Are you trying to decide where to eat in Oahu? Then you’ve come to the right place! This article will cover the best food in Oahu and where to get it, including traditional Hawaiian cuisine, poke, shave ice, and more.
Whether you’re ready for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or even a sweet treat, Oahu has fantastic restaurants and local joints for every type of foodie. Plus, we’ve included a map at the end so you can try to hit up as many of these spots as you can. Here are the 30 best places to eat on Oahu–all of which you should add to your bucket list!
Table of Contents
Best breakfast in Oahu
ARVO may mean “afternoon” in Australian slang, but this trendy plant-filled café is at the top of our breakfast list. It’s open from 8 AM to 2 PM and can get pretty busy, especially on the weekends. If you’d like to avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting earlier in the morning or between 1-2 PM.
Favorite items off the menu include Nutella toast, smoked salmon toast, loaded avocado toast, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and the charcoal latte. You can find ARVO within SALT At Our Kaka’ako, one of Honolulu’s most adorable shopping centers. If this café isn’t your vibe, check out the nearby Highway Inn Kaka’ako.
Address: 324 Coral St Suite 1A-104b, Honolulu, HI 96813
Surf Lanai at Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Yes, breakfast at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is more of a touristy than local experience; however, we think it’s essential to include a combination of both! Plus, how much more adorable can you get than pink pancakes?
If you’re staying on Waikiki Beach and looking to splurge on a fancier breakfast by the beach, don’t miss Surf Lanai. This Oahu restaurant opens every morning from 6:30-10:30 AM and is fun to visit at least once while on the island.
The Surf Lanai menu features the pink palace pancake, eggs of any style, short rib eggs benedict, avocado tomato benedict, and more. You can check out the full menu on their website here.
Address: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe is located on the second floor of the Beachcomber Waikiki Hotel and serves specialty waffles, açai bowls, paninis, and more. While the Waikiki area can sometimes feel “commercial,” this quaint café will make you feel like you’ve discovered a more intimate breakfast spot.
Note that Hawaiian Aroma Caffe isn’t just a great place to start your day–it’s a beautiful spot to end your day too! They’re open until 10 PM and even serve specialty Okole Maluna cocktails. Our favorite was the “Lost in Waikiki” drink, which looks like the adult version of a Capri Sun.
Address: Beachcomber Waikiki Hotel, 2300 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Honolulu Coffee is the place to go if you’re looking for a local version of a grab-n-go coffee shop! Multiple locations are sprinkled throughout Honolulu, including inside the Ala Moana Center, the Sheraton Waikiki, Moana Surfrider, and the Prince Waikiki.
While this café is expensive, it was some of the best Kona coffee we had on Oahu. In particular, if you’re a fan of flavored coffee, you’ll love the Hawaiian Latte! This yummy brew features coconut and macadamia nut syrup. If you want to save some time by skipping the line, you can order online here.
Koko Head Cafe
Celebrity chef Lee Anne Wong (a New York native) creates a one-of-a-kind Asian fusion brunch at Koko Head Cafe. It’s one of the best places to eat in Honolulu, so be prepared to wait–if you’re looking for a quick breakfast, this is probably not the place for you!
Even though the wait and the parking situation can be off-putting, Koko Head Cafe is famous for its flavor-packed Asian fusion cuisine. Guest favorites from the menu include the Koko Moko, the Chicky & Eggs, the Breakfast Bimbimpap, and the Don Buri Chen pork belly bowl.
Address: 1120 12th Ave #100, Honolulu, HI 96816
Sunrise Shack has five locations on Oahu: Sunset Beach, Shark’s Cove, the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Kailua, and the Ala Moana Center (coming soon). If you make your way to the North Shore during your time on Oahu, the best location is the original shack across from Sunset Beach. Enjoy bullet coffee, flavorful smoothie bowls, juices, and other snacks, and then spend some time in the sand!
The smoothie bowls are super colorful and instagrammable–our favorite is the Tropical Bowl, followed by the Jungle Matcha Bowl. Are you having trouble deciding what to get? You can check out the full menu here. Sunrise Shack also has adorable merchandise if you’re looking for the perfect souvenir!
The Beet Box Cafe
The Beet Box Cafe is a vegetarian/vegan cafe that serves breakfast all day and lunch (beginning at 11 am). Its two locations–in Haleiwa and Kailua–are open every day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you’re craving breakfast food, the beet box burrito, the breakfast sandwich, and the avocado toast are all popular choices.
If you decide to go for lunch, the Thai tacos are excellent! Or, you can always opt for a tasty açai bowl. Click here to view the full menu. We highly recommend The Beet Box Cafe if you’re looking for a great vegetarian/vegan option on Oahu.
Haleiwa Bowls is located in an adorable shack along Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa Town, on the North Shore. More importantly, it’s home to the best açai bowls in Oahu. Haleiwa Bowls offers various bowls, smoothies, coffee, and tea and is one of the most affordable breakfast spots on this list.
For example, a small açai bowl runs from $8-11, and a large size costs $11-14. Plus, you can add on your favorite toppings, including different fruit and bee pollen, hemp seeds, almond butter, coconut, honey, and more.
If possible, we recommend dropping by Haleiwa Bowls during the week since this spot can get busy on the weekends. A small parking lot is directly behind the shack to make things easy!
Address: 66-030 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
If you plan to spend time on Oahu’s Windward Coast (the east side of the island), you won’t want to miss Over Easy in Kailua. Breakfast is served all day at this sunny spot, and lunch is available after 11 AM. Especially for brunch, guests rave about the Fried Egg Sandwich (served on house-baked sourdough) and the Kalua Pig Hash dishes.
Note that this restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and does not take reservations. However, you can put your party on the call ahead list if you’re within 30 minutes of arriving at Over Easy.
Address: 418 Kuulei Rd #103, Kailua, HI 96734
Best lunch in Oahu
Are you looking for fresh and affordable poke in Waikiki? You’ll find this local establishment just two blocks from all the sun and fun of Waikiki Beach and near all the big hotels. Although there’s usually a wait, the line tends to move quickly. Maguro Spot opens at 10 AM and closes at 8:30 PM.
In our opinion, Maguro Spot has the best poke in Honolulu and is one of the best places to eat in Waikiki. Plus, we love that you can customize your poke bowl here. For example, you can pick a menu option OR choose tuna, salmon, marlin, or shrimp and select your rice, toppings, and sauces.
Address: 2441 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
Surprisingly, you can find some of the best poke on Oahu at the Foodland supermarket chain. Smaller stores will only have pre-made poke for you to choose from, like spicy ahi poke and shoyu ahi poke. Meanwhile, the supermarkets offer both pre-mixed and make-your-own poke options.
Musubi Cafe IYASUME
If you went to Hawaii without trying spam musubi, did you really even go to Hawaii? We know spam on a bed of rice might not seem appealing, but we promise you, it’s delicious. Whether it’s your first time trying musubi or not, Musubi Cafe IYASUME is a great place to pick up these delicious snacks.
This restaurant serves an incredible variety of musubi, like Avocado Bacon Egg Spam Musubi, Eel Egg Spam Musubi, Takuan Pickles Spam Musubi, and even Plum Cucumber Spam Musubi. Plus, it has seven different locations centering around the Waikiki area.
Many locals claim that Ono Seafood is one of the best restaurants in Oahu for poke, but we guess you’ll have to visit to decide for yourself! Since Ono is one of the top places for premium poke bowls in the area, you can expect a line. Since there are only a few benches at the restaurant, we actually recommend taking your meal to go.
If you aren’t sure what you should get, you can always ask for suggestions based on the flavors you like. For example, if you want spicy flavors, ahi tuna, octopus, etc.
Note that each poke bowl comes with a drink, so the price is excellent! The only downside is that parking can be difficult. There are only a few parking spots for the restaurant, and they’re all directly outside an apartment building. With this in mind, you may want to walk if possible.
Address: 747 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Rainbow Drive-In is best known as a great spot for Hawaiian comfort food! While there are five locations on Oahu, you’ll most likely visit the Kapahulu venue (the original) if you’re staying in Waikiki. Each plate lunch comes with two scoops of rice (you can substitute for fries) and one scoop of mac salad (may be substituted for coleslaw).
If you’re having trouble deciding which to choose, we recommend trying the Loco Moco! This contemporary Hawaiian dish features two hamburger patties served on a bed of rice, topped with special gravy, and two eggs cooked the way you like.
Diamond Head Market & Grill
Diamond Head Market & Grill is the perfect place to stop for an affordable Hawaiian plate lunch after hiking the nearby Diamond Head Crater Hike. All plates come with white or brown rice and a tossed salad, and prices run from about $11-15. The Loco Moco, Teriyaki Chicken, and the Kalbi Short Ribs are particular guest favorites.
Besides plate lunches, Diamond Head Market & Grill is famous for its signature scones–especially its blueberry cream cheese scone. You can check out the market’s scone schedule on their website to see what they offer the day you visit.
Address: 3158 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is an institution on the island’s North Shore. In fact, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that it’s one of the best Oahu restaurants in this coastal area.
As you can guess from the name, Giovanni’s serves a selection of jumbo shrimp plates accompanied by two fluffy scoops of rice. The most popular menu item is the Shrimp Scampi, which features 12 jumbo shrimp marinated in olive oil, garlic, and lemon butter.
Due to this food truck’s reputation, you can generally expect a line. We visited on a Tuesday afternoon and waited about 30 minutes to order and 15 minutes for our food to be ready, so it wasn’t bad.
However, if you’d like to do your best to skip the crowds, you may want to drop by right when Giovanni’s opens at 10:30 AM. Pro tip: grab plenty of napkins once your food is ready because the garlic shrimp can be messy to eat!
Address: 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Waiahole Poi Factory
Located on the Windward side of the island in Kaneohe, Waiahole Poi Factory is the best place to eat on Oahu if you want to try authentic local Hawaiian food. As with most popular restaurants on the island, the line can get very long.
Nonetheless, we promise that Waiahole Poi Factory is worth the wait! Guest favorites include the Squid Lu’au, Kalua Pig, Laulau, and the Haupia (which comes with combo plates).
Another of Waiahole Poi Factory’s biggest draws is the Sweet Lady of Waiahole dessert. This sweet treat combines warm kulolo and haupia ice cream, creating one of the best desserts in Oahu.
Address: 48-140 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Fresh Catch offers fresh fish, poke, plate lunches, and platters prepared “island style.” There are three locations on Oahu: Kapahulu, Kaneohe, and Pearl City. We recommend ordering 1/2 a pound of a few different pokes and sharing with a friend or partner. In our opinion, Fresh Catch serves the best poke on Oahu.
Our favorite is the Shoyu Salmon Poke, although the Spicy Ahi Poke and Ahi Limu Poke were also contenders. If you’d prefer a plate lunch, definitely try the Ahi Katsu Spicy!
All delicious food is served in a styrofoam container, and albeit Fresh Catch may not have the best presentation, we don’t think it’s necessary when their fish is this good.
Best dinner in Oahu
Mai Tai Bar
If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Waikiki, you’ll want to spend at least one evening at Mai Tai Bar. This beachfront spot is a great place to have dinner and drinks while watching the sunset. As you may have guessed by the name, this restaurant is famous for its Mai Tai!
Yes, it’s a bit pricey; however, the atmosphere is lovely, and the staff is super friendly. Plus, there’s live music every evening from 6-9 PM. Note that Mai Tai Bar does make their Mai Tais strong, so you’ll probably only need one. Regarding food, we recommend trying the Ahi Poke Bowl and the Truffle Fries.
Address: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
In our opinion, Marugame Udon is one of the best restaurants on Oahu. This casual spot specializes in making Udon, a type of Japanese noodle soup. It’s affordable, tasty, and the best Udon we’ve ever had.
As you can imagine, Marugame Udon is crowded throughout the day due to its popularity. So, you’ll most likely have to wait about 30 minutes to an hour before you’re seated in the dining room.
Bestselling items off the menu include the Nikutama Udon, which features sweet-flavored beef, a hot spring egg, and kake sauce, and the Curry Nikutama Udon (spicy), served in savory beef curry broth. They also serve a delicious Teriyaki Chicken Bowl if you don’t want udon.
Address: 2310 Kuhio Ave. #124, Honolulu, HI 96815
Sushi Sho tops the list of the best restaurants in Honolulu, located in the Ritz Carlton. This Japanese restaurant is helmed by renowned chef Keiji Nakazawa, who offers an Omakase-style dinner featuring seasonal pairings of fresh fish and seasoned rice.
This restaurant has just sixteen seats, which allows Nakazawa to provide an intimate fine dining experience for his guests. The price point begins at $300, so, you may want to save this spot for a special occasion or celebration. You’ll also need to make reservations far in advance to grab a coveted seat at the counter.
Address: 383 Kalaimoku St, Honolulu, HI 96815
Mud Hen Water
Mud Hen Water offers traditional Hawaiian food with a twist! If you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s much more apparent than you might think. Mud Hen Water is actually the loose translation of Wai’alae, the street in Honolulu where the restaurant is located.
For dinner, order the beet poké, the chicken long rice croquettes, and the fried chicken. The miso-butterscotch rice pudding is to die for if you have room for dessert. Mud Hen Water is also well-known for its creative cocktails! Note that this Oahu restaurant features both indoor and outdoor seating.
Address: 3452 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Haleiwa Joe’s – Haiku Gardens
Haleiwa Joe’s at Haiku Gardens is by far one of the best restaurants in Oahu with a view. Note that it actually has two locations, one in Kaneohe and one in Haleiwa. Still, we highly recommend checking out the former because a stunning botanical garden surrounds it.
Haleiwa Joe’s does not currently take call ahead or online reservations, so I recommend arriving at 4 PM to get in line. The restaurant opens nightly for dinner from 4:30-9 PM. You’ll first have to wait in line to put your party down on the list, and then you’ll have to wait for a call when your table is ready.
The good news is that you can explore the gardens and take photos while you wait! Just make sure to pack bug spray. Regarding what to order, guests consistently rate the prime rib and the steamed Mahi Mahi highly.
Address: 46-336 Haiku Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Helena’s Hawaiian Food is a highly frequented spot for locals and tourists to chow down on local Hawaiian cuisine. It even won a James Beard award in 2000, making it one of the best places to eat in Oahu.
It’s important to note that this restaurant is only open from 10 AM-7:30 PM on Tuesday through Friday, so you won’t be able to visit on the weekends. However, we suggest dropping by at least once during the week to sample local favorites, like Kalua Pig, Lomi Salmon, Laulau, Luau Squid, Poi, and Haupia.
Click this link to view the full menu. Note that 11 AM-1 PM and 5-6 PM are the busiest times of the day to visit Helena’s. We recommend visiting around 3 or 7 PM to avoid the crowds.
Address: 1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Monkeypod Kitchen in Ko Olina is best known for its famous Happy hour! Every day from 3:30-5 PM, this lively restaurant offers discounts on appetizers, pizzas, draft beer, wine by the glass, and culinary cocktails.
The Monkeypod Mai Tai is the most popular cocktail, combining kula organic silver and dark rums, lime, house-made macadamia nut orgeat, Bols Orange Curacao, and honey-lilikoi foam.
We recommend ordering the Poke Tacos or Pumpkin Patch Ravioli as an appetizer and either the Kalua Pork & Pineapple or Hamakua Wild Mushroom & Truffle Oil pizza.
Address: 92-1048 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707
Best desserts in Oahu
Matsumoto Shave Ice
If you visit Hawaii, you have to give shave ice a try. This ice-based dessert is flavored with syrup, and you can choose to add ice cream, azuki beans, or condensed milk on top. Especially if it’s your first time trying shave ice (or shaved ice), we suggest stopping by Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa Town.
This family-owned shop opened in 1951 and has become a local institution on the North Shore over the past few decades. As with most popular spots in Oahu, you can expect to wait in a long line.
However, Matsumoto’s has shave ice-making down to a science, so the queue tends to move quickly! This shave ice shop features all sorts of tropical flavors, like guava, lilikoi, papaya, lychee, mango, coconut, and more.
Address: 66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Waiola Shave Ice
Waiola Shave Ice is many Honolulu locals’ favorite spot on the island for shave ice. Apart from the traditional flavors, such as pineapple, strawberry, and banana, this quaint spot offers Hawaiian-inspired flavors, like lilikoi (passion fruit), haupia (coconut cream), li hing mui (sweet and sour plum), and lychee.
Other popular guest orders include the Azuki Bowl with Mochi and the Obama Rainbow (cherry, lemon-lime, and passion fruit). Moreover, make sure you have cash before visiting because Waiola does charge extra to pay with a credit card.
Address: 2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Leonard’s Bakery opened in 1952 and quickly became a success, serving up some of the best food in Honolulu: Portuguese malasadas. If you aren’t familiar with these desserts, they’re kind of like donuts made without the hole in the middle. This bakery offers malasadas coated in sugar, cinnamon sugar, and li hing, as well as malasada puffs, which are filled with custard, chocolate, coconut, macadamia, or guava.
Due to Leonard’s popularity, you can expect a line that wraps around the street most days. If you don’t want to wait long, we suggest arriving early in the morning or during the late afternoon.
Address: 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Liliha Bakery serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it’s really known for its pastries, including Coco Puff, Poi Mochi Donuts, and Chantilly Cake. Luckily for you, there are five locations on the island. However, we recommend visiting the original on N. Kuakini St.!
Although there’s usually a line, you can expect it to move quickly. Once you reach the counter, you can’t go wrong because everything is delicious.
Honolulu Cookie Company
Honolulu Cookie Company is a visitor favorite thanks to its yummy macadamia nut shortbread cookies. If you’re looking for the perfect gift, these cookies make an excellent travel souvenir to bring home to family!
There are currently 10 locations on Oahu, and especially if you’re staying in Waikiki, you’ll probably be within a five-minute walk to one of their stores. Honolulu Cookie Company has 14 signature flavors as well as seasonal flavors.
Suppose you’re having a hard time choosing. In that case, some of the most popular flavors are chocolate-dipped macadamia, butter macadamia, dark triple chocolate macadamia, chocolate chip macadamia, and dark chocolate Kona coffee. Our favorite is the white chocolate coconut!
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