Good Places To Eat In Honolulu Hawaii – MKU: You can’t go past Helena’s Hawaiian Food, a casual mom-and-pop restaurant with an emphasis on home cooking. They are famous for pipikaula [dried beef] short ribs and laulau [pork wrapped in leaves].
CTF: One of the hottest restaurants in town is The Pig & The Lady in Chinatown. The menu is inspired by Vietnamese family home cooking and everyone eats there: locals, tourists, Downtown workers. To be honest, I never had a bad meal there.
Good Places To Eat In Honolulu Hawaii
MKU: La Mer is an area of Honolulu. It overlooks Waikiki Beach and combines a dry atmosphere with impeccable service. I love that they use as much Hawaiian produce as possible to bring out the flavors of the south of France.
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CTF: Senia, where chef-owners Anthony Rush and Chris Kajioka are committed to using the highest quality ingredients and constantly turning food into beautifully placed works of art – they can even make cabbages look good.
MKU: Harry’s Hardware Emporium (1936 South King Street, Honolulu; +1 808 379 3887) is a convenient bar to go to. I left my drink order in the trusty hands of owner Dave Newman.
CTF: I’m a mom so I’m an early riser, but if I’m running late, I go to Liliha Bakery. The counter is open 24 hours Wednesday to Saturday and you can order local food like grilled burgers and kimchi fried rice.
MKU: Sunday brunch at the Beachside at Orchids is a must. It’s upscale but casual and the chef works hard to deliver a buffet filled with a rich selection of Hawaiian, Asian and American breakfast foods of the highest quality.
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CTF: Mina’s Fish House is an open air restaurant overlooking a beautiful lake bordered by palm trees. This is one of the best places on the island to watch the sunset. Half of the menu is dedicated to seafood – in fact, seafood is very important to Mina who is the first restaurant in the world to employ a fish sommelier. I chose the chef’s signature ahi tartare.
CTF: On days off, I’ll drive to Kailua for brunch at Over Easy. It’s known for its unique take on traditional dishes: think French toast dipped in custard and then topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. My favorite is Potatoes N’ Eggs, which is French bread covered in sweet tomato jam and topped with potato puree and then topped with local bacon and a scrambled egg.
MKU: Sushi Izakaya Gaku (1329 South King Street, Honolulu; +1 808 589 1329) is popular with chefs and locals but seems out of reach for tourists. Don’t miss the traditional izakaya cuisine.
CTF: Are there any secrets left in Honolulu? Even Ethel’s Grill (232 Kalihi Street, Honolulu; +1 808 847 6467), a Kalihi hole-in-the-wall, is now on the map. The family-run restaurant has been serving comfort food, like sweet-and-sour ribs, for decades. My favorites include the sashimi tataki plate and the Okinawa-style taco rice.
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MKU: You’ll find the best poke in town at Ahi Assassins Fish Co. (2570 South Brittany Street, Honolulu; +1 808 439 4045). All the fish is Hawaiian and as fresh as you can get. And nothing is wasted – for something different, try fried fish bones.
CTF: There is a lot of debate about this in Honolulu. Alicia Market is the place to go for a plate before it explodes in popularity. It uses the classic style – the flavors I grew up with – like ahi with a slightly sweet shoyu sauce, crunchy seaweed and onion.
MKU: Malasada – Portuguese donuts – at Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery are amazing. Depending on the tradition, it is not filled but sprinkled with flavored sugar, such as flavored plum or cinnamon. They are fried immediately when you order, not before, so they are crispy on the outside and delicious on the inside.
CTF: Saimin, a simple noodle dish found only in Hawaii. The noodles and soup are traditional Asian but the toppings vary from Spam to slivers of scrambled eggs. My favorite is from Palace Saimin (1256 North King Street, Honolulu; +1 808 841 9983), one of the oldest saimin shops in the country.
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MKU: I think what they create at MW Restaurant is amazing. It’s not your typical version, it comes from ice cubes and has a sugar topping; we shaved frozen fruit in a bed of tapioca and served it with mochi ice cream and fresh fruit. My favorite is mango; if in season we exceed 300 kilos of mangoes per week.
In Honolulu, we love to eat. Food is the essence of our island and it only takes one visit to understand why. From sweet to hot
, food in Hawaii is a cultural melting pot. On the beach, at the food court, or even at the corner store, finding high quality and affordable food is easy.
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Below is a collection of cheap, fresh, local foods that are fast, accessible, and delicious. Most importantly, everything is different on the island. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local, consider this list a basic guide to the best and easy-to-find street foods Honolulu has to offer.
Bowls are all the rage these days, but we’ve been eating fish sliced and baked over rice for decades here in Hawaii. Many new places in Harare do poke planning, or just for fun. But “real” poke is already prepared (very important because you want the fish to soak in all the sauce/marinade) and is usually sold by the pound.
Ahi Assassins 2570 S Beretania St., Honolulu; website. Vital Intel: The owners catch fish daily, and the poke is simple, good, and fresh. It’s also very affordable (available by the pound or $7 a plate). What more could you ask for? If you only have one bowl of poke in Honolulu, do it here.
Foodland Multiple locations; website. Intel Vital: Foodland is a large supermarket with many locations across the country. They have a kind of poke bar where you can buy by the pound or order a bowl to go. Don’t be shy to ask about the taste before you think about the taste.
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Not to be confused with the lunch dish (more on that below), the Hawaiian dish has many ingredients – too much to break down where the best person is. Where do I start? First there must be rice,
A Hawaiian dessert that is a cross between coconut milk pudding and jelly, see chocolate-haupia below). Go to one of the locations below and order a bulk (or one of the combo sets if you’re dining alone).
Helena’s Hawaiian Food 1240 N School St., Honolulu; website. Vital Intel: This is Hawaiian food heaven. You will want (and should have) both. Longor chicken rice, mac salad, calamari luau… dream about it all. Pikaula (short rib) is out of this world. Go early – unless you want to wait in line and/or go crazy trying to find a parking spot – and bring cash.
Highway Inn Kaka’ako 680 Ala Moana Blvd. #105, Honolulu; website. Intel Vital: An accessible yet delicious and authentic place to satisfy your Hawaiian food cravings. On Thursdays, you can find fresh kulolo (a traditional grated taro and coconut dessert) brought in from Kauai.
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Shaved ice in a bowl and finished with syrup: Although there are similar versions around the world (such as snow ice, halo-halo, kakigori, etc.), the one in Hawaii is in its own league. bias? perhaps. But the ice here is soft, light, and melts in your mouth. Couple that with natural syrups (often made from local fruits) and toppings (like azuki beans, ice cream, and fresh mochi balls) and you’ll understand why.
The Local 137 Hekili St. #108, Kailua; website. Vital Intel: A sense of nature and a great shave make Locals travel to Kailua. Make sure the syrups are seasonal (like mango and guava pickles). You can enter up to three types in a row.
The thing about Spam musubi is that there is no right or wrong way as long as you have three basic ingredients: rice, Spam, and nori. There are millions of variations. Some like Spam cut from the can, others like to be cooked in shoyu until crispy. Thick slices, thin slices. Spam on top, Spam in the middle. More rice, less rice. Some areas are even covered in eggs (or covered with quail eggs). You can find Spam musubi everywhere from 7-11 (the most popular place for musubi) to fine-dining restaurants.
Fort Ruger Market 3585 Alohea Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816; website. Vital Intel: Find high-quality Spam musubi and tons of other specialties at this shop/lunch bowl/musubi stand. Check out the subi with mochiko chicken, Portuguese sausage, and pork-and-egg and shoyu hot dogs.
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