Ohana Hawaiian Shaved Ice – Come For The Shaved Ice, Stay For The Food

Ohana Hawaiian Shaved Ice is a fun little place on Atlantic Boulevard just a couple blocks from the Beaches Town Center and the beach.  Ohana opened up shop in 2009 and over the years, they have gained a ton of loyal fans that could probably more accurately be described as “family.”  When we stopped in not too long ago, it was immediately clear that the folks at Ohana are dedicated to top notch customer service and making every single person feel welcomed and taken care of.

We stepped up to the counter, searching for the food menu.  It was around dinner time, so we wanted some real food before we dug into some shaved ice.  I had looked at their food menu online before visiting, so I knew they had one, but it was not easily visible at the counter.  Instead, it is posted off to the right on an adjacent wall.  It is printed fairly small, so it took some searching to find just what we wanted.  As I looked over the menu, I overheard some folks also waiting in line commenting that they had no idea Ohana served food.  Apparently my menu search caught their attention and they also noticed the food offerings.  I’m sure that the majority of people who frequent Ohana Hawaiian Shaved Ice come in for the shaved ice, but having the food menu in a more prominent spot would no doubt get more people trying out the yummy food they serve, too.
Ohana Shaved Ice - Counter

Ohana Shaved Ice – Counter

For the kids, we ordered a hot dog ($3.25), which came with a choice of prepackaged chips.  And I really wanted to try the Crabcake Sandwich ($8.50), which came with a side of tortilla chips and housemade mango salsa.  My salsa options were sweet or spicy, so I went with sweet.  I also ordered a side of black beans and rice ($2.00).  I am a huge fan of black beans and rice and always love to try different versions of the dish at different places.  It amazes me how something so simple can be spun in so many different ways.

We had a seat and waited for our food.  It didn’t take long, but while we waited we had time to take in all the fun and kitschy decor.  There are a plethora of bright, colorful decorations packed into that small space.  Family photos and fun beachy art adorn the walls, and photos of customers are tacked onto a large bulletin board, showing off happy, syrup-tinted smiles.  Along with their food and shaved ice, Ohana also sells t-shirts, candy, and other knickknacks, so there is a large cabinet displaying all of that merchandise.  There is cute little bench to sit on while you wait, and a fun little seating area by the window with a wicker couch, two cushy chairs, and a surfboard coffee table.  But while fun, tropical accents abound, we noticed right away that seating options are slim pickings.  There is a bar with a few barstools and only two high-top tables with four stools each.  There are also some beachy Adirondack chairs outside, but no tables out there.  This lack of seating made finding a spot to sit a little harrowing at first.  Some folks waiting at a table for a to-go order got their food just as we were heading to sit down, so luckily that opened up a spot for us.  Otherwise, there would have been nowhere for our family to sit to eat our food.  Every other spot was taken or just plain impractical for eating a meal.  Another note about seating…whenever I go out to a new spot I mentally make note of the highchair situation, because as lame as it sounds, when you are going out to eat with small children, these things matter.  I did spot a single highchair at Ohana, which is great.  But given the fact that the available tables are high-top tables, that would make for a pretty awkward meal, reaching down to feed a baby below the table-level.  Backless stools also aren’t very toddler-friendly, especially with a wiggly kid who has no sense of fear about falling off the stool and onto a hard wood floor.  Luckily, my little one wasn’t too squirmy that day, so I just held her on my lap while we ate.
Ohana Shaved Ice - Knickknacks

Ohana Shaved Ice – Knickknacks

Our food was ready pretty quickly and they brought it over as it was ready, so chips and salsa came first, then hotdog, then sandwich.  I appreciated that, since it alleviated our wait time and kept the kids happy.  A lot of places totally miss the boat on stuff like this when it comes to dining with kids.  Some servers can be oblivious to the fact that kids can be impatient and can get a bit antsy if they have to wait for too long.  Heck, I get antsy if I’m hungry and have to wait too long.  The folks at Ohana were on the ball.  They were really attentive and friendly to us the entire time we were there.  It’s such a small place and it would be really easy for the staff to just ask you from behind the counter if you needed anything.  But they didn’t do that.  Instead, they walked around and came over and gave us some of the best service we’ve had in a while.

Alright, back to the food.  First up was the hotdog.  Honestly, I didn’t expect much from the hot dog, just because hot dogs are pretty standard at most places.  But I have to say that this particular hot dog was better than average.  It had a nice crisp bite to it and a good flavor.  It was surprisingly tasty.
Ohana Shaved Ice - Mango Salsa and Chips

Ohana Shaved Ice – Mango Salsa and Chips

The salsa was also impressive.  While the tortilla chips were nothing special – just run of the mill chips – the salsa was thick and chunky and bursting with flavor.  It had large chunks of sweet mango, which complimented the tomatoes nicely.  And while I enjoyed the sweet version of this salsa, I think next time I will give the spicy salsa a try.  I imagine that a little more heat would be amazing to bring out the flavor of the mango.  And speaking of flavor, let’s discuss these black beans and rice.  I have had a lot of black beans in my life (like I said, I love them).  I have never had black beans and rice like this.  Ohana’s black beans and rice have a sweet, citrusy taste to them.  The sweetness was balanced nicely with just the tiniest bit of heat.  And both the beans and the rice were cooked beautifully.  I would go back to Ohana just for these black beans and rice.  What a treat!

Ohana Shaved Ice - Black Beans and Rice

Ohana Shaved Ice – Black Beans and Rice

Last up was my Crabcake Sandwich.  The crabcake itself was huge, and I loved that it was on a Hawaiian sweet roll.  It added a little extra flavor and a hint of sweetness, which was nice.  The crabcake had great flavor, but was a tad on the mushy side.  I like it when a crabcake has a little bit of a crispy outer layer, but this one didn’t have that.  I imagine that it lost some of that crispiness because of the moisture in the lettuce and tomato.  So, the texture was a little off for me.  But the flavor really made up for it.  It was really well seasoned and tasted great.

Ohana Shaved Ice - Crabcake Sandwich

Ohana Shaved Ice – Crabcake Sandwich

We finished up our food and went back up to the counter to order some shaved ice.  It is clear that shaved ice is the star at Ohana.  Unlike the hard-to-spot food menu, the shaved ice menu is displayed front and center.  It lists all their standard flavors, as well as their signature concoctions and their milkshake and fruit smoothie options.  Ohana Shaved Ice does some really fun stuff with shaved ice, putting ice, ice cream, and fresh fruit together in any number of tasty combinations.  All of their yummy syrups are homemade with no corn syrup, and they even have some sugar free flavors as well.  I decided to go with the Shaka Hala ($6.00).  Many people are familiar with the Filipino dessert Halo Halo, which often combines shaved ice, milk, sweet beans, and jellies.  Shaka Hala is sort of like the cousin of Halo Halo – minus the jellies and beans and heavy on the fresh fruit.  I ordered mine with strawberries, blueberries, and mango.  My cup of shaved ice was piled high with that luscious fresh fruit and topped off with a scoop of beautiful bright purple ube ice cream.  Condensed milk added a creamy sweetness.  The whole thing altogether was divine.  All the different flavors and textures made for a fun and delicious treat that I would go back for again and again.

Ohana Shaved Ice - Shaka Hala

Ohana Shaved Ice – Shaka Hala

Overall our visit to Ohana Shaved Ice was great.  It is easy to see why they are such a beloved spot out at the beach.  It’s close proximity to the beach plus the fun menu make it the perfect spot for a cool treat after playing in the waves.  The laid back, casual, friendly atmosphere is welcoming and the service is top notch.  I only wish that the seating options were a little more kid-friendly.  We made do on this visit, but families with younger kids wanting to make use of a highchair might have a little more trouble.  Despite that, we will definitely be back to Ohana Shaved Ice.  We can’t wait to try more of their shaved ice flavors and to have more of those amazing black beans and rice!

For this review we welcome a member of our own JRR family:  Rhonda Kovar is a former call center manager turned stay-at-home mom.  She grew up in the heart of North Carolina and moved to Florida after getting hitched in 2002.  She is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University and a lover of all things crafty, musical, or edible.  Rhonda loves finding new and delicious ways to turn her two tiny picky eaters into future foodies.  You can follow her on Instagram.

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