Hula Hut review image

Hula Hut


3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin
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Hula Hut is kitschy in all the right ways. The servers are dressed in tropical print shirts, you can pull into the dock and get “boat-side delivery,” and there’s a giant metallic fish poking its head out of the lake to greet you on your way to the patio. The restaurant serves Tex-Mex with a Hawaiian twist, and it’s probably the only place in the known universe where you can get an order of sizzling Hawaiian fajitas, coconut shrimp, and dessert nachos all in one meal. 

Hula Hut review image

It’s located at Oyster Landing Marina by Red Bud Isle—if you come at night, you’ll be able to find it by the thousands of string lights illuminating the cabanas that line the dock and the three separate outdoor seating areas, each with its own bar. It’s a massive restaurant that’s at its best outdoors, though you should absolutely take a walk through the inside to check out the merch and watch the staff toss little corn and flour discs onto a giant rotating tortilla griddle. 

The drinks are about what you’d expect from a tourist-friendly space that caters to large groups—cheap, sweet, and not particularly noteworthy—basically adult Capri Suns. But you’re not here for the drinks. You’re here for the views of the lake (try to come at sunset), the better-than-average food, and the lively energy that surrounds it all.

Hula Hut review image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Austin has its share of tiki-meets-Texas bars and restaurants—Tiki Tatsu-Ya and Anthem, to name a couple—but Hula Hut walked so that these spots could fly. It’s an Austin classic that was born the same year as Dazed And Confused, and it’s spent the better part of that time developing into one of the most fun spots in Austin to take a vacation, without ever leaving town.

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Food Rundown

Hula Hut review image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Thai B.B.Q. Fajitas

There are four types of fajitas on the menu, but we usually find ourselves bouncing between the Hawaiian and the Thai B.B.Q. versions. These are cooked with Thai chilis, green onions, and a sweet and spicy Thai barbecue sauce (with peanut sauce on the side). They’re not as spicy as the Thai chilis would lead you to believe, and the grilled beef and chicken is tasty enough to eat with a fork, if you find yourself filling up off of a few too many fresh flour tortillas.

Hula Hut review image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Huli Huli Luau Platter

This is a massive pu pu platter that will easily feed two as a meal, or half a dozen as a grazing board, that’s basically a sampler of most of the apps on the menu. Pick any starting point, then slowly work your way around, clockwise, but be prepared to linger on the ribs for a while—it’s a half rack of baby backs. They’re hickory smoked, tender, and glazed with a sweet and sticky barbecue sauce that’s impossible not to lick off your fingers.

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