On our Hawaii trip in November, we ate at many different places. Sooo much good food! Quite honestly, the food might have been the best part of the trip, and we really loved our trip so that says something! I’ve been trying to narrow it down to just our favorites on each island, and today I’m sharing our favorite places to eat on Oahu!
Duke’s was the first place we ate when we arrived at our Waikiki hotel. We had just survived a ten hour flight (which did not include meal service — just snacks), and we were exhausted and starving. We didn’t even change clothes, just stumbled down the beach in search of a restaurant, and there it was, about three hotels down from our hotel. Maybe because we were starving, or maybe not, Duke’s was fantastic. It’s named after Duke Kahanamoku, a famous surfer in Hawaii, and it’s a little touristy but not overly so. Great service, welcoming atmosphere, and delicious food and drinks. I wish we’d had room to try one of their pies, because it looked amazing from the table next to us!
We stayed at the Westin, but we were trying to avoid eating there because it’s kinda pricey. But then it was pouring rain one morning, and we were kind of trapped. We decided to just go for it, and I’m so glad we did. We both ordered the coconut almond crunch waffles and they were to die for. Seriously the best waffle I have ever eaten, and worth every penny. Nicely done, Westin!
Leonard’s is pretty famous among locals and tourists alike, even though it’s a tiny little shop on a regular neighborhood street in Honolulu. Legend has it that Leonard’s is the bakery which introduced malasada’s — a type of Portugese donut — to Hawaii. It’s no wonder malasadas are popular in Hawaii because they are freaking delicious. Not healthy, but delicious. There’s always a bit of a line and not much parking, but that’s because the food is worth it. Be prepared to take your goodies to go — there’s no sit-down spot here.
On our first full day on Oahu, we drove up to the North Shore. We stopped in the little town of Haleiwa for breakfast, and found Cafe Haleiwa. It was empty when we came in, but it soon filled up with a bunch of locals and a few other tourists. I ordered the half papaya and it was so fresh and yummy! I also had the french toast and some Kona coffee. Perfect stop for an inexpensive and delicious breakfast.
So there’s not necessarily an actual location for Ray’s. It was kind of a pop up deal along the surf shops in the North Shore area, but it seems like they’re in that parking lot quite often. We smelled the chicken roasting, and we crossed the street for a plate lunch, which we ate balancing on our knees while sitting on a rock. A hungry stray cat was veeerrry interested in my chicken too!
Ted’s Bakery is famous for their pies, although we actually ordered (and loved) their malasadas. We also had some kind of hot dog wrapped in a fluffy sweet bread. It’s a bit of a drive from the main shopping area on the North Shore, but since we were exploring anyway, we took the drive. Ted’s is not much to look at (aside from some neat murals on the building), but it was tasty!
There are two locations for Buzz’s: one in Pearl City (the original) and the Lanikai location in Kailua. It was recommended to us by a bartender the day before, and since we hadn’t yet visited the east side of the island, we chose the Lanikai one. The drive to Kailua from Honolulu is a little, um, interesting. You’re driving up, through, and down a mountain to get there (including a downhill tunnel!), but there’s also a Target in Kailua, so that sweetens the deal a bit. (There are only two on the island!) I wish we had gone during the daytime to see more of the area, but the restaurant was phenomenal. It was a little more expensive, and even though the inside was more homey than fancy, the food was definitely on the gourmet side. It’s a steakhouse, yes, but what’s really great there is the fresh fish. The waitress told us a few kinds of fish that we available, which depends on what they get at the fish market that morning — whatever was caught that morning! You can get it prepared several different ways, and I chose the “Hawaiian” preparation for my fish — delicious.
There were many more meals on Oahu, but these were the real standouts. If you’re headed to Hawaii, give these spots a try!
Check back soon for a post on “What to Eat on Maui”, and check out these other posts from our Hawaii trip: Hawaii Trip Highlights, What to Do on a Rainy Day in Waikiki, Hiking to the Olivine Pools, and the Honolulu Zoo.