Recent recommendations for Oahu {Honolulu & the North Shore}?

Just checking if there’s any newer recs - the latest thread I saw was over a year old. Maybe things don’t change much in Honolulu.

I already compiled a list from threads here and friends’ recommendations, if people care to chime in.

Ala Moana Shopping Center food court(s)
Side Street Inn (garlic fried chicken)
Koko Head Café (brunch, eclectic menu)
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Maguro Brothers (great sashimi and poke) a block down from Ala Moana shopping center
Sushi Sho
Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas
Liliha Bakery for coco puffs
Kona for coffee, duh
Saimin Nakamura
Tokurri Tei
Big City Diner
Rainbow Drive-in
Me’s BBQ
Nico’s Pier 38
Chef Chai
Moku Kitchen
Jenny’s shrimp wagon
Rajanee Thai
Stone Fish
Rays Kiawe Chicken for Huli-huli chicken, take out

I’m absolutely thrilled to be visiting Hawai’i - never in my life would’ve dreamed of making it over there :heart_eyes:

Thank you so much in advance for your advice - much appreciated :pray:


We went in Aug 2022 - a few meals stand out in my memory:

Marugame Udon, - recommended by our bike tour guide who had lived in Oahu his entire life. Excellent udon, and not too “scary” for my nervous-about-new-things family. It is very busy but the line moves quickly.

Highway Inn, (short drive/ride from Waikiki). Our hotel concierge recommended this when we asked for off-the-beaten-path authentic local food. Loved the kalua pork.

Hula Grill. It’s in one of the beachfront Waikiki hotels, and was our token “fancy” meal of the trip. The fish was incredible, as was the view of the sunset while we ate.

The only place on your list I know we went was Leonard’s. Definitely a place to go if you love yeasted donuts!


Can anyone chime in on Sushi Sho? While I’m aware that HI isn’t exactly a budget destination, the omakase at $350/per person gave me a bit of price tag PTSD… having said that, this is also a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Worth it?

Haven’t been to Sushi Sho, but over last New Year’s week we enjoyed Koko Head Cafe for brunch and dinners at The Pig and the Lady (it’s loud, FYI) and Fête. Some photos – sorry about the poor quality!

1 Like

I don’t see anything wrong with your pics, in fact they enticed me to check out Fête’s menu, which seems unavailable online at the mo. Looks like I already had Koko Head Cafe on my list of things to try & happy to get yet another recommendation for the place :slight_smile:


I wanted to try Chicken Long Rice while I was on Oahu. Haili’s is lunch pot that had it. Neat little low-key spot.

Helena’s also has traditional foods.

Looking forward to reading about where you end up dining (and liking). I hadn’t been to Honolulu in over 20 years when we revisited last winter. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, food included. I think I will head back for one of the long weekends in January or February. My sister had dinner at Mud Hen Water this summer and recommended it, so I will give that a try.

Have a wonderful trip!

1 Like

Thank you! We were absolutely exhausted from traveling & lazy last night… grabbed some mediocre carnitas tacos from a truck parked in a nano mall across from our hotel (the dude running it is from Acapulco and clearly has a following, but I’ve had better tacos in PA), then got a few nightcaps & delightful seafood cakes with a tobiko vinaigrette and caper sauce at the hotel bar, the fantastic Pint n Jigger. The Scotch egg comes highly recommended, and I must admit it looked pretty good.


Yup, Helena’s is on my lengthy list. It’s a bit hot for that kind of heavy food, so I’m not sure we’ll make it out there. Tending more towards Japanese, Asian fusion, fresh seafood, fruit & the like.

1 Like