116 Best Restaurants in Oahu, Hawaii

Buzz's Original Steak House


Virtually unchanged since opening in 1967, this neighborhood institution opposite Kailua Beach Park is filled with the aroma of grilling steaks and plumeria blooms. It doesn't matter if you're a bit sandy and beach bedraggled (though bare feet are a no-no, as are tank tops after 4:30 pm)—just find a spot in the cozy maze of rooms; stop at the salad bar; and order a steak, a burger, teriyaki chicken, or the fresh fish special. Leave room for desserts. Get a table on the lanai if you can, especially at lunch when the menu is a bit less expensive; the view alone makes it worth the visit. If you sit at the bar, expect to make friends. Be warned: the mai tais here are the strongest you'll find anywhere; if you order the "B.F.R.D." don't expect to drive home.

413 Kawailoa Rd., Kailua, HI, 96734, USA
Known For
  • Local institution
  • The views from the lanai at lunch
  • Excellent fruity beach cocktails, including very strong mai tais
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Chef Chai

$$$ | Ala Moana

This contemporary dining room in a condo building across from the Blaisdell Center is the go-to spot before and after plays or concerts. The creative starters and seafood and meat entrées on the eclectic, global-fusion menu are healthier than the norm as they don't rely on butter or cream, with dishes like lobster bisque thickened instead with squash puree.

1009 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, HI, 96814, USA
Known For
  • Early-bird and prix-fixe menu options that will leave you stuffed
  • Ahi tartare with avocado mousse in miniwaffle cones
  • Excellent desserts
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.

Chiang Mai Thai Cuisine

$$ | Moiliili

Long beloved for its northern Thai classics, such as spicy curries and stir-fries and sticky rice in woven-grass baskets, made using family recipes, Chiang Mai is a short cab ride from Waikiki. Some dishes, like the signature barbecue Cornish game hen with lemongrass and spices, show how acculturation can create interesting pairings. The simple space is decorated with Thai fabrics and artworks.

2239 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96826, USA
Known For
  • Spring rolls and Chiang Mai wings
  • Limited parking in a small lot in back
  • Local business-lunch favorite
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch weekends

Recommended Fodor's Video

Cholo's Homestyle Mexican Restaurant


There are only a couple of North Shore institutions that are considered gathering places—Foodland (the great grocery store) is one, and Cholo's is the other. Festively done up with Mexican tchotchkes, it serves decent rice-and-beans plates of Mexican standards (steak fajitas, burritos, enchiladas) at affordable prices.

Cinnamon's Restaurant


Known for uncommon variations on common breakfast themes, this neighborhood favorite is tucked into a hard-to-find Kailua office park (call for directions). Local-style lunch plates are good, but the main attraction is breakfast, when you don't want to miss the guava chiffon and red velvet pancakes or the signature cinnamon macadamia-nut rolls. (The Waikiki location in the Ilikai Hotel serves dinner, too.) Be prepared to wait. The place is always packed for breakfast, particularly on weekends.

315 Uluniu St., Kailua, HI, 96734, USA
Known For
  • Endless variations on pancakes, eggs Benedict, and waffles
  • Cinnamon rolls (of course)
  • Long waits
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch on Sun. and holidays. Takeout only on Wed. and Thurs.

Coquito's Latin Cuisine


A humble, family-run restaurant in a tiny roadside shack, Coquito’s serves an eclectic array of traditional Puerto Rican and Latin American dishes, from arroz con gandules (rice with peas) and shrimp mofongo to pastel borricúa (ground green-banana masa stuffed with pork), Colombian empanadas, and Argentinian flank steak with chimichurri sauce. Order takeout for a picnic at a beach park, or dine in the small outdoor patio (no alcohol sold here, so you need to BYOB).

85-773 Farrington Hwy., Waianae, HI, 96792, USA
Known For
  • Cuban sandwiches
  • Various desserts, including tres leches cake and Puerto Rican flancocho, flan de coco, and tembleque
  • Nearly everything prepared in-house
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

Countryside Cafe


Escape the tourist traps and rub elbows with locals at this small, busy breakfast–brunch café, with outdoor porch seating and ocean views (come early or order takeout, as it closes early afternoon). Island favorites dominate the menu, including corned beef hash loco moco and lilikoi (passionfruit) pancakes for breakfast and garlic shrimp with mushrooms, fish tacos, and kalbi ribs for lunch.

d.k Steakhouse

$$$$ | Waikiki

D K Kodama serves steaks that are free from hormones, antibiotics, and steroids and come straight from Oahu's first dry-aging room. Consider trying the 22-ounce paniolo (cowboy) rib eye—dry-aged 30 days on the bone and seasoned with a house-made rub—accompanied by a side of the popular and addictive potatoes au gratin, topped with Maui onions and Parmesan. The steak house shares space, though not a menu, with Kodama's Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, which has happy hour specials, too. If you sit at the bar perched between the two restaurants, you can order from either one.

2552 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
Known For
  • Local flavors, local ownership, and locally sourced produce and select meats
  • Gluten-free and vegan options
  • Sunset views from outdoor tables
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

Diamond Head Market & Grill

$ | Diamond Head

Just five minutes from Waikiki's hotels is chef Kelvin Ro's one-stop food shop—indispensable if you have accommodations with a kitchen or want a quick grab-and-go meal. Join surfers, beachgoers, and Diamond Head hikers at the takeout window to order gourmet sandwiches and plates, such as hand-shaped burgers, portobello mushroom sandwiches, Korean kalbi ribs, and grilled ahi with wasabi-ginger sauce, rice, and salad. Selections include sandwiches, bento boxes, and salads. Don't miss the bakery: locals love this place for the giant scones and desserts like lemon crunch cake. You can also pick up wine, beer, and soft drinks.

Doraku Sushi

$$$ | Waikiki

From entrepreneur Kevin Aoki, son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, comes this low-lit, bells-and-whistles, sushi-roll chain (with two additional locations in Hawaii and another in Miami) featuring indoor-outdoor seating, as well as happy hours and a late-night bar scene that keeps the place packed. Newer dishes, such as the sake bomb or stuffed jalepeño rolls, are offered alongside favorites like the tuna tataki or the Emperor Roll, a seafood extravaganza of tuna, crab, shrimp, and scallop crusted in panko and flash-fried. And there is tempura everything—from lobster to brownies. The Waikiki location, upstairs in the Royal Hawaiian Center, caters to visitors, and locals favor the Kakaako location on Kapiolani Boulevard, near the Ala Moana Center.

2233 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
Known For
  • A buzzing bar scene, with both early and late happy hours
  • Tempura everything, including brownies
  • Creative rolls
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Duke's Waikiki

$$$ | Waikiki

Locals often bring Mainland visitors to this open-air restaurant, which has a lively bar and a beachfront setting facing Waikiki's famed Canoes surf break. Named for the father of modern surfing and filled with Duke Kahanamoku memorabilia, this casual spot offers lots of pupus (appetizers), a large salad bar, and crowd-pleasing entrées that include fish, prime rib, and huli huli (rotisserie). Be sure to try the famous Hula Pie, made with macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a cookie crust and topped with fudge and whipped cream. The atmosphere can be raucous when A-list Hawaiian musicians perform. Sunday afternoon, when Grammy-nominated Henry Kapono revs up the crowd, is a great time to come for a mai tai.

2335 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI, 96815, USA
Known For
  • Iconic local spot with great views, a fun bar scene, and a perfect location
  • Duke's on Sunday is so renowned that musician Henry Kapono wrote a song about it
  • Bar seating usually offers faster service


$$ | Chinatown

At lunch, regulars pack into this tiny, brick-walled space for the burgers and specials; at dinner, they come for the pasta and locally sourced seafood dishes or the to-die-for twice-fried Kauai chicken with grits and collard greens. Here, you'll probably get cozy with the table next to you as wait staffers glide between tables with full trays and great attitudes. There's also seating in a smaller, quieter, upstairs library. The specials are fabulous, as are the craft cocktails and the beer list.

2 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, HI, 96817, USA
Known For
  • Brooklyn-meets-Hawaii menu
  • Great pau hana (happy hour) menu
  • Craft cocktails and extensive drink menu
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

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
Known For
  • Nori-wrapped chicken
  • Mochi tray, offering samples of everything
  • Kid-friendly menu
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues. No dinner

GOEN Dining + Bar


This chef Roy Yamaguchi spinoff serves elevated Hawaii regional cuisine and cocktails in the Lau Hala Shops complex, right where the old Macy's used to be. The kids' menu goes above and beyond the typical fare.

Haleiwa Beach House


One of the newer restaurants on the North Shore takes full advantage of its epic water views. The menu is chock full of surf-and-turf options, from juicy burgers to grilled steaks, blackened fish to red Thai curry with lobster and shrimp .

62-540 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI, 96712, USA
Known For
  • View and setting that can't be beat
  • Solid, reliable beef, seafood, salads, and kids options
  • Craft beers on draft and a nice wine list
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted.

Haleiwa Joe's Haiku Gardens


The Haleiwa location may be the namesake and claim the surf, but this windward-side branch offers knock-'em-dead views and a tiki torch–lit atmosphere after dark along with the friendly vibe and grilled seafood. In addition to surf-and-turf favorites, look for special preparations of each day's catch, which is delivered straight from the Honolulu Fish Auction. Come for an early dinner and a stroll around the pond and through the Haiku Gardens directly behind the restaurant. Note the H3 highway nestled into the deep valleys and soaring Koolau Mountains in the distance; it's reportedly the longest and most expensive elevated highway in the United States.

44-336 Haiku Rd., Kaneohe, HI, 96744, USA
Known For
  • Stunning views of Haiku Gardens
  • Reliable for both seafood and meat
  • Excellent daily specials
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted

Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill


After the long drive to the North Shore, watching the boats and surfers come and go from the harbor while you enjoy a mai tai on Haleiwa Joe's open-air lanai may be just what you need. This casual little joint, just past the Rainbow Bridge, rarely changes (to some, that might feel dated, but regulars appreciate the familiarity); a more upscale Kaneohe location overlooks the lush Haiku Gardens.

66-011 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI, 96712, USA
Known For
  • Reliable food with a nice harbor setting
  • Crunchy coconut shrimp
  • Good daily fish specials
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted

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
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
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

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.


$$$ | 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
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.


$$$$ | 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
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
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
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
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
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