I venture to Islands from time to time whenever my friends are hankering for a meet up place that’s conducive to everyone’s taste. Whether there are kids involved, or if you have one or two adults who are not adventurous, Islands is a solid place where you know there’ll be something for everyone.
In the last few years, Islands has taken liberty to move with the times and there is definitely a marked change in the new Islands locations opening up. The old Islands locations have also updated their menus by keeping up with times, introducing craft beer, freshly prepared cocktails and offering healthier options. Of course, when you come to Islands, it’s all about the burgers and fries, but these days, that’s not what the restaurant is only known for.
But first things first, what libations are we starting off with? There is craft beer, virgin drinks for the kids, and of course, cocktails! Yes, definitely cocktails! I am surprised my favorite turns out to be the Big Island Iced Tea ($8.49), the restaurant’s take on a Long Island Iced Tea. The vodka, gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, pineapple juice and strawberry puree concoction is delicious and deceivingly strong. I sip it WAY too quickly and before I know it, half is gone and I feel it in my head.
We also try Mai Tai ($8.49) dark rum, pineapple and orange juices, sweet and sour, orgeat syrup, grenadine and a float of Myer’s Rum; Sunset Margarita ($10.79) on the rocks with tequila Cazadores, Grand Marnier, fresh squeezed lime and orange with sweet and sour; and Cool Breeze ($4.79), a non-alcoholic smoothie of coconut cream, bananas and strawberries.
Now something to pair your drinks with. Who says no to Cheddar Fries ($8.29) at Islands? In fact, I think every single time I’ve visited there is always cheddar fries involved. Melted cheese over crispy fresh cut fries topped with scallions is possibly known to every person who has ever visited Islands. Did you know you can add chili or Applewood smoked bacon to it as well?
Spinach & Artichoke Dip ($10.25) is another appetizer perfect for sharing. Chopped spinach and artichoke hearts mixed with sautéed onion and garlic in a creamy Alfredo sauce. It tastes freshly made and not overly salty like most restaurant dips. I like mine with a little salsa on top.
May is National Burger Month, and there are more than 10 to choose from. Nalu Nalu ($12.09) is one of those burgers I’ve had many times because there is always someone in my party that loves this spicy concoction with roasted garlic aioli, Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, mixed peppers, hot deli pepper rings and lettuce.
If you’re into the taste of the islands, then Hawaiian ($11.99) is definitely the way to go. The teriyaki sauce is a little too sweet for me, but definitely a pleaser for those who like tropical flavors. There is also fresh pineapple, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and mayo. Choose between a white or whole wheat bun.
Those who want something spicier is in for a treat right now. Sriracha Smack Burger ($11.89) is available for a limited time adding many layers of Sriracha to the mix. There is Sriracha infused cream cheese, soy-sriracha glaze, pickled peppers, pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, onion and the piece de resistance… crispy bacon! This is the ultimate in messy, gooey, decadent eating.
If you’re not into red meat, the CA Flyer ($11.85) is possibly my favorite of the meal. Perfectly grilled chicken is sandwiched between a bun of your choice with BBQ sauce, pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. The BBQ sauce is not overpowering and you can taste the nicely charred chicken even with all the condiments. Order extra fried red onions for added crunch!
But there is more than burgers and sandwiches at Islands. Hankering for a taco? Here are two for you. Yaki ($10.35) offers two flour tortillas stuffed with grilled chicken, fresh grilled pineapple salsa, teriyaki sauce, cheddar and Jack cheeses, lettuce and tomatoes. Again, a little sweet for me, but otherwise, good.
I love the Island Fish ($10.15) tacos with crispy battered cod topped with cabbage, cilantro, diced tomatoes and the white sauce typically served with a Baja style fish taco. The portion is big — two to an order — and I’m only able to finish one taco.
We are too stuffed to eat dessert, but we can’t leave without a taste of Kona Pie ($6.55), which isn’t really a pie at all. The dessert is formed in a pie tin with a cookie crust and filled with mocha almond fudge ice cream. When cut into, it looks like a slice of pie. There is chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and roasted almonds and especially delicious for ice cream lovers!
Everyone leaves completely stuffed at Islands. Go eat a burger this month, or better yet, celebrate National Burger Day on May 28th and double the fun.
I have two $25 giftcards to Islands for two of my readers to win. Leave me a message and tell me which burger you’ll most want to eat in celebration of National Burger Month! Entries close on Friday, May 27th.
For an Islands location near you, please go to their website by clicking here!