Landmark Bali Hai gets $4M overhaul
Published - 04/08/10 - 11:34 AM | 4008 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A worker adds some finishing touches to a decorative tiki at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island, which is about to unveil its
$4 million renovation April 22. 
                                    COURTESY PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
view slideshow (2 images)
After three months of overhaul, San Diego’s iconic Bali Hai restaurant is preparing to publicly unveil an exotic $4 million facelift and a new menu on Thursday, April 22.

The family-owned landmark at the northern tip of Shelter Island has been a local staple for 55 years, offering stunning views and a distinctive Polynesian style.

“We’ve entertained three generations of diners, who come for the fabulous food, spectacular views, and, of course, our world-famous Mai Tais,” said owner Susie Baumann. “The renovation and new menu will draw attention to our enchanting island setting like never before.”

The architectural touches throughout the restaurant are being created by a design team led by architect Graham Downes, whose distinctive, cutting-edge flair can already be seen in the outdoor waterfront Hawaiian Village pavilion — the only one of its kind on San Diego Bay — with its use of beautiful woods and large steel supports.

The design team is beautifying the bayside icon, bringing it stylishly into the 21st century. The structure, originally built with more than 15 types of wood, some very rare, is being restored to its natural, original sheen. The new lounge will feature a honey onyx bar and classic-style Hawaiian light fixtures, creating a soft, romantic glow.

The interior design and décor will include Bali Hai’s collection of more than a hundred Polynesian artifacts — including tiki figures, antique tapa cloths, wood weapons, ocean charts, maps and native pictures — creating a museum-like space for guests to explore.

The renovation will include completely refurbished dining areas, including the South Pacific Room downstairs and several new additions: the Bamboo Lounge, an expanded bar area adjacent to the main dining room; the Tiki Room, a private upstairs dining room; an outdoor dining deck with prime views of the bay; bayside patio with lounge seating; a lush, landscaped patio for weddings and special events, which will include a reconstructed lava rock wall, decorative tiki torches, benches and eight new king palm trees.

Newly-appointed chef Chris Powell, formerly of Rancho Valencia, is creating a Pacific Rim menu with a distinct Hawaiian flair.

Trained at the Western Culinary Institute, Powell has worked in the kitchens of some of the top fusion restaurants in San Diego. Powell brings a sophisticated culinary style and passion for Asian and Hawaiian culture, traditions and heritage behind the cuisine.

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