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.
European transplants Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani shuttered their eponymous local restaurants before teaming up in 2008 to open ’Elua, whose name means “two” in Hawaiian. The concept: two distinct, seasonal French and Italian menus for mixing and matching.
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.
In January 2011, Hanohano was converted into an exclusive lounge for Sheraton Club Level guests.
A unique, alternative to the abundant Hawaiian fare on Oahu, the 12th Avenue Grill serves modern twists on classic American dishes. The small restaurant has only 14 tables filled with diners who come for its inventive menu. Popular selections include grilled Maui Cattle Co.
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.