A Taste of Oahu: Discovering the Best Restaurants
There are lots of “best restaurants in Oahu” lists and blogs out there, but we wanted to throw our hat in the ring too. Some of these restaurants are in or close to Waikiki, and some are off the “tourist track”. Inevitably, there are going to be those who think these picks aren’t “foodie” enough or there’s better options elsewhere in Oahu. That’s fine, because favorite restaurants are very personal.
The taste of a favorite dish, or interior of a restaurant can bring back memories of a different time and season of life. It’s one of the things that makes dining out so enjoyable. Perhaps those emotions affected what we chose as the best restaurants in Oahu. So take this list for what it is, a collection of restaurants we think are the best, and even if they’re not the best, they’re still darn good.
Best Restaurants in Oahu: Waikiki & Surrounding Neighborhoods
The Hau Tree
This restaurant is situated along the shores of Waikiki, in the Kaimana Hotel. This restaurant recently underwent a facelift, replacing the baby pink tablecloths and white wrought iron furniture with a trendier aesthetic. We recommend reservations, and be sure to request a table under the hau tree! Although the sunset is stunning, they make a mean brunch too.
The Chart House
This restaurant across the street from the Ala Wai Boat Harbor is a Waikiki institution. Everything about the Chart House is classic; from the decor, to the food to the service. Top notch seafood and steaks are the name of the game. If you’re there on a Friday evening, reserve a table on the balcony so you can watch the fireworks.
Diamond Head Market & Grill
Across the street from Kapiolani Park, this takeout restaurant features healthier plate lunches options. They have some outdoor tables, but we recommend taking it to go and having a picnic in the park. The attached market offers delicious desserts and deli foods by the pound. Try the mixed plate and be sure to pick up a pack of butter mochi too.
Hy’s Steak House
Indulge yourself with fine dining at Hy’s Steak House. If you’re in the mood for a steak in a stunning atmosphere – look no further. Although conveniently located on Kuhio Avenue in the heart of Waikiki, they also offer black car service. Dress code is required.
Although not technically in Waikiki, Bogart’s is close enough. Perfect spot to grab breakfast or lunch after hiking Diamond Head. Restaurant is cash only, but there is an ATM in the same strip mall. Breakfast bagels are out of this world, along with everything else on their menu.
The original Roy’s restaurant is in Hawaii Kai, but we love the Waikiki location the most. Choose between dining indoors, or on the wraparound patio. The macadamia-crusted local catch with lobster sauce and Roy’s Hawaiian martini are our favorites.
The atmosphere is what makes Duke’s Waikiki so special! Located in the epicenter of Waikiki Beach, come here to refuel after a long day enjoying the beach. Order off the menu, or enjoy their breakfast or lunch buffet. Sundays feature the live music of Henry Kapono. This restaurant is heavily featured in our Waikiki All-Inclusive Packages.
Transport yourself to another world at Michel’s in the Colony Surf. This restaurant does things old-school, in the very best way. Exquisite service coupled with delicious food makes this a place to remember. Next door to the Outrigger Yacht Club, you’ll have a hard time deciding what to look at: the gorgeous interior or the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean.
Waiola Shave Ice
Shave ice is synonymous with Oahu’s North Shore, but the iconic spot is Waiola’s. Tucked away in the residential neighborhood of Mo’ili’ili, it’s worth the short Uber. A family-owned business since 1970, you’ll truly be supporting local!
Serving local-style plate lunches since 1961, the original location is on Kapahulu Avenue. Wear your stretchy pants and order the loco moco plate.
Koko Head Cafe
This charming brunch spot is the brainchild of Top Chef contestant, Lee Anne Wong. A fixture in the neighborhood of Kaimuki since 2014, Koko Head Cafe recently relocated to larger digs. Playful entrees include Cornflake French Toast and Chicky & Eggs. The Dumplings of the Day Wong will sell out, so get there early.
La Mariana Sailing Club
This legendary restaurant is the last of the classic tiki bars in Hawaii. Hidden away in an industrial area of Honolulu, this joint has been a filming location for Hawaii 5-O and Magnum P.I. Don’t miss a chance to relive “old Hawaii”.
Nico’s Pier 38
Get your fresh seafood fix at Nico’s. Fish so fresh it’s straight from the seafood auction across the street!
Delicious Korean food served 7 days a week at this Honolulu favorite. Recently relocated to the Pagoda Hotel, favorites include kalbi and spicy crab stew.
Best Restaurants in Oahu: The Rest of the Island
Morio’s Sushi Bistro
Intimate space providing a sushi experience unlike any other. Let Chef Morio create a menu just for you, and prepare to be wowed! Reservations required.
The Alley Restaurant at Aiea Bowl
Unassuming yet award-winning restaurant located inside Aiea Bowl. The Alley creatively adds Asian flair to classic foods.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Although Ono’s on Kapahulu was a personal favorite, Helena’s is the real deal. Authentic, homemade Hawaiian food, in downtown Honolulu.
On Oahu’s north shore, in the sleepy town of Kahuku you’ll find some of the best poke you’ll ever eat. Stop at the humble Kahuku Superette and you’ll be in poke heaven!
Waimalu Chop Suey
Waimalu Chop Suey is the last original tenant at Waimalu Shopping Center in Aiea. Classic Chinese food is a winner and the enormous gau gee are legendary.
Iconic restaurant and bakery serving local favorites and is on most best restaurants in Oahu lists. The original is located in central Honolulu, however there are satellite locations at Ala Moana Shopping Center and the International Marketplace.
If you’re in Haleiwa, stop by the Waialua Bakery for ono and healthy sandwiches, salads, smoothies, bowls and baked items.
Located on Oahu’s lovely north shore, Kahuku Farms spans four generations. Their onsite cafe offers farm to table options, and you can also tour the operation while you’re there.
Family restaurant near Pearlridge churning out handmade pastas daily. Still some of the best pomodoro and garlic knots I’ve ever had…anywhere.