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Oahu is home to the metropolitan center of Hawaii, and its vibrant dining scene means that it’s an excellent place to find creative and delicious food representing diverse cultures. Splurge on dinner at one of the buzzworthy high-end spots in Honolulu, or save your vacation funds by finding tasty fare at casual spots, coffee shops and food trucks. On Oahu, you can eat like a local in smaller neighborhoods like Kapahulu or dine in high style at Hawaii’s top-rated restaurants in neighborhoods like Waikiki, Kaimuki and Chinatown.
Oahu is home to some of the best chefs in the world. Alan Wong (Alan Wong’s Restaurant), Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Waikiki), George Mavrothalassitis (Chef Mavro Restaurant) and Phillippe Padovani (Elua) were some of the founding chefs of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement 25 years ago, and their legacy has continued to spark Oahu’s restaurant renaissance today. These local legends take the freshest local produce and ingredients to create flavorful dishes, combining traditional Hawaiian cooking with influences from Japan, China, the Philippines and classic American cuisine among many others.
You’ll also find delicious modern interpretations of Hawaiian and Asian cuisines from the next generation of great chefs as well, who carry on the traditions of using local ingredients and creative preparations at Honolulu restaurants like The Pig and the Lady, Lucky Belly and Mud Hen Water.
On the North Shore, you’ll find a distinctly laidback vibe as well as a focus on fresh seafood. Fish tacos are a staple in surfer-friendly towns like Haleiwa. Shrimp trucks (food trucks whose menu offers a variety of shrimp-centric plates) are a local staple as well, along with the frozen Hawaiian treat shave ice (similar to a snow cone), which is a perfect way to cool off on a hot day.
Eat Like a Local
Consisting of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and everything from kalua pork, Korean barbecue, chicken katsu, beef teriyaki, or mahimahi, the plate lunch is a staple of local food.
No matter what island you’re on, grab a shave ice to cool off. These finely shaved snow cones are served with colorful flavors on the top with a choice of ice cream or azuki beans on the bottom.
“Pupu” is the Hawaiian term for appetizer, and every local restaurant in Hawaii offers a wide range of creative pupu platters to dine on, from poke dishes to sushi.
Treat your sweet tooth to a hot malasada (a Portuguese doughnut). Although Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu is popular on Oahu, ask any local and they can tell you their favorite bakeries on each island to find these fresh and tasty treats.
For big appetites, try a “loco moco,” which is a hamburger steak and egg over rice, covered in gravy. You can find loco moco served throughout the islands, but Café 100 in Hilo on the island of Hawaii is said to have originated the name.
Located on iconic Waikiki Beach, the Reef Bar & Market Grill offers casual all-day dining modeled after authentic local island meat and fish markets. Guests select fresh “farm-to-beach” ingredients and grill their own steaks beachside in a one-of-a-kind interactive dining experience. The combination of locally sourced meats and seafood, farm-fresh produce and invigorating trade winds create an incomparable recipe for the perfect meal.
Pounders is a farm fresh island style restaurant serving fresh produce from island farms, Hawaii-raised grass-fed beef, locally caught seafood, savory delights from the Pacific Rim, and unique Hawaiian-style pizzas in their kiawe-fired brick oven imported from Napoli.
Situated in the heart of Waikiki, Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu is conveniently located within walking distance to many resorts, shops, the Hawaii Convention Center, and iconic Waikiki beach. An open air venue which features veranda seating and a blue wave bar for a truly unique dining experience.
Local favorite ramen chain restaurants! For over 12 years, we server ramen noodles and rice bowls in five major malls in Hawaii. Every pot of our soup is made in-house and cooked for more than 20 hours before serving. We don't use concentrate!
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