Reef Bar & Market Grill | Where to Eat in Oahu
January 15, 2018 by Jen Balisi
Grilling a steak by the beach with Diamond Head behind me is definitely not one of the things I expected to be doing during my time in Oahu. But there I was, standing behind a hot grill with a giant spatula, flipping a ribeye steak while looking out the windows to see the sun setting on Waikiki Beach. This experience comes thanks to Reef Bar & Market Grill, located inside the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Resort (where I stayed for the 8 days on vacation with my family).
Once you place your order for one of their protein options on the menu, the server will give you a ticket that you bring to the butcher counter in the back of the restaurant. You’ll pick your desired protein from the counter (in my case, I selected the ribeye with the most marbling and mahi-mahi kebabs interlaced with pineapple, bell peppers, & onions), then choose from a variety of seasoning options before taking it to the nearby grill.
Since I’m not very experienced with cooking over an open fire grill, I was worried that I might overcook my steak and ruin it. Luckily, Reef Bar & Market grill has a chef who watches over the grills to help check on your food. In the case of my steak, he even asked what level of doneness I wanted it cooked and checked the temperature as I was cooking so I knew when to take it off the grill, and he also sliced it for me after we let the steak rest.
Included with your protein is access to the unlimited salad bar, with a variety of standard options as well as local items like pineapple coated in Chinese plum powder and macaroni salad. Overall the salad bar wasn’t anything special, but it was nice to have some veggies to go with your meat.
The only disappointing part of the meal were the housemade sauces for the steak. We found most of them to be thin and lacking in flavor except for the chimichurri. Luckily, the steak itself was well-seasoned with salt & pepper and didn’t need sauce, but if you prefer steak sauce you may need to improvise or go for the bottled BBQ sauces.
Aside from the market grill, you can also order a number of items from the kitchen, including starters like tasty poke tostadas that came on crispy wontons. Of the entrees, we had a really stellar beer batter fish and chips that ranks among one of the better fish & chips I’ve had anywhere. The batter had great flavor and held onto the tender and flaky fish well, while the perfectly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside steak fries were gone almost immediately. Their decadent pineapple upside down bread pudding with haupia (coconut) ice cream was the perfect ending to our meal.
The prices of the menu are what you would expect from a beachfront restaurant in Waikiki, and I think it’s worth it for the overall experience if you can get a table with a view of the beach. We also preferred Reef Bar & Market Grill to our dinner at Duke’s Barefoot Bar (the outdoor dining area, not the indoor restaurant), the popular beachfront spot located inside Outrigger Reef’s sister property a bit further down Waikiki Beach. Overall, Reef Bar & Market Grill a great option if you’re looking for a meal to enjoy the sunset in Waikiki and the unique experience of grilling by the beach.
See more restaurant tips in my guide on Where to Eat in Oahu