Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City

Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City, photo from Dan in the Desert
Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City, photo from Dan in the Desert

The above photo of Kon-Tiki comes from the website of Dan in the Desert, a civilian working in the Middle East. I first came across his post about this unusual restaurant in Kuwait City last December. He made only passing reference to it, and I still don’t know a lot about the place, but today I finally got off my duff and got it entered into Critiki.

Kon-Tiki, from the Radisson SAS website
Kon-Tiki, from the
Radisson SAS website

Kon-Tiki is just a restaurant — alcohol is a big kapu in Kuwait. It is indeed a Polynesian restaurant, and you can just almost see what appears to be a tiki on the wall in this photo. The really striking thing about this restaurant, though, is that it sits directly beneath an authentic Kuwaiti dhow that is in permanent dry-dock. That dramatic curved wall and ceiling is actually the hull of a ship. That ship is called the Al Boom, and it holds a steakhouse. The Kon-Tiki is at the Radisson SAS Hotel, which is in Salwa, a sort of suburb of Kuwait City, and it is right on the Persian Gulf. There is also a simple website for the hotel, which has this small picture, but it doesn’t reveal much more about this unusual Polynesian restaurant.

Many people are unaware that Polynesian restaurants are not uncommon in the Middle East; in fact, Trader Vic’s has nine Middle East locations — there are currently only seven operating in the United States.

4 thoughts on “Kon-Tiki in Kuwait City

  1. Alcohol isn’t totally forbidden inside Kuwait. I lived there with my parents for a few months in the 60s (we got chased out during the 6 Day War with Israel), and there were a number of “American clubs” that had bars. They were usually attached to private beaches surrounded by fences so foreign women could go swimming without having to wear a burka.


  2. Hey Mr. BaliHai,
    Sorry to disappoint, but Humuhumu gotl it right, public sale and consumption of alcohol in Kuwait is forbidden. Lots has happened here since the 1960’s, and banning alcohol was something that happened a long time ago here. Not to say its not here and available different ways, but there are no bars, clubs or hotels here that sell it. Walk into any of the variety of American chain restaurants here (Chilis, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesdays, TGIFs, etc), and the one thing that’ll strike you is the huge bars, selling nothing but fruit “cocktails”!

    The Kon Tiki is a Polynesian-style restaurant in the Trader Vic’s mode, and the food is actually very good, if somewhat pricey. Speaking of Trader Vic’s, a company here has announced plans to open one in Kuwait. Imagine that, A TV’s sans alcohol — the spectre is both comical and depressing at the same time! The other Trader Vic’s locations in the Gulf (Bahrain, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Al-Ain and Oman) do a bang-up business, but all serve the big “A”.
    Cheers From Kuwait.


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