Honolulu’s food scene has so much to offer. Hawaii’s unique culture and history has led to a diverse array of restaurants in its capital city, and institutions that have served locals for decades stand alongside modern offerings from emerging chefs. From sashimi to burgers to sweet desserts, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for upscale dining or homey takeout spots, this city really does have it all.
Let this guide help you find your new favorite area restaurant. Here are 10 noteworthy Honolulu restaurants to get you started.
Pearlridge Center, 98-115 Kaonohi St., Aiea, HI 96701
Sometimes you just want a classic club sandwich or a good ol’ American pie. You’ll find all that and more at Anna Miller’s. From all-day breakfast to chicken pot pie, there’s plenty to love on this menu. As for the pies, they’ve won awards and come in flavors from apple to chocolate banana to haupia strawberry and more.
In the mood for some more comfort food? You can’t go wrong with Ethel’s Grill. This cash-only, family-run spot has been an institution in the neighborhood since the 1960s, serving up comfort dishes that reflect the family’s Japanese-Okinawan-Mexican-local heritage. Go for a classic choice like seared ahi sashimi topped off with soy-marinated garlic chips.
2 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, HI 96817
This unique restaurant brings together elements of Hawaii and Brooklyn, New York, for a memorable meal. Stop in for a cocktail at the bar, then stay for lunch or dinner. You can make a trip here as casual or elevated as you like. Twice-fried chicken and the Chaz Burger top the list of signature dishes, but don’t forget about dessert. House-made rocky road ice cream, complete with macadamia nuts, adds a delicious final touch to any trip to Fête.
Hank’s Haute Dogs
324 Coral St., Honolulu, HI 96813
It’s not just fancy hot dogs (think boar, buffalo, or rabbit) that you can get from Hank’s Haute Dogs, though those set this restaurant’s offerings apart. You can also go for a regular hot dog wrapped in bacon or smothered with chili, or try a burger topped with “Hank’s Sauce.” Pro-tip: Go for the full experience with Beef Fat Fries and a tropical drink, like hibiscus lemonade, on the side.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
1240 N. School St., Honolulu, HI 96817
If you’re on the hunt for some traditional Hawaiian fare, make sure you put Helena’s on your list. This spot is a longtime area favorite. Helena’s Hawaiian Food opened back in 1946 and has served mouthwatering eats like lomi salmon, pipikaula, and laulau and rice ever since. The restaurant even won a James Beard America’s Classics award in 2000 — but it’s the restaurant’s popularity with locals that should put it squarely on your must-visit list. Go for the Set Menu D if it’s your first time sampling the menu.
1028 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96817
Korean staples take on a modern twist at O’Kims. This mom-and-pop restaurant has gotten some serious hype from foodies, and you’ll see why once you start sampling their Korean-fusion fare. You can’t go wrong with an order of the Truffle Mandoo, and their miso eggplant will be a surefire hit if you’re searching for a new favorite vegan dish. Classics like bibimbap and kimchi round out the menu.
Pancakes and Waffles
Image via Flickr by love.jsc
Kalihi location: 1284 Kalani Street, Ste.D100, Honolulu, HI 96817
Waimalu location: 98-1277 Kaahumanu Street #103, Aiea, HI 96701
Whether you’re dining in or taking out, breakfast dishes taste great any time of day. You know you can count on a diner to deliver delicious morning treats. That’s certainly true of Pancakes and Waffles, offering up classics with a decidedly local twist, like crab cake eggs benedict and loco moco. Or try the popular crispy chicken and waffles offering that gave this restaurant its start in 2010. You’re looking at the ideal menu if you’re searching for a hearty breakfast in Honolulu.
3632 Waialae Ave #102, Honolulu, HI 96816
When your sweet tooth kicks in, let Pipeline Bakeshop come to the rescue. Their menu delivers on all your dessert cravings. Signature dishes include malasadas and cake bombs, and the latter category has flavors ranging from lemon to maple bacon to matcha green tea and beyond. Heading out of town? You can get delivery from this bakery nationwide, so look forward to indulging in some sweetness, wherever you’re headed.
75 N. King St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Senia’s opening generated a lot of buzz around Honolulu, and with good reason. This 50-seat spot features two distinct but equally exciting experiences. The main dining room offers an a la carte menu of platters, pastas, and small plates, while a chef’s counter treats a small number of guests to an indulgent tasting menu.
Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush (of Per Se restaurant fame) brought Senia to Honolulu to showcase Hawaii’s culinary possibilities in a unique, modern way. Whether you go for a main dining room favorite like glazed pork belly with beet char siu or indulge in the tasting menu that includes treats like truffles and caviar, this is the place to go when you want distinctive dining.
The Pig and the Lady
83 N. King St, Honolulu, HI 96817
The Pig and the Lady is a mainstay in Honolulu’s restaurant scene. Their menu frequently updates, but no matter what they’re offering, you can look forward to an energetic, bustling atmosphere and one-of-a-kind flavors. Favorites include Laotian fried chicken, the Pho French Dip bahn mi, and Big Island Shrimp and Fried Noodles, featuring garlic chili sauce, scallions, and egg. Save some room for dessert, too. Soft serve flavors change weekly, and they never disappoint.
As a Honolulu business, we know where to find the best meals in the area here at 3D Partners Wealth Advisors. We hope this list inspires you to discover a new favorite place to eat. Did we miss a favorite restaurant of yours? Drop us a line so we can add it to our list!