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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Hula's, Monterey, CA (restaurant)

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Street:622 Lighthouse Ave

Hula's offers a variety of dishes from Jamaica to Thailand to Hawaii. There are Kona fish soft tacos, ahi sashimi, roasted shoulder of pork (marinated in soy and pineapple), jerk chicken, sticky rice.
The tropical drinks are good, and lean towards the "main streamers", but not for the true tiki purist. They use Trader Vic’s mai tai mix, and so on (which is better than regular bars).
The new Tiki Room addition is way cool, and should be checked out!
A definite “tiki must stop” when down in Monterey, CA.

[ Edited by: Unga Bunga on 2003-08-01 00:01 ]

They now have a full bar with a remade TIKI back room!


I went to Hulas when I was down for the SF crawl a few year's ago. I really liked it. At the time it was more Hawaiiana than tiki but it was still great.

Hey those are Bosko's masks!

hey unga,
thanks for the recommendation again. the place is great, food was surprisingly good. the drinks were a little on the sweet side, but not lacking in alcohol content. everyone was nice, i definitely would go back again. they also have some pretty cool shirts and custom printed munktiki mugs.
if you are in the area check it out.

Hi Tikitanked!
I wish I would have known you were there. I would have bought us a round.I live about 8 miles away.
Glad you enjoyed it.
Dam sorry I missed ya. Next time.

Hula's is great place! Those munktiki mugs are actually designed by Drew Brophy the surfboard artist. Our waiter told us there is going to be a series done by Drew exclusively for Hula's. I picked up the first mug back in Nov.
I keep calling to find out when the others are going to be available but I always catch them in the off hours. Hopefully find out more when I out there later this week.
When I hook up with Unga Bunga

hey chongolio,
if i am not mistaken the brophy mugs are manufactured by tikifarm, the munktiki mug was the no name tiki that you see on munktikis sight, but with a hulas decal.
either way, definitely a cool joint. thanks for the update on future mugs

Regarding Hula's drinks - when I was there the bartender was a woman, and she mixed my mai tai by hand, using the old TV's recipe. It was excelent. I had a scorpion also, which was one of the best I've had. I think some of their bartenders are willing to take the time to handcraft drinks, and it's worth asking about.

We get down to Monterey often for diving (point lobo, lover's point, breakwater, MONESTARY!) - I'll have to give a shout out to Monterey-area TC peeps next time we make the trip and we'll get together at Hula's for a drink or two. I'd love to see some of the local homebars as well...

Hi TikiMaxton
I live 1 mile away from MONESTARY!
Please do stop by next time you are down.

On 2004-01-19 14:13, tikitanked wrote:
hey chongolio,
if i am not mistaken the brophy mugs are manufactured by tikifarm.

Whoops, my mix up, it is even stamped tiki farm.

On 2004-01-26 13:03, Unga Bunga wrote:
Hi TikiMaxton
I live 1 mile away from MONESTARY!
Please do stop by next time you are down.

Abso-damn-lutely! I recall a thread about Tiki Central divers; are you one of 'em? If so, you know the bruised-but-triumphant feeling of successfully completing a Monestary dive! "Crawl! Crawl! Crawl!"

We're hoping to get down there before the season's done, like maybe March or April. I'll let you know!

This past summer, I had one of the two best meals on my trip to California at Hula's (the other was the macadamia nut encristed mahi mahi at the Trader Vics in Emeryville -ooooooh).

Now sad to say, I can't remember which dish it was, and maybe it was the company (Patrick the Silver Fox and I were with Mr. and Mrs. Munktiki, Sr), but I do remember that we LOVED the food, aside from the great drinks and decor (and conversation)!

(some kinda noodle dish with fish and cilantro, maybe? DeLIcious whatever it was)


Well I finally made it back to Hula's last weekend for the 2nd time. The first time I visited there was no bar and NO tiki room. It was nice, but not worth a second trip. However, seeing the pictures from Unga Bunga I had to try it again.

This time, more trips are definitely in the works and since I am down in Monterey it seems every weekend this time of year for scuba diving, it is now going to be watering hole at the end of the day. Beats the Bull Dog (British Pub) any day.

I must say the food was good, drinks are top-notch for a restaurant, people friendly - what else can I say.

I did leave the restaurant very satisfied and with a handful of mugs and swag.

I got to visit last weekend. Good food, great drinks, great service(No exotica music, some Reggae). Highly recommended if you're in the area.

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. http://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.


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

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

Helz posted on Thu, Dec 2, 2004 5:31 PM

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!

[ Edited by: HelzTiki on 2004-12-02 17:33 ]

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!

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.


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.


What...no Corn-tiki for dinner?


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.

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

rupe33 posted on Fri, Aug 4, 2006 7:36 PM

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!



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.

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!

[ Edited by: Unga Bunga 2008-03-25 19:06 ]


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.


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.

[ Edited by: Unga Bunga 2008-05-08 11:56 ]

On a Friday evening for example we will go through 30 liters of Mai Tai easily. It would back up the entire restaurant and the bartenders would not have a moment to take care of their bar customers if we made every Mai Tai from scratch. Ever see how hard the bar keep works at the Emeryville VIcs on a busy night? Too hard in my opinion, a recipe for burn out. What we do is make up a batch of the Mai Tai every day before we open, minus the Myers float. Saves huge time which helps the entire restaurant keep its flow. What you thought was pineapple juice coming from a storm pourer is actually the Mai Tai minus the float. Although its a short cut, it does keep each Mai Tai tasting exactly the same.
I am telling you this so next time your in and see it, you will know what you are getting is the Mai Tai as we do it. If you still want the bartender performance just ask her to make you one from scratch, which they will do, but I guarantee you its the same Mai Tai.

I hadn't really heard about Hula's before, but I went up to monterey and happened to be staying right down the street from restaurant. Went there on a saturday night, and it was packed. Cool little bar setup, and the tiki room was an awesome touch, especially with the Bosko carvings and the Leeteg velvet. Any tikiphile would appreciate the place, and obviously the locals do too. I just ahd a burger, but it was great. My girlfriend had the Mahi mahi and enjoyed that also. We shared a scorpion bowl, which was mixed well and a good deal at $15 for a 30 oz drink. I would definitely go back again, and would recommend Hula's to anyone. And as a hint, try to sit in the tiki room (if you can). It's more classic-tiki per se than the rest of the grill side of the restaurant. Regardless, great place.


Right up there on my list of favorite tiki bars/restaurants [and I live in Alameda]. This place is great. The decor, with the mix of tiki and Hawaiiana/surfing elements, is my idea of tropical bliss. The drinks we had were excellent. We only had a couple of appetizers, but they were good. I loved the johnnycake, and my wife thought the cocoshrimp rolls were excellent, although the sauce was a tad too sweet for her taste. Wish I could get down that way more often.

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