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Say aloha to pancake paradise

Food & Drink

Say aloha to pancake paradise

No need to travel all the way to Hawaii for a trip to the paradise state. Just a hop away from Sannomiya and Motomachi stations there’s a cozy spot perfect for your summer island getaway.

Ever put a seashell to your ear and heard the ocean? Dining at Makani is like hearing, tasting, and seeing Hawaii right in Kobe. The seashell chimes that ring when you enter, the welcoming “Alohas” from the lei-clad staff, and the tinkling of Hawaiian music and appetizing aroma of delicious food that fill the ‘tropical’ air make for an exotic and relaxing dining experience.

Having opened in April 2012, Makani is renowned for its pancakes: large, fluffy, delectable and memorable pancakes. (I have had friends tell me weeks later they still think about them!) The 3-tiered Macadamia nut pancake (¥850) doused in warm milk-based Macadamia nut gravy and sprinkled with Macadamia nuts is my personal favorite. The Makani Mixed Fruits Special whip Tower pancake (¥1,500) – five pancakes with strawberry, banana, kiwi, blueberry and pineapple toppings with a mountainlike tower of whip cream and ice cream – is definitely one to share with friends.

Pancakes are not the only things sizzling at Makani. At 7:30 every night, muscular ‘ikemen’ waiters regale customers with pelvis-gyrating hula performances on the second floor. (Needless to say, the majority of customers are female.)

It’s true that Makani’s star menu item doesn’t exactly fit their ethnic label, but those looking to try more authentic Hawaiian fare won’t be disappointed. Lunch sets (¥980) include Loco Moco, and Ahi Poke; dinner includes Ahi (¥1,200), BBQ (¥900), garlic steaks (¥900), spare ribs (¥1,100), BBQ chicken (¥900), mahi mahi (¥850), and spam with rice (¥400) or potatoes (¥650). And in the spirit of Polynesian hospitality, all meals are well portioned. The drink menu includes an array of exotic fruit cocktails, tropical juices, and traditional Hawaiian brews like Kona beer (¥850).

As even paradise has its flaws, so does Makani. A long line snaking to the street is a usual scene at Makani despite its two floors of seating. During rush hours, expect to wait 20 to 30 minutes for a seat. Service can be slow and you can feel a bit rushed to eat and move along. Also, there are not many options for vegetarians. Reservations can only be made after 5pm. Despite these points, Makani is a great place for a midday teatime break, a fun date with hula in the mix, or birthday celebrations with a group of friends and lots of pancakes that will make everyone say, “Mahalo!”



• Address: Kobe-shi, Chuo-ku, Sannomiya-cho 3 -8-1 (3 mins from JR Motomachi Stn)
• Tel: 050-5828-7062
• Opening Hours: Everyday, Lunch 11:30am–2:30pm, Cafe 2:30pm– 5pm, Dinner 5pm–10pm
• Food Price Range: Lunch ¥1,000 Dinner ¥2,000
• Go to dish: macadamia nuts pancake, Loco Moco plate
• Go to drink: acai Smoothie
• Best bit: delicious pancakes, live hula, close to the station
• Worst bit: long wait, crowded

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