Restaurants in Hawaii
Hawaiian cuisine—once consisting mostly of fish, boar, and vegetables—now often incorporates Asian elements from China, Japan, and the Philippines. Considered by many to be the best restaurant in Hawaii (on the Big Island), the Kamuela Provisions Company is located inside the Hilton Waikoloa Village and serves fresh seafood along with perfectly prepared prime rib, lamb, and chicken. With jaw-dropping views of the ocean at sunset, reservations are strongly recommended. Another of the most beloved Hawaii restaurants is Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill, which has a casual vibe but top-notch food. Freshly prepared grilled meats, salads, steaks, and seafood are headliners on the menu. Finally, Brown's Beach House on the Kohala Coast has a changing menu featuring dishes such as Hawaiian ahi tuna topped with shredded green papaya and ogo ginger prepared at your table. It's located by the ocean and has tables among the palm trees; on most evenings, local musicians play. Of all the restaurants in Hawaii, this is one of the most refined. But be sure to sip from a coconut picked up from a roadside market.
D.K. Kodama, a third-generation Japanese American, founded this Asian-fusion restaurant, whose name translates in Japanese to “third generation.” Know for its eclectic cuisine and inventive sushi, Sansei opened in Maui in 1996, and has now expanded to four locations throughout Hawaii.
Back when sugar plantations filled the area, workers would gather at lunch, and the “mixed plate” concept began when the Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos started passing around their own ethnic group’s food to the other workers.
Now with restaurants throughout the mainland, Roy's Ko Olina is one of three Hawaii locations in chef-restaurateur Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiian-fusion empire.
Claiming to serve “fish so fresh, it’s from tomorrow,” Uncle’s Fish Market on Pier 38 is a casual, family-friendly eatery that specializes in prepared-to-taste seafood. The dining room is dotted with fishing memorabilia, and Hawaiian music plays in the background.
A hole in the wall in nearly every sense of the word, Mitsu-Ken Okazu & Catering is, essentially, a nondescript, off the beaten path, shack.
Henry Adaniya might be the city’s most improbable new restaurateur. He closed his acclaimed Chicago restaurant Trio—where chefs Rick Tramonto and Grant Achatz made their names—to bring the upscale hot dog craze to Honolulu in 2007.
It’s all about simple, no-frills dining at this small Lanai City restaurant. The small building’s red and white exterior is unassuming, and a passing visitor may miss it on the way by. Inside though, the abundance of locals reflects its popularity.
Found in the unlikely spot of the Waiakea Center strip mall between Walmart and Office Max is Hilo Bay Cafe, which offers American Nouveau cuisine. The curved marble bar and black tables are offset by citrus yellow walls, red accents, and orchids.
Chef Jean Marie Josselin prepares a wide selection of tapas.
What An aquamarine-paneled truck parked in a palm-shaded gravel lot across the road from the eponymous cove, this propane-powered galley kitchen serves taro burgers and chicken salad to ravenous boarders who hang ten in nearby Waimea Bay.
Makawao Garden Cafe is tucked off of Baldwin Avenue in a green board and batten building; the only seating is ten tables located on a shady patio surrounded by bright flowers, lush foliage, and large patio umbrellas.
Located on the second floor of the Waikiki Beach Walk—a large development with restaurants, hotels, and shops—Kaiwa is a teppan-fusion and sushi restaurant operated husband-and-wife restaurateur team Isamu and Motoko Kubota.
A favorite of President Barack Obama, this casual burger joint is located across the street from the Haleiwa Shopping Plaza on the North Shore. First established in 1975, the restaurant is now an international chain with outposts in London and Japan.
This cozy, wood–paneled restaurant may look like scores of other places in Honolulu, but chef-owner Manabu Kikuchi’s izakaya (Japanese tapas-style cooking) and impeccably fresh sushi are unrivaled. We loved: Spicy hamachi tartare.