Say Aloha to the First Hawaiian Restaurant in Austin

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Build you own poke bowl like a boss at Ola Poke

Meet your next bowl of obsession in a paradise for vegetarians, and for meat- and fish-eaters, too.

Poke (POH-kay), composed of seasoned raw fish cubes, has been served in traditional Hawaiian cuisine for centuries. Poke is the Hawaiian verb for “to slice or cut.” I have traveled to Hawaii several times, and my first name is Hawaiian, but I had never been introduced to this fascinating preparation until now — in Austin.

Nestled inside a shopping center, between a French-Asian bakery and a karaoke bar, is Ola Poke, a mom-and-pop establishment that is the city’s first Hawaiian poke, sushi, and grill eatery. 

The restaurant is set up cafeteria-style, so guests can point at ingredients and build their own poke bowl, choosing from a variety of fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables as well as house-made sauces. Other items on the menu include hibachi steak, Korean BBQ bowl, famous Asian fried chicken, and other fusion Asian dishes.

One specialty, My Fresh Bowl, features layers of steamed white rice, ahi tuna, spicy salmon, shrimp, crab meat, and seaweed, slightly sprinkled with sesame seeds.The wide selection of toppings for rice or salad bowls make this place a vegetarian paradise. Its casual environment is full of good vibes with bright red walls, blue-and-white-checked flooring, and a very family friendly feeling, where you can sit back while having fun mixing the sauces on top of your culinary creation.

There are usually long lines during peak hours, but it is most definitely worth the wait. If you are looking for a healthy, light, and delicious meal, head over to North Lamar Boulevard to taste your next obsession.

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