers), a few of the signature entrees, several flavors of gelato from Il Gelato, and even a keiki (kids) menu.
“No other Roy’s is this lunch-focused,” says manager Brandon Nakachi, noting that the restaurant is especially popular with the lunch crowd on the weekends, although business is steady all week.
Another reason to visit Roy’s at lunchtime? The beach bar. Serving wine by the glass, handcrafted cocktails and both bottled and draft beer on tap, the bar slings drinks that are made at the same caliber as the food in Royʻs, often adding a gourmet twist to classic tropical favorites, like the Beach House Spiced Mai Tai, made with local Koloa spiced rum, ginger, pineapple and a Koloa dark rum float.
A crowd favorite is the cool, refreshing “Drunken Pineapple” Colada, made with a house recipe pina colada, blended with locally grown pineapples soaked in Stoli Vanilla Vodka and Malibu Rum
In the near future, the bar plans to bring in more local craft beers and have several dedicated taps for Hawaii breweries.
While there are shrimp trucks down the road and one or two other places in the area to go for lunch, no other spot close by has the laid-back beach vibe combined with easygoing class and quality local ingredients of Roy’s. There’s really no reason not to include it on your next circle-island road trip.
Roy’s Beach House at Turtle Bay Resort, 57-091 Kamehameha Hwy., Kahuku, Oahu. Call (808) 293-7697 for reservations. turtlebayresort.com/Oahu-Restaurants/roys-beach-house