Are you looking for the best Oahu restaurants? This guide from a Hawaii local has everything you need to know!
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!
Best Oahu Restaurants: Breakfast or Brunch
Koko Head Café
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 (just outside of the Honolulu/ Waikiki area) 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.
Address: 1145 12th Ave. C, Honolulu, HI 96816
Best Oahu Restaurants: Seafood
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.
Address: Nico’s has two locations, one in Honolulu and one in Kailua.
Best Oahu Restaurants: Asian
There are literally hundreds of Asian restaurants on Oahu, so picking one is going to spark a lot of debate. Nevertheless, my pick for the best Asian restaurant on Oahu is Opal Thai.
First of all, 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
Best Oahu Restaurants: European/Mediterranean
I’ll admit it. Hawaii is pretty lacking on stunning European food overall, but the Greek Marina has become one of my favorites. 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 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 – if you don’t know what either of these are, refer to this post, as Greek and Egyptian food overlap quite a bit) are also worth a taste.
Address: Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy. e126, Honolulu, HI 96825
Best Oahu Restaurants: Modern American Fusion
I know, this is a weird category. But Monkeypod Kitchen had to be on this list, so I had to make a spot for it. As I mentioned in the Ultimate Guide to Ko Olina and the Ko Olina restaurants article, Monkeypod is one of my favorite Oahu restaurants.
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.
*Note: If you choose to visit Monkeypod Kitchen outside of happy hour times, the price can be a bit expensive.
Address: 92-1048 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707
Best Oahu Restaurants: Food Truck
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck has made a name for itself, serving up the island’s most delicious garlic shrimp from its two trucks on the North Shore (the original one in Kahuku, and the other in Haleiwa). 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.)
Address: Giovanni’s has two shrimp trucks, one in Haleiwa and one in Kahuku.
Best Oahu Restaurants: Formal
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. Please note that this Oahu restaurant also comes with a pretty price tag).
Tip: If the chocolate soufflé is available at the location you choose to visit, get it.
Address: There are a few Roy’s locations across Oahu, including in Ko Olina, Hawaii Kai, and Waikiki. There are also several locations on the other islands and in the continental United States.
Best Oahu Restaurants: Farm-to-Table
Kahuku Farms has popped up in a handful of my posts, including the Ultimate Guide to the North Shore and the best North Shore restaurants, particularly for its acai bowl.
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. Oh, 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.
Address: 56-800 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731
Best Oahu Restaurants: Dessert
Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery
I’ve also written about Pipeline Bake Shop & Creamery on many occasions now, most prominently in my “Where to Get the Best Malasadas on Oahu” post. While whether or not they have the best malasada on the island (in comparison to Leonard’s Bakery) is still up for debate, Pipeline has an assortment of delicious desserts in addition to the malasadas.
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.
Address: 3632 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Bonus Oahu Restaurant Recommendations
Kona Coffee Purveyors
The Pig & The Lady (and it’s spin off, Piggy Smalls)
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Waiahole Poi Factory
Tane Vegan Izakaya
If you’re still looking for Hawaii foodie inspiration, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the Hawaii Food Bucket List!
What is your favorite place to eat on Oahu? Are there any other Oahu restaurants do you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments! (I promise I’ll respond!)
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82 Replies to “The Best Oahu Restaurants”
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!
Yeah Hawaii’s cuisines are super diverse! You just have to know where to look :).
How yummy! I visited Roy’s when in Oahu but none of the others. I guess that’s just a reason to return (like I really needed one)!
Haha yes!! It’s definitely worth another visit!
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!
Yes!! Giovanni’s is definitely a favorite :).
You are making me so hungry! I’ll definitely have to add these restaurants to my list in Oahu.
Haha yay! Glad I could add some inspiration!
Making me hungry lol! The beaches have always drawn me to Hawaii but now I think it might be the food too ? I hope to visit soon
Our beaches are great, but we also have amazing food (and hikes too!) 🙂
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).
LOL SAME! The POG and the lemon were my two favorites :).
I didn’t realise Hawaii had such a food scene and now I’m hungry! Everything looks delicious.
Haha guess its time to plan a trip over!
I skipped straight to the desserts section—yum! Oahu has a lot to offer! Have you done the farm tour? Sounds like fun!
I actually haven’t! It’s quite expensive (even with the local discount), but maybe one day.
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.
Haha yes! Glad I could give you some foodie inspiration :).
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!
No way!! You definitely have to spend MULTIPLE nights on Oahu! There’s just so much to see (and eat too lol).
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.
Ah yes!! Oahu is such an amazing place to live!
Such a great list! I really want to check out Kahuku Farms!
Kahuku Farms is so good!!
I’m so hungry looking at this post. It looks delicious.
Haha they all are!!
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
haha yay! Now you can enjoy all these fun foodie experiences the next time you come to Oahu :).
I shouldn’t read this when I am hungry! So many delicious dishes. I love bakery food too! The “cake bombs” sound amazing. Yum!
Lol Pipeline Bakeshop is definitely one of my faves!
The food looks soo yummy. I am a huge fun of sea food, so i ever go to Hawai, Nico’s would be my first restaurant to eat at.
Definitely a great pick :).
Hawaii is an underrated foodie haven! I’d love to try those sweets!
It really is!
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 !
haha glad you enjoyed the read!
Can’t wait to experience some of these places someday! Kahuku Farms will be the first on my list!
Lol that seems to be a common theme actually!
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!
LOL it’s okay you can work it off with some easy hikes! We have some awesome ones on Oahu :).
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!
Right?! I was so excited to go to her restaurant and it did not disappoint!
I haven’t been to Hawaii yet, but this food looks like another great reason to visit!
So so true! One day you’ll make it over :).
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.
Aw yay! That’ll be such a fun trip :).
I miss those garlic shrimps!
haha me too!
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.
Definitely a great reason to visit!
Yum! So much good looking food! Especially those tasty looking desserts!
Glad you enjoyed the post!
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! ?
Haha yay! I’m glad you were able to find some places you liked!
It would be so interesting to eat Greek gyros in Hawai! Great list, I am going to eat now
Lol I hope your meal is tasty!
Ob my good! Yummy! Definitely going to try these places!
These places all look and sound soo amazing! Your writing is beautiful. We have never been to Hawaii, but would love to visit someday, thanks for sharing.
Thank you so so much! I hope you get to visit soon!
What a great list of restaurants! Will definitely try Kahuku Farms, if I ever find myself in Hawaii 😉 Thanks for sharing!
Wow Kahuku Farms seems to be a crowd favorite!
Not gonna lie, I read the desserts recommendations first ? I would love to try Malasadas! It sounds very yummy ?
Haha I’d do the same! Malasadas are so good!
OMG yum. I seriously really need to get to Hawaii one day. I heard the food is so amazing!
Especially if you know where to look 😉
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!
LOL YES! Make that Hawaii trip happen!
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.
Thanks so much!
All these look amazing! I never thought Hawaiian food will be so varied and tasty. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the read!
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 🙂
Haha me neither!
Yum! Everything looks delicious and those cake bombs look insanely good! I am now very hungry 😉
Haha looks like it’s time to plan a trip to Oahu!
It all looks so delicious!! Now I will definitely have to come back!!
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 🙂
Haha yay! Glad I could give you some food inspiration!
I am definitely adding these restaurants to my list??This blog’s definitely made me hungry now.Thank you for sharing the info??
haha I realize my posts tend to do that to people lol.