Learn about Polynesian culture through music and dance at this iconic South Florida landmark, all while enjoying great food and drinks!
The Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show is a popular venue for both tourists and locals alike. That’s no surprise, since it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and voted the #1 Tiki Bar/Restaurant in the world in 2015. I have plenty of friends that have taken their kids to celebrate birthdays there, or couples that have gone to celebrate an anniversary. I remember going there a few years ago and enjoying some quality time with my family.
One of the best features of Mai-Kai is the ambiance. You may be in South Florida, but when you enter the restaurant you feel like you’ve stepped into a Polynesian village. Everything is made of wood, there’s a thatch roof, and tiki torches everywhere. My favorite adornments are the beautiful lamps that hang from the ceiling.
The Mai-Kai also has a really nice garden area. It has waterfalls, lagoons, different plants and flowers, and of course, tiki statues. We recommend a stroll through the garden after you’ve ordered your food (your seats will be saved).
Once you’re settled back at your table, get ready to be wowed by the Mai-Kai’s amazing service. Our waiters were constantly checking on us and asking if we needed anything. They also offered recommendations and answered any questions we had. In the end, we decided on the Pupu Platter for an appetizer, the Teriyaki Combo as our main dish, and the Tahitian Vanilla Yogurt for dessert. To wash it all down, we ordered a Tahitian Breeze (FYI, their bar has over 50 different tropical drinks!).
The Pupu Platter was great because it let us try a few of their favorite appetizers. It included the Shanghai Chicken (chunks of marinated chicken breasts wrapped in bacon), an Egg Roll, Crab Rangoons, and Tahitian Cheese Tangs (breaded cheese, diced ham and mushrooms). The Teriyaki Combo had beef, chicken, and shrimp as well as roasted mushrooms, asparagus, grilled pineapple, garlic confit, sesame seeds, and a small bowl of rice on the side (they give you the option of white or fried rice).
Then, just as you’re getting ready to slip into a food coma, you’re woken up by the sound of drums. Out steps a beautiful woman who begins to tell the audience about the different islands of Polynesia and she continues to come back throughout the duration of the show to explain the various dances and their meanings. Each dance was amazing and I know everyone was on the edge of their seat when the men came out and did their fire dance. The dancers’ costumes were all really cool as well; they’re hand-sewn and decorated with flowers, mother-of-pearl, feathers, and seashells.
A few tips:
- – The show lasts about 40 minutes, so between it and dinner plan on spending at least two hours at the Mai-Kai.
- – The restaurant does fill up completely so make reservations (they can be made over the phone or on their website).
- – It is a bit dark inside the restaurant, so watch your step. It’s part of the ambiance, but it was difficult to see sometimes (we had to use our phones to read the menu).
- – Besides the cost of food, there is an additional show charge of $13.95 per person (kids under 12 are not charged).
- – Show times vary by day and season, so make sure to check their website for the most up to date information.
- – Parking is $3 or $10 (VIP Valet parking) so have cash on you.
- – The Mai-Kai is closed on Mondays so plan accordingly.
We really enjoyed our time at the Mai-Kai. It’s a fun place to sit back and enjoy an evening surrounded by friends and family. It’s not only a local favorite, but also somewhere we’d recommend for visitors to the South Florida area.
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**A big thank you to the Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show. Although they hosted our visit, as always, all opinions are our own.**