Where are the best restaurants in Hawaii?

If you are like me, finding good restaurants is an important aspect of your Hawaii vacation planning. It can be a bit of a daunting task, but fortunately there are a lot of great resources to help you make your selections. Starting today, I’ll be putting together a series of restaurant guides organized by island. We’ll begin North on the island of Kauai and work our way South.

In case it may be of some help for you as you plan your vacation, here are some of the aspects I consider when I’m planning restaurants into my Hawaii vacations. I like to:

  • Choose two or three top restaurants for dinner and make the reservation at least a week in advance.
  • If a restaurant has a particularly good view or setting, I like to reserve a dinner table for opening time, to increase my chances to be seated at one of the nicer tables. The restaurants seat guests on a first come first serve basis. Especially during the beginning of my stay, I’m a bit jet lagged, so earlier dinners (e.g., around 5:30pm) are actually well timed. Most restaurants open between 5:00pm and 6:00pm.
  • When I make a reservation at the the top restaurants, I like to ask about their dress code, so we’ll know if we need to pack any special attire. Note that the dress code at the vast majority of Hawaii’s restaurants is described as resort wear. What is resort wear? For ladies, I’d describe resort wear as nice shorts, capris, casual summer dresses and skirts. For men, I’d describe resort wear as nice shorts with a polo shirt or aloha (Hawaiian print) shirt.
  • I like to pick out at least one good breakfast restaurant. As you may recall from my article on Hawaii vacation money saving tips, resort buffets can be very expensive, so I like to make note of the best local restaurants for breakfast that’s near my accommodation.

As part of this series, I’m also announcing the “Go Visit Hawaii Recommended” award. This award is my seal of approval for the best restaurants, hotels, and activities. Whenever you see the badge below, you’ll know that I’m giving my personal recommendation based on an exceptionally good experience.

Go Visit Hawaii Recommended

Update:  Now that the series is complete, here are resources for finding the best restaurants in Hawaii:

Big Island Restaurant Guide

Kauai Restaurant Guide

Maui Restaurant Guide

Oahu Restaurant Guide

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