August 12 2022
From our favorite local food trucks to the perfect spot for sunset drinks, we’re sharing ALOHA's guide to eating and drinking around Oʻahu. The Oʻahu dining scene is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, making it a fun and unique destination for foodies. So, buckle up (or loosen your belts) as we share the best spots for dim sum in Chinatown, our favorite local staples, and some must-eat treats and hidden gems around the island.
Best Fresh Juice & Smoothies
Da Cove Health Bar + Cafe - South Shore
Our go to after a long surf at Diamond Head! We love the açaí and they also serve up yummy egg and breakfast items, you have to try their eggs + asparagus!
Sunrise Shack - North Shore, Waikīkī, and Kailua
Look for the little yellow shack sign, they are slinging some of the BEST papaya bowls and bullet coffees on the island.
Nalu Health Bar - Kailua + North Shore
Fresh ingredients?! Sign us up! Nalu serves up a great smoothie and has THE BEST ahi sandwich on the island.
Hint: Try the gluten free bread, you wont be disappointed!
Farm to Barn Cafe + Juicery - Haleiwa
Go for the fresh pressed juice or opt for our favorite menu item, the Barn Breakfast Burrito!
Best Places for Dim Sum in Chinatown
Legend Seafood Restaurant - Chinatown Cultural Plaza
They’re famous for their Shu Mai and Half Moons.
Fook Lam Dim Sum - Chinatown Cultural Plaza
The soup dumplings are our favorite. Be sure to try the steamed dumplings with chill oil! They also have an amazing fried chive cake.
Mei Sum - Chinatown
An oldie but a goodie, we always go for their chicken pot stickers!
Best Places for Sushi
Banzai Sushi Bar - Haleiwa
Banzai serves a large selection of fresh locally caught fish. They use organic ingredients from local fishermen and farmers on the North Shore to create unique sushi depending on the season. You'll also find a full saki bar here!
Sushi Sasabune - Honolulu
The best omakase on the island can be found here!
Yanagi Sushi - Honolulu
Yanagi is always a favorite, especially when dining with a larger group.
Best Food Trucks
Pupukea Grill - North Shore
From wraps, to plate lunch, and amazing fresh hand rolls, we never miss a chance to eat at Pupukea Grill!
Hint: Call and check their hours, they can be easy to miss!
Pandaʻs Thai Food Truck - North Shore
Delicious, authentic Thai food on the North Shore. Worth leaving your resort for a meal here!
Crispy Grindz - North Shore
This truck serves up amazing açaí and Brazilian coxihna (chicken and cheese croquette). Its a great place to grab and go on your way to the beach!
Best Places to Pau Hana
Hideout Bar - Waikīkī
The Hideout Bar is in the heart of Waikīkī at the Laylow Hotel. A rooftop oasis with a midcentury modern vibe and the best local live music in town!
Dukes - Waikīkī
A legendary spot in Waikīkī! Take a seat at the Barefoot Bar and enjoy the iconic views of Diamond Head at sunset or come for the live music and dancing on Sunday’s!
Buzz's - Kailua
Order the Freshie with a red rim, "a fresh lime marg served with li hing mui rim" – it’s our favorite cocktail. Open from lunch into dinner, get there early as Buzz’s draws a big crowd of vistors and locals alike.
Hint: Be careful with the mai tai’s (The BFRD), trust us on that one!
Hau Tree - Waikīkī
This hidden gem can be found in the Kaimana Beach Hotel at the south end of Waikīkī. It’s our go to when in town, great for sunset dinner and drinks and serves up some of the best cocktails and pūpū on the south shore!
Best Places for Sweet Treats
Leonardʻs Bakery - South Shore
The line starts at 6 am for these famous Portuguese fried donuts, but it's worth the wait! The original malasada is the bakery's best seller, though you can also order them with custard fillings–try the guava!
Waiola Shave Ice - Two South Shore Locations: 2135 Waiola St + 3113 Mokihana
We love going to the original location on Waiola. Look out for the iconic blue building and a long line out front! There's a specific way to order your shave ice here: first, say how many shave ices you want, then specify the sizes, and finally, anything you want inside or on top. We recommend getting your shave ice and a scoop of ice cream at the bottom, it's perfect after a hot day at the beach!
Ted’s Bakery - North Shore
Run, don’t walk to get their chocolate haupia (coconut) pie!
Hint: Not heading to North Shore, no problem, you can find their famous pies in Foodland grocery stores across the island.
Banan Beach Shack - Waikīkī and Kailua
Hawai’i grown bananas turned into plant-based frozen goodness, whats not to love?. They also do açaí bowls and smoothies!
Hint: Order your banan soft serve in a “pineapple yacht.”
Best Plate Lunch + Poke Spots
Ono Seafood - South Shore
Located about 5 minutes outside Waikīkī, this is the best place to customize your poke. Go early, this place draws a crowd!
Kahuku Superette - North Shore
Our favorite local spot in Laie (north of Haleiwa) for poke, nothing fancy but trust us, it’s da best!
Diamond Head Market - South Shore
Needing a quick plate lunch or grab and go? This is the spot! After you grab a plate lunch from the window, head inside and grab a blueberry cream cheese scone, it’s must!
Rainbow’s Drive-In - South Shore
Locals favorite for post-surf lunch. Try the teri beef plate and slush float, the best after an afternoon in the water!
Best Places for Traditional Hawaiian Food
Both serve quality traditional Hawaiian food like laulau, poi, and kalua pork
Helena’s - Honolulu
All their Hawaiian food is delicious. A must try is their salt meat watercress and beef short-ribs.
Highway Inn - 3 locations (Kakaʻako + West Side + Honolulu)
Highway Inn is always consistent and great for larger parties. We love their kalua pork!
Best Places for Coffee
Sunset Provisions - Kaimana Beach Hotel, Waikīkī
Arvo - Kaka'ako
Coffee Gallery - North Shore
Morning Brew - Kailua + Kakaʻako
Morning Glass - Honolulu
Good to Know: Hawaii Eats Lingo
A local plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, a healthy serving of mac salad, and a main of teriyaki chicken, kalua pork, or teriyaki beef, or mahi mahi.
Malasadas are Portuguese donuts without the hole. Traditionally, malasadas are not filled, but if you want to be wowed, be sure to ask for one with a filling of your choice!
Haupia is a traditional coconut milk-based Hawaiian dessert often found at lūʻau.
Laulau is a Polynesian dish made from cooked taro leaves filled with pork, fish, or coconut cream. In old Hawaiʻi, laulau was assembled by taking a few leaves and placing a few pieces of fish or pork in the center. In modern times, the dish uses taro leaves, salted butterfish, and either pork, beef, or chicken and is usually steamed on the stove.
In Polynesia, poi, or popoi, is a traditional food made from starchy vegetables, usually breadfruit, kalo (taro) roott, or plantain. Traditionally, poi is made by smashing cooked starch on a wooden pounding board with a wooden pestle carved from basalt, calcite or coral.