Oahu Hawaiian Restaurants
Hawaiian Restaurants on Oahu are both scrumptious and plentiful...In fact, Oahu has the most choices of places to eat of all the islands.
Hawaii has long been known as "the melting pot", because there are so many different cultures here. In turn, local chefs have done some very creative things with their menus. When you add this local flair to such things as fresh seafood, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fruits, and vegetables, you get some incredible cuisine.
This unique taste of Hawaii has emerged with a name of its own--Hawaii Regional Cuisine. It includes such novelties as rack of lamb with macadamia nuts or fresh ahi (tuna) with spicy wasabi sauce.Enjoy the short video below about Hawaii Regional Cuisine...
Get ready for a truly mouth-watering experience... Here are my favorite Hawaiian Restaurants on Oahu.
Best Expensive Hawaiian Restaurants
Note--By expensive, I mean it will cost at least $20 per adult. This does not include drinks, appetizers, dessert, or taxes & tip.
Choosing just one Hawaiian restaurant as my favorite is very difficult...like I said, there are so many! But if I had to choose one...My favorite Oahu restaurant is the original Roy's. Click here for more information on Roy's...
Choosing just one favorite was tough...Here are some other great Hawaiian restaurants...
- 3660 On The Rise
Chef Russel Siu has some delicious items on his menu, but you have to try the "ahi-katsu" appetizer (photo by firstname.lastname@example.org). The restaurant is located in Kaimuki about a 10-minute drive from Waikiki. They are closed on Mondays and reservations are recommended. tel (808) 737-1177
- Alan Wong's Restaurant--This is another great Hawaiian restaurant, but it only seats 90 people. It is located on King Street about a 10-minute drive from Waikiki. It is easy to miss, so get directions. Reservations are recommended. tel (808) 949-2526
- Hiroshi Eurasian Tapas--
Chef Hiroshi Fukui was the chef at L'Uraku, another popular Hawaiian restaurant. Another part owner is D.K. Kodama, who owns the Sansei restaurants and Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar in Kapalua. Maui.
This is foodie haven indeed...Eurasian fusion menu with smaller portions. They encourage you to try 2 or 3 items per person...like family style restaurants. Pair this with their extensive wine list and you've got a great meal.
Speaking of wine...the other owner is master sommelier, Chuck Furuya. I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck when I worked at the Swiss Inn restaurant. Chuck is the only Master Sommelier in Hawaii and one of only a handful in the United States. What is a Master Sommelier? Let's just say he really knows his wines.
It is located in Restaurant Row, about a 10 minute drive from Waikiki. Reservations are recommended. Call (808) 533-HIRO.
Best Moderately Priced Hawaiian Restaurants
Note--Moderately priced means it will cost between $10-$20 per adult. This does not include drinks, appetizers, dessert, taxes & tip.
My favorite moderately priced Oahu restaurant is Duke's Canoe Club. You cannot beat the atmosphere at Duke's. It is right on the beach at Waikiki and there is always nightly live music. Click here for more information...
Here are some other great moderately priced Oahu restaurants:
- Chai's Island Bistro
This Oahu restaurant also has live music and great food. Go for lunch if you want to keep it under that $20/person mark...dinner will put you over $20/person. If you want the live music though, you will have to go for dinner.
Hapa, a very popular local music duo, performs on Thursdays and Fridays...that's when we've gone. They are located in the Aloha Tower Marketplace and reservations are recommended. tel (808) 585-0011
- Keo's--If you like Thai food, Keo's is the place to go. It has always been popular with locals and tourists alike. They have been around forever, so you know it's good. Their currys are awesome, and you'll get hooked on Thai iced tea. They are located right in Waikiki. tel (808) 951-9355
Best Cheap Hawaiian Restaurants
Want to know what the best cheap Hawaiian restaurants are? One of the best things about Oahu is the abundance of them. The trick is finding one with good food. Sure, there's a McDonald's on the corner, and a Jack In The Box down the street, but don't you want to try something different? Something you can't get at home?
Who doesn't appreciate good food at a reasonable price? There are tons of Oahu restaurants that serve delicious food at very cheap prices.
Note--By "cheap", I mean a meal and a drink should be under $10.
Many places serve what is known as a plate lunch. The plate lunch is an island staple consisting of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni or tossed salad, and your choice of an entree such as:
- Teriyaki chicken or beef
- Hamburger steak with brown gravy
- Chicken Katsu (battered and served with a sweet sauce similar to BBQ sauce)
- Roast Pork with brown gravy
- Breaded Chicken with brown gravy (pictured)
- Lemon chicken
- Mahi Mahi (fish)
- Beef stew
- Curry stew
Of course, if you can't choose just one entree, you can do what I do and get a "mixed plate".
Plate lunches range in price from $5-$8. Many places offer "mini" versions that make this "cheap food" even cheaper. These "minis" are more than enough for my wife.
My favorite cheap Oahu restaurant is I Love Country Cafe located next to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Click here for more information on I Love Country Cafe...
Here are some other cheap Oahu restaurants that serve great food:
- HK's Drive Inn--located on King St. across Star Market between Waikiki and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. tel (808) 941-4083
- En Fuego--located in the Kapolei Shopping Center on the leeward (west) side of Oahu. tel (808) 674-8805
- Rainbow Drive Inn--located in Kapahulu right next to Waikiki. tel (808) 737-0177
- Kakaako Kitchen
This is kind of a "gourmet" plate lunch place seeing as how chef Russel Siu from 3660 on the Rise opened it. It is located in Ward Centre next to Kua Aina Sandwich and across the street from Ala Moana Beach Park.
Click here for more information on Kakaako Kitchen...
- Jurrison's--located in Waikele right next to the Waikele Outlets. tel (808) 676-1171
A Hawaii restaurant that is the islands' answer to the 24 hour restaurant in your home town. There are 21 locations on Oahu and they are all open 24 hours, making it a great place for late-night munchies. Some of their locations offer both a sit-down style and counter style restaurant.
- Lunch Wagons
Another great place to get a plate lunch are the lunch wagons located throughout Oahu. They are like Hawaiian restaurants on wheels. This one is at Kewalo Basin right next to Ala Moana Beach Park.
- Boot's & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen--This Oahu restaurant is located in Kailua on the windward (east) side. It is a great place for breakfast. Their banana macadamia nut pancakes are to die for! Click here to read more...
- Ono Hawaiian Food--This Oahu restuarant serves traditional Hawaiian food...the same that they serve at luaus...but better! Hawaiian specialties include:
- Laulau--pork & fish wrapped in taro leaves (tastes like spinach) and cooked.
- Kalua pig--Shredded baked pork
- Lomi salmon--salmon with tomatoes and sweet Maui onions
- Pipikaula--marinated dried beef
- Haupia--coconut jello
They are located in Kapahulu right next to Waikiki. tel (808) 737-2275
- Kua Aina Sandwich
If you want a great burger, this is the place to go. They also serve different types of sandwiches such as mahimahi (fish), and they have great fries. My boys love going to Kua Aina...Can't you tell? Actually, this is the, "Dad, can you please stop taking pictures and let me eat" look...
Click here to read more about Kua Aina...
- Andy's Sandwiches & Smoothies--This little Hawaii restaurant on Oahu originally opened as a health-food store and then started serving food. Their sandwiches became so popular, that is what they are now known for. They are located across the Manoa Marketplace near the University of Hawaii. tel (808) 988-6161
Not Exactly Hawaiian Restaurants
Here are two side trips that will take you from "visitor realm" into "local realm"...and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.
- Leonard's Bakery
This is the home of the original malasada. Malasadas are Portuguese fried pastries coated with sugar...but they are much more than that.
To me, it's a comfort food that takes me back to when I was a little kid growing up in Hawaii without a worry in the world. Every local has some childhood memory of malasadas...eating them when they're still warm (the best way) with a ring of sugar around your mouth...or getting them at the local carnivals from the malasada trucks.
Take a trip to Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu and pick yourself up a dozen malasadas...try the original with sugar or the ones with filling (banana, chocolate, haupia,...need I say more?)...Now you officially have malasada memories.
Kapahulu is just mauka (toward the mountains) of Waikiki, about a 5 minute drive away.
- Matsumoto's Grocery Store
This icon in Haleiwa on Oahu's North Shore is famous for their shaved ice. What could be better on a sunny 80 degree day? Click here to read more...
Okay...writing this has made me extremely hungry! Hopefully, it has done the same for you, and you satisfy that appetite when you get to Oahu. Enjoy your culinary adventure in paradise!
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