There’s arguably no better escape from Seattle than Hawaii. There’s a reason it’s called “paradise,” and you can get there in less than six hours from the Emerald City. If a trip isn’t in your near future, you can still experience a piece of the Hawaiian islands locally at Marination Ma Kai in West Seattle.
Serving Hawaiian-Korean fusion fare, Marination Ma Kai (1660 Harbor Ave. SW) is a hot spot, especially in the summer. Not only do they serve up tasty food, but the restaurant also offers stunning views. Located on the waterfront (ma kai means “along, near, by the sea”) near the north end of Seacrest Park, Marination Ma Kai looks directly onto Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline. To help showcase the view, the restaurant has a large outdoor patio.
NOTE: Marination Ma Kai is the “brick-and-mortar” space for the popular Marination food truck in Seattle. If you’re not heading to West Seattle anytime soon, there’s also a spin-off called Marination Station on Capitol Hill (1412 Harvard Ave.).
Marination Ma Kai serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tove and I visited for the first time recently for lunch, and the line stretched out the door. We waited 40 minutes to even place our order, and then waited an extra 15 minutes for our food to come out. Keep in mind, this was in the summer, so the crowd was more massive than you’d typically find other times of the year.
Here’s what we ordered at Marination Ma Kai (all descriptions (in italics) are written as they are on the menu):
All sliders are served on a soft Hawaiian-style roll with signature slaw. Aloha (kalua pork) and SPAM sliders are served with NUNYA sauce (Marination Ma Kai’s popular sauce), kimchi sausage with mayo. Since there are only the two options on the menu, we tried an Aloha and SPAM slider. I really liked the SPAM, while Tove enjoyed the kalua pork.
Tacos served on a pair of 4″ corn tortillas with signature slaw, house-made pickled jalapenos, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and NUNYA sauce. We tried the kalbi beef and spicy pork tacos, but you can also order miso ginger chicken, sexy tofu, and kalua pork.
A ground beef patty served on white rice with rich, beef gravy and two sunny-side up eggs. A Hawaiian classic.
Pork Katsu Sandwich
Pork cutlet, panko crusted, served on Macrina ciabatta with red onion, mayo, house-made “BULLDOG” tonkatsu sauce and tangy slaw.
Hawaiian Mac Salad
Mac n’ SPAM (although you can also get it without SPAM)! A crowd favorite at the Capitol Hill location.
Tove and I both liked the Pork Katsu Sandwich and the tacos best (although the sliders were a close runner-up) at Marination Ma Kai. You can also find musubi, kimchi fried rice, fish n’ chips, shave ice and much more on the menu. Unfortunately, our bellies can only fit so much. We’ll definitely go back to try some of the items we missed. Oh yeah, I can’t forget to mention that Marination Ma Kai also has a full bar for those of you looking for beer and/or a cocktail.
As much as we wish we could be in Hawaii right now, that’s just not the case. The next best option is grabbing some grub from the islands. Marination Ma Kai is a great spot to cure your Hawaiian cravings.
Have you ever tried Marination Ma Kai? How was your experience? What did you order? We’d love to hear all about your visit. Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to visit Seattle Bloggers for more awesome places to experience in the Emerald City.