A melting pot of ethnicities makes Oahu’s culinary scene amazing rich and varied. From local favorites to hot new restaurants worth checking out, read on for 10 foodie favorites in Oahu. We’re talking about fresh flavor, amazing eateries, and that laid back Aloha spirit. This list is sure to make you hungry, so hop over to Island Air and book a flight to Oahu ASAP!
Start your morning off with a colorful breakfast at this much loved Korean restaurant in Honolulu. Known for their purple pancakes made of sweet potatoes, ube coconut sauce and purple yam, this is far from your average breakfast fare. Instead of another coffee, try a taro latte, which gets its purple hue from the taro root commonly grown in Hawaii. Mixing island flavors with Asian ingredients and history, Yogurstory is a a can’t miss brunch spot for locals and tourists alike.
2. Koko Head Cafe
Head to Koko Head Cafe for an island style brunch that’s a longtime favorite among locals. From black sesame yuzu muffins to Auntie Alohi Cakes made of koena, banana, sour cream, and guava jam, you’re sure to find something tasty that you’ve never tried before. In addition to a good assortment of sweet brunch options, they have some interesting savory options as well. You can’t go wrong with the breakfast bibimbop, made with bacon, Portuguese sausage, heritage ham, kimchi, soy-mirin shiitake mushrooms, ong choy, sesame carrots & bean sprouts, sunny up egg, all served over crispy garlic rice in a hot skillet.
3. Kau Kau Grill
Kau Kau Grill is a food truck that cruises around Honolulu, and you’ll spot it by the line of locals waiting for their lunch. Known for its tender shrimp and juicy ribs, this food truck is like a fine restaurant on wheels. You can’t beat the price either, with generous sized lunch plates coming in at $12.
4. Alicia’s Market
You can’t do a foodie tour of Oahu without indulging in some great local poke, a Hawaiian specialty combining raw fish chunks with rice and various flavor combinations. Alicia’s won the title of the island’s Best Poke by Honolulu Magazine, and it’s easy to see and taste why. Alicia’s has great history too: a family run business intent on spreading the Aloha spirit and the best fresh food with multicultural flair, it’s been serving up awesome Chinese Hawaiian style food for 65 years.
5. Kaimuki Superette
Head to Kaimuki for an awesome sandwich in a cute little space with plenty of Aloha charm. Try a poached octopus roll or a Kuahiwi Meatloaf. Great for families, with casual seating and a friendly staff.
6. Bills Hawaii
With a breezy open air design and a beach bar, Bills Hawaii is a great new spot in Waikiki. Serving up an eclectic menu inspired by the local tropical produce and a fusion of Vietnamese, Japanese and indigenous cuisines, Bills is a great place to try ricotta hotcakes, seared duck and duck confit, and sweet corn fritter, among other tasty dishes. Bills Hawaii is a spinoff of the Australian chef’s famous Bills Sydney.
7. Torae Torae
From sashimi to rice bowls to a steamed egg custard called Chawanmushi, Torae Torae is a great spot to share and sample small plates made from fresh local ingredients with Japanese flair. An open layout and kitchen lets you watch the chefs at work.
8. Seed Restaurant
Health conscious cuisine meets fresh local ingredients at Seed Restaurant. Using vegetables from their backyard garden, Seed is a great spot for a lighter lunch or dinner. Try the Kalua Pork Sliders or the blackened portobello tofu.
9. Helena’s Hawaiian Food
This Oahu mainstay has been in business since 1964, serving up local island favorites like poke, Kalua Pig and short ribs. Foodies can rest assured that Helena’s won the James Beard award in 2000 for Regional Classic Food.
10. 12th Ave Grill
Head to 12th Avenue Grill for elevated comfort food. Come on Sunday nights to enjoy a meal family style. Winner of several restaurant awards, it’s hard to go wrong at this local loved hotspot . Try the smoked ahi bruschetta or the steamed monchong.
There are too many amazing Oahu restaurants to list here. You’ll just have to keep coming back to try them all!
Photo Credit: 1) Flickr user Charlie Boy Criscola 2) Flickr user Kyle Nishioka 3) Koko Head Cafe kokoheadcafe.com 4) Flickr user takaokun 5) Alicia’s Market aliciasmarket.com 6) Kaimuki Superette http://www.kaimukisuperette.com/ 7) Bills Hawaii billshawaii.com 8) Torae Torae http://www.toraetorae.com 9) Seed Restaurant seedhawaii.com 10) Helena’s Hawaiian Food 11) 12th Ave Grill 12thavegrill.com