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“A slice of history that is worth the visit”
Review of Waioli Tea Room - CLOSED

Waioli Tea Room
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Manzanita, OR
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“A slice of history that is worth the visit”
Reviewed April 23, 2013

This is a historic place that is dwindling into the sunset like so much of the beloved history in Hawaii. It was founded in 1922 by the Salvation Army as a tea room for the benefit of an orphanage and a way to teach unwed mothers skills in which to make themselves more employable. It was taken over from the Salvation Army who were going to shut it down in 2003 by Brian Jahnke, who has lovingly run it for the last 10 years, but that is about it be over. The utilities have doubled in the last few years and he can no longer afford to run this lovely piece of history so he is not going to re-new is lease in November 2013. It is up for grabs what will happen. (There is some rumor that the Salvation Army is going to take over running the place again)

Maybe it is a good idea since one can tell that the place is getting a little run down and blurred around the edges. The staff seemed harried and there is a general sense of "unkeptness" to the place. I still was charmed by the peaceful feeling there and the tablecloths that were worn and blowing about in the Manoa breezes and the little doves that begged at your feet. You can feel the history there murmuring softly all around you.

Our server was sweet, bumbling and slightly ineffective, perfectly mirroring her surroundings. I would have been shocked from my experience if she had been top notch and effective. The food was just like the place, delicious and just a little messy. My friend and I, enjoyed their "famous" curried chicken salad on a bed of greens with mango chutney that simply was divine, and her hubby had the Manoa chicken salad sandwich. All were wonderful. Then we had the Lilikoi Chiffon Cake for dessert, which was amazing.

All in all, I gave the place 4 stars for the history, the very nice food and the overall charm that whispers old ways in your ear. It is worth the trip there and worth having a soft eye to the details that are missing to enjoy the overall feeling to this slice of old Hawaii.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ziabaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

66 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Best meal of our stay”
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We stumbled upon this place by accident and absolutely loved it. It is very old and has an interesting history. The food was outstanding! Loved their chicken salad. Hubby had fish tacos. We sat outside in a covered area, watched a light rainfall and commented on how happy we were to have stopped to try this place, which we knew nothing about. The iced tea was so good as were the desserts. I got some muffins to go from the small bakery area. We are from Louisiana, so people who commented previously and called it "old and worn" are probably the same tourists who come to New Orleans and eat at Chilis. This restaurant is about to lose it long-time lease from the state of Hawaii at the end of 2013, so eat there while it is still open.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank coffee02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hawaii
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Charming!”
Reviewed February 2, 2013

I should probably admit that I have always liked the Manoa area, so any opportunity to visit there already puts me in a good mood. I've been to the Waioli Tea Room about three times before, and every time I go there, it feels like a "getaway" to a relaxing place, where the pace slows and the busy-ness of one's regular routine takes a back seat to a few welcomed moments of leisure and relaxation. We were there yesterday, when the restaurant first opened (10:30 am), and the breezes (we were seated near a side window) were so relaxing. I told my hubby that I would have loved to sit on a lounge chair and read a good book right at that spot. The restaurant has an old home feel, and we enjoyed looking at the old-style windows and imagining what this house must have looked like when people lived there back in the 1920s. To me, this atmosphere just adds to the charm. It feels like you're enjoying tea in someone's home. Everything we've ever ordered has been good. I had my favorite - the guava french toast. It's so good and so filling. The hubby was going to order the fresh fish of the day, but it was catfish, and that's not his favorite. Instead he had the reuben sandwich, and he really enjoyed that. They prepared it with red cabbage vice the more sour sauerkraut, and he said that made the sandwich very good. We somehow managed to save room (just barely) for dessert, and it was so worth it. The desserts are baked fresh at the restaurant. I had a blondie brownie, with vanilla ice cream. The hubby had mint chocolate chip mousse and chocolate cake. The desserts were delicious and not overly sweet. Portion sizes were also quite generous, and, best of all, each of these yummy desserts was not over $7. We always enjoy our visit to the Waioli Tea Room. Is it the fanciest of places to get a spot of tea? No. But, in my opinion, it makes up for that through ambience and historic charm. I recommend giving it a try. As we left the restaurant yesterday, almost every table was booked, so it's probably a good idea to make a reservation. A fun way to be reminded of the joy of slowing down and focusing on the moment!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank aloha056
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Monica, California
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Loved location and friendly staff”
Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

We had PRE-CHRISTMAS party there
nice place. Great people.
Okay food
Would recommend for fun, not fine dining

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Beer L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Central Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
170 reviews
125 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Charming Upcountry Lunch and Grounds - a tea room but also OK for guys”
Reviewed November 20, 2012 via mobile

It's a tea room, and has in addition, the grass hut where Robert Louis Stevenson hung out on Oahu. For me it is a garden atmosphere that serves a huge delicious curry chicken salad and flavorful ice tea. It is interesting, rustic and historic clapboard house with flowers, birds and I rage aloha prints make it a good place for a lazy lunch and conversation. Too full for derrert but the array of cakes and pudding were enticing. I recommend.

    • Value
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Suzichka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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