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14 Best Oahu Restaurants for You to Try

Are you looking for the best Oahu restaurants? This guide from a Hawaii local has everything you need to know!

Best of Oahu Restaurants: Koko Head Cafe

Whenever people come to Hawaii, they are always looking for local recommendations.  Secret beaches, blood-pumping hikes, stunning views, and, most commonly, delicious restaurants.  To help with the foodie questions, I’ve created a list of ten categories of the best Oahu restaurants!

1. Koko Head Café

Cuisine: Breakfast & Brunch, Pan-Asian Fusion

Price: $$

Address: 1145 12th Ave. C, Honolulu, HI 96816

Most of the brunch spots in Hawaii simply serve the typical brunch items like eggs benedict, omelets, and French toast. While many of them are delicious, there’s nothing particularly special about them.  But Koko Head Café is definitely different.

Koko Head Café in Kaimuki is run by chef Lee Anne Wong, who is an Iron Chef winner, Top Chef contestant, and author of Dumplings All Day Wong

Due to her ethnic background and travel influences, Wong has created many Asian-inspired brunch dishes, including daily flavors of dumplings (I tried hamburger dumplings once and they were surprisingly good) and the breakfast bibimbap (as pictured at the top; one of my favorites – a Korean dish made of a slightly crunchy rice base topped with an assortment of veggies and meats and an over easy egg). 

A crowd-favorite of Koko Head is the cornflake French toast. The crunchy cornflake outside is just a ruse to hide the fluffy sweetbread inside.  To make it even better, the whole thing is topped with two strips of caramelized bacon and a tiny scoop of ice cream. No wonder Koko Head Cafe is routinely listed as one of the best places for brunch in Waikiki and Honolulu!

flat lay on a marble table with a laptop, a Hawaii postcard, a cappuccino, and a kouign amann from Kona Coffee Purveyors. Between its fantastic coffee and its flaky pastries, Kona Coffee Purveyors is one of the best restaurants on Oahu.

2. Kona Coffee Purveyors

Cuisine: Coffee & Pastries

Price: $

Address: Kuhio Avenue Mall Entrance – International Marketplace, 2330 Kalākaua Ave #160, Honolulu, HI 96815

This indoor-outdoor café at Waikiki’s International Marketplace will charm you immediately. The warm wood structure, the smell of coffee, and the bright Hawaii sunshine make for the most welcoming atmosphere. At Kona Coffee Purveyors, you can find your ideal espressos, lattes, and flat whites.

But it’s not just the coffee that makes this Waikiki coffee shop special. You don’t want to leave Kona Coffee Purveyors without a pastry – or more specifically, the kouign amann.

The kouign amann (pronounced sort of like “queen ah-mohn”) is my favorite part of visiting Kona Coffee Purveyors. Sourced from the critically acclaimed San Francisco bakery, b. patisserie, this buttery, flaky pastry is a must-try while on Oahu.

3. Nico’s

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: $$

Address:

Honolulu Location – 1129 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817

Kailua Location – 970 N Kalaheo Ave, Kailua, HI 96734

Hawaii has some of the best seafood in the world. I’ve been so spoiled by Hawaii’s seafood that I’m hesitant to eat it in other parts of the world – even some that are famous for their seafood! (Granted, I usually do anyways, and Hawaii’s seafood always tastes better.)

Nico’s is one of the best places to get some fresh Hawaii seafood – and, as an added bonus, you don’t have to fish all the money out of your pockets to pay for it (check out the prices of Mama’s Fish House on Maui for comparison).  After buying fresh seafood from the fishermen each and every morning, the chefs at Nico’s whip up some tasty dishes like furikake pan seared ahi, fish and chips, and Nico’s steamed clams.  To top it all off, you’ll have a stunning view of the pier as you eat.

Bonus: If you come on a Friday (a.k.a. “Aloha Friday”), you can get a traditional Hawaiian plate with poi, lau lau, kalua pig, and lomi lomi salmon.

Best of Oahu Restaurants: Food Truck Giovanni's

4. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: $$

Address (original Kahuku location): 56-505 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck has made a name for itself, serving up the island’s most delicious garlic shrimp at four different locations across the island.  While they do serve a couple of other items, they basically just churn out their delicious garlic shrimp for their loyal customers.  (And the occasional extra spicy shrimp platter for those dense enough to ignore their several warning signs.)

*Note: There’s quite a bit of debate about the best shrimp truck on Oahu’s North Shore. To decide for yourself, add Tanaka Kahuku Shrimp and Romy’s to your list of shrimp trucks to visit.

hand holding thick burger from butcher and bird in front of blue wall
Photo Courtesy of The Butcher & Bird

5. The Butcher & Bird

Cuisine: American

Price: $$

Address: 324 Coral St Ste 207, Honolulu, HI 96813

If you’re hoping to grab a delicious burger on Oahu, look no further than The Butcher & Bird. Primarily a butcher shop, The Butcher & Bird uses some of the freshest meat around — both for its butcher shop clients and for its burgers.

I always go for the topping-laden bacon mushroom Swiss burger, complete with thick-cut bacon, cremini mushrooms, and sauteed onions. But the classic double cheeseburger and the massive satchmostack are popular options as well.

Other than burgers, The Butcher & Bird serves up other meat-heavy handhelds like Philly cheesesteaks and sausage sandwiches (think hot dogs, but fancy).

6. Monkeypod Kitchen

Cuisine: Modern American, Pan-Asian

Price: $$$

Address: 92-1048 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707

Monkeypod Kitchen is without a doubt one of the best restaurants on Oahu, and it’s conveniently located in the tourist hub of Ko Olina. You really can’t get it’s unique, modern American/pan-Asian dishes anywhere else.

I usually go during their happy hour (3-5:30 p.m. and 9-11 p.m.), because all pizzas and appetizers are half-off!  Their kiawe-wood oven pizzas, pumpkin patch ravioli, and Kauai shrimp and hamakua mushroom potstickers are some of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten anywhere.  Honestly, I’ve never been disappointed by the food at Monkeypod.

7. Roy’s

Cuisine: High-End Pan-Asian Fusion

Price: $$$$

Address: There are several different Roy’s locations dotted around the island, but the one in Hawaii Kai is the best of the bunch: 6600 Kalanianaʻole Hwy Suite 110, Honolulu, HI 96825.

Looking to have a formal dinner?  Roy’s is the best Oahu restaurant for you!  This local restaurant chain is run by famed Hawaii-grown chef Roy Yamaguchi.  With dishes like misoyaki marinated butterfish, chicken picatta, and charred honey mustard beef short rib, you’re sure to have some fantastic food.

And while the appetizers and entrees are great, it’s really the dessert that steals the show — more specifically the chocolate souffle. This ooey, gooey end to the meal is a deliciously decadent way to wrap up your time at Roy’s.

spread of 15 different types of poke in silver trays from Tanioka's, one of the best restaurants on Oahu

8. Tanioka’s Seafood and Catering

Cuisine: Seafood

Cost: $$

Address: 94-903 Farrington Hwy, Waipahu, HI 96797

If you’re looking for poke, you really can’t beat Tanioka’s. This local hotspot has long been known as the best poke spot on Oahu. They serve up all sorts of poke, including the typical ahi-based poke bowls, tako poke, clam poke, and even tofu poke. But the crowd favorites — and my personal favorites — are consistently the spicy ahi poke, the limu ahi poke, and the shoyu ahi poke.

*Pro Tip: To get more bang for your buck, get JUST the poke at Tanioka’s, not the rice. Put another way, the poke bowl is a lot pricier than just the poke, and the only additional thing in the poke bowl is rice.

lafa with kefta from Mina's Fish House in Ko Olina

9. Mina’s Fish House

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: $$$$

Address: 92-1001 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707

Created by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina, Mina’s Fish House is a special spot on Oahu. Situated on the West Side of the island, this Ko Olina restaurant has an ever-evolving menu of upscale seafood dishes. And over the years, the menu at Mina’s Fish House has gotten progressively more island-inspired as well. Try the Hawaiian butterfish puolo, the 20-ounce kurobuta pork chop, or the lobster pot pie.

Every day from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Mina’s Fish House hosts a more affordable happy hour — which is when I visit to taste award-winning dishes without breaking my bank account. This more affordable menu includes a limited selection of seafood-forward and island-ispired appetizers, including togarashi-spiced big reef squid and blistered shishito peppers.

10. DB Grill

Cuisine: Korean

Price: $$$

Address: 4450 Kapolei Pkwy #560, Kapolei, HI 96707

Tucked away in the primarily residential town of Kapolei, DB Grill and its mouthwatering Korean food typically slips under the radar.

All of the dishes at DB Grill are served in communal plates that feed 2 to 3 people, which is a great set-up to sample as many of their tasty dishes as possible. Try some of their local favorites, including duck fat fried rice, Ed’s signature kalbi, DB grilled tofu salad, and beef bone soup.

four separate disposable plates holding Hawaiian classic dishes, like pipikaula and laulau

11. Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Cuisine: Hawaiian

Price: $$

Address: 1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817

Finding authentic Hawaiian food in Hawaii is surprisingly difficult, but Helena’s Hawaiian Food is widely regarded as the best Hawaiian restaurant around. Opened in 1946, this local eatery has been serving up delicious Hawaiian food for 75 years!

As if its longevity wasn’t enough to convince you to visit, Helena’s Hawaiian Food also boasts a prestigious James Beard Award! More specifically, it won the Regional Classic Award for its preservation of traditional Hawaiian food, which is quite an honor.

You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Helena’s Hawaiian Food. If the options feel overwhelming, simply order one of the set menus. They include many of the best Hawaiian dishes, including kalua pig, pipikaula short ribs, and the luau squid.

12. Greek Marina

Cuisine: Greek/Mediterranean

Price: $$

Address: Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy. e126, Honolulu, HI 96825

The Greek Marina is one of my favorite restaurants on Oahu. Nearly every time I’m in Hawaii Kai — whether I’m spending the day at Sandy Beach or hiking the Koko Crater Trail — I find myself at the Greek Marina for lunch.

This casual, marina-side restaurant serves up the most delicious gyros I’ve ever had.  (To put it in perspective, I was quite disappointed by the French fry-filled gyros I had in Greece in comparison.)

But the fluffy pita bread, well-seasoned shawarma, and creamy tzatziki sauce at the Greek Marina are perfect.  Their appetizer platters and desserts (particularly the basboosa and baklava) are also worth a taste.

Acai bowl topped with apple banana slices, macadamia nut granola, and lilikoi butter from Kahuku Farms

13. Kahuku Farms

Cuisine: Farm-to-Table

Price: $

Address: 56-800 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731 

Kahuku Farms is known far and wide (well, on Oahu, at least) for its acai bowls. Why? Because it’s (to everyone’s knowledge) the only place on the island that uses locally grown acai berries to make its acai bowls! Add Kahuku Farm’s special macadamia nut crumble, lilikoi butter, and apple bananas into the mix, and you’ve got yourself an acai bowl unlike any other.

But Kahuku Farms has so many more delicious dishes other than that fruity treat.  Farm-fresh smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and ice cream are all also on the menu.  And if you’re looking to buy some fresh local fruit, including papayas, mangoes, apple bananas, and guavas, at an amazing price, Kahuku Farms has got you covered.

Bonus: There are farm tours at Kahuku Farms too, if you really want to see where exactly your food came from.

But Kahuku Farms isn’t the only noteworthy vegetarian restaurant on the island. Here are the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants on Oahu, Hawaii.

Best of Oahu Restaurants: Pipeline Bakeshop

14. Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery

Cuisine: Desserts

Price: $

Address: 3632 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

If you’re looking for some of the best desserts on Oahu — more specifically, some of the best malasadas (a Portuguese-style donut with a local twist) — Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery is a strong competitor. 

Besides a slew of ice cream flavors, their “cake bombs” are well, the bomb.  I’m actually very picky with my desserts, and I’m usually quite disappointed when I visit bakeries.  But the cake bombs, which are like mini bundt cakes, are delicious!  My favorite is the lemon cake bomb, but the POG (passion orange guava) one is also quite good.

Just as a note on the cake bombs, the ones with flavor in the actual cake part (not just the frosting part on top) are much better.  In other words, don’t fool yourself by getting a “chocolate” cake bomb that’s actually vanilla cake with a chocolate syrup.

Bonus Oahu Restaurant Recommendations

Leonard’s

E.A.R.L.

Lucky Belly

The Pig & The Lady

Via Gelato

GOEN Dining+Bar

Senia

Tane Vegan Izakaya

Ruscello

Honorable Mention: Opal Thai – TEMPORARILY CLOSED

Opal Thai is the best Thai food I’ve had anywhere, not just on Oahu. Unfortunately, the family that runs the restaurant has been having health struggles, so they’ve been temporarily closed for a couple of years now. Hopefully we’ll see them happy, healthy, and back on their feet soon!

I have to preface with the fact that Opal Thai is a unique dining experience.  You’ll walk in and almost immediately, Chef Opel, will rush up to the front to shake your hand to ask you what foods you eat – “shrimp, chicken, duck, pork, beef…” – and what spiciness level you can tolerate.  You’ll be sat at a table after that, and you won’t get a menu, because Opel comes up with a customized set of dishes for your table (oh, all of the dishes are family style by the way).

Sometimes Opel will tell you what the dishes are, and sometimes he won’t.  I’m pretty sure that’s intentional, because he does have a secret dish that he serves to all first-timers that isn’t even on his not-used menu (trust me, it’s delicious).  I’ve been to Opal Thai a few times now, and I can say that there wasn’t a single item on his menu that I didn’t like.  The tangy lime, herby cilantro, and spicy Thai chilis (as per my spiciness level) radiated throughout every dish – from the tom yum soup to the sautéed eggplant and sting beans to the drunken noodles.

Address: 1030 Smith St. Suite 6, Honolulu, HI 96817

Did you enjoy this read on Oahu restaurants? Pin it for later! 

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84 Comments

  1. Everything looks so delicious and sounds so healthy! I have not been to Hawaii yet – would love to very much. I never thought that Hawaiian food scene would be so varied. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. So many yummy places to eat in Oahu. I definitely would want to give Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck a try. I’m a huge fan of shrimp and that garlic shrimp sounds so yummy!

  3. This post made me so hungry! I need to get back to Oahu ASAP to try these places out, especially the POG cake bombs from Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery (great warning on the chocolate cake bombs – I hate when the chocolate option is really vanilla with chocolate frosting ha).

  4. All of these places sound delicious, thank you for the informative post!! Especially Koko- hamburger dumplings/ cornflake French toast- say whattt! I would love to get back to Hawaii, hopefully soon! I’ll be eating my way around Oahu by the sounds of it.

  5. Hawaii might be our favorite place in the world! We’ve somehow never stayed overnight on Oahu and that must change! I’m pinning this for our next trip! We’ve eaten at Roy’s on the Big Island – it’s fantastic!

    1. No way!! You definitely have to spend MULTIPLE nights on Oahu! There’s just so much to see (and eat too lol).

  6. This piece can’t have come at a better time as we are actually considering moving to Oahu next fall. And I do love great food, so it sounds like Oahu is the place for us. The koko-hamburger sounds very interesting.

  7. I didn’t know Oahu has so many good restaurants! Going to bookmark it for my next visit. Ps: your food pics are making me hungry! haha

  8. I am a foodieeeee! Yay to this! I always wanted to go Hawaiii and this is perfecttttt! I have to pin this down for future reference !

  9. My gawd girl, this post is making me hungry! My favourite meal of the day is always breakfast, and that shot you have in the pan is right up my street! I’ve ever visited Hawaii, although I think when I eventually do visit, I will come back unable to fit into any of my clothes. A delicious post!

  10. Food glorious food! I love brunch and think it’s awesome that an iron chef has a place on this list! Also glad you included some dessert. My fave!

  11. We are heading to Oahu and Kauai next year, so this list is most helpful. I am for sure putting Opal Thai on our list. Chef Opel sounds so warm, and I really like the idea of having a family-style meal planned for us by the chef. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. Heck yes! Look at all that delicious food! I’m totally in love with that food truck. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, not just for the beautiful landscape, but to try all the food.

  13. I am not much into seafood but all the other options are great! I am definitely saving this post for the time I go there! I can’t wait to taste everything! ?

  14. Alright that’s it – I’m looking for flights to Hawaii so I can eat my way around Oahu. LOL everything you’ve written about sounds incredible!

  15. A great listing by category, something that many don’t do. Love me some Greek Food, I would also like to visit Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery. I hope I am able to explore Hawai soon.

  16. This post has made me hungry just looking at the delicious food photos. Those cake bombs, well look the bomb! I can’t resist a good cake 🙂

  17. Everything looks so delicious. And healthy too. And I love that you have included food trucks also. This has made me hungry and want to come right away to Hawaii. Going through your other Hawaii food posts right away 🙂

  18. How’s the hawaiian food like? I haven’t been yet and I am very curious. Sad to hear that it is hard to find local food around though, glad there is at least one option on the list!

    1. Hi Daiana! Thanks for asking! To start, we need to differentiate between Hawaiian food and local food. Hawaiian food consists of the dishes that Native Hawaiians ate, like kalua pig and lau lau. Local food is a term that encapsulates dishes that are really only found in Hawaii, thanks to the hodgepodge of different cultures here. Think poke, spam musubis, malasadas, and manapuas. It can be very hard to differentiate if you’re not familiar with the cuisine, so here are a couple more resources for you.

      8 Best Hawaiian Restaurants in Hawaii: If you’re looking for authentic Hawaiian dishes (not local dishes), head to these places. This post also has a more in-depth dive on Hawaiian food vs local food if you’d like to learn more.
      A Hawaii Food Bucket List: If some (or all) of the foods I listed above sound unfamiliar, this Hawaii food bucket list should help! It also features many local foods or foods that you can only find in the Hawaiian Islands.
      24 Best Hawaii Snacks You Have to Try: Looking for local Hawaii foods to eat on the go? This Hawaii snacks list will come in handy!

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