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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Hula's, Monterey, CA (restaurant)
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Hula's, Monterey, CA (restaurant)
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Posts: 21
Posted: 2004-06-10 11:35 pm   Permalink

I must say that the photos dont do the place much justice. The place is really well designed, those photos make it look cheesy. THey have a website that displays the place in a better light, along with the menus for food and drink. Also great music while clicking through the pages. www.hulastiki.com
I have been there several times and it is good to see that the local Monterey community has made it a very packed and popular spot. I also heard Ron Owens tlaking about it on KGO radio with the restaurant critic from the Cronicle while discussing the 100 best restaurants in the bay area. Not that Monterey is in the bay area, but they gave it huge thumbs up.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 316
From: SLO California
Posted: 2004-07-11 8:41 pm   Permalink

i like Hula's alot, been there 3 times, the food and drinks were always very good. the resteraunt has a nice decore as well especailly in the back

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 28, 2002
Posts: 712
From: santa monica
Posted: 2004-07-13 12:00 am   Permalink

I am such an ass!, I was just there and forgot to go, SHIT!!!!!.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 31, 2004
Posts: 416
From: Westminster, CO
Posted: 2004-12-02 5:31 pm   Permalink

I owe my whole introduction to Tiki to Hula's. It all started with going here for dinner, and then checking out their website...which led me to other sites, and then to other locales. In my very limited exposure to all that is Tiki, I have to say that this place is one of my absolute favorites (Right up there with meeting Otto and a bunch of TCers at the Conga Lounge!). Now on to TVs!

[ This Message was edited by: HelzTiki on 2004-12-02 17:33 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 11, 2003
Posts: 620
From: Tropical Bixby Knolls LBC
Posted: 2005-01-12 7:16 pm   Permalink

I finally made it to Hula's thanks to some work I had to do at the Point Pinos Lighthouse. My fellow Coast Guardsmen and I loved the food! I had a great Ahi Tuna Sandwich. It was huge! The decor got one of my buddies REALLY interested in Tiki. I've got to go back to work on some Monterey Bay Buoys next week, so I'll be all about the dinner and drink menu!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 824
Posted: 2005-07-31 7:44 pm   Permalink

In Carmel for a wedding this weekend, ran over to Hula's and had some killer fish tacos! Was not able to have a Mai Tai this time, looking forward to returning. I emailed and asked for their salsa fresca that they put on the tacos, if I get it I will post it in Food. I recommend Hulas for the food, great decor and Tikis. Great Bosko's in the back room.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-08-25 2:15 pm   Permalink

I LOVE Hula's! Finally got to go there weekend before last with Stuckie & Yoko -- it's delish! Seriously -- this restaurant is the best example I can think of of a restaurant with GREAT food and PROPER tiki drinks. We had their Mai Tais - I forget if it's using the Trader Vic's recipe or the Trader Vic's mix, but either way it was pineapple-free and delicious. On top of that, the environment was WAY more tiki than I'd anticipated -- very cozy and moody and comfortable, with Bosko-carved trim everywhere and a massive Tiki Tony carving in the room. It's very, very, very tiki, and I wish it was closer to me. I'd be there all the time if I lived locally (and it looks like the locals *are* there all the time -- it was packed on a Sunday night, which is saying something in a relatively sleepy tourist town). I'm still dreaming of the pulled pork I had. Yummy.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3192
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-08-25 3:43 pm   Permalink

What...no Corn-tiki for dinner?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 01, 2005
Posts: 735
Posted: 2005-12-02 1:14 pm   Permalink

I was up there about two weeks ago for a conference and was able to convince a few colleagues to check the place out. For drinks, the Mai Tai was very good, no pineapple juice as previously noted, the zombie was very strong and about the best I've had anywhere. One of our party ordered the Dr. Funk, a drink with CocoLopez in it. You couldn't even taste the alcohol. The great coconut flavor made it very palatable. That was a damn fine drink.
Drinks are actually served in tiki mugs, and you can keep them. There's a Munktiki mug, and the tiki farm mugs that have both been discussed, and you can also get a Fu Man Chu mug, though for the price ($11 or theresabouts) and no decal, you'd probably be better off getting one elsewhere.
For an appetizer we got some cucumber slices marinated in something. I don't know what, but it was more of a chopsticks kind of appetizer, but very tasty.
I got the Bali Hai ribs, very good, the mango barbecue sauce rocked! I did feel a little funny the next morning. One other person who got the ribs said the same thing. Not sure if it was the food or not. It tasted so good while I was there I didn't care. Some other people got the chicken plate, again very tasty, and no complaints the day after. The sweet potato fries are something I'd kill someone for. I've got to find a place that sells them locally.
Decor was excellent. Lots of tikis, some bosko masks, and over in the corner in the back dining room was a nice big fat six-foot tiki. Looked fantastic. I tried to take it home with me but it was too heavy. Lots of great photos, something that looked like, could have been, a Leeteg velvet painting. Repro (maybe?), but looked excellent. Lots of other pictures around, no space anywhere on the walls. I noticed some art by Doug Horne (Swampfire) and there's a great vintage photo enlargement on the wall of people on a beach watching an atomic bomb detonate in the distance. Crazy.
Music wasn't anything great, but I don't remember that it was memorably bad, either. I think it might have been reggae or something like that, but it was so loud in the main dining room that I couldn't even tell what was on.
The bar area was a bit small, and since we were there on a Friday, it was pretty crowded and not a lot of room to wait. One bartender on staff made it a bit difficult to get drinks, she dissed one of our people who didn't get a drink until we got seated. Wait was about 30-45 minutes for a table. Tables/booths were best for groups of 4, we had five, so we had a person sitting in a chair on the end.
Service was quick, friendly, everyone was really nice. Food was out pretty fast, no messups with the order. We had some difficulty with the bill, but that was more related to the fact that everyone was buying mugs, so I wouldn't blame the staff for that.
All in all, great place, if you're in town definitely make a point to stop by.


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Don D'Ablo

Joined: Sep 30, 2004
Posts: 9
From: Houston
Posted: 2006-05-24 12:51 pm   Permalink

I was just at Hula's for the first time last week. We were the 2nd customers of the day right after they opened and they were completely full by the time we left. I had the pork which was delicious. It reminded me of Mexican barbacoa. We sat in the main room which is more Hawaiian than anything. It's the seperate eating area which is very tiki. Before leaving we purchased 3 t-shirts and 2 mugs. Oh and they played 80s music which I love so I did not mind.

We also stopped by Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills 2 days later but it was around noon and they did not open 'till 5:00 pm. and we had to leave L.A. that afternoon. Aaarrrggg! Anyway, managed to take a few pictures in front of it.

Peace, Love, Little Pink Umbrellas
~ Don D'Ablo

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 08, 2004
Posts: 328
From: DC Metro Area (MD)
Posted: 2006-08-04 7:36 pm   Permalink

As part of a massive West Coast trip, my girlfriend and I stopped for lunch at Hula's. It was terrific! The food was delicious, really tremendous. Even if it weren't a tiki bar, if I lived nearby I'd be eating lunch and dinner there all the time. Folks were very nice and knowledgeable about the drinks. The mai tai appeared to be mixed from scratch.

Here are some photos from our visit...
Exterior shot... even though the stereotype is that a tiki bar should be dark, Hula's does well with the windows wide open. I suspect they do a strong restaurant business even amongst non-tikiphiles - the food is just tremendous and it's a very welcoming place.

Swell neon and light bulb sign in the main hallway:

Great carved post on the bar:

This is the Tiki Room, just off the main bar and restaurant area - chockfull of Bosko carvings (not visible in this photo):

Here are some of the carvings:

Really dug this fan in the Tiki Room:

This swell Munktiki Imports mug was for sale, also available in brown:

And here's the back of the mug:

Cannot recommend it enough!


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2006-08-05 10:38 pm   Permalink

Thanks for sharing your great pictures of Hula's. Isn't the food there fantastic? I was there at night, and the tiki room comes across much more mysterious & moody when it's dark out. If you're interested, I'd love for your photos to be in Critiki.


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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5857
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2008-03-25 6:56 pm   Permalink

March 23, 2008
They no longer serve the tradional mai tai (and won't, if you ask).
The ahi wasabi bowl (that use to be great)Sucked!

[ This Message was edited by: Unga Bunga 2008-03-25 19:06 ]

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 10, 2004
Posts: 21
Posted: 2008-05-07 09:56 am   Permalink

Unga Bunga, Someone that has been around as long as you have I am very surprised by this last post of yours. Our old recipe for the Mai Tai was good, but the quality was never great due to the ingredients that we were making it with. The Trader Vic's Amber rum was inferior, and we also used Trader Vic's Mai Tai mix, which has quite a lot of preservatives in it. I had Martin Cate come down from Forbidden Island and he was gracious enough to fix our Mai Tai, to give us his Island Mai Tai recipe, which is top notch and all natural, made with much more superior rums. The response has been 99% positive.
I feel much better about serving a superior Mai Tai, made from scratch with superior products to my customers. We are in our tenth year in Monterey and even in these tough economic times we are still growing and having record breaking months. I guess somethings working. Santa Cruz is also booming.
Sorry you had a bad Ahi Bowl. I owe you one.

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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5857
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2008-05-07 9:59 pm   Permalink

Hula's still rocks,

Santa Cruz, always......

Citibeach, I go there for the mia tais.
I apparently had a temp bartender.
The mai tai was rum and pineapple juice based. I was sitting at the bar.
I look forward to having the mai tai you speak of.

[ This Message was edited by: Unga Bunga 2008-05-08 11:56 ]

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