Where are the best Oahu restaurants?


I estimate that Oahu has more restaurants than all the other islands combined. Honolulu has over a thousand restaurants alone. With just about any type of ethnic fare being well represented on Oahu, you won’t lack choices — that’s for sure.

We’ll first look at the restaurants we at Go Visit Hawaii recommend. Our recommendations put an emphasis on restaurants that serve Hawaii regional cuisine.

1. Go Visit Hawaii’s Favorite Oahu Restaurants

Here are the Oahu restaurants that we really like and would definitely recommend to friends and family.

Best shave iceMatsumoto in Haleiwa is the most famous. We also like the shave ice at Aloha General Store. Check out our Haleiwa shave ice article.

Most romanticHau Tree Lanai  and Orchids on Waikiki Beach.

Best Restaurant for a special occasion: Orchids at the Halekulani in Waikiki Beach. This ocean front restaurant offers wonderful views of Waikiki Beach. It’s right beside House without a Key which is one of our favorite places for Waikiki sunset cocktails. We highly recommend you make reservations and when you do, let them know if you are celebrating a special occasion.

Best all around – For a great casual atmosphere, good food, and not too expensive (for Hawaii standards) – Duke’s Waikiki, Hula Grill and Tiki’s Grill, both have good Waikiki Beach ocean views. Additionally, Monkeypod Kitchen is a favorite of ours and it has two Oahu locations – one in Ko Olina and one in Waikiki. All the restaurants in this best-all-around category are family-friendly.

Best valueNico’s Pier 38 is a bit off the beaten path in Honolulu and sorta nearish to the USS Arizona Memorial.

Best breakfasts in WaikikiEggs n’ Things specializes in delicious pancakes. For a nice breakfast with a beachfront view, we like Tropics Bar and Grill at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Another great breakfast place for great views is the Veranda at Moana Surfrider in Waikiki. And, one more great spot for breakfast with a view is Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai.

Best breakfasts outside of Waikiki – We love the lavish breakfast buffet at the Kahala.

Best bakery -In Honolulu, that would be Liliha Bakery and trying a coco puff is a must!  On the North Shore, try Ted’s Bakery, located near Sunset Beach. It’s a colorful shop on the mauka side (mountain side) of Kamehameha Highway. They also serve good plate lunches and burgers. For malasadas, check out Leonard’s Bakery near Waikiki.

Best local hole in the wall restaurantHukilau Cafe in Laie.

Best sushi – Sansei Restaurant and Sushi Bar Waikiki Beach in the Waikiki Marriott. We’ve also heard good things about Nobu in Waikiki, but we’ve not been there yet.

Best burgers – On Waikiki Beach, we like Teddy’s Bigger Burgers at the Waikiki Aston, where you can grab a burger and walk to the beach for a cheap sunset dinner. On the North Shore, we love Kua Aina in Haleiwa.

Best North Shore restaurants – Some we’ve already mentioned, like Ted’s Bakery,  Matsumoto’s, Hukilau Cafe and Kua Aina burgers. One thing the North Shore is famous for is shrimp trucks that serve up fresh garlic shrimp. Romy’s and Giovanni’s are the most well known.

Best pineapple dessert in a tourist trap 🙂 Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation

2. Best Oahu restaurant list from a local’s perspective

Go Visit Hawaii is blessed with great friends who live in Hawaii. I asked friends who live on Oahu for their recommendations. Here is their great list of Oahu’s top restaurants.

3. Yelp 

When we first starting writing Hawaii advice in 2006, Yelp.com was just a start-up and not even on my radar. Over the years, it’s become a helpful site and app to find restaurants, when and where we want — both at home and when we travel.

4. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is a good source for researching Hawaii restaurants. Most reviews are written by folks on vacation, so the reviews are very relevant and relatable for fellow visitors. Since you will most likely be choosing restaurants based on where you’ll be, I’ll organize the TripAdvisor reviews by location. So as not to generate too much detail, I’ll try to limit this list to areas that tourists are more likely to be staying or nearby for sight-seeing. We’ll start on the South shore and work our way around the island clockwise.

South Shore (Honolulu and Waikiki Beach)

Leeward West Shore (From Barber’s Point North to Kaena Point)

North Shore (From Kaena Point North to Kahuku)

Windward East Shore (From Laie South to Makapuu Point)

5. OpenTable.com

From OpenTable, you can search restaurant availability, reviews and book a table. They also provide some helpful and specific search criteria to hone in on what you’re looking for. One good aspect of OpenTable is that each review is written by a verified customer.

6. Guidebooks

I have always found the Ultimate/Revealed guides to be particularly reliable for restaurant recommendations, the Oahu version is fairly good, but not quite as comprehensive as their guidebooks for the other islands. The Oahu version is called Oahu Revealed,

If you live on Oahu, what restaurants would you recommend? If you’ve been to Oahu on vacation, please tell us your favorite restaurants.

  1. I’m planning a trip to Oahu next month and this list is already helping me. I didn’t know Trip Advisor had restaurants listed. Thank you!

  2. @ Andy – yeah, it would be nice to sit back there in OLA right on the beach, share a plate of those nachos and just watch the waves.

    @Tony – I’m glad you are finding the list to be a help for your planning. That’s what it’s intended to be. 🙂 I hope you have a great time on Oahu!

  3. Roy’s is one of my favorites, we have one here in Dallas as well. When I last visited Oahu we drove up to the North Shore in search of fresh shrimp and we found this really great outdoor dining side of the road shack called Romy’s. It’s a little red hut where you place your order and they cook the shrimp from the farm behind the shed. You can’t get any fresher than that. It was yummy and well worth the drive.


  4. @ Dave – I appreciate the additional recommendations. And, what? Taco Bell has kulua pork items? WOW!

    @ Debo Hobo – another WOW…Dallas has Romy’s, too? That would be a lot closer for me to get to from North Carolina, but still, it’s a flight away. 🙂 You’re right, you can’t get shrimp any fresher than Romy’s! Thanks for sharing your favorite Oahu restaurant!….. UPDATE: oops, I realized I miss read your comment at first. You said Dallas has a Roys….not a Romy’s. Doh! My apologies!

  5. Wow! Thank you, Dave. I just found a cuban restaurant in Honolulu. I live in Miami, Florida and never dreamed of finding that in Hawaii. I guess we are everywhere!

  6. The link in “Most Romantic – Hau Tree Lanai Waikiki Beach” seems to be broken. I wonder if the place is still existing, since I going to stay at an Hotel on Waikiki Beach. Thanks for finding out. N

  7. I know this is an old article but you’ve left off the best restaurants in Kailua.

    Breakfast: Hands down, Moke’s Bread & Breakfast
    Dinner: Kalapawai Cafe, Baci Bistro and newcomers, The Grove and Cactus.


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