Enjoy a camping cookout without the fuss in Okinawa City
By AYA ICHIHASHI | Stars and Stripes | Published: August 9, 2018
If you’re looking for the adventure of camping near the beach and sharing a meal with your friends — minus the hassle of pitching a tent or dealing with dirt and grime — a new pop-up restaurant at the Grand Mer Resort in Okinawa City seeks to bring the excitement of the great outdoors into a stress-free, fashionable setting.
Inspired by the popular concept of “glamping” — a play on the words “glamorous” and “camping” — Barvelous offers all the fun of a camping getaway in a luxurious environment overlooking the ocean.
The restaurant, which is open through Sept. 20, serves up a variety of barbecue dishes for al fresco dining on the hotel’s terrace. Decor featuring Mexican blankets, yurt-style tents and colorful banners makes for an Instagram-worthy backdrop.
The menu features a standard course (3,980 yen per person, or about $36) and a premium course (4,980 yen). A kid’s meal (1,980 yen) for children ages 12 and under is also available.
The standard course includes L-bone steak — which is similar to a T-bone steak, but with less sirloin meat — grilled chicken, chuck eye steak, grilled shrimp and peppered sausage. The premium course includes lobster tail on top of all the standard course offerings. Both adult courses also come with an assortment of side dishes, including grilled vegetables, soup and salad.
The children’s meal is perfectly suited for younger palates, as it includes steak, bone-in sausage, chicken fried rice and ice cream.
Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are also available to order from a tent bar for an additional charge.
Although the meal is advertised as an all-you-can-eat affair, only a handful of the menu items offer unlimited top-ups: The chuck roll, chicken and side dishes.
For our dinner, my friends and I chose the standard course. Our meal was beautifully presented on a wooden platter. The L-bone steak was tender and juicy — and perfectly seasoned. The potatoes, a standout side dish, were soft and velvety with a sweet flavor. We quickly devoured our platters and ordered additional steaks, which are prepared on a grill just steps away from diners.
Sitting on a low camping chair, enjoying the nice evening breeze and feeling the grass on my toes made me feel like I was anywhere but a fancy resort hotel on a tropical island — and eating a meal served outside with friends really tied together the urban glamping concept. My favorite part? Not having to clean up at the end.
Barvelous offers the ambiance of an evening getaway without having to leave Okinawa. If you want to try glamping overlooking the sea, be sure to act fast before Barvelous closes for the summer.
LOCATION: Barvelous is located inside the Okinawa Grand Mer Resort. No. 8 - 1 Yoroni Okinawa City, Okinawa Prefecture 904-2174
HOURS: Open daily, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Last seating is at 9 p.m., with last order at 9:30 p.m.
PRICES: Two adult courses are available: A standard course (3,980 yen per person, or about $36), and a premium course (4,980 yen). Meals for children 12 and under are offered at 1,980 yen. Alcoholic beverages (500 yen and up) and soft dirnks (300 yen and up) can be added to any course.
PARKING: Free parking is available for diners at the resort.
DIRECTIONS: From Naha, take the Okinawa Expressway, continuing on the Kitanakagusuku interchange. Take a right at the first traffic light and follow Route 29 to the end. At the traffic light, take another right onto Route 81. At the Toguchi intersection, turn left onto Route 329. The Okinawa Grand Mer Resort will be on your left. Follow signs to the resort entrance.
INFORMATION: The restaurant might be closed during bad weather. Call 098-931-1585 for updates. Same-day reservations are available. Online: okinawa-grandmer.com