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Honolulu Restaurant Guide

The 15 Best Restaurants in Honolulu

Updated April 2024 ⋅ Written by Vanessa Howard ⋅ Edited by Laura Schulthies

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Welcome to Honolulu

There is a common cliche that Hawaii is a crossroads between East and West, and when you get to Honolulu, that will make sense. Honolulu is a place where you will find Filipino adobo, fun 50’s style diners, and excellent fresh poke. You are sure to love the local Hawaiian cuisine that Honolulu has to offer, as well as some of the incredibly delicious influences from the East and West. Here is our guide to the best Honolulu Restaurants!

There is a common cliche that Hawaii is a crossroads between East and West, and when you get to Honolulu, that will make sense. Honolulu is a place where you will find Filipino adobo, fun 50’s style diners, and excellent fresh poke. You are sure to love the local Hawaiian cuisine that Honolulu has to offer, as well as some of the incredibly delicious influences from the East and West. Here is our guide to the best Honolulu Restaurants!

Oahu Map

Oahu Map

Contents

Where to Eat

The Top Neighborhoods

Downtown Honolulu

The hustle and bustle of Downtown Honolulu has cultivated a collection of excellent restaurants you don’t want to miss. There are also various accommodation options in the Downtown Honolulu area, making it a great base.

Waikiki

The locals tend not to be huge fans of Waikiki; for a good reason, it is a central tourist hub. Keep in mind that parking is expensive and hard to find. There are beautiful beaches and a ton of accommodation options in Waikiki. There are also a few hidden gem restaurants that are worth making the trek to Waikiki for.

Downtown Honolulu

The hustle and bustle of Downtown Honolulu has cultivated a collection of excellent restaurants you don’t want to miss. There are also various accommodation options in the Downtown Honolulu area, making it a great base.

Waikiki

The locals tend not to be huge fans of Waikiki; for a good reason, it is a central tourist hub. Keep in mind that parking is expensive and hard to find. There are beautiful beaches and a ton of accommodation options in Waikiki. There are also a few hidden gem restaurants that are worth making the trek to Waikiki for.

Budget Options

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Polynesian/Hawaiian, $

Although it was once a well-kept secret, Helena’s isn’t much of a secret anymore. Known as one of the best spots on the island of Oahu for Hawaiian cuisine, you can expect a wait at Helena’s. Part of the appeal is the eatery’s legacy, Helena’s has been open since 1946, and people continue to return time and time again to this still-excellent local favorite. Try the pipikaula short ribs or order one of the set menus to get all the fixings with your meal, including rice or poi, lomi salmon, raw onions, a side of salt, and haupia to finish.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Quick Bites/Seafood, $

You will know when you are getting close to Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck as the smell of garlic wafts through the air. Giovanni’s is arguably the best of all Oahu shrimp trucks. You will find this food truck permanently parked, among others, in a lot with a shaded area. You will instantly know which is Giovanni’s from the long lines, and trust us, it will be worth the wait. The shrimp are cooked shell-on in lemon butter with heaps of chopped garlic. Local favorites include the Shrimp Scampi and the original Lemon Butter Shrimp. If you are feeling adventurous, try the No Refund – Hot & Spicy!

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Ethel’s Grill

Ethel’s Grill has served chefs, politicians, truck drivers, and tourists alike for decades. Today this local favorite serves comfort food that reflects the mixed heritage of the original owners, including Japanese, Okinawan, Mexican, and local Hawaiian favorites. Make sure to try the seared ahi sashimi topped with soy-marinated garlic chips. Or delight your taste buds with the Okinawa-inspired taco rice, composed of layers of rice, ground beef, lettuce, and shredded cheese topped with a fried taco shell. Ethel’s only offers takeout, which you can enjoy waterside at the nearby Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Yama’s Fish Market

Seafood/Polynesian/Hawaiian, $

If you are looking for traditional Hawaiian cuisine, head to Yama’s Fish Market for a selection of comfort food from Hawaii’s plantation era. It was a time when laborers from around the world brought a taste of home with them. You will find Puerto Rican pasteles, Japanese mochiko chicken, and Filipino pork adobo on this diverse menu. These menu items are alongside delicious Hawaiian classics, including laulau, kalua pig, and fresh poke. Yama’s Fish Market only does takeout, but you can grab one of the picnic tables at the nearby Honolulu Stadium Park.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Maguro Brothers

Japanese/Seafood/Quick Bites, $

If there is one thing you must try while in Honolulu, it’s poke. There are plenty of great places to sample the island’s poke, but you will want to head to Maguro Brothers. Their authentic version of poke highlights the fresh fish and is tossed to order with minimal seasonings of salt, limu, shoyu, and onion. You can expect a line in Waikiki after they open. However, the Chinatown location is far less busy and stays open until the early afternoon. Additional menu favorites include ahi belly and chirashi with grilled hamachikama.

Website       Map 

Midrange Options

Honolulu Restaurant Guide
Honolulu Restaurant Guide

The Pig and The Lady

Asian/Vietnamese/Vegetarian Friendly, $$ - $$$

You might have heard of The Pig and the Lady’s famous ph​​ở French dip. This eatery was one of the first on the island to serve this version of ph​​ở and still serves up, arguably, the best version. The sandwich is only available for lunch, but it’s also worth stopping by for their braised brisket-stuffed creation with a side of phở broth for dipping. You will surely love the atmosphere in the industrial chic dining room and The Big Trouble in Little China-themed bathroom. The fusion of Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian ingredients combine to make incredible fusion dishes like baked escargot in a seafood curry sauce and the “Wrap Battle,” a lettuce wrap-style feast centered with a 12-hour, slow roasted and glazed piece of beef. If you love sweets, save some room for the soft serve swirl.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Fete

American/Vegetarian Friendly/Vegan Options, $$ - $$$

When visiting Fete, make sure to ask for their list of specials that usually highlights local fish and delicious Hawaiian-inspired dishes, such as pork chops from pigs raised at Kualoa Ranch (the set of movies such as Jumanji and Jurassic Park). Favorites at this excellent eatery include dishes like carbonara with Portuguese sausage and a Korean fried chicken sandwich. Whatever you do, don’t miss the housemade Rocky Road ice cream. While Fete is small, they have excellent cuisine in a Hawaii meets French Bistro setting that is perfect for a date night.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Lucky Belly

Asian/Vegetarian Friendly/Vegan Options, $$ - $$$

Lucky Belly is loved by locals for its fantastic cocktails and gigantic bowls of noodles with a modern twist. This popular fusion ramen bar is known for savory broths and trendy small plates with offerings like pork belly buns and oxtail dumplings. Make sure to dig into a bowl of ramen, complete with sesame seeds, green onion, ginger, a soft egg, and dried seaweed. Add the exceptional oxtail wontons and togarashi shrimp with house made kimchi to spice things up a bit. You will love the atmosphere if you dine in, but Lucky Belly also offers takeout.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Hau Tree

Hawaiian/American/Seafood, $$-$$$

As one of Honolulu’s most beloved beachside restaurants in the beautiful Kaimana Beach Hotel, Hau Tree is a must-visit during your stay in Honolulu. The breathtaking morning views are almost as good as the local favorite, eggs benedict. This eatery and bar is also the perfect place to catch a sunset, which pairs perfectly with their revamped cocktail menu. Make sure to try the crisp-fried octopus with miso bearnaise. Or sit back and take in the view as you sip local beers, ciders, and tropical cocktails, including piña coladas and Mai Tais.

Website       Map 

Honolulu Restaurant Guide
Honolulu Restaurant Guide

Karai Crab

Seafood/Cajun/Creole/Bar, $$-$$$

If you love dipping freshly caught seafood creations in buttery sauces, you must take a trip to Karai Crab. A Honolulu favorite, this restaurant proudly serves what you’re craving in huge portions. Due to Karai Crab’s popularity, making reservations before your visit is best. Fried Chicken Skin Chips are a favorite menu item, with their deep-fried crispiness and housemade honey garlic dipping sauce. You should also try the loaded fries or choose between all the fantastic seafood creations, such as Lobster Tail, King Crab Legs, and Live Clams.

Website       Map 

High-End Options

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Roy’s Hawaiian Kai

Steakhouse/Seafood/Grill, $$$

Roy’s has been an institution in Honolulu for many years. The chefs here utilize the freshest local ingredients, bold Asian spices, and European sauces; and focus on fresh seafood for a mouthwatering menu you will love. Often packed with food-savvy visitors and residents alike, Roy’s has become known for classics like smoked Szechuan baby back ribs or blackened ahi with soy mustard butter sauce. Local favorites include the miso butterfish and chocolate soufflé. There are also several vegetarian and vegan options, not to mention a fantastic wine list.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Senia

American/Vegan Options/Gluten Free Options, $$$$

At Senia, you will find one of Honolulu’s most-refined dining experiences. Senia serves both an approachable a la carte menu and an extravagant tasting menu in the same room. Try some of the fantastic pasta offerings, like the sweet corn agnolotti dressed with crispy prosciutto and smoked trout roe. The large plates are perfect for sharing; try the triple-smoked king salmon unveiled with a smoky flourish underneath a glass cloche. Or join the highly regarded chefs, Friday and Saturday evenings, for a lavish tasting menu at the 8-seat chefs’ counter.

Website       Map 

Honolulu Restaurant Guide
Honolulu Restaurant Guide

Azure

Seafood/American/Vegetarian Friendly, $$$$

Azure serves a dinner to remember at their world-class beachfront location in Waikiki. Located at the Royal Hawaiian Resort, you can enjoy a handcrafted four-course dinner menu created by their talented chef when dining at Azure. If you want a whole oceanfront dining experience, you’ll want to grab a table outside on the patio. Although the Azure menu changes seasonally, you can expect a flavorful and delicious cuisine year-round. Try the asparagus salad, poached scallops, and Russian honey cakes to top it off. When dining at Azure, they request that you wear resort or business casual attire to your meal.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

House Without A Key

American/Fusion/Vegetarian Friendly, $$$$

If you only try one mai tai in Honolulu, order it at House Without A Key. This beachside bar and restaurant is located in the Halekulani Hotel. The Mai Tai here is classic and well-executed, and if you come around sunset, you will have a prime seat where you can also watch Hawaiian musicians and hula performances. Make sure to try the sumac-crusted fresh catch of the day, baby-back ribs, lobster with lemon grass garlic butter, or the New York strip dusted with black lava salt and served with a soy-citrus sauce. No matter what you choose, you are sure to enjoy your dining experience at this iconic Honolulu restaurant.

Website       Map 

Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide
Best Honolulu Restaurants Guide

Hoku’s

Seafood/American/Contemporary, $$$$

Located in the Kahala Hotel and Resort, this sophisticated eatery offers tantalizing Hawaiian-inspired global cuisine. Where elegant and refined dining combines with a welcoming and relaxed setting, and trust us, you can’t beat the ocean views at this romantic restaurant. The tasting menus change frequently and focus on seasonal cuisine made with the freshest local ingredients. The menu showcases local ingredients perfectly in Asian and Mediterranean dishes, such as the fisherman’s soup and foie gras with macadamia nuts. Try the Island Sashimi appetizer, Ahi Poke with crispy sushi rice or the delectable Waygu Steak.

Website       Map 

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