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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.
The Island Buffet offers delicous food at affordable prices in a friendly family atmosphere. Selections include Barron of Beef, Kalua Pork, Herb and Panko Crusted Fish, tropical and fresh fruits, a salad bar selection and desserts. The Island Buffet is in the beautiful Gateway Dining facility.
The Surf Lanai is an upscale outdoor beach side restaurant positioned alongside the pool providing al fresco breakfast and lunch service. Surf Lanai specializes in mainland classic dishes with tropical accents presented in a refreshing manner utilizing heirloom ingredients and artisan baked goods.
A warm greenhouse-style restaurant offering Hawaii Regional Cuisine featuring fresh fish, local produce and inventive appetizers such as prized musubi topped with house made spam.
Lychee, located on our second floor, provides an exceptional breakfast experience. Indulge in our full buffet, or savor contemporary favorites from our à la carte menu.
Discover Makahiki — The Bounty of the Islands, offering both a buffet and à la carte options that feature fresh ingredients and international flavors, served in a festive, open-air dining room.
Poolside snacks to satisfy your appetite, including sandwiches and salads. Breakfast and lunch service.
It’s easy to feel drawn to The Grove or Passageway at THE MODERN HONOLULU. Arbors, bougainvillea and hibiscus create a garden allure among the al fresco seating of The Grove; lush banquettes and overstuffed wicker chairs beckon you to lounge in Passageway.
Hapas Pizza is a fast, fun, irreverent grab and go Pizzeria that combines classic Italian staples with all the best fresh local Hawaiian Ingredients in a fusion that truly lives up to its name – Hapas!
Freshest fish in town, located next to the Honolulu Auction, Nico's serves fish plate lunch gourmet style.
One of the finest oceanside dining experiences in the islands. Savor the award-winning pacific rim cuisine in an open-air dining room, which offers stunning views from Waikiki Beach. Dinner nightly except Sunday, located in the Rainbow Tower.