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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Mai Kai
Type:restaurant
Street:3599 N Federal Hwy
City:Fort Lauderdale
State:FL
Zip:33308-6
country:USA
Phone:(954) 563-3272
Status:operational

Description:
Quoted from their site: (the best description I can find!)

"Escape to one of the most unique dining and entertainment places in all of South Florida. Since 1956, it has captivated people with its warmth and magical aura. The Mai-Kai authentically recreates a Polynesian Village, complete with tiki torches, a thatch roof, and a wooden plank bridge entrance"

The only way to truly appreciate this place is to go there. The Tiki Road Trip has this one listed as MECA, and that just barely touches it!

The food is absolutly fabulous and the only bad thing I can say for the drinks is the price.

This one is worth the trip!

I was there in june,LOVE the place.bought out the gift shop{almost} . very ,very, disapointed in the condition theY let the outdoor tikis fall into.rotting,and falling apart.seems to me the could do a better job of restoation.still,the food ,show and interior were tops, TD

S

Tiki David,
The outdoor tikis are very well cared for, but you must recall that many of them have been in that garden for 50 years...

For those of you that have not visited The Mai Kai, here are a few photos to inspire you to make the trip...

The Outdoor Garden and Seating Area

In The Garden Looking Toward The Restaurant

Outdoor Dining Area

Some Hot Torches

The Gift Shop

One Last Look At The Garden Path

SWANKY, you need to go again and take a closer look,a couple of the outdoor tiki's have chunks of wood just shoved into dryrotting holes ,no attempt to even repair or restore. sad... TD

S

There are attempts to save and restore. They are diligently fighting insects and rot. They are looking right now for experts to fix and restore some of the pieces. I was there last month.

I hpoe you are right,TD

On 2004-08-25 07:43, TIKI DAVID wrote:
SWANKY, you need to go again and take a closer look,a couple of the outdoor tiki's have chunks of wood just shoved into dryrotting holes ,no attempt to even repair or restore. sad... TD

Is this guy serious??

TD, 50 years man! History!

You want new? Go to Target!!

Arrrrrrrrrrr!!

see the dog,his name is spot see the dog run ,run spot run. Read carefullynow,no effort to {ready? here it comes....}RESTORE OR REPAIR,never said replace with new. TD

MB

So, are you Spot?
Do you do repairs?

One of the neatest things about the Mai Kai is the weathered down tikis in the awesome gardens. The Mai Kai takes you back in time. Neptune Tiki and I had a blast taking photos with all the tikis throughout the gardens and in the restaurant last January. Restoration is not necessary. We cannot wait to go back during the Hukilau!
Neptune Wahine

more pics!!!, more pics!!!!.....seein these are really gettin me psyched for hukilau!!!!!

Yeah, One thing I do like about living in South Fla is being close to this slice of paradise. I try to hit Happy Hour once in a while.

My wife and I made our first visit in March this year and we were bowled over to say the least. This is a must see for any Tikiphile and an act of holy pilgrimage and obligation! It may be the last of its kind. We try to make it down at least twice a year and we always stay right around the corner at an old googie motel that used to be called the Polynesian that still has tikis embedded in the outside walls. This hotels bar used to be tiki but it was long ago changed into some sort of nothing kareoke/country/frat crap bar. They need to get wise and go retro! Bring back the tiki you whimps and cash in big!!!

hukilau was my first mai kai experience, and one i will tell my kids and grand kids about, absolutely breathtaking.........i now feel lucky to have visited the 3 most amazing tiki temples in my mind...(mai kai,hala kahiki,bali hai).......i got engaged at hukilau (on the beach at the ocean late thursday night,) and when we got home, we actually called the mai kai for info on if they do weddings there...........it really is a magical place.....

[ Edited by: hala bullhiki on 2004-10-01 19:14 ]

S

They do weedings. You can get hitched right in front of the big tiki in the gardens. Many do!

welp, weve narrowed down to the mai kai !!.......now we just need to set a date, in front of the waterfall it is!!!, to be followed by a hawiian honeymoon!!!......

[ Edited by: hala bullhiki on 2004-10-12 10:51 ]

A

Hi,
I'm going to the Mai Kai in a few weeks. Do you recommend a reservation, and any tips for maximizing enjoyment?
Thanks very much.

Jay

S
Swanky posted on Mon, Dec 6, 2004 7:40 PM

A reservation for dinner is a good idea. Get there when they open and enjoy the two for one happy hour. Have everyone get different drinks and trade on the second round.

B

Congrats Hala Bullhiki!!

That place really is magical isnt it. Wish I could get down more often.

I didnt make the Huki this year, but was at the Mai Kai in Feb and got engaged on Stage during the show.

I made sure they picked my wahine as one of the "volunteers" to dance on stage, then went up, got on one knee and popped the question.

There's a great pic of her pointing and laughing (yes laughing) at me while Im on one knee, but she did say yes.

If I can find that pic, I'll post it.

CT

We had our wedding ther e& it was the most amazing day ever! Our guest really loved it also. Not the same old boring wedding!
http://www.funkette.com/FUNKETTE02-09-21-DA.JPG

S

I asked my fiance if a wedding at the Mai Kai was an option and she said a flat "no." I asked why. She said she would not have her wedding in the area of those cockatil waitresses. A celebration later, sure, but not the wedding!

I guess she knew about this waitress.

What me worry about a hurricane? What hurricane?

On 2004-12-10 18:20, Jungle Trader wrote:
I guess she knew about this waitress.

What me worry about a hurricane? What hurricane?

So what did the tatoo say?

Ha! Vic ~ I was waiting for you to post that pic!

BTW dude - she doesn't care...

W

A lil tribute to our favorite tiki bar - the Mai Kai. On 3/5/06, WAITIKI had a rehearsal to get ready for our big orchestrotica show on 3/24/06 which of course, features the tikitainment of WAITIKI and Esquivel. It was also Mr. Ho's day of birth and what better way than to recreate the past than with a Mai Kai rum barrel. However, one must prepare adequately , and so we went thus forth with a tribute to the forefathers of okonkuluku - those village elders who taught us best under what influence to play exotica - the Mai Kai:

Now you can see the 4 pillars of truth that literally support WAITIKI's music:

Wanting to recreate that wondrous effect of the Rum Barrel, the Mayor goes to work in Mr. Ho's red kitchen:

The Finished Product - in all its glory:

Enjoy one, with Mr. Ho and the Mayor:

...wait, is this a rehearsal or a hang....

[ Edited by: waitiki 2006-03-10 15:44 ]

P

You forgot...

to make one...

for...

THE MONKEY!

Hau'oli la hanau, Meestah Ho.

As Chachi would sayh 'Wah Wah Wah'. Damn she's one of the hotter ones. Never saw her on any of my visits (I'm talking about the one on the left of the picture).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. HO!!!!!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff

S

Mai Kai Roa Ai! The place continues to inspire! May it ever do so! There is no more magical place in my book. Disney is a joke. (Sorry Disney fans, you know what I mean.) Everyone who has been there know that the Mai Kai is far, far, far, far more than the sum of its vastly incredible parts (see above ;0 )

Any chance to see Waitiki in Fort Lauderdale in October again?

IZ

On 2006-03-10 15:42, waitiki wrote:

Wanting to recreate that wondrous effect of the Rum Barrel, the Mayor goes to work in Mr. Ho's red kitchen:

Happy Birthday Mr. Ho! Looking forward to the show on the 24th. Enjoyed the event at the Mai Kai and can't wait to hear the Esquivel Band.

Hey Mayor, how did the Orangina work out in that Barrel?

I, Zombie

Actually, to be quite honest, I have no recollection at this point either way. I think it was good. I do remember earlier in the evening a general feeling of well-being and tasting the Mai Kai in the drink, which means it was pretty close to what little I could recall of the original. This, of course, was followed by overwhelming feelings of euphoria and happiness. This means the drink did its job.

My wife and I were there last Friday. We came to Ft.Lauderdale to see the King Tut exhibit and made it down a day early to visit our favorite Tiki Temple. We had our usual terrific time. The floor show was excellent as always and the crowd very appreciative. They've changed the costumes from the the last time we were there(The Hukilau '05). Our resolution to keep the drinks to a minimum went down the tubes after our first round at the Moloki Bar. We toured the Tiki Garden before we left. I commented to the sales lady in the gift shop that this was my Sistine Chapel and coming here was an act of pilgrimage and a religious experience to be savored! She blinked at me for a second then laughed. Every time I go there I come away with enormous respect for those who have kept this Tiki Temple going. Happy 50th birthday and may the Mai-Kai have many more!

T

Here's a scan of one their current postcards. I have not been yet - but I'm gonna try to make Hukilau this year. Some friends from Miami decided to torture me and send me this card last week. They're rubbin' it in.


[ Edited by: tikigap 2006-08-25 08:57 ]

D

I must say that as amazing as the Mai Kai is, I've been disappointed with the design of their current postcard (and for that matter their website and brochure). For me all of those things really don't capture the coolness and amazing 'amaziosity' that is the mighty Mai Kai. But then again they have to market to everyone not just us Tikiphiles. Maybe in the future they'll change things up. I think the website design for the last Hukilau (2005) would actually be a good way to design the Mai Kai website.

[ Edited by: donhonyc 2006-03-15 14:24 ]

I would imagine that the pictures on the "new" postcard are probably rather old. Having seen the Polynesian Review there several times in the last few years, I do not recognize any of the fire dancers pictured on the post card.

I just got back from the Mai Kai, yep, Sporkboy is in Florida. Not to worry though because I'll be leaving in the morning. It was an amazing place but it is showing its age. If you drink at the bar don't look up as you'll see some original mold. With that said I had a great time and enjoyed the food, drink and show very much. I'm just sad that I live so far away (Oregon) and won't be able to come here more often. I did end up buying a Mai Kai barrel from the thrift shop to remember my trip by.

Hi everyone! My fiancee and I love the Polynesian lifestyle. Our entire apartment is decorated with tiki poles and masks. We will be tying the knot at the Mai-Kai on November 22, 2006. Does anyone have any pictures, or reviews of how the wedding ceremony went how the service was? and the food from the banquet meals??? Please let me know! I would really appreciate it!!!!

Claudia

On 2006-06-08 18:42, claudia1214 wrote:
Hi everyone! My fiancee and I love the Polynesian lifestyle. Our entire apartment is decorated with tiki poles and masks. We will be tying the knot at the Mai-Kai on November 22, 2006. Does anyone have any pictures, or reviews of how the wedding ceremony went how the service was? and the food from the banquet meals??? Please let me know! I would really appreciate it!!!!

Claudia

Welcome Claudia, and congratulations!

Pictures are easy, there are many all over TC and I can send you some directly if you want.

The food is amazing! The service even better. The only thing I can't help you with is the wedding bits. But, I know who to ask at the Mai Kai to get you some more details.......

So much of the Mai Kai follows the same "Magic" of Disney in that you don't see so much of what goes on. Once you enter the Mai Kai you are on a journey to far-away places in long-ago times and the illusion works because of what you don't see as much as what you do see.

For example:


Here is peek through the service window in the Molokai Bar. You never see your drinks being made, instead a wonderful wahine appears with drink in hand.

I don't share this picture to break the spell, but sometimes a peek behind the curtain makes the journey all the more wonderful....

Thank you! I would love to have some more pictures. We just came back from the Mai Kai on sunday and we loved it! The food was superb. The only thing that turned me off was thecondition of the entrance way. It still has the blue tarp. It takes away from its beauty.

On 2006-06-17 06:44, claudia1214 wrote:
... The only thing that turned me off was the condition of the entrance way. It still has the blue tarp. ...

It is a work in progress. The structure of the place is 50 years old and the local building inspectors wanted to see the super-structure of the place before they would sign off on building permits. The only way to get at that stuff was to basically take all of the roof off of the drive way.

The good news is all of the permits have been approved and now it is just a matter of getting workers in place. That sounds easy, but so much of our workforce has gone upstate and into the Gulf states for post Hurricane Katrina rebuilding. Workers qualified to do that kind of work are scarce at the moment.

Once the work begins I will get some progress pictures to share.

PI

Hi Claudia. I'm getting married at the Mai-Kai in October :) . I sent you an email with a link to some pics from a wedding ceremony. Congrats!

I was at the Mai Kai in August of 1967...it was a wonderland then, with the gardens/landscaping around the restaurant just awesome!! We went one evening to the Mai Kai and saw the floor show... we just had drinks!!! I saw people with food and i was envious!! I had gotten one of those Pineapples and i have a photo of me with it !
But we went back the next day during daylight and took some photos!! How i wish i had more...but at least we sprung for the color film!!

I hope to get back there one day!! I was 11 years old at the time.

S
Swanky posted on Thu, Apr 5, 2007 6:59 AM

Very cool. Thanks for sharing that. If you don't know, the folks on this board think of the Mai Kai as the best place on the planet pretty much. Seeing images from its past is fantastic.

and did you see on their web site that they now have a "Mai Kai" club and for $15.00 you can get alot of stuff like food and drink discounted??

it's a good deal if you live down near there!

Just wanted to add that back in the time i went to the Mai Kai, there was no gift shop.
I had gotten some free post cards from them, those extra long ones and i had one on my bulletin board for some years!!!

we had those cute little matches in boxes they were blue back then...

and the prices for the Mai Kai back then were a bit above the average restaurant....because.....well.... this is not the average restaurant!

I believe my Pineapple with juice in it was about $3.25 for that time..

ah the memories!!!

S
Swanky posted on Thu, Apr 5, 2007 8:54 AM

The Mai Kai used to issue "credit cards" and you could buy your drinks and food on credit from them. The Membership Card is probably and long standing thing.

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