Are you planning a trip to Hawaii and wondering where to eat in Oahu? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the 25 best places to eat on Oahu, where you can try poke, shave ice, or traditional Hawaiian food.
From trendy cafes to local favorites, every type of foodie will find something to satisfy their taste buds on this list. Join us as we explore the best food in Oahu and uncover the must-visit dining destinations on the island.
We’ll review everything from fast food restaurants to fine dining, with locations from Honolulu to the North Shore. Plus, we’ve included a map at the end so you can try to hit up as many of these spots as you can.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when you purchase a product or book a stay through these links at no extra cost to you.
Table of Contents
Best breakfast in Oahu
ARVO may mean “afternoon” in Australian slang, but this trendy plant-filled café is one of the top places to eat in Oahu for breakfast. It’s open from 8 AM to 2 PM and can get pretty busy, especially on the weekends. For fewer crowds, visit in the morning or from 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. If this café isn’t your vibe, check out the nearby Highway Inn Kaka’ako.
What to order: Loaded avocado toast and a charcoal latte.
Address: 324 Coral St Suite 1A-104b, Honolulu, HI 96813 (SALT At Our Kaka’ako shopping center)
Surf Lanai at Royal Hawaiian Hotel
If you’re staying on Waikiki Beach and looking to splurge on a fancier breakfast by the beach, don’t miss Surf Lanai at Royal Hawaiian Hotel. This Oahu restaurant opens every morning from 6:30-10:30 AM and is fun to visit at least once while on the island.
Yes, it’s touristy, but who can say no to pink pancakes? 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.
What to order: The signature Royal Hawaiian pink palace pancakes.
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 Waikiki can feel commercial, this quaint café offers a cozier breakfast experience.
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe is a great place to both start and end your day, open until 7 PM and offering specialty Okole Maluna cocktails. Our favorite was the “Lost in Waikiki” drink, which looks like the adult version of a Capri Sun.
If you’re looking for more of a baked goods and coffee type of place, don’t miss Kona Coffee Purveyors, located in the Kuhio Mall Entrance.
What to order: The green tea waffle or the tropics açai bowl.
Address: Beachcomber Waikiki Hotel, 2300 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815. It also has locations at The Ilikai and Ohana East.
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; or, arrive at opening (7 a.m.) to hopefully avoid a queue.
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.
What to order: Dumplings All Day Wong and the Cornflake French Toast.
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. If you make your way to the North Shore, 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 Monkey 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!
What to order: The açai bowl–add macadamia nut butter.
Address (Sunset Beach location): 59-158 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
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, serving smoothies, coffee, and tea as well!
Customize your açai bowl with toppings like fresh fruit, bee pollen, hemp seeds, almond butter, coconut, honey, and more. If possible, we recommend visiting Haleiwa Bowls during the week when it’s less crowded–there’s even convenient parking behind the shack!
What to order: The hapa açai bowl or the blue majik bowl.
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. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, Over Easy doesn’t take reservations, but you can join the call-ahead list if you’re within 30 minutes of arriving.
What to order: The Custard French Coast and Kalua Pig Hash. Or, go with a classic Fried Chicken Sandwich.
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 at Maguro Spot (open 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) tends to move quickly.
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.
What to order: Make Your Original Poke Bowl.
Address: 2441 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
Musubi Cafe IYASUME
You can’t go to Hawaii without trying spam musubi! 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.
What to order: The Avocado Bacon Egg Spam Musubi.
Many locals claim that Ono Seafood is one of the best restaurants in Oahu for poke! Since Ono is one of the top places for premium poke bowls in the area, you can expect a line. Plus, with limited seating here, it’s best to get 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 since there are only a few spots. With this in mind, you may want to walk if possible. Ono Seafood is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and you can also find a second location in Kalama Valley.
What to order: The #1 Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl.
Address: 747 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Rainbow Drive-In serves up some of the best food on Oahu–specifically, Hawaiian comfort food! While there are three locations on the island, 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). Try the Loco Moco—a contemporary Hawaiian dish with two hamburger patties, rice, special gravy, and two eggs.
What to order: Loco Moco Plate.
Address: 3308 Kanaina Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
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 $12-16.
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.
What to order: Loco Moco, the Surf & Turf, the Kalbi Short Ribs, or the Teriyaki chicken.
Address: 3158 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is an institution on the North Shore and one of the best Oahu restaurants in this coastal area. Due to its success, it’s actually expanded to three locations: the original in Haleiwa, a second location near the Polynesian Cultural Center, and a third in Honolulu.
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.
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 extra napkins when your food’s ready; the garlic shrimp can get messy!
What to order: The Shrimp Scampi Plate.
Address (original location): 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Waiahole Poi Factory
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 at this Windward side establishment.
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.
What to order: The Kanaka Nui sample plate.
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: off Kapahulu Avenue, in Kaneohe, and in 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!
What to order: Shoyu Poke or Spicy Ahi Poke.
Address (Kapahulu location): 1113 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Best dinner in Oahu
Mud Hen Water
Mud Hen Water offers classic Hawaiian food with a twist! The name “Mud Hen” is actually a 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 sausage & clams. 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 an indoor dining room and outdoor seating.
What to order: The Chicken Long Rice Croquettes and the Sausage & Clams.
Address: 3452 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
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.
With just sixteen seats and prices starting at $350, this restaurant offers an intimate fine dining experience ideal for special occasions or celebrations. You’ll also need to make reservations far in advance to grab a coveted seat at the counter.
If you miss the opportunity for the Omakase experience, Sushi Sho offers a few exclusive menu items available for pick up. Namely, you can order The Bara Chirashi and Futomaki online and pick them up at 4:30 p.m.
What to order: It’s an Omakase experience, so the chef will place food in front of you.
Address: 383 Kalaimoku St, Honolulu, HI 96815
Haleiwa Joe’s – Haiku Gardens
Haleiwa Joe’s at Haiku Gardens is by far one of the best restaurants Oahu has with a view. Note that it actually has two locations, one in Kaneohe and one in Haleiwa. You’ll have to go to the Kaneohe restaurant to see the botanical garden!
Haleiwa Joe’s doesn’t take call ahead or online reservations, so we recommend arriving at 3:30 PM–30 minutes before they open. You’ll wait in line to get your party on the list and then receive 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. Note that prices are on the expensive side, but we think they’re fair for the portion size and view.
What to order: The Prime Rib or New York Strip.
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.
Note that this restaurant is only open from 10 AM-7:30 PM on Tuesday through Friday. With this in mind, drop by at least once during the week to sample local favorites, like Kalua Pig, Lomi Salmon, Lau Lau, Luau Squid, Poi, and Haupia.
Click this link to view the full menu. 11 AM-1 PM and 5-6 PM are the busiest times of the day to visit Helena’s; so, visit around 3 or 7 PM to avoid the crowds.
What to order: MENU B – Kalua Pig & Pipikaula Shortribs with Poi
Address: 1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Monkeypod Kitchen has two locations on Oahu: one in Ko Olina and the other in Waikiki. During its “Happy Hour” from 3:30-5 PM, this lively restaurant offers discounts on appetizers, pizzas, draft beer, wine by the glass, and cocktails.
Start with a Monkeypod Mai Tai–the most popular cocktail! For appetizers, try the Poke Tacos or Pumpkin Patch Ravioli, and for your main, consider Pete’s Fish & Chips or the Kalua Pork & Pineapple Pizza. End your meal with a delicious Banana Cream Pie.
What to order: Pete’s Fish & Chips and the Banana Cream Pie.
Address: 92-1048 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707
Best desserts in Oahu
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Especially if it’s your first time trying shave ice (or shaved ice), we suggest stopping by Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa Town. This ice-based dessert is flavored with syrup, and you can choose to add ice cream, azuki beans, or condensed milk on top.
Matsumoto’s is a family-owned shop that opened in 1951 and has become a local institution on the North Shore over the past few decades. Since it’s one of the best eats 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.
What to order: Li Hing Mui flavor with condensed milk.
Address: 66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Pro tip: If you’re on the south end of Oahu, go to Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha!
Waiola Shave Ice
Waiola Shave Ice is many Honolulu locals’ favorite spot on the island for shave ice. You can find two locations in town: one in Mucully and the other in Kapahulu. In addition to traditional flavors, this spot offers Hawaiian-inspired options such as lilikoi, haupia, li hing mui, and lychee.
Other popular guest orders include the Obama Rainbow (cherry, lemon-lime, and passion fruit) and the Hawaii 5-0 Rainbow (cotton candy, lychee, passion fruit). Moreover, make sure you have cash before visiting because Waiola does charge extra to pay with a credit card.
What to order: The lilikoi flavor with azuki beans and mochi.
Address: 2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Pro tip: If you don’t like shave ice, try dole whip at Tutu’s Sweet Shop!
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 Oahu food haven 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. Or, If you don’t like malasadas, go for the Hawaiian butter mochi cake.
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.
What to order: Guava and macadamia nut malasadas.
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.
What to order: Chantilly coco puffs and green tea puffs.
Address (original location): 515 N. Kuakini St., Honolulu, HI 96817
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.
Some of the most popular flavors are chocolate-dipped macadamia, butter macadamia, dark triple chocolate macadamia, chocolate chip macadamia, and dark chocolate Kona coffee. However, our favorite is the white chocolate coconut!
What to order: The chocolate chip macadamia or the white chocolate coconut cookies to share at home!
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This article was first published in July 2021 and has since been updated.