*This dining experience took place in May 2016.
You can also hear me talk about Ohana in depth (including covering the character breakfast options) on Episode 37 of the podcast.
You can also check out the YouTube video of the Electrical Water Pageant that I took while at the Polynesian Resort after dinner at Ohana.
Aloha cousins! Ohana, located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, is a popular table service restaurant that offers up family style meals with Polynesian and Asian-inspired flavors. It’s definitely a family favorite in my family. I just love all the gluten free and dairy free offerings here and always end up stuffing myself silly with all the delicious food.
On this particular occasion, I dined at Ohana with a friend (who is also gluten free and dairy free) who is in Orlando visiting. In fact, the last time I dined here was with my friend when he visited back in November, so it’s definitely a tradition to go here for dinner. We also went to Kona Cafe the week before, so we were making our rounds with the Polynesian Village restaurants.
When we arrived at Ohana, we were greeted by the chef who went over the options with us. Thankfully, much hasn’t changed since last fall, so both my friend and I knew the drill on options.
First up, we enjoyed the Lilikoi salad. It comes with a fruit based vinaigrette and has fresh red peppers, chopped red onions, mushrooms, and edamame (aka soybeans) tossed in with it. While, I like this salad well enough, both my friend and I thought it was pretty underwhelming and not very well seasoned or dressed. I’ve had better versions of this salad, and I do miss the honey lime vinaigrette that Ohana used to serve years ago.
We were also given Deanna’s Gluten Free rolls (aka GNI brand rolls) with some Earth Balance vegan buttery spread. Sadly, these rolls were so poorly heated that they were a dry styrofoam mess. Not even the Earth Balance could save them.
Both my friend and I agree that for some reason Ohana just can’t seem to heat these rolls well. It’s strange because they were heated well next door at Kona, so you’d think they would have no problems. Next time I go, I’ll probably skip the bread.
Because we were both gluten free and dairy free, we were served a large platter of steamed white rice, sauteed veggies, and chicken wings — all safe for both of us to eat.
I also asked for a side of the gluten free and dairy free sweet and sour sauce and teriyaki sauce, which make for great dipping sauces.
The chicken wings were some of the best I’ve had at Ohana. They are the same recipe but for some reason they just tasted really good this particular visit. They had lots of meat on them and were nice and tender.
The sauteed veggies were a disappointment to me because they were basically raw veggies. They were barely sauteed and so raw that they weren’t really very palate pleasing. Next time, I will ask that they cook the veggies a bit more, as I like that medley just not the way in which they were cooked.
And the white rice is always a solid starch for me. I don’t know why but I could literally eat white rice all day every day.
My favorite part of any Ohana meal is the meat course. Ohana grills three different kinds of meats currently on an open oak fire (which means the restaurant smells amazing). This includes beef, chicken, and shrimp. All three meats are currently gluten free and dairy free, which is kind of amazing.
The beef marinade almost has a peanut sauce type marinade on it. We both liked the beef but found that if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with rare meat. This always seems to be the problem with the beef here, it’s either undercooked or overcooked for my taste. We got some very rare beef early on and asked our server if we could get some that were more well done, and she was happy to oblige.
The chicken is a real palate pleaser for everyone. Simple and delicious, this is one I always get seconds on.
But the real favorite for me is the sweet and spicy shrimp. These are peel and eat, so prepare to be a bit messy (it’s totally worth it!). In fact, I may have eaten my weight in shrimp on this visit. They were so good!
In fact, I was so full I didn’t even get dessert. Neither of us did. You can get dessert options that include non-dairy ice cream, cookies, and brownies (depending on your special dietary need).
If you time your dinner right, you may be at Ohana during Wishes. They do have great views of the Magic Kingdom, and they will dim the restaurant lights and pipe in the music. On top of that, there is great entertainment throughout the evening with live music and fun activities for the kiddos (can you say coconut races?!).
Overall, Ohana remains a favorite of mine for great solid gluten free and dairy free options. It’s tasty; the food is plentiful; the ambiance great; the entertainment fun!
Have you been to Ohana? What did you enjoy while visiting there?