Tiki Time: Where to Get Hawaiian Food and Tropical Drinks in D.C.
Summertime is in full swing, and with the recent rise of local restaurants serving up trendy poke bowls and tiki drinks, it’s safe to say DC is getting into the tropical spirit. We’ve seen an uptick in Hawaiian dishes and drinks in the area, so get in on the island craze and check out these spots for poke, spam, poi and more.
Although it’s better known for its stellar Sapporo-style ramen, Daikaya’s second story Izakaya serves up its version of the Hawaiian dish Tuna Poke. Made with diced yamaimo, basil pesto and rice pearls, it’s available during dinner and brunch. Donburi (rice bowls) are served during lunch, and if you have a craving for Hawaiian flavors, try the Tuna Poke bowl (raw tuna, shoyu, green onion, sesame, onion) or the Hawaiian Loco Moco bowl (hambagu, red wine sauce, fried sunny-side up egg). Stop in during brunch for a true Hawaiian breakfast: seared spam, fried egg, teriyaki sauce and furikake served over rice. (705 6th St, NW; 202-589-1600)
The District Fishwife
Head to Union Market and choose either Atlantic Salmon or Yellowfin Ahi Tuna poke bowls served on rice with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, carrot, soy ginger dressing and spicy aioli. (1309 5th St, NE; 202-543-2592)
Hula Girl Bar and Grill
Thanks to its roots as a popular food truck, Hula Girl expanded to a brick and mortar space last year. Here you’ll find traditional Hawaiian dishes such as Lomi, Spam Musubi, Kalua Pork and Cabbage and Loco Moco. Pair your meal with fun tiki cocktails like the Hula Girl Mai Tai or the Hawaii Kai Margarita. (4044 Campbell Ave., Arlington; 703-998-4853)
The fast-casual sushi shop on 14th Street serves up its variation on the traditional Poke Bowl (tuna poke, white rice, carrots, cucumber, radish sprouts), and also offers it in a hand roll with black rice, toasted sesame oil, papaya, shiso, and kaiware sprouts. (1552 14th St, NW; 202-545-6333)
The Northern Virginia food truck offers a number of poke options, including Shoyu Ginger Salmon Poke, Spicy Mayo Salmon Poke, Korean Gochujang Squid, and Thai Chili Garlic Shrimp.
This island-themed bar offers a roster full of tiki cocktails. They’ve got all the classics, like the Pina Coladas, Banana Daiquiris and Mai Tais as well as larger, tiki drinks including one made with gin, scotch, Thai tea and guava. (1201 U St, NW; 202-627-0794)
Come to Bar Charley during happy hour for $5 Tiki Taps with cocktails Molokai Mule (light and dark rum, brandy, orgeat, lime, orange juice and bitters) and Suffering Bastard (gin, bourbon, house ginger beer, angostura bitters and lime). Happy hour runs all night on Mondays and until 6:30 PM Tuesday - Friday. (1825 18th St, NW; 202-627-2183)
Farmers Fishers Bakers
Tiki drinks are the main feature of Farmers Fishers Bakers' cocktail menu. With over 30 different tropical drinks including Zombies, Mai Tais, Pina Coladas, and Daiquiris, you can enjoy your beverage of choice in one their signature tiki mugs. (3000 K St, NW; 202-298-8783)
Freddie’s Beach Bar
As the name would suggest, the Crystal City bar is all about beach-themed tropical cocktails. Try the High Tide Mai Tai with rum, sour mix, Amaretto, Grenadine, orange and pineapple juices or the True Blue Hawaiian with vodka, Blue Curacao and pineapple juice. Bonus: Freddie’s regularly hosts karaoke nights and drag shows. (555 23rd St, Arlington; 703-685-0555)
Head to the second floor Tiki Bar at Jack Rose (open Thursday-Saturday) for tropical cocktails including the Tidal Wave (Tanqueray Gin, Blue Curacao, guava nectar, lime) and the Painkiller (rum, pineapple, orange juice, coconut cream). (2007 18th St, NW; 202-588-7388)
On Thursdays, Mike Isabella’s Mexican cantina goes all out Hawaiian, complete with specialty dishes (like pupu platters, tuna poke, and skewers) and tiki cocktails like frozen hurricanes, tequila coladas, and mai tais. Pepita’s Tiki Thursdays begin at 5PM and run through close. (4000 WIlson Blvd, Arlington; 703-312-0200)
Photo via Flickr user Sam Howzit