Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Here are our local recommendations! These are the restaurants we like to eat and chill at.
1. Sweet Home Cafe (Taiwanese hot pot)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 04:00pm - 11:00pm.
Sweet Home cafe is one of our favorite restaurants to visit with friends and family. All the hot pot ingredients are a la carte, including the veggies and extras. All the veggies and extra food items (seafood balls, egg puffs, chankos, etc.) are kept in refrigerators in the back of the restaurant. The plates are color coded according to price. The soup broths are very savory, not oily, leaving you feeling full, and not heavy after you're done. The best part of the meal is dessert, it's a large bowl of shave ice topped with jellies and bobas, ... and it's free!
2. Over Easy (Brunch/Lunch)
Hours: Closed Mondays. Tues - Friday 07:00am-01:00pm | Saturday - Sunday 07:00am- 01:30pm.
We recommend visiting for brunch! The restaurant normally has a wait, but it doesn't take long to get a table. The items you need to try are the crispy edge pancakes (with seasonal fruit and cream cheese), custard stuffed french toast and the kalua pork hash. The restaurant is run by a couple, Chef Nik Lobendahn and Jennifer Lobendahn, who are both Alan Wong alumni.
3. Yaki Yaki Miwa (authentic Japanese food)
Hours: Closed Tuesdays. Wednesday - Monday 05:00pm -11:00pm.
This restaurant is what is feels like to be in Japan. The food is rich with flavor and the service is great. We recommend the Miwa's special okonomiyaki and the kim chi sobayaki! And do not forget about dessert, if you love kinako order the kinako pudding, it is heavenly. Street parking available.
4. Liliha Bakery (Iconic bakery!)
Hours: Closed Mondays. Tuesday 06:00am-12:00am | Wed- Sat 24 hours | Sunday 12:00am- 08:00pm.
"Bakery & 24-hour diner since 1950, known for its breakfasts, comfort food & coco puffs."
The coco puffs are what tourists and locals flock to Liliha Bakery for! And those puffs are bought by the dozens! Don't forget to try all the other delicious pastries, breads, pies and cakes. For counter food, we recommend the pancakes, grilled sweet bread (it can only be ordered at the N Kuakini bakery), corned beef hash, and the grilled mahimahi sandwich.
5. Pho My Vi (Vietnamese food)
Hours: Sunday - Thurs 10:30am-09:00pm | Friday - Saturday 10:30am -09:30pm
When we are craving pho we head over to Pho My Vi. The broth is among one of the best we tasted on the island. The service is fast and friendly. We also recommend trying the Vietnamese iced coffee, it goes well with the pho.
6. Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery
Hours: Closed Mon-Tues. Wed - Sat 07:00am-09:00pm | Sunday 08:00am-09:00am
Sam vouches these malasadas are better than Leonard's. Escpecially the coffee flavored one!
7. Via Gelato (gelato)
Hours: Sunday - Thurs 11:00am -10:00am | Friday - Sat 11:00-11:00pm
Forget grabbing gelato at the grocery store, Via Gelato is the place to go! The gelato is made in house daily, it is creamy and full-flavored. Grab a half and half cup to try more than one flavor.
"Each day the gelato makers make sixteen to twenty flavors that typically sell out. A board in the store lets customers pin up their ideas ranging from bubble gum to bacon. Not all of the suggestions make the cut, but everyday Via Gelato makes something special that speaks to our fondest childhood memories." (courtesy of viageltohawaii.com)
8. Coquito's Latin Cuisine Restaurant
Hours: Closed Mondays. Tues- Sun 11:00am -09:00pm
"Puerto Rican, Colombian & Caribbean specialties served in a homey, laid-back setting."
The dishes at this restaurant have a home cooked vibe; savory and well seasoned. The service is equally as friendly, it feels as if you are eating at a good friend's house. Don't leave without trying the tres leches cake! & BYOB.
9. Kono's (hawaiian food)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 07:00am-08:00pm
Additional locations: 945 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816 |
"Kono’s is an award-winning casual restaurant known for breakfast bombers (burritos), signature kalua pig, plates, wrap and specialty drinks located on Oahu, Hawaii."
We love the kalua pork plates, delicious milk shakes and teas. The oreo milk shake is a must try!
10. Nalu's (health bar)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 09:00am - 6:00pm
Additional location: 1170 Auahi St Suite 145, Honolulu, HI 96814
Our go to favorites that never disappoints are the acai bowl and ahi wrap. The acai bowl at Nalu's is among the best on the island, in our opinion since Nalu's uses a differnt type of acai than the typical frozen packages. The bowl might look simple, but the taste is amazing!
11.Fresh Catch Kaneohe (seafood)
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10:00 am - 07:30 pm. Sundays 10:00 am - 05:00 pm
If you want amazing seafood style plate lunch, Fresh Catch in Kaneohe is your place. The restaurant has daily specials. We recommend visiting on a Wednesday, the special is crab stuffed ahi rolls (our personal favorite). If you can't make it on a Wednesday, or crab stuffed ahi rolls isn't your thing, we would also recommend the ahi belly, ahi katsu and furikake salmon.
12. Cinnamon's, Kailua (breakfast/brunch)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 07:00am -02:00pm
Classic breakfast joint with great omelets, pancakes and local classics. Our favorites are the eggs benedict, red velvet pancakes, guava pancakes and the Hawaiian omelet. Cinnamon's can get busy at times, but the wait goes by fast!
13. Maui Mike's (chicken restaurant)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 11:00am - 8:30pm
Roasted chicken and chicken sandwiches with your choice of dipping sauces. Along with the main dishes, Maui Mike's sides include: baked beans, green beans, coleslaw, fries, corn (off the cob), and rice. The sandwiches are the winning item on the menu! Try the Mike's Melt sandwich, the calorie count is definitely worth it for this chicken cheese delight.
14. Times Superkmarkets (plate lunch & poke)
Our top two picks for plate lunch from Times are the steak plate and hawaiian combo plate, (kalua pork and pork or chicken lau lau). The plate lunches come with a fountain drink. The poke is also pretty good at Times.
15. Dowon Chinese Restaurant (chinese/korean food)
Hours: Thursday - Tuesday 11:00am -10:00pm, Closed Wednesdays
Dowon is like a Chinese restaurant and Korean restaurant put into one. The go-to, must eat dish here is the jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce). The sweet and sour pork is also raved about. And if you are up for it...the sea cucumber is delicious!
16. Sushi Bay
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, Sun 10:30am -09:00pm, Friday - Saturday 10:30am - 09:30pm
Kaiten sushi with generous portions of fish.
17. Ono Thai
Hours: Monday - Sunday 10:30am - 09:00pm
After traveling throughout Thailand, the dishes at Ono Thai reminded us of some of the dishes we ate in northern Thailand, except spicier (which is a good thing)! The thai basil chicken is delicious and is spot on with the taste. Don't forget the egg on top and the sticky rice. We also recommend the yellow curry, with sticky rice.
18. Bowle's Burritos
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00am - 08:00 pm, Friday - Sunday 08:00am-08:30pm
When we are craving burritos, Bowles is our stop! The burritos are full of fresh ingredients and flavors.
Hours: Depends on location, but some Zippy's are 24hours
You can't come to Hawaii without visiting the local restaurant everyone eats at, day or in the middle of the night! The famous Zippy's chili is a must have. Other plates we highly recommend, chili chicken, spaghetti, chili dog, chili nachos, and the Korean chicken. If you like noodles, the won ton min is large and full of delicious toppings. In a rush? Grab the zip pac, it's a filling bento meal to go.
Zippy's has an outdoor area to purchase food and dine, and a sit-in restaurant (good for parties and family gatherings). There's also a bakery called Napoleon's Bakery that has delicious pastries, pies and cakes! Some of our favorite are the napples(chocolate), jello cream cheese square (Lilikoi cream cheese square from Kailua Zippy's), chocolate dobash cake, and the custard pie.
Some Zippy's are 24 hours so this becomes a popular spot to grab food at after all the other restaurants have closed.
20. Forty Niner Restaurant (burgers, breakfast/brunch, Hawaiian food)
98-110 Honomanu St, Aiea, HI 96701 Hours: Monday - Sunday 07:00am - 08:00pm
Serving local favorites since 1947 from this iconic post WWI building. This restaurant represents more than delicious plate lunches, for the founder Mr. Richard Kiyoshi Chagami, who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, it was a way to improve the standard of living for Japanese plantation workers. Instead of returning to the plantation fields, second generation Japanese (nisei) became entrepreneurs. Mr. Chagami served the local favorites like saimin. The tradition to cater to the locals continues to this day, with favorites like garlic chicken, hamburger steak, and loco moco (mixed with corned beef hash!). The food is delicious, and worth the drive if you aren't in the area.
21. All You Can Eat at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
Hours: Monday - Thurs 11:30am-03:00pm, 05:30pm-10:30pm | Friday - Saturday 11:30am- 11:00pm | Sunday 11:30am-10:30pm.
All You Can Eat 7 Days a Week | Lunch & Dinner: $25.99
Lunch Special Mon-Fri Excluding Holidays | Starting from $12.95 before 03:00pm
Perfect for a large group of people, or for when you're just really hungry! We highly recommend the all you can eat, it is worth the money. The good quality and amount of meat you receive is a nice surprise. You can also make your own sauce, there's a sauce bar next to the kitchen. Wonderful dipping sauces can be made!
22. All You Can Eat at Sik Do Rak II (Korean bbq)
Hours: Monday - Sunday 10:00am - 02:00am
Do the all you can eat, the meat is good quality and one of the top choices, beef tongue, is on the menu! The restaurant is also BYOB.