Restaurants in Oahu
With acres of pineapple fields, hole-in-the-wall eateries selling shrimp fresh off the dock and timeless traditions like the luau, many of Hawaii's most iconic attractions revolve around its local cuisine.
Several of the best restaurants on Oahu have earned prestigious awards for their culinary prowess. Alan Wong's, the namesake of its James Bead Award winning chef and owner, serves up haute takes on Hawaiian fare, including Kalua pig and soy-braised short ribs. Another standout among Oahu restaurants include Chef Mavro, a fine dining hotspot run by French-born George Mavrothalassitis. Here, prix-fixe tasting menus change seasonally to highlight fresh ingredients prepared with Continental techniques.
Unsurprisingly, travelers can A-list restaurants on Oahu at the island's many resident resorts, such as Nobu's outpost at the Waikiki Parc Hotel and Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. The latter features an open kitchen, bamboo floors and sweeping ocean views.
More casual Oahu restaurants worth a peak include the Kua 'Aina burger joint and Matsumoto Shave Ice stand, both found along the North Shore.
Specializing in the traditional Japanese noodle dish, oden, Hakkei is an outpost of an onsen ryokan (hot spring inn) restaurant of the same name located in the town of Yubara, Japan. The original restaurant in Japan is overseen by chef Seiya Masahara, a Japanese culinary giant,
One of the North Shore’s prized properties features seven restaurants, but Lei Lei’s is the only Turtle Bay restaurant that offers views of the signature golf course.
Chef-owner Shingo Chibana makes his house-specialty soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) from scratch six to eight times a day at Matsugen. The master is frequently seen cutting the noodles by hand in the middle of the dining room.
Posh hotel restaurant and lounge. On Friday and Saturday nights, the W hotel's Diamond Head Grill transforms into the Wonder Lounge, a multi-bar club with DJs and dancing.
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.
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.
Blending cuisine and wine, Vino is the brainchild of two of Hawaii’s most influential culinary personalities, restauranteur D.K.
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.
Quirky, family-owned hole-in-the-wall Irifune is one of the best finds (and best values), Japanese or otherwise, in Waikiki.
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.
This unassuming restaurant in Kaimuki is known around the island for its authentic Mexican fare.
This Hong Kong-style dim sum restaurant on a corner of Honolulu’s Chinatown isn’t fancy, with an aqua awning and doors, white-clothed tables bathed in fluorescent lights, and a fleet of roving dim sum carts piled high with covered plates and bamboo steamers.
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.
In January 2011, Hanohano was converted into an exclusive lounge for Sheraton Club Level guests.