Are you trying to decide where to eat in Oahu? Then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll 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 amazing 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!
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. You can find ARVO within SALT At Our Kaka’ako, one of Honolulu’s most adorable shopping centers. It’s open every day 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. Although a bit pricey, the atmosphere is enjoyable, instagrammable, and even dog-friendly! Service is quick, and the staff is welcoming. Make sure to snap a few photos of your aesthetically pleasing toast and coffee before diving in!
Surf Lanai at Royal Hawaiian hotel
Yes, breakfast at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is more of a touristy than local experience; however, I think it’s important 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 you’re on the island.
The Surf Lanai menu features the pink palace pancake, eggs of any style, short rib benedict, avocado tomato benedict, and more. You can check out the full menu on their website here. As previously mentioned, this hotel restaurant is convenient, although high-priced option in Waikiki. Nonetheless, if instagrammable pink pancakes aren’t your thing, we have lots of other breakfast joints on this list, so keep reading!
Island Vintage Coffee
Island Vintage Coffee is an extremely popular breakfast spot on Oahu, so be prepared to wait in line! Depending on the time of day, it can take over an hour to order. However, the delicious food and Kona coffee make this restaurant worth the wait! Although the name makes it sound like a run-of-the-mill coffee shop, Island Vintage is so much more than that. In fact, you can order a variety of food here, including breakfast sandwiches, açai bowls, toast, and more.
There are four locations for Island Vintage Coffee throughout Oahu: the Royal Hawaiian Center, Ala Moana Center, Ko Olina Station, and Haleiwa Store Lots. If you’re spending any time in Waikiki, you’ll most likely come across the Royal Hawaiian Center store, situated on the second floor and above the Royal Grove. Plus, you can also find Island Vintage Shave Ice in a kiosk across from the Royal Grove!
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe is located on the second floor of the Beachcomber Waikiki Hotel and serves up specialty waffles, açai bowls, paninis, and more. You can even enjoy your breakfast outside with a view of the hotel’s pool! 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 wonderful spot to end your day too! They’re open until 10 PM and even serve specialty Okole Maluna cocktails. My favorite was the “Lost in Waikiki” drink, which looks like the adult version of a Capri Sun.
If you’re looking for a local version of a grab-n-go coffee shop, Honolulu Coffee is the place to go! There are multiple locations sprinkled throughout Honolulu, including inside the Ala Moana Center, the Sheraton Waikiki, Moana Surfrider, and the Prince Waikiki. At Honolulu Coffee, you’ll experience some of the island’s best Kona coffee as well as fresh pastries and breakfast sandwiches.
While this café is overall on the expensive side, it was some of the best coffee I had on Oahu. In particular, if you’re a fan of flavored coffee, make sure to try 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 creates a one-of-a-kind Asian fusion brunch at Koko Head Cafe. This place is one of the most distinct brunch options on the island, so be prepared to wait–if you’re looking for a quick breakfast, this is probably not the place for you! However, you can try to get a reservation via OpenTable to cut down your wait time. Furthermore, you can order take-out if you’d like a slightly faster option; nonetheless, take-out orders at Koko Head Cafe are by walk-in only.
Even though the wait and the parking situation can be off-putting, Koko Head Cafe is popular due to its flavor-packed Asian fusion cuisine. Guest favorites from the menu include the Koko Moko, the Chicky & Eggs, the Breakfast Bimbimpap, and the dumplings of the day.
Sunrise Shack has three locations on Oahu: Sunset Beach, Shark’s Cove, and inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. 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–my favorite is the Tropical Bowl, followed by the Jungle Matcha Bowl. 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!
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 as well as bee pollen, hemp seeds, almond butter, coconut, honey, and more.
If possible, I recommend dropping by Haleiwa Bowls during the week since this spot can get really busy on the weekends. There is a small parking lot directly behind the shack to make things easy!
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 cheery spot, and lunch is available after 11 AM. Especially for brunch, guests rave about the Kalua Pig Hash and the Fried Egg Sandwich. Note that this restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and it 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.
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 normally a wait, the line tends to move quickly. Maguro Spot opens at 10 AM and closes at 8:30 PM. Nonetheless, I recommend stopping by for lunch rather than dinner as the poke is fresh each day, and sometimes they run out of certain options by the evening. Specifically, tuna and salmon tend to be the first to go!
In my opinion, Maguro Spot has the best poke in Honolulu and is one of the best places to eat in Waikiki. Plus, I liked that you can customize your poke bowl here. For example, you can either pick a menu option OR choose tuna, salmon, marlin, or shrimp and select your rice, toppings, and sauces.
Yes, Foodland is a grocery store! Surprisingly, some of the best poke on Oahu can be found at the Foodland supermarket chain. I visited the Foodland Farms at Ala Moana Center, and a Foodland in Haleiwa, and both were great experiences. However, you’ll find tons of Foodland stores scattered throughout the island. 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. Overall, Foodland provides the most affordable poke on the island based on the portion size that you receive.
The poke selection at Foodland Farms at Ala Moana Center was the biggest I saw on the whole island. Plus, parking is straightforward here; so, I definitely recommend checking out this location. It would also be a convenient spot to pick up a to-go meal!
Musubi Cafe IYASUME
If you went to Hawaii without trying spam musubi, did you really even go to Hawaii? I know spam on a bed of rice might not seem appealing, but I 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 some of 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.
If we still haven’t convinced you on spam musubi specifically, you’ll be delighted to hear that this cafe also offers poke bowls and musubi without spam. We think Musubi Cafe IYASUME is an enjoyable take on this Japanese and Hawaiian culinary tradition and 100% worth a visit on your Oahu vacation.
Many locals claim that Ono Seafood is one of the best restaurants in Oahu for poke, but I guess you’ll have to visit to decide for yourself! Since Ono is one of the best places for premium poke in the area, you can expect a line. There are only a few benches at the restaurant, so I recommend taking your meal to go. If you aren’t sure about what you should get, you can always ask for suggestions based on the flavors you like. For example, if you like spicy flavors, tuna, octopus, etc. My only complaint is that I wish you could add more toppings.
Note that each poke bowl comes with a drink, so the price is really great! 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. So, you may want to walk if possible.
Rainbow Drive-In is best known as a great spot for an affordable Hawaiian plate lunch! 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 macaroni salad (may be substituted for coleslaw). Last time I checked, there were 24 different options for plate lunches (including the daily specials), all running from about $8-10.
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. Another popular selection is the Shoyu Chicken, which is available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Click here to check out the full menu for the Kapahulu location.
Diamond Head Market & Grill
Diamond Head Market & Grill is the perfect place to stop for a plate lunch after working up an appetite hiking the nearby Diamond Head Crater Hike. All plates come with white or brown rice and a tossed salad, and prices run from about $10-15. The Loco Moco, Teriyaki Chicken, and Miso Ginger Salmon are particular guest favorites. I recommend the Kalbi Beef Rib Plate, which consists of thick slices of short ribs glazed with a Korean-style BBQ sauce. Note that there is limited seating at the restaurant, so plan to take most orders to go!
Apart from plate lunches, Diamond Head Market & Grill is famous for its signature scones–especially its blueberry cream cheese scone. The scone flavors rotate each day of the week to feature Hawaiian-inspired flavors like pineapple cream cheese, banana cream cheese, cranberry mandarin orange cream cheese, and more! Click on the market’s scone schedule to see what they offer the day you’re visiting.
Giovanni’s shrimp truck
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is basically an institution on the North Shore of the island. In fact, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that it’s the most popular place to eat (especially for visitors) in this section of Oahu. As you can guess from the name, Giovanni’s serves a selection of jumbo shrimp plates accompanied with 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 normally expect a line. I visited on a Tuesday afternoon and waited about 30 minutes to order and 15 minutes for my 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!
Waiahole Poi Factory
Located on the Windward side of the island in Kaneohe, Waiahole Poi Factory is a wonderful spot to try authentic Hawaiian cuisine. As with most popular restaurants on Oahu, the line can get very long. Nonetheless, I 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.
Fresh Catch offers fresh fish, poke, plate lunches, and platters prepared “island style.” There are four locations on Oahu: Kaimuki (food truck), Kaneohe, Pearl City, and Sand Island (food truck). We recommend ordering 1/2 a pound of a few different pokes and sharing with a friend or partner. In my opinion, Fresh Catch serves the best poke on Oahu.
My favorite was 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 food is served in a styrofoam container, and albeit Fresh Catch may not have the best presentation, I don’t think it’s necessary when their fish is this good.
Best dinner in Oahu
Mai Tai Bar
If you’re staying at the Royal Hawaiian or nearby on Waikiki Beach, 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 wonderful, 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. As far as food, we recommend trying the Ahi Poke Bowl and the Truffle Fries.
In my opinion, Marukame 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 I’ve personally ever had. 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), which is served in savory beef curry broth. If you don’t want udon, they also serve a delicious Teriyaki Chicken Bowl.
As you can imagine, Marukame 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. If you were only willing to wait this long for one restaurant in Oahu, I would make it Marukame Udon–their food is truly that good. Nonetheless, I did figure out a workaround if you’re willing to eat in your hotel room. Luckily, Marukame does offer food delivery via UberEats and GrubHub!
Hau Tree has a beautiful beachside atmosphere that’s perfect for brunch, dinner, or cocktails. Located within Kaimana Beach Hotel and in front of Kaimana Beach, you’ll dine under decorated hau trees at this perfectly instagrammable spot. Hau Tree is on the expensive side, so you end up paying more to experience a meal with a view of the beach. However, I think it’s worth going at least once!
If you go for dinner, don’t miss out on the hamachi Crudo for a starter and the washugyu flank steak for an entree. If you eat brunch at Hau Tree, you have to try the lobster benedict. Reservations via Resy are strongly recommended, especially if you want to visit on a weekend or holiday. I would make a reservation at least 2 weeks in advance if you can.
Mud Hen Water
Mud Hen Water offers traditional Hawaiian food with a twist! If you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s a lot more obvious 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 koena hummus and naan, the chicken long rice croquettes, and the smoke meat carbonara. If you have room for dessert, the miso-butterscotch rice pudding is to die for. Mud Hen Water is also well-known for its creative cocktails!
Haleiwa Joe’s – Haiku Gardens
Haleiwa Joe’s at Haiku Gardens is by far the most beautiful restaurant on Oahu. Note that it actually has two locations, one in Kaneohe and one in Haleiwa. Still, we highly recommend checking out the first because it’s surrounded by a stunning botanical garden. The word about this stunning locale has spread over the past couple of years, so have a plan of action for securing a table. 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. The reason I recommend getting in line as early as possible is that this way, by the time you’re seated, it’ll ideally still be light outside for you to enjoy the view from your table. As far as what to order, guests always rate the prime rib highly.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Helena’s Hawaiian Food is a highly frequented spot for locals and tourists alike to chow down on traditional Hawaiian cuisine, 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. Note that 11 AM-1 PM and 5-6 PM are the busiest times of the day to visit Helena’s. To avoid the crowds, I’d recommend visiting around 3 or 7 PM.
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 their 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.
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 can also be topped with ice cream, azuki beans, or condensed milk. 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. If you’re having a hard time deciding on a flavor, we suggest going with a flavor combination. For example, the “Hawaiian” blends Pineapple, Coconut, and Banana. Additionally, add condensed milk and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make your dessert truly sensational. You can read the full menu here.
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.
Leonard’s Bakery opened in 1952 and quickly became a success, serving up Portuguese malasadas. If you aren’t familiar with these desserts, they’re similar to donuts but without the hole in the middle. Leonard’s 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. Plus, don’t forget to check out the flavor of the month! It was mango when I visited in May, and it was delicious.
Due to Leonard’s popularity, you can expect a line that wraps around the street most days. Nonetheless, it moves quickly! If you’re hoping to visit during a quieter time of the day, we recommend dropping by early in the morning or during the late afternoon. We promise this bakery lives up to the hype.
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 three locations in Honolulu: the original on N. Kuakini St, a second on N. Nimitz Hwy, and a third on the third floor of Macy’s in Ala Moana Center. We recommend visiting the original! Although there’s normally 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 awesome 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. If you’re having a hard time choosing, some of the most popular flavors are chocolate-dipped macadamia, butter macadamia, dark triple chocolate macadamia, chocolate chip macadamia, and dark chocolate Kona coffee. My favorite is the white chocolate coconut!
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