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AFTER HOURS

Ohana Aina Cafe serves up good Hawaiian food in Yokosuka

Ohana Aina Cafe near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, has a cozy atmosphere decorated with lots of Hawaiian knickknacks. Dining here feels like eating at someone's home instead of a place of business.

TYLER HLAVAC/STARS AND STRIPES

By TYLER HLAVAC | Stars and Stripes | Published: September 24, 2015

Hawaiian food isn’t something I expected to eat while stationed in Japan, but Ohana Aina Cafe, tucked into a small building on Highway 16 outside Yokosuka Naval Base, serves up delicious and unique dishes.

Having never been to Hawaii or eaten anything inspired by the island’s cuisine, I was intrigued by the concept and decided to give this little gem a try.

Ohana Aina feels more like someone’s home than a place of business. I was immediately struck by the cafe’s warmth and coziness. It appears to seat about 12 people comfortably, and has a small kitchen in the back. Soft ukulele music played quietly over the speakers during my visit, and there were lots of little Hawaiian knickknacks and signs decorating the space.

I was surprised to see a large variety of items on the menu, which seemed to be based around pancakes and hamburgers. The pancake offerings alone go on for several pages, and include sweet bean jam, acai berry and banana flavors. You can also choose several options for flour, including high protein and low sugar.

The cafe’s Hawaiian-style burgers come with such toppings as eggs and pineapple. A few high-end meal options, such as steak and shrimp dinners, are also available, though most of the menu seems to be breakfast-oriented.

The drink menu is diverse, with several types of Hawaiian beers and rum-based fruit cocktails offered. Hawaiian coffee and tea is also available. The tea menu is extensive, with choices ranging from teas made for detoxing or relaxation.

Eager for something more familiar — and less available in Japan — I ordered banana pancakes and added two pieces of grilled Spam from the a la carte menu. The menu advised that things could take a while to cook because everything is made fresh to order, but my wait felt normal compared with other restaurant visits.

The pancakes were delicious, light and fluffy, and the bananas tasted fresh. They came with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. The Spam tasted like, well, Spam. It is what it is — a watery, fat ham, though grilling it added a nice touch. The Spam is not amazing, but I still recommend it. You can have potatoes and rice as a side almost anywhere, and Spam goes well with Ohana Aina’s Hawaiian theme.

The restaurant wasn’t very busy during my visit. One or two patrons would come in from time to time, but it mostly stayed pretty quiet.

Overall, Ohana Aina is a great place to relax, unwind and try some unique foods from a highly diverse menu. If you are missing pancakes from back home or like the idea of breakfast all day, this place is for you.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com

 

Address: 1-1-3 Honcho, Yokosuka, Japan.
Directions: Turn right out of Yokosuka Naval Base’s Womble Gate. Ohana Aina is across the street from the Shell station, and around the corner from Sanyo House Agency.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Mondays.
Menu: Primarily pancakes and Hawaiian burgers, with steak and shrimp dinners. Various a la carte items include Spam, potatoes, rice and eggs. Desserts offered are tarts and cheesecakes. Hawaiian beer and rum-based fruit cocktails are available. Menu is in Japanese and English. Staff speaks some English.
Prices: 700-900 yen for two pancakes. 1,000-1,300 yen for a burger and fries, depending on toppings. Steak dinner combination is 3,600 yen; shrimp is 1,463 yen. Lunch special lasts until 3 p.m., and offers unlimited coffee and tea with meals over 600 yen.
Contact: 046-876-6330; ohana-aina-cafe.jimdo.com
Other information: Wi-Fi is available; ask the staff for the password. Live acoustic events are occasionally scheduled, and reservations are recommended.

Grilled Spam is one of the more interesting side dishes available at Ohana Aina Cafe, near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
TYLER HLAVAC/STARS AND STRIPES

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