Aloha Island Grille

1700 Portola Dr, Santa Cruz
(831) 479-3299

Recent Reviews

Ashley W.

COVID-19 Review: I did not expect to find good Hawaiian food in Santa Cruz! My partner and I love Hawaiian food and decided to order some take out while we were in town. We both ordered the Kalua Pig and Cabbage plate. I didn't expect too much since the only other occasions I have had Kalua Pig were at chains, and they weren't too good. But that day I was really craving it so I chanced it. It was a good choice! The kalua pig was flavorful and tender and satisfied my craving. There were some fattier pieces of pork mixed in that added some nice texture and additional flavor. The mac salad was creamy and a bit tangy and was a good contrast to the pork. The portion was pretty generous as well, I definitely had enough of the pork leftover for a second meal. The restaurant has it's own parking lot and seems to be handling the SIP well. They offer both take out and delivery. I wish there was a location like this back in the Bay Area. Support local and check this place out!

N. F.

Yum! I have enjoyed Aloha Island Grille in the past, and was so glad they were open for takeout during this COVID craziness. Best option since they are made for takeout, rather than restaurants currently that are trying to convert to takeout. Prices are a little expensive, but the food is really good. Aloha!

Wave R.

plate lunch style Hawaiian food. Too fatty and too much mayo for me in salad

Athena G.

My boyfriend and I stopped by this grille on our way to Capitola beach. The outside and inside decor are beautiful! The service of the cashier were awesome, very friendly. The food was okay. We ordered the chicken katsu and loco moco. The chicken katsu was nice and crispy but the sauce was on the mediocre side. The loco moco was also okay with the meat tasting a little under seasoned and the egg did not have that sunny side up runny egg satisfaction. My best part about the meal was the Mac n cheese. Although the food was mediocre, it does the job for satisfying a Hawaiian food craving!

Nancy P.

I was really disappointed with this place. With 4 star reviews on yelp, it looked promising. I ordered to-go chicken katsu and they skimped me on the food. I paid for the "big plate" and they gave me either the regular size or smaller because it was definitely not $9 worth of food. It also looked like they threw everything in the box. I was supposed to get two scoops of rice and one scoop of Mac salad, along with a bigger portion of katsu. The chicken katsu and mac are ok. The sauce that comes with the katsu tastes like a really sour barbecue sauce and it was really off putting. I also ordered the BBQ chicken and beef combination plate, which definitely takes the cake for the worst. Both meats are super dry, and the BBQ chicken was so burnt and dry and pretty much inedible. Just not what you would expect from a Hawaiian BBQ place. The flavor is not there. You could probably make something that tastes better using ingredients from Safeway. Would recommend going to Pono instead.

Patty P.

My absolute favorite plate lunch spot in California! This place is consistently good. Good food, good service, always.

Erik L.

I've been a patron of this place since about 2004, when I commuted everyday to SC for work. I've always had a good experience at this spot.... until today (03/28/2020). I am a big fan of Korean bbq, so much so that I'm proud of my own marinade that I can confidently say I've perfected. With that said, I liked this place because of their short ribs and their marinade. I don't know what happened today! We cruised up the coast from Monterey, just to take a ride and get out, during this hectic time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw that they were still open for takeout, so we ordered two plates, BBQ short ribs and BBQ beef. I couldn't have been more disappointed, in a place that I once loved. The meat tasted like it was marinated in pure soy sauce. It was all just salty and no sweet, like they forgot to put the sugar/brown sugar in. The Mac salad was terrible, like they threw it together in haste. Globs of unmixed mayo throughout. I can only give 1 star at this time, out of default. I have no problem updating this review, if I ever have a good experience there again, but it'll be a while before I get over paying about $40 for two meals that were completely inedible, and giving them another chance.

Sam K.

Having just gotten back from Hawaii I wanted to compare my local poke spot. Aloha island grille is bomb but not quite as good as what I had in Maui. Having said that the flavor is on point and I love love love that they put macadamia on top of the poke. Their kimchee is legit too!

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Parking can be tight... THE FOOD IS THE BEST HAWAIIAN IN TOWN , Has been for a while now. I recommend the chicken teriyaki meal , Coconut Prawns and their macaroni salad side is great too. Not to expensive. Rite next to the beach.

T. C. B.

Dirty, mediocre food, and just an overall poor experience. Haven't improved quality for many years, so I'm not expecting a change anytime soon. Nice bonus: very friendly, nice (and cute) customer service ??‍♂️

Mara Hamilton

Great fast food , good price & decent beer selection. Friendly staff too . Oh , and awesome P.O.G ! Lost a stat for parking & personally I'm always looking for table service instead of counter .

Kawika Ohumukini

Great food, great prices. Highly recommend.

Red Hot Herzog

Great stop for some Aloha. Never disappoints. My favorites are LOCO Moco, Ahi poke, Mahi mahi

Joanne K.

I wish I had a place like this back where I live. Food was good and price was worth it for the amount you get. I was pretty full after eating 2/3 of my plate. I ordered the Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry, which came with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad. The tofu stir fry was better than I expected. They were fried tofu mixed with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and teriyaki sauce. Reminded me of Chinese food. My fiance ordered the Loco Moco and he really liked his. It came with two patties, two sunny side eggs, and drenched in gravy. They put the side of macaroni salad in it's individual cup so it doesn't get mixed with the gravy - THANKS! The macaroni salad is so good with sriracha and gravy..try it out! I can't want to come back here for more of their food. So they also have a small parking lot with 7 space I believe. Only one pathway so be courteous of other cars.

Sarah W.

Love this little hole in the wall Hawaiian food joint. The servers and cooks are friendly as all get out, the seating is pretty rad and they have excellent food. A perfect place to stop in for a quick snack before or after the beach!

Josef Melton

It's out of the way, so I don't get here very much. But I have never left here without having a wonderful and relatively inexpensive meal.

Michael Perrin

If you like Hawaiian food this is a great place to go the little sister of Pono they both have an awesome Seafood selection and great service

David Levario

Great food. Will definitely be visiting again on our next trip.

Colleen L.

Really cool Hawaiian spot in SC, locally owned and operated. The vibe and setting is just like it would be on the islands. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, with a parking lot (albeit small, but better than no parking). I ordered the Kalua pork and my SO had the kalbi ribs. The kalbi ribs was better than the kalua pork. Kalbi ribs were full of flavor and tender, while the kalua pork was a bit under seasoned and too much liquid, perhaps it would of tasted better if it was a bit strained before hitting the plate. I had to use sriracha for some extra flavor. I don't like mac salad, so I opted for double rice, they are really nice and will sub upon request. They have a dog friendly patio which is great, while today was over casted and cloudy, I can see this place being filled with doggos on a sunny day.

Devon Normandeau

Excellent food, good prices, friendly staff. Will return for seconds! :)

Krista C.

POG juice was delicious and the prawns and sauce were good. I couldn't even bite into my SPAM musubi as the seaweed just came off in my mouth. We waited for a good while and none of the food was hot. It tasted like it was all reheated food. We were pretty disappointed as the 4star review and pictures made it seem like a good spot. The place is clean and the girl at the counter was attentive and nice.

Lothar Reeves

Reminds me of living in Hilo. Grab a plate and take it to the beach. Katsu is phenomenal

Kristen Emery

Had the Teriyaki Pineapple Burger, it was ok. Wish they had more choices for non-alcoholic drinks. They had a lot of sugary sweet drinks.

Jon C.

Being from Oahu this is a poor representation of local food, very little if any seasoning, rice was soggy, my loco Moco tasted like a dirty grill and the Mac salad needed salt and pepper. The lady at the counter was very nice though. Dont go if your craving local kine food you will be let down.

Hannah M.

Ok, this place knows how to make some food. I could eat the macaroni salad by the bowl. The chicken is always cooked perfectly. The staff is super friendly. Only reason why I didn't give a five star is because it takes a while for the food to be ready because the orders are made-to-order. So it's always fresh. If you are in a rush, then I would suggest calling in first. The other downside is there is no parking. I would park across the street or down the road and walk in. The parking they have at the location is tiny. All aside, they have some pretty amazing food. Highly recommended to everyone.

Mars Jackson

Very fun atmosphere, pretty good food. Definitely room for improvement, but I don't mean that as an insult at all.

Joan B.

I stopped in on this place during a one/night stay in Santa Cruz because it was close to my hotel. I found the food unappetizing and really just prepackaged stuff they pulled out of the freezer, reheated and put in a plastic container. The fried shrimp were hard little brown bits and the salad a bunch of semi-brown lettuce with way too many onions. Skip this place because there's a lot of other tastier and more convenient restaurants in Santa Cruz.

Marlene M.

Love this place... the only reason for the 3 stars is because the teriyaki sauce and flavoring for tonight was exceptionally salty and tasted like pure soy-sauce with no hint of sweet in it! Please stick to a recipe....

James Smith

Best rib plate and Mac salad ...lotd of rice..nice people too

Atomic Cow

Super tasty Hawaiian food with a beach vibes. Great casual dining

Helen Nelander

Delicious teriyaki beef, carefully grilled, and not covered in a sticky sauce. Great, friendly service.

William Mac H.

Smells like a urinal when I walked in the door. Clean the place, yech!! Food is ok, stark and spartan interior. Whole place smells like a dirty toilet.

Alaina Boys

Always love Aloha. Best Hawaiian Teriyaki in town. The Chicken Katsu is tender and flavorful. Service is fast and polite. Restaurant has a fun layout. Definitely worth visiting repeatedly!

Rachael Ryen

Took forever to get food (45 minutes with only one person ahead of us), but it was good. Macaroni salad was my favorite.

Erica Breitsprecher

Super friendly and delicious Hawaiian faire. Tiki's on the outdoor patio ads to atmosphere. Reasonable prices too.

Bryn DeVine

Pretty good.First time there. Got it to go and they did not drag their feet.I like a bit more sauce on my meat, personally. Had the teriyaki chicken and beef dinners.LOVE the Mac salad. How can you not like a place that serves Spam?

tom B.

Really great stuff!!! Khalua pork with cabbage, Kalbi Korean style beef ribs--both were excellent. Mac salad was very good- not too goopy. Rice was ok, just rice. Free soda refills, too! Nice outdoor seating, very friendly. I want to try the coconut shrimp next time.

Jillian D.

Fantastic authentic quality Hawaiian food, the staff is always so very friendly no matter how busy they are. It's a local gem that is walking distance from our house so you could imagine we frequent this place quite often and has very reasonable prices! My favorites that I love to order are the: Chinese salad with chicken or shrimp that has an amazing light sesame dressing with always fresh produce. Chicken Katsu is always delicious, perfectly crispy with excellent quality chicken, their katsu sauce makes it along with a scoop of their white rice and macaroni salad for a well rounded authentic Hawaiian dish! I love how easy this place is to go with a group of friends or family, it's laid back, plenty of seating and an outdoor patio that's dog friendly! The hardest part is parking in their seemingly one way parking lot but hey, it's Santa Cruz and this place is worth it!

Richard Caraveo

Great locals spot near one of my favorite beaches, The Cove. Really enjoy lunches on the deck on a sunny day. The food is great and the service is very friendly.

Yu-Che Hsueh

The teriyaki chicken was really really good. A plus that you can swap rice for salad so a good option if you are cutting down on carbs. It's a bit under staff as there were only one guy taking all the orders and serving the tables.