Part of any vacation is the food, but food is not just something to eat on the island of Oahu. It’s something to EXPERIENCE. Here are some amazing selections that range from the casual to the divine. Relax and enjoy, as we present 10 of the best Oahu dining experiences you won’t want to miss.
1. A Luau Like No Other
Alii Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy., Laie
The best, most authentic Hawaiian Luau with fresh and extensive all-you-can-eat selections, the Alii Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center is based on ancient Hawaiian celebrations and ingredients. Here, you are treated like honored guests! Executive Chef Felix Tai has succeeded in constructing a meal fit for Alii (royalty). No paper plates and cups here! Plus, you will be treated to Onipaa: A Tribute to Queen Liliuokalani, a musical presentation filled with beauty, song, dance and culture.
2. Healthy Eating Island Style
Beet Box Café
37 Kamehameha Hwy,
Haleiwa, 808 637-3000,
The original Beet Box is found in the largest town on the North Shore, but you can also find them on the windward side of the island, in Kailua . Be assured, you are going to enjoy some fresh, wholesome dishes hearty enough to sink your teeth into. Both spots serve only vegetarian and vegan dishes and offer a good selection of gluten-free options that won’t disappoint.
3. Island Born Steakhouse
Waikiki Beach Marriott
2552 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, 808 931-6280
Local Hawaiian regional steakhouse specializing in dry-aged steaks, with their own drying system on locations. Better yet, it is locally owned and operated – they know what you like, maybe even better than you do!
4. A Big, Bold, Beautiful Buffet
Gateway Buffet at the Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy., Laie
These island-fresh selections are centered on garden, ranch and ocean fresh local products meticulously prepared and abundantly served at the largest buffet on the island. You will find us in the Gateway Building on the grounds of the Polynesian Cultural Center, a historic and artistic venue with a beautiful 360 degree mural that welcomes all. Enjoy poke, sashimi, catch of the day fish selections, kalua pork, sirloin roast, chicken dishes, fresh fruits and vegetables, soups and a treasure filled bounty of tastes from across our islands.
5. Authentic Culture
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
1240 North School Street, Honolulu
Helena’s, a 2000 James Beard Award recipient, is situated on North School Street near the Bishop Museum. They are legendary for local dishes such as squid luau, authentic poi, poke and some of the sweetest kalbi ribs on island – plus many more local favorites. Limited seating, terrible parking, gritty neighborhood. But its popularity proves its worth. Get there early or be ready to wait.
6. Island Fish as Fresh as it Gets
Ken’s Fresh Fish
55-730 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie
find them on Facebook at /Kens-Fresh-Fish-2219082921747628
This unpretentious eatery is as simple as it gets, yet it consistently gets rated #1 by locals and visitors alike.Their Ahi Katsu is the best there is. As they like to say, “there’s nobody between us and the fish”. They catch ‘em, they cook ‘em, they hand it right to you. Please note, it’s take-out only, but not to worry…. the beach is only steps away.
7. Fine Dining with Flare
MW by Artisans
888 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu
Situated in downtown Honolulu, this small spot, literally built within a luxury car facility, is innovative and always surprising. The price is high, but won’t break the bank like many high-end establishments. You’re always in for some fun, but you had better get a reservation!
8. Kickin’ Back with Island-Style Dining
Pounders Restaurant at the Hukilau Marketplace
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy., Laie,
808 293- 3287
Headed by celebrity MasterChef Graham Elliot, this is Hawaii inspired dining at its best. The menu alone will impress you; but it’s the first bite that will convince you that you have found paradise. From appetizers to entrees, sides to treats, Pounders will surprise and satisfy you. Don’t you dare skip dessert! Our display case is filled with sweet goodies sure to captivate your taste buds.
9. Burgers with Aloha
55-553 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku,
(please check website for contact information)
The seven Hanemann brothers of local fame decided to open a business which turned into the burger joint everyone talks about. No frozen burgers here! What you will get are huge, meaty goodness topped with island styled extras like fresh avocado, grilled pineapple, spicy bbq sauce and a crazy selection of crunchy, yummy sides. But be warned, some of these beauties can literally be twice as high as they are wide, so make sure you bring your appetite! Now available in Laie, Kahuku, Halewai and Sharks Cove.
10. The Perfect Way to Start your Morning
Sweet E’s Café
1006 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu
Since bursting on the scene in 2011, this playful local eatery consistently tops ‘best breakfast’ on a number of online Oahu websites. The awards for their modern yet traditional menu keeps piling up. You’re sure to find your favorite with their extensive selections of omelets, along with pancakes, waffles and french toast plus some great choices for lunch all based on the letter “E”.