Honolulu

Restaurants in Honolulu

Honolulu restaurants run the gamut from laid-back authentic to innovative Hawaiian to more familiar global chains. Our recommendation is to skip the chains altogether and start with more sophisticated spots such as Alan Wong's, widely considered one of the best restaurants in Honolulu. Here, the service is impeccable, the atmosphere is warm, and the prices are reasonable. Locally sourced fish and other ingredients make it popular among locals and the space itself is fairly small, so be sure to book in advance.
But the city's tinier ethnic eateries are also worth your time. For example, despite its name, the nearby Little Village Noodle Shop is anything but ordinary. This Honolulu restaurant applies modern skill to traditional Chinese-style cooking in Honolulu's Chinatown district. The portions of are perfectly sized and expertly prepared. Because there are so many options for eating out, one good rule of thumb when choosing among restaurants in Honolulu is to opt for those specializing in Asia- and Polynesia-inspired dishes anchored by ahi tuna, Filipino pork adobo, and more.

Surrounded by the lei stands and street merchants of Chinatown, the small, 80-seat Duc’s Bistro is a slightly off-the-beaten path Vietnamese and French eatery that has a faithful following among locals.

Grab a deceptive mai tai at this open-air beachfront bar and restaurant.

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.

A Honolulu institution, the Willows was founded by Kathleen Perry and her husband, Al, on July 4, 1944 to help Kathleen’s family maintain their property during the tough economic times of World War II.

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.

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.

Quirky, family-owned hole-in-the-wall Irifune is one of the best finds (and best values), Japanese or otherwise, in Waikiki.

Located inside the Kahala Hotel & Resort, Hoku’s has earned critical praise for its inventive and upscale Pacific Rim cuisine, crafted by chef Wayne Hirabayashi.

On an island where space is the prized commodity, strange couplings occur. Like karaoke and fried chicken. Side Street Inn, a chef’s hangout in Honolulu, has come into local fame (which is spreading since Anthony Bourdain stopped by in 2009) for its frying rap sheet.

The creation of James Beard Award winner and celebrity chef, Alan Wong, this restaurant is a success with both critics and customers. Wong’s restaurant serves flavorful, upscale Hawaiian fare, enhanced by his use of fresh ingredients.

Formaggio Wine Bar is located on the edge of Waikiki, set away from the tourist hustle and bustle. Devoid of any signage, the restaurant only indicates its presence by painting its name across the door of its building.

What One of the last drive-in restaurants in Honolulu, its parking lot is often filled with vans topped with surfboards. Rainbow is a favorite pit stop of beachcombers in flip-flops and office workers hoping to catch some rays on their lunch break.

Owned by the French-born chef, and James Beard Award-winner, George Mavrothalassitis, the critically-acclaimed Chef Mavro is regarded as one of the finest restaurants in Hawaii.