Facebook210Tweet0Pin1Submitted by Sylvie Delaney for The Lanai CafeUpon disappearing from rainy Capital Way to enter The Lanai, I was welcomed by an ambiance of tropical colors and natural furnishing in a charming atmosphere. I was greeted promptly with an endearing “Aloha!” by a pleasant hostess. On the way to a table, I received the pleasure of observing original local artwork, succeeding in complementing the setting I began to delve myself into.The Lanai Cafe is located on Capitol Way in downtown Olympia and brings the fresh breeze of Hawaii to the downtown core.After settling into my seat, I noticed the lush atmosphere around me. It started with the natural wood paneling and continued to the plants placed in a casual, yet noticeable way within the restaurant. I unwound in the natural setting and found a sense of comfort. Standing out in this aesthetic is a beautifully decorated chalkboard, displaying events and specials in a lively and artistic way. For an event board, it was far too vibrant to ignore.My meal and drink orders were taken by a friendly and relaxed server. The server checked on me pleasantly. I noticed this same treatment being given to the patrons surrounding me. It became apparent the business takes this personable service ethic into serious consideration.The wait staff seems to enjoy their work without missing a beat. The spotless environment is one example of how serious the staff takes their responsibilities. All of my questions about the menu and facilities were answered patiently, thoroughly, and very politely.My Chicken Katsu appetizer and Warrior Burger entrée arrived after a surprisingly short wait. The dishes were delicately prepared and served with the tasty traditional sides of salad and one ripe pineapple slice. My Chicken Katsu was a plate of tender dark meat chicken. The meat was breaded, modestly fried and served with two heaping servings of fluffy steamed rice.Original art throughout the cafe helps set the warm ad friendly tone of the islands.I made sure to keep room for my next dish as it held a hamburger, piled 6 inches high with fresh beef, tomato, lettuce all contained in a sweet bun. I opted for experiencing the traditional Hawaiian cuisine, so I ate it with an added side of spam and eggs. It was quite savory, but I didn’t find much pleasure in adding it to a burger.I ordered one of the options off the dessert menu. Seconds later I was given a plate with an unreal serving of a simple, rich chocolate cake I am almost embarrassed to have finished as fast as I did. However, it was well worth the embarrassment, in my opinion.As I finished my meal, I noticed the customers around me. In the same way I did, those entering seemed to marvel at the bright atmosphere and happy people. The owner strolled his establishment, making himself no stranger to patrons by introducing himself. I felt proud to help support this relationship between customer and local business.Even the events and activities board at Lanai Cafe reflects the friendly spirit of Aloha!Today I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Hawaiian culture, not fifteen minutes from my home, in downtown Olympia. For the afternoon I delved myself into a leisurely atmosphere, filled with warmth, contagious enough to be felt by anyone. Regardless of your previous tastes of Hawaiian cuisine, The Lanai provides an authentic experience.I will make a point to return to enjoy the ambiance of warmth and, of course, a delicious cuisine portraying Hawaii. In an area that could benefit from discovering a satisfying change of culinary scenery, The Lanai Cafe is a breath of fresh air.