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4 Places to Get the Best Poke on Oahu, Hawaii

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

variety of eight different poke types from off the hook poke, one of the best poke places on Oahu, Hawaii, including spicy ahi poke, limu ahi poke, and shoyu ahi poke
Photo Courtesy of Off the Hook Poke Market

Over the past several months, there has been a poke (pronounced poh-kay) craze sweeping across the country.  Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish, typically made with ahi (not “ahi tuna”, friends – that just means “tuna tuna”), soy sauce (locals call it “shoyu”), seaweed, and other seasonings. 

Odds are, if you haven’t had poke in Hawaii, you’ve had some weird version of poke with avocado or hot Cheeto crumbs (yes, I’ve seen poke with both of these).  To help you out in your search for some authentic poke, here are four places to get the best poke on Oahu, Hawaii.

Best Poke on Oahu Paina Cafe

What Is Poke?

Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is a local dish from Hawaii that is typically made with cubed raw fish, soy sauce (shoyu), seaweed, and other seasoning. It’s a local staple, which is why it’s also on my Hawaii food bucket list.

Poke-Related Words to Know

There’s a lot of local lingo (also known as pidgin) that you’ll need to know when ordering poke. Below, I’ve included a little cheat sheet to help you out.

Seafood

Ahi: Tuna (“ahi tuna” is saying “tuna tuna”)

Aku: Skip jack tuna

Tako: Octopus

Seasoning

Shoyu: Soy sauce

Limu/Ogo: A type of purple seaweed

Furikake: A dried green seaweed mixture with sesame seeds

Inamona: Roasted kukui nut mix

Miso: A traditional Japanese fermented soybean seasoning

Wasabi: Spicy Japanese horseradish

Shiso Leaf: A type of citrus-flavored leaf

Ikura: Roe (red caviar)

Masago: Capelin roe

Taegu: Strips of seasoned codfish

close up of ahi poke with pickled onion, green onion, and limu from Off the Hook Poke Market, one of the best poke spots on Oahu
Photo Courtesy of Off the Hook Poke Market

Where Can I Get the Best Poke on Oahu?

Finding the best poke on Oahu can be tough, especially when you don’t know where to look. There are a lot of places that have popped up in the last few years that serve non-authentic poke in order to cater to visitors’ tastes.

For the most part, you’ll find the best poke at the hole-in-the-walls, like the many of the spots I’ve listed below.

*Note: Many of the places to get the best poke on Oahu, including Paina Café and Ahi Assassins, closed down (at least their brick-and-mortar locations in Hawaii) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully we’ll get to see them again in the future!

Tanioka’s

Tanioka’s is a local favorite for poke. As a matter of fact it’s widely regarded as one of the best restaurants on Oahu — if you’re trying to keep things casual, of course.

On top of the typical ahi-based poke bowls, they also have tako (octopus) poke, clam poke, and even tofu poke.  Be sure to check their hours before you head over, because they usually do close quite early.

*Pro Tip: To get more of your money’s worth, 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.

two bowls of poke on a wooden table, one ahi poke with limu, the other tako poke
Photo Courtesy of Off the Hook Poke Market

Off the Hook Poke Market

Situated in Honolulu’s Manoa neighborhood, Off the Hook Poke Market is popular with locals, college students, and visitors alike. It’s definitely one of the places to get the best poke in Honolulu and Waikiki.

While many Waikiki and Honolulu poke places choose to make recreations of the same beloved flavors, Off the Hook Poke Market opted to experiment with new poke combinations – and wildly succeeded.

The cold ginger ahi poke is their signature poke, complete with a house-made ginger scallion sauce. The Japan deluxe poke is bursting with ginger, miso, and shiso leaf flavors. And all spice lovers will want to try the Kilauea fire poke, made with chili miso, crushed pepper, and jalapeños.  

Address: 2908 E Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822

hand holding poke bowl with rice and two kinds of poke in front of Ono Seafood truck

Ono Seafood

Ono Seafood — sometimes also called Ono Poke — is a poke place known for its secret marinade, and all of their poke options are made with some variation of this marinade. Just make note that this Honolulu poke spot is a take-out place, so perhaps take it to a nearby beach. (Not Waikiki beach though – I’ve made it pretty clear that this is a tourist trap that I am not a fan of. Do a little exploring and find a different one!)

*Pro Tip: If you see Ono Poke’s food truck — maybe at the Kakaako Farmers’ Market — get a poke bowl from there! Ono Poke’s brick-and-mortar location is a little bit sketchy.

rows of poke at Foodland, including ahi shoyu poke and avocado ahi poke

Foodland

Quite a few people would argue with me for putting Foodland on this list, but Foodland poke is all about convenience, while still having authentic poke.  While every other recommendation on this list has three locations or less, Foodland has locations across the Hawaiian Islands – and they still serve some quality bowls for a reasonable price.

Because Foodland is actually a grocery store, the process doesn’t work in quite the way that you would expect.  Usually, they’ll have a poke section in the back of the store, where you’ll pick the size of your bowl.  There, you’ll get your poke bowl, but you’ll go to the register at the front of the store to pay.

BONUS: Paina Café – Hawaii Locations CLOSED (One Location Open in Las Vegas)

Located in Hawaii Kai (not far from Waikiki and downtown Honolulu), Paina Café is definitely one of my favorite places on Oahu to get poke.  Unlike many other places on this list, Paina Café is semi-customizable with their poke bowls. 

While the poke itself is already marinated, you can choose to add custom toppings to your bowl.  They have a ton of options, including natto (fermented beans), kim chee, and furikake (a Japanese dried seaweed mixture).  I am very much a fan of the tempura flakes as a topping for a little crunch.

Any other places that deserve to be on this list of the best poke on Oahu? Write about them in the comments!

Doing a little island hopping on your trip to Hawaii? Check out our list of the best Maui poke spots too!

Do you think this post gave you some good tips?  Pin it for later!

Best Poke on Oahu #poke #food #foodie #oahu #hawaii
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26 Comments

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I have a lot of Hawaii travel advice if you feel like snooping around :).

  1. So, never been to Hawaii ( but i will) and never had a Poke, i think it’s time to do both!
    Probably i’ll have to try to find it here in Europe at first, Hawaiian cuisine it’s becoming a trend lately, of course can’t be the same as the original but at least I can fill the gap!
    Anyway hope to see Hawaii as soon as possible!

    1. I heard Hawaiian cuisine is trending! I tried poke a couple times outside of Hawaii, and it wasn’t quite up to par. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to try it in the islands too!

  2. It looks like an interesting dish! Do they do it with other meat or just fish? I’m allergic to fish 🙁 but would be keen to try it! It looks tasty

    1. Aw man! It’s usually just fish, but I’ve seen it done with cooked shrimp and octopus before, if that works for ya.

  3. Pokes look delicious! I wish I could try some but I’m allergic to raw fish so it’s always a bit of a faff for me to order one.

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