Mai Kai Restaurant
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If longevity and repeat patrons are good indications of a quality restaurant, the Mai Kai restaurant must be great! For more than 50 years, the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has delighted tens of thousands of customers with delicious food, exotic beverages, museum quality native art and an entertaining Polynesian show of sarong-clad dancing girls and fire-staff spinning warriors. "There is nothing like Mai-Kai in the world. Seeing is believing!" said Pia Dahlquist, Director of Sales and Marketing.
The Mai Kai opened its' doors in 1956 at a cost of over one million dollars and was advertised as the most expensive restaurant built that year...anywhere. Customers began filling its' authentically decorated dining rooms immediately and continued to today. "They know what to expect and for many it is an escape from everyday life and stress," shares Pia. "It's like escaping to Polynesia without leaving home. And it is fun when you bring a new guest with you to the the Mai-Kai for their first visit. We have guests that bring new customers to see the joy on their faces when they watch the show."
Stepping inside from the bright Florida sunlight is like stepping into that South Seas part of the world. There are several connecting dimly lit but colorfuly decorated dining rooms. Each room is decorated according to a specific Polynesian island and culture. The decorations are authentic including an actual shrunken head. Some of the exhibits were so highly valued that they were difficult to insure and were sent to various museums. From the Chinese wood-burning ovens to the thatched huts, waterfalls, lagoons and gardens, the Mai Kai is a feast for your eyes.
There is a separate bar area with windows that are immersed in cascading water that appear as if you are looking out to a Polynesian rainstorm. On Wednesday nights, the bar offers a very popular Happy Hour and Complimentary Sushi bar. On Fridays, Happy Hour includes live music.
The award-winning cuisine is not your standard dinner show food. Appetizers include Pupa Platter, Shanghai Chicken, Egg Rolls, Crab Rangoon, Tahitian Cheese Tangs, Barbequed Pork, Chicken Wings, Polynesian Chicken, Blackened Chicken, Nams, Iced Shrimp Remoulade, Cantonese Fried Shrimp, Mai Kai Escargot, Oysters Rockefeller, Javanesian Beef and a selection of soups and salads.
Dinner entrees include Teriyaki Chicken, Almond Chicken, Panang Curry Chicken, Pineapple Chicken, Thai Red Curry Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Mushroom Beef, Szechuan Beef, Teriyaki Beef, Mai Kai Orange Beef, Spicy Beef with Almonds, Sweet and Sour Pork, Panang Curry Shrimp, Singapore Chili Shrimp, Cantonese Shrimp, Scallops Singapore, Lobster Cantonese, Lobster Tahitienne, Lobster Bora Bora, Seafood and Shrimp Combinations, Grouper, Mahi Mahi, Atlantic Salmon, Seafood Noodles, Pad Thai, Roast Duck, Mandarin Pressed Duck, Thai Red Curry Duck, Peking Duck, Barbecued Pork, Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, Filet Mignon, New York Strip Steak, Ribeye Steak, Filet Mignon Madagascar, Rack of Lamb, Lobster Tail and Surf and Turf.
The Mai Kai offers a special menu of tropical drinks. The tropical drink menu is divided into sections - Non Alcoholic, Mild, Medium and Strong! Some of the more creative concoctions include Mutiny, Shrunken Skull, Zombie, SOS, Black Magic, Chocolate Typhoon and Deep Sea Diver.
The "spectacular Polynesian Revue" is the longest running Polynesian show in the United States - including any shows in Hawaii! The sarong-clad narrator leads the audience through the South Seas island by island. After she introduces and explains each island culture, sarong-clad dancing girls and fire-staff spinning warriors showcase both the dance and war artistry of that island.
There is a special Dinner and Show package that includes appetizer, entree, dessert, and show. Shows are offered at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm. Check the website schedule for details and prices at http://www.maikai.com/home
We have been to a lot of dinner theaters over the years. The Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale stands alone in unique atmosphere, cultural art, and delicious cuisine. Everyone living in or visiting Fort Lauderdale should try the Mai Kai at least once. If their history is any indication, you'll return again and again with family and friends.
Fort Lauderdale is one of the top ten most visited GLBT destinations in the USA and the number one destination in Florida with over one million GLBT visitors in 2010 alone. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a fantastic website dedicated to GLBT visitors at http://www.sunny.org/rainbow/
We were the guests of Mai Kai in 2011
Gay Travelers Magazine
PO Box 560318
Rockledge, FL 32956 USA
Staff feature - copyright Sunny Harbor Publishing