82 Best Restaurants in Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, Oahu

Fukuya Delicatessen

$ | Moiliili

Get a taste of local Japanese culture at this family operation on the main thoroughfare in Moiliili, a mile or so mauka (toward the mountains) out of Waikiki. Open since 1939, the delicatessen offers take-out breakfasts and lunches, Japanese snacks, noodle dishes, and confections—and it's a local favorite for catering, from parties to funeral gatherings. Try mochi (sweet rice-flour cakes), shoyu chicken, hash patties, garlic chicken, and Asian-style salads. The folks here are particularly patient and helpful to visitors, but it's only open from 6 to 2. Going on a round-the-island drive? This is a good option to pick up a picnic lunch.

2710 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96826, USA
808-946–2073
Known For
  • Nori-wrapped chicken
  • Mochi tray, offering samples of everything
  • Kid-friendly menu
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No dinner

Hank's Haute Dogs

$ | Kakaako

Owner Hank Adaniya's idea of a hot dog involves things like a duck and foie gras sausage with truffle mustard and stone fruit compote. Originally a true hole-in-the-wall, the gentrified Hank's is still a tiny spot where you can go classic with the Chicago Dog, made with the traditional fixings (including neon-green relish), or gourmet with the butter-seared lobster sausage topped with garlic-relish aioli. And always get the beef-fat fries with a house-made dipping sauce (spicy curry ketchup is a winner). Or get a burger—they're equally good. Forget cola; here you can have island-fresh drinks like hibiscus lemonade and lilikoi-lime soda. Order at the counter, stake out a bar stool inside, or wander outside to the bar-style seating.

324 Coral St., Honolulu, HI, 96813, USA
808-532–4265
Known For
  • 11 varieties of dogs daily, plus another 5 or so daily specials
  • Fries, truffle fries, and onion rings to die for
  • Part of Kakaako's SALT area
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Remember to get parking validated, Reservations not accepted

Hau Tree

$$$ | Waikiki

Countless anniversaries, birthdays, and other milestones have been celebrated under this lanai restaurant's spectacular hau tree, where it's said that even Robert Louis Stevenson found shade as he mused and wrote about Hawaii. Diners are captivated as much by the beach views, spectacular sunsets, and romantic setting as by celebrated chef Chris Kajioka's updated takes on eggs Benedict at breakfast and tuna tartar, scallops, or Kurobuta pork chops later in the day.

2863 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI, 98615, USA
808-921–7066
Known For
  • The romantic beach dining spot folks dream about
  • Spectacular views of the beach by day and the moonlit water by night
  • An updated menu and attentive service
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Recommended Fodor's Video

Herringbone Waikiki

$$$$ | Waikiki

Upstairs at International Marketplace and featuring a 2,000-square-foot lanai dining area, casual-chic Herringbone is a lively place for craft cocktails and dinner or weekend brunch. Emphasizing locally sourced seafood, produce, and other ingredients, the menu includes many raw bar options, as well as lobster rolls, king salmon, whole fish, salads, and flatbreads.

Heyday

$$$ | Waikiki

Although it's in the center of Waikiki, this lively outdoor restaurant with a retro, tropical vibe feels a bit tucked away, with a bamboo-lined walkway leading to its entrance and tables set around the pool at the White Sands Hotel. Grab a drink at the whimsical bamboo bar, where a cool crowd sits on wooden swings or bar stools and sips tiki-style cocktails, and peruse the "new continental" menu with a variety of pupus (appetizers) and decadent desserts, as well as such favorites as the B.O.L.T. (bacon, smoked ono salad, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich on a brioche bun or the schnitzel with potato mac salad.

431 Nohonani St., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
808-475–6864
Known For
  • Great food with retro vibe
  • Large and small plates, including vegan options
  • Swinging seats around the bamboo bar

Highway Inn Kakaako

$ | Kakaako

Highway Inn serves what it does best: local favorites like Kalbi ribs, kalua (roasted in an underground oven) pork sliders, beef stew, and old-fashioned hamburger steaks. This is also a great spot to try poi (the pudding-like dish made of pounded taro). It gets crowded, so expect to wait for a table.

Hoku's

$$$$ | Kahala

Everything about Hoku's speaks of quality and sophistication: the wall of windows with their beach views, the avant-garde cutlery and dinnerware, the solicitous staff, and the carefully constructed Euro-Pacific cuisine. The tasting menus frequently change, focusing even more on seasonal cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients (including herbs from the hotel's on-site herb garden). It's a popular choice for special occasions or for Sunday brunch, which is now a Japanese teishoku-style set menu. The dress code is collared shirts and slacks for men, elegant aloha for women (that is, no beachwear).

5000 Kahala Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96816, USA
808-739–8760
Known For
  • Relaxed elegance in the grande dame of Hawaii's social scene
  • Panoramic views from every table
  • Setting and service that can outshine the food
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch. Tasting or set menus only., Reservations essential

Holey Grail Donuts

$ | Waikiki

Locals love the scrumptious taro-based confections and delightful coffee beverages created by this family-run outfit. Fried in coconut oil, the doughnuts are known for their light texture, splashy colors and designs, and sophisticated flavors with fun names like Island Chocolate, Pineapple Express, Miso Honey, Kale’n It, and Prosperity (with kumquat and poppy seeds). Inquire about the weekly tasting boxes (of four) and seasonal specialties. There’s no seating, but it’s an easy walk to the beach. Other locations are in nearby Ward Village and on the island of Kauai; plans are in the works for new Mainland locations.

Honolulu Burger Company

$ | Makiki Heights

Owner Ken Takahashi retired as a nightclub impresario on the Big Island to become a real-life burger king. This modest spot is the home of the locavore burger, made with range-fed beef, Manoa lettuce, tomatoes, and a wide range of toppings, all island-grown—and you can taste the difference. Go classic with a single, hand-shape patty, the meat loosely packed to let the juices run free, or try one of Takahashi's creations. Don't forget the truffle fries.

1295 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI, 96814, USA
808-626–5202
Known For
  • Miso Kutie Burger topped with red miso glaze and Japanese cucumber slices
  • Blue Hawaii Burger with blue cheese and bacon
  • A presence at local farmers' markets or elsewhere in its own food truck
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted, Closed Mon.

Honolulu Coffee Experience

$ | Waikiki

A massive, antique roaster is the centerpiece of this beautifully appointed, spacious, and airy coffeehouse, the largest and most unique branch of the Waikiki chain, situated near the convention center. There are plenty of options for tea drinkers, too, in addition to pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and açai bowls. There’s a big parking lot and shaded outdoor seating as well.

Honolulu Museum of Art Café

$$ | Downtown

The Honolulu Museum of Art's cool courtyards and galleries filled with works by masters from Monet to Hokusai are well worth a visit, and, afterward, so is this popular lunch restaurant (reservations recommended). The open-air café is flanked by a burbling water feature and 8-foot-tall ceramic "dumplings" by artist Jun Kaneko—a tranquil setting in which to eat your salad or sandwich, shaded by a monkeypod tree. You can also buy picnic basket meals to eat in the museum courtyard. There is no museum admission charge to eat at the café.

900 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI, 96814, USA
808-532–8734
Known For
  • Piadina pesto-caprese flatbread sandwich
  • Limited but beautifully prepared menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and mains
  • Nice spot for Sunday brunch
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No dinner Sat.--Thurs.

Hula Grill Waikiki

$$$ | Waikiki

The placid younger sibling of boisterous Duke's, downstairs, resembles an open-air, plantation-period summer home with kitschy decor, stone-flagged floors, warm wood, and floral prints. The food is carefully prepared and familiar—with the occasional intriguing Asian touch—and dishes include steaks, locally caught grilled fish, and a few island-inspired options, such as the Loco Moco and tropical pancakes. Request a lanai or window table to enjoy the fabulous views of Diamond Head and the beach. Sometimes the music from Duke's resonates from below, allowing diners to enjoy it without the chaos of the bar.

Hy's Steak House

$$$$ | Waikiki

If the Rat Pack reconvened for big steaks and a bigger red, they'd feel right at home at Hy's, which hasn't changed much since it opened in 1976. The formula: prime-grade beef cooked over an open kiawe-wood (mesquite) fire, "old-school" service, a clubby atmosphere, and a wine list recognized for excellence by Wine Spectator. In addition to the signature steaks, specialties include beef Wellington, miso-marinated sea bass, and ahi sashimi fresh from the auction. The restaurant is also known for its Caesar salad and those flambéed desserts rarely seen these days—both prepared tableside, of course.

2440 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
808-922–5555
Known For
  • Dark woods, club chairs, banquettes, and that fabulous 1970s feel
  • A wine list fit for the most persnickety palate
  • Desserts flambéed tableside
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential

Imanas Tei

$$$ | Moiliili

Nihonjin (Japanese nationals) and locals flock to this tucked-away, bamboo-ceilinged restaurant for its tasteful, simple decor and equally tasteful—and perfect—sushi, sashimi, nabe (hot pots prepared at the table), and grilled dishes. You assemble your meal dish by dish, and the cost can add up if you aren't careful. Reservations are limited, and there can be a line, so come early or very late. Being named one of the nation's best Japanese restaurants (twice) has only added to its popularity. The parking lot is the size of a handkerchief.

2626 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96826, USA
808-941–2626
Known For
  • Simple food that some feel is better than in Japan
  • Long waits
  • Traditional izakaya experience
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch, Reservations by phone only

Izakaya Nonbei

$$$ | Kapahulu

Teruaki Mori designed this pub, one of the most traditional of Honolulu's izakayas, to make you feel that you're in a northern inn during winter in his native Japan. Dishes not to miss include aji tataki (seared, vinegar-marinated jack mackerel topped with ginger); karei karaage (delicate deep-fried flounder); fried gobo (burdock) chips; and crab, avocado, and bacon salad. And don't forget to try the frozen sake: the menu item that brings locals back begging for more.

3108 Olu St., Honolulu, HI, 96816, USA
808-734–5573
Known For
  • Great happy hour and late-night spot
  • Tiny spot with a huge menu
  • Long waits (reservations strongly recommended)
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

Kamehameha Bakery

$ | Iwilei

This well-established bakery offers both old-school classics and newer treats, some of which have become cult favorites. You'll salivate as you stare at the cases filled with inexpensive pastries, doughnuts, cookies, and breads. Items are often unlabeled, so point and ask if you want to know what is what, and the counter attendants will cheerfully explain. The poi-glazed doughnuts/malasadas are a phenomenon, but the Chantilly Roll (poi roll filled with black sugar and topped with Chantilly frosting and walnuts) is to die for.

La Mer

$$$$ | Waikiki

With spectacular Diamond Head views and an elegant, art deco–tinged interior, La Mer is a romantic, second-floor restaurant, where windows open to the breezes and the sounds of the ocean and Halekulani Hotel's nightly hula show. Three-, four-, or seven-course dinners might feature kampachi (amberjack) ceviche with ginger caviar fennel, roasted John Dory with artichokes barigoule (braised in white-wine broth), or tomahawk steak (rib eye) with vegetables. For romance and fine dining without the staggering price tag, visit the restaurant’s L'Aperitif bar, where sophisticated cocktails can be paired with gourmet bites.

2199 Kalia Rd., Honolulu, HI, 98615, USA
808-923–2311
Known For
  • It doesn't get more romantic than this
  • Impressive wine list and a sommelier to match
  • Classy bar with cocktail and small-bite pairings
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential, Long-sleeved, collared (or aloha) shirts required for men

Legend Seafood Restaurant

$ | Chinatown

At this large Chinatown institution, the dim sum cart ladies stop at your table and show you their Hong Kong–style fare. If you come for breakfast dim sum, arrive before 9 am, especially on weekends, if you want to hear yourself think. There are also à la carte lunch and dinner menus.

Leonard's Bakery

$ | Kapahulu

Whether you spell it malasada or malassada, when you're in Hawaii, you must try these deep-fried, holeless Portuguese doughnuts. Leonard's Bakery is the most famous of all the island establishments making them and was the first island bakery to commercialize their production. Expect to stand in a long line outside the original Kapahulu location to get a signature pink box or bag filled with the piping hot treats. You can also order from one of the red-and-white-stripe Malasadamobiles parked at several shopping centers on Oahu. Leonard's makes breads, cookies, muffins, and other sweets, too, but let's be honest, you're coming here for the malasadas.

Livestock Tavern

$$ | Chinatown

Livestock Tavern scores big with its seasonal offerings of comfort foods and craft cocktails and its cowboy-minimalist decor. Although meat, including some of the best burgers in town, commands the menu, offerings like burrata, creative salads, sandwiches, and fish round out the possibilities. Note the seasonal drink specials with creative names. Weekend brunch is also served.

Local Joe

$ | Chinatown

Local Joe is a great spot to stop for coffee and a light bite before or after your explorations in the Aloha Tower, Chinatown, downtown, and historic Honolulu. The coffee shop roasts its own beans and has a latte art "printer" that leaves detailed designs on your drink.

110 Marin St., Honolulu, HI, 96817, USA
808-536–7700
Known For
  • Convenient location
  • Nice presentations
  • Delicious coffee
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Lucky Belly

$$ | Chinatown

A hip local crowd sips cocktails and slurps huge bowls of noodles with a modern twist at this popular fusion ramen bar known for its savory broth and its trendy small plates, such as pork belly buns and oxtail dumplings. The service here is unpretentious and attentive if you eat in, but you can also order your food to go, and late-night hours make it a great stop after shows at the Hawaii Theatre or when dinner elsewhere didn't quite do the trick.

50 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, HI, 96817, USA
808-531–1888
Known For
  • Steaming hot pot dishes
  • Small but unique cocktail menu
  • "Belly Bowl" with smoked bacon, sausage, and pork belly
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch

Mariposa

$$$ | Ala Moana

Yes, the popovers and the wee cups of bouillon are available at lunch, but in every other regard, the menu at this Neiman Marcus restaurant departs from the classic model, incorporating a clear sense of Pacific place. The breezy, open-air veranda, with a view of Ala Moana Regional Park, the twirling ceiling fans, and the life-size hula-girl murals say "Hawaii." It's still a spot for ladies who lunch, but it also welcomes a more casual crowd.

Mei Sum Dim Sum

$ | Chinatown

In contrast to the sprawling, noisy halls where dim sum is generally served, Mei Sum is compact, shiny, and bright—it's also favored by locals who work in the area. Be ready to guess and point at the color photos of dim sum favorites or the items on the carts as they come by, or ask fellow diners for suggestions. It's open daily and is one of the few places that serves dim sum from 8 am all the way to 9 pm.

Merriman's Honolulu

$$$ | Kakaako

This is fine dining without the fussiness, where cordial, well-trained servers present your "Bag O' Biscuits" or smoking oysters on the half shelf with equal aplomb and know all the details of each menu item. The large Hawaiian-French bistro has floor-to-ceiling windows and native wood accents throughout, and chef-owner Peter Merriman focuses on farm-to-table food, using Oahu-sourced ingredients as much as possible. In addition to other branches of this restaurant on neighbor islands, Merriman operates the more casual Monkeypod Kitchen and Moku Kitchen on Oahu.

Michel's at the Colony Surf

$$$$ | Waikiki

This romantic restaurant on Waikiki's tranquil Gold Coast features beachside sunset views and traditional French fare. It opened in 1962, and the surroundings reflect this, with lots of wood and stone, bow-tied servers preparing lobster bisque and steak tartare table-side, and a charm that's beloved by old-time locals but sometimes lost on younger diners. Among the French classics (garlicky escargots, mustard-crusted rack of lamb) are local twists, such as yellowfin ahi tartare with tobiko (fish roe) and Hawaiian salt or steamed mahimahi. Brunch is served the first Sunday of every month. For a premium table with a jaw-dropping view, reserve weeks in advance.

2895 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
808-923–6552
Known For
  • The sound of the surf and live music most nights
  • Classic French cuisine with some local twists
  • A pricey experience and a retro vibe
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential

Mitch's Fish Market & Sushi Bar

$$$$ | Mapunapuna

This microscopic sushi bar is an adjunct of a wholesale seafood market. The fish, air-freighted from around the world, is ultra-fresh, well-cut (into huge pieces—to the regret of those who follow the one-bite rule), and prepared for the serious sushi lover. You can spend as much or as little as you like—from $5 veggie sushi to the $120 omakase menu. Off the beaten path even for residents, the place has a sort of cult following. Rest assured, it's unlikely you'll run into anyone from your hotel here, and locals will be mightily impressed you ventured so far. (Barack Obama has been know to drop by when he's in town.) The final seating is at 7:30, so plan (and make reservations) accordingly.

524 Ohohia St., Honolulu, HI, 96819, USA
808-837–7774
Known For
  • Hole-in-the-wall atmosphere
  • BYOB
  • Otoro (fattiest part of tuna)
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Mitsu-Ken

$ | Kapalama

The garlic chicken may haunt your dreams, so it's worth the trek to a downscale neighborhood to find this unprepossessing joint. Line up, order the plate lunch with rice and salad, and sink your teeth into the profoundly garlicky masterpiece drizzled with a sweet glaze. Obsessed locals line up at dawn to get takeout for lunch.  To avoid the wait, call the day before to place your order, then head to the cashier at the "phone order pick-up line."

Moku Kitchen

$$ | Kakaako

In the hip SALT complex, Moku appeals to both foodies and families with authentic farm-to-table cuisine and a laid-back, urban setting. It's one of legendary chef Peter Merriman's restaurants and focuses on upcountry farm fare cooked in the on-site rotisserie; pizzas, salads, and sandwiches; and craft cocktails. Happy hour and evening music can sometimes get really loud, so if you want to chat, ask to be seated away from the entertainment.

660 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI, 96813, USA
808-591–6658
Known For
  • Happy hour
  • Impressive list of craft cocktails, wine, and beer, including the signature monkeypod mai tai
  • Live music

Morimoto Asia Waikiki

$$$$ | Waikiki

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto serves classics and new fusion favorites at his second-floor restaurant—a sleek space with a lanai, a gorgeous bar, and a dining room designed for entertaining clients or celebrating with friends. Enjoy some Morimoto specialties, including ishiyaki buri bop (yellowtail seared tableside with pickled daikon, royal fern, and egg yolk) or spicy black pepper steak, as well as dim sum, sushi, and creative specialty rolls. Downstairs at street level is the smaller, more casual Momosan Ramen, which also serves lunch and has a patio and a beer garden.

2490 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
808-922–0022
Known For
  • Attentive service and great food
  • Casual elegance in a lovely spot
  • Asian-fusion menu with enough classics to draw loyalists