There are very few places in the world that we’d go back to over and over again – just because there are so many places in our travel bucket list to cover that we try to go to new places every year. But Japan and Hawaii are the two that we keep going back to over and over again. The food in these places are a major part of the reason we keep going back.
As the weather gets colder here in the US mainland, we know most of you are headed west to Hawaii to escape the cold.
Here, we share our favorite places to eat in Oahu when you head over there, in no particular order…
1 Marukame Udon
We shared details of our previous visit to this yummy freshly made udon place here. It’s now our go to place for lunch. Fresh udon, pick your own tempura that goes with it. Everything is good. Our favorites are asparagus, eggplant, soft boiled egg and chicken tempura.
This was Liam’s favorite place to eat on our recent trip there. They have high chairs, so bring your toddlers. It does get a little warm in the restaurant though, so we didn’t “linger” long. Yelp reviews located here.
2 Iyasume Musubi
Our go to breakfast place. Warm, super premium grade short grain rice topped with delicious cucumber, egg and SPAM, all held in place by a piece of seaweed wrapped around it. I know, I know.. you’re probably cringing at the word SPAM but believe it or not, it is mouthwateringly delicious. Probably not healthy to eat everyday of the year but a nice “treat” for your holiday breakfast! It’s a must eat on our list! There are a few locations. Our goto place is the one on Koa ave.
There are a couple of tables and chairs in the store and one set outside. No high chair, so be prepared to get this to go if you have young kids. We like to stop by here, pick up some musubis and have it with us on our trip to the beach etc… Website located here. Yelp reviews here.
3 Ramen Nakamura
Favorite place for lunch/late lunch. If you’re in Waikiki, stop by and order their Oxtail ramen with Shio soup. It’s our favorite. If you haven’t tried oxtail, this may be a good opportunity. Oxtail is what it sounds like – the tail of an ox. It’s a bony, gelatin-rich meat (ladies, think collagen!). Yelp reviews here.
4 Leonard’s Bakery
One word. Malasadas. It’s a portugese doughnut. Made fresh to order, so expect a bit of wait once you order. Our favorite is the original. Others like the ones with filling, specifically haupia (coconut) and macadamia (seasonal). Nowhere to eat inside the store.
We usually buy a pack and ate it on the bench outside the store or in the car. Best when you eat it while it’s hot! See our review and photos of it here!
5 Nico’s at Pier 38
Seared Ahi Tuna. ‘Nuff said. We headed here for dinner and enjoyed their dishes, specifically, the seared ahi tuna aka Furikake Ahi. The restaurant is located within the fish market itself. A local’s favorite. Fresh seafood, served at local’s prices. It’s another must visit for lunch or dinner! We enjoyed the food so much we forgot to take pictures of the food before we ate it all! Lots of open spaces, so it’s a family friendly location. Yelp review here.
6 North Shore Fish Tacos
One of the best fish tacos we’ve had. We did the drive through instead of sitting down in the store. Wished we had the chance to order more but we were already on our way back to waikiki. Another must stop next time we head to north shore. Another favorite is their sweet pork. We liked both but fish tacos was #1. Reviews here.
7 Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Truck
8 Ono Hawaiian Food
Best pork laulau we’ve had in town. A local’s favorite. The leaves basically melt in your mouth. The meat isn’t overlay salty or bland like others we’ve had. This is a small restaurant, so be prepared to wait outside in line if it’s peak hours. We went for dinner the week before thanksgiving, so there was not as long a wait. There were high chairs available albeit a small restaurant, so it’s family friendly. Yelp reviews here.
9 Ono Seafood
Another local’s favorite. Tuna and octopus poke. Awesome stop for a snack. We loved their hawaiian style flavors of both tuna and octopus poke. The store is small with only a table and chair on the outside of the store. Be prepared to have to buy this to go. Yelp reviews here.
10 Rainbow Drive-In
For local hawaiian mix plate, Rainbow Drive-In is another favorite of the locals. We too dropped by and had mix plate lunch there. We especially enjoyed their loco moco. It is apparently on President’s Obama “favorite places to eat” list! Yelp reviews here.
11 678 Hawaii
For a break from all the japanese style food we’ve been eating, we stopped by 678 Hawaii for Korean BBQ. The meat served were high quality and tasty. The side dishes went very well with everything we had. It was interesting how they poured egg mix onto the side of the pan and let it cook slowly. Midway through our bbq dinner, the egg was ready for us to eat – perfectly soft egg side dish.
You can’t go wrong with anything you order here. Everything was delicious! We know we’ll not find a similar Korean bbq place here in Seattle like this, so we will definitely be going back here next time we’re in Waikiki (this is located in Ala Moana). High chairs available, so it was family friendly. It does get rather warm of course so be prepared to have to bring your young kids outside of the store for some fresh air. Yelp reviews here.
So that’s it. List of our favorite places to eat in Honolulu. There are a few more locals’ favorite that were recommended which we have not yet tried. Once we do, we’ll be sure to share it with you! Do you know of other must eat places? Do tell if you do!