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Hawaiian Vibes at Hula’s Island Grill

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I was hangry; you know the feeling. After mysteriously waiting half an hour to receive our appetizer from a popular ocean-view restaurant, though we were one of only three tables expecting service during the quiet between-meals hour of 3pm, Brandon and I decided to cut our losses and find another place to eat. Clearly this establishment was too preoccupied to acknowledge the tears brimming in my eyes caused by my belly screaming for sustenance. We left dejected, a grey smudge on an otherwise beautiful day in Monterey.

As my hanger mounted, my sweet husband frantically searched on his phone for a suitable replacement restaurant, preferably one with pineapples on standby. Someplace accessible on foot, with food fast and delicious. That's how we stumbled upon Hula's Island Grill on Lighthouse Avenue, a sanctuary of fresh flavors and friendly service to satisfy my dwindling patience and low blood sugar.

I carefully chose the Jawaiian Jerk Pork Plate, a meaty dish complimented by fried plantains, mango salsa, and johnny cakes, a type of island cornbread. The Crispy Coconut Shrimp Rolls looked enticing as well, we informed the server. Our food arrived quickly and was consumed even quicker. Each well-seasoned bite comforted our weary disposition, wrapping its arms around us in a big island hug.

Now, as you can imagine, I was far too famished that day to take photos of our meals. At the time, I had no idea Hula's would become a weekend favorite of ours, so you'll please excuse that the food photo below was taken many months later, after a dozen or more visits to this local island paradise.

Next time you're in Monterey or Santa Cruz, try out Hula's Island Grill and tell me what you ate! See all restaurant locations here.

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Behold, the legendary Crispy Coconut Shrimp Rolls with tropical dipping sauce, surrounded by Habanero Lime Chicken Tacos and Cubano Pork Tacos. A big basket of French fries accompanied by an array of chipotle, avocado, and ranch dipping sauces completed this wonderful meal.

View the whole menu here.

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California's sunny coastal climate allows amazing palm trees and other tropical plants to adorn Hula's back patio for an authentic Hawaiian feel.

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Comfy outdoor seating with fuzzy blankets to borrow when the weather turns foggy and overcast in a matter of minutes, as it often does on the coast.

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