Are you heading to Oahu, Hawaii, for the first time? Don’t worry; I got you!
After trying so many restaurants, here are my 15 Must-try Restaurants in Oahu, Hawaii, that I visit every single time. When I say every single time, I am not joking around.
These must-try restaurants in Oahu, Hawaii, are one of the main reasons I travel back so often because they are THAT GOOD!
You are probably here for my foodie recommendations if you came from my Instagram or YouTube.
I know I am like you; I want to read a proper review with a list packed with information like what to order and when to visit.
After many requests, I finally put together a good list! Below are 15 must-try restaurants in Oahu that you need to check out!
BONUS SECTION: I don’t just eat, but I also love to explore, so I did a separate blog post for snorkeling, hiking, and site-seeing. Plus some hotel recommendations.
15 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN OAHU, HAWAII
#1 HELENA’S HAWAIIAN FOOD
I am easily starting my must-try restaurants in Oahu list with Helena’s Hawaiian Food. It took me three trips to FINALLY try Helena’s Hawaiian Food because it is that popular.
However, trust me when I say it is WORTH THE HYPE. Helena’s Hawaiian Food is a family restaurant that serves traditional, local Hawaiian food.
They have been open since 1946 and are not only a tourist faovirte but also a local faovirte! You can taste the LOVE and DETAILS in every dish, plus they also have fantastic service.
I recommend going family-style with Helena’s Hawaiian Food and trying different items on the menu.
Some of my personal favorites are Kalua Pig, Luau Squid, Long Rice Chicken, Fried butterfish collar, Lomi Salmon, Haupia, and a must-order, their Short Ribs Pipikaula Style.
The Short Ribs Pipikaula Style is a MUST-ORDER.
It is simple yet packed with SO MUCH FLAVOUR. I FELL IN LOVE when I took a bite and instantly ordered a second round.
Another dish that took my breath away was the fried butterfish collar. The fish was so tender that it melted in my mouth. Even my sister, who isn’t a fan of fish, said she wanted more!
And finally, the Haupia. A Hawaiian coconut pudding is a perfect way to end the meal. Dip it in the red salt and thank me later!
With that being said, Helena’s Hawaiian Food is SUPER BUSY.
The restaurant itself isn’t super small; however, the parking lot only can fit 4-6 cars, plus there is barely any neighborhood parking.
At any time of the day, you will see a line. I recommend going earlier in the day between 10 am – 11 am.
Especially if you are driving, make sure to go early! I got there at 9:50 am, and there was already a line plus no parking.
#2 HERNY’S PLACE
If you ask me, what is my favorite dessert spot in Oahu, it would EASILY be Henry’s Place ice cream. A super small, hole-in-a-wall, grab-and-go ice cream/fruit shop that makes one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had.
Every time I visit Oahu, I will pick up a couple of ice creams from Herny’s Place and enjoy them on my balcony for the next couple of days.
It may look small, but one is perfect for sharing between 2-3 people. All their ice cream is made with 100% real fruit, and you can taste the freshness from their ice cream. They are known for their “RL” ice cream, which is REALICIOUS Icecreams.
A few flavors that I HIGHLY recommend,
- Passion Orange Guava ICECREAM
- Dragonfruit ICECREAM
- Watermelon ICECREAM
- Pineapple and Mango ICECREAM
They also have many very fresh cut and peeled fruits there too! I love their papaya and mango, and they are also super sweet and fresh. Henry’s Place is for sure part of the must visit restaurants in Oahu!
The only two downsides about Henry’s Place are that it is cash only, and they use quite a bit of plastic; however, other than that, I cannot recommend this small business enough, and I promise you will also love it as well!
#3 RINKA JAPANESE RESTAURANT
If you love unagi, you NEED to try Rinka Japanese Restaurant. Located in downtown Oahu, Rinka is my favorite place to enjoy lunch in Oahu.
Rinka was recommended to me by a local friend, and I am so glad she did because it is one of the best unagi dons I’ve EVER had and her one of her must eat restaurants in Oahu!
I highly recommend their lunch menu, amazing deals, significant portions, and DELICIOUS food.
I go for their grilled Eel, Unagi Bowl every single time. The set comes with chawanmushi, miso soup, pickled vegetables, and two small side dishes of your choice for only $21.75.
Personally, I find that the Unagi Bowl is more than enough for one person; however, if you love grilled eel, you can get the unaju which serves three slices of grilled eel plus more rice, for $35.75.
While I love their Grilled eel, I didn’t find their sashimi or chirashi to be anything special. However, I recommend getting the Crab Cream Croquette a la carte to share!
#4 MARUGAME UDON
I dont think there is an Oahu Must-try restaurant without Marugame Udon. You can see your super fresh, handcrafted udon bowls and tempura made to order, plus it is also pretty affordable!
There is always a wrap-around line around Marugame Udon, and for a good reason.
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
My go-to is for LUNCH – Nikutama, made-to-order udon noodles, served with sweet and savory beef, hot spring egg, and BK sauce.
And for DINNER, I enjoy their Curry Nikutame, their best-selling udon, served with seasoned sweet beef and soft egg in a curry sauce.
For their tempura, I enjoy their shrimp and squid only.
The giant chicken katsu is super dry, and their potato croquette is quite bland.
They are swamped; however, after a few visits, I found their quiet times are around 2:00 pm-4:30 pm.
Any time after 6:30 pm is a LONG line. While their food is delicious, and I highly recommend checking them out, I wouldn’t line up for over 1 hour for them, as there are many delicious dining options around.
#5 ONO SEAFOOD
Another restaurant that took me three visits to finally try, Ono Seafood, serves some of the freshest Poke I’ve ever had!
Ono Seafood is one of the most popular Poke joints around Oahu, and for a good reason. You can taste the freshness from their Poke and seafood.
Unlike many other Poke joints I’ve tried, Ono Seafood uses straightforward ingredients that are packed with umami flavors.
I find that many restaurants around town use heavy seasoning, which sometimes is used to cover up the freshness of the fish.
The menu is small, so you can’t go wrong with anything from Ono Seafood.
I love their poke and their Tako. They get super busy and are often closed, so make sure to check their hours, so you don’t miss out on checking them out during your trip. I find that around 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm, the line dies down and is not as busy!
#6 LEONARD’S BAKERY
What is a trip to Oahu without trying Lenoard’s Bakery? Leonard’s Bakery is known for its fresh and delicious Malasadas.
If you have never tried Malasadas, they are Portuguese doughnut that is softer, fluffy, and without a hole.
I’ll be honest, I am not the biggest donut fan, so I was hesitant to try.
However, I must say, after taking the first bite, I instantly fell in love. The Malasadas are so soft, reminding me of deep-fried milk bread.
There are so many flavors to choose from.
You can even select their Malasads puffs stuffed with a rich and creamy filling. However, my go-to is always their traditional Malasadas coated in cinnamon sugar.
Simple, not too sweet, and delicious! I recommend getting two a person.
Leonard’s Bakery is super busy and similar to Helena’s Hawaiian Food; there is barely any parking. I recommend visiting around 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
#7 ME BAR-B-QUE
I was hesitant to share Me Bar-B-Que because I wanted to keep this small, hole-in-the-wall joint to myself.
Another family-owned restaurant established in 1997, Me Bar-B-Que, is located in Waikiki, and they serve delicious Korean Food.
Whenever I don’t know what to have for dinner, my go-to is ALWAYS Me Bar-B-Que. Generous portions, great prices, fresh side dishes, and delicious food.
Whenever I travel, I crave homemade food after a couple of days.
I stumbled across Me Bar-B-Que during my visit to Waikiki when I was lured in by the smell.
The best way to describe Me Bar-B-Que is homemade comfort food.
Everything on their menu is delicious, but my go-to is their KALBI (Korean Short Ribs), BAR-B-Q Chicken, and their Chicken Katsu.
You get two scoops of rice and four side dishes for each order.
While their main dishes are delicious, I am here for the side dishes. They run out quickly, but I love their saute cabbage, kimchi cucumber, japchae, and bean sprouts!
The dining environment isn’t the best, so I recommend doing takeout and eating it either at the beach while watching the sunset or on your hotel balcony with some beer!
#8 TED’S BAKERY
If you are looking for the best place to try Haupia Cream Pie, you NEED to try Ted’s Bakery.
Their Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie is delicious and the best I’ve ever had—creamy and rich filled, paired with a tender crust. The haupia cream pie is not too sweet and is one of the best pies I’ve ever had!
PLUS, if you are also looking to satisfy your savory taste buds, you need to try their Spicy Garlic Shrimp.
The spicy sauce is SO delicious that I went back in to ask for an extra serving of rice, so I don’t waste any of the sauce.
The serving is generous, and there is plenty of parking and seating at Ted’s Bakery if you avoid the morning crowd.
Ted’s bakery is pretty far, and you will need a vehicle to get here if you are staying at Waikiki.
I recommend spending the day at Shark’s Cove (the best snorkeling spot in Oahu) and finishing the day at Ted’s Bakery for dinner and dessert.
#9 MAUI MIKE’S FIRE-ROASTED CHICKEN
I love chicken and rice, so I knew I had to try it when I stumbled across Maui Mike’s Fire-roasted chicken.
Known for their FRESH NATURAL PREMIUM CHICKEN, Maui Mike’s Fire-Roasted Chicken is the best-roasted chicken RESTAURANTS IN OAHU!
The Chicken is ALWAYS FRESH, NEVER FROZEN.
Their chicken has no steroids, hormones, antibiotics, or other additives.
Every order is made fresh, and there are so many delicious dipping sauces to pair with the chicken.
I usually get THE FEAST which comes with one chicken, two sides, and four sauces for $24.95.
This is the perfect amount to share with four people. You can have the chicken cooked to your preference (half, quarter, or 8th). There are also many sides to choose from, and my go-to is mike’s fries, corn, and rice.
#10 GINZA BAIRIN TONKATSU & YOSHOKU BISTRO
If you are looking for delicious Tonkatsu – Japanese Fried Cutlets, you need to try Ginza Bairin. Juicy, tender, and flavourful katsu is delicious and super satisfying.
Every time I go, I order their black pork chop special (“Specialty” Kurobuta Pork Loin Katsu), plus, you can get beer for only $1 with this combo!
It does get SUPER busy, so make sure to either make a reservation ahead of time or if you are planning to walk in; I find that 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm is the quietest.
Ginza Bairin is a famous location, and right next door is Yoshoku Bistro which sells an almost identical menu and usually is less busy.
If you can’t get a reservation at Ginza, I recommend trying walk-in at Yoshoku Bistro. I’ve had katsu at both locations, and I find the flavor identical.
#11 GIOVANNI’S SHRIMP TRUCK
What is a trip to Oahu without having Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck? Giovanni Shrimp Truck is the most popular food truck to get Garlic Shrimp in Oahu.
Every time you visit there will be a LONG line, the good thing is, the eating environment isn’t the best, which means most people will finish eating in around 10-15 minutes, so there is a high turnover for tables.
Similar to many other famous food joints in Hawaii, going around 3:30 pm-4:30 pm is where it is the least busy.
I love their classic Garlic Shrimp recipe.
The garlicky sauce paired with rice is an exception and will get you licking your finger throughout the meal.
The only downside of Giovanni is that the outdoor seating can get hot and sticky.
Since it is a food truck, there are alot of flies, so I find myself constantly waving the flies away while I eat.
If you have got a car, I recommend bringing it to enjoy it at the beach.
The drive to the beach from Giovanni’s is less than 5 minutes; that way, you don’t have to keep waving the flies away!
#12 MAGURO BROTHERS
If you love fresh sashimi, you NEED to try Maguro Brothers.
Maguro Brothers serve some of the best High quality, fresh, and delicious sashimi in Hawaii.
This is a hole-in-the-wall spot, but there is a limited quantity.
They are open everyday excepty SUNDAY from 5-8 pm, but often they sell out within a couple of hours, so make sure you go early!
#13 MUSUBI CAFE IYASUME KEEAUMOKU
Not going to lie; I am not a big fan of SPAM; however, whenever I finish Oahu, I HAVE to have Musubi from Musubi Cafe.
If you have never tried Musubi before, it is a rice ball. Their egg, spam, and rice Musubi are super addicting and affordable! Even my husband Dom, who normally hates SPAM, fell in love with Musubi! That is why Iyasume Keeaumoku is always on my must try Restaurants in OAHU!
If you are looking for cheap and filling food, I highly recommend checking out Musubi Cafe Iyasume keeaumoku.
There are a couple of locations, and they are usually the busiest in the daytime.
The spam is seared and coated with a savory and umami sauce. I would say 2 Musubi is the perfect lunch for one person.
They are also pre-wrapped individually, making the ideal to-go lunch at the beach and on a hike. I love grabbing a couple before heading to the beach.
#14 MATSUMOTO SHAVED ICE
One thing that Maui does 100x better compare to Oahu is shaved ice. I tried SO MANY locations in Oahu, but the only one I loved was Matsumoto Shaved Ice. Fluffy, creamy, and their mochi is super delicious!
Known as the “Obama Shaved Ice,” this place sells Oahu’s most delicious shaved ice.
I love how their shaved ice isn’t too “icy” compared to many other locations around town; instead, it is smooth and creamy.
Their syrups are also made out of juices, so there isn’t harsh artificial flavoring compared to many other vendors around town.
I had to include Foodland in this RESTAURANTS IN OAHU list because I will not lie; Foodland sells some of the BEST Poke that is super affordable and delicious.
A local told me his favorite spot to grab poke is FOODLAND, and I understand why.
It is fresh, flavourful, plus super affordable compared to other places. Since it is a grocery market, you don’t have to worry about the long lines!
I love the Foodland that is located at Ala Moana Center.
There are many pre-made food selections and even a bar in the middle.
I highly recommend goign to Foodland in your first few days in Oahu. There aren’t many grocery stores around Waikiki, so you are forced to eat out almost every meal.
Suppose you are like me and want to have fresh fruits or vegetables throughout the day; I highly recommend checking out Foodland.
Pick up some poke, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits, and you are ready to go!
PRO TIP: try the Hawaii onion chip, poke together, and thank me later!
I hope you like my 15 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS IN OAHU, HAWAII!
if you give any of these restaurants a try, please DM me on Instagram and let me know what you think!
If you have more food recommendations, make sure to comment below.
Neal Takamoto says
If you love katsu, you should try Tonkatsu Tamafuji. It is located just outside of Waikiki on Kapahulu Avenue.
If you love ramen, my friends and I like Junpuu on King St., across from Neal Blaisdell Center. Bonus… BYOB at this restaurant.
If you like Japanese Izakaya’s… Gaku on King St. and Tokkuri Tei next to Tonkatsu Tamafuji on Kapahulu Avenue.
Since you love poke, I recommend you try Fresh Catch on Kapahulu Avenue.
For sweets… don’t forget Liliha Bakery…Coco Puffs and Poi Mochi Doughnut!!! there is one at the International Market Place in Waikiki and the 3rd Floor Ala Moana at Macy’s.
These are just a few of my recommendations while you are in Honolulu.
I love it when people come together and share opinions, great blog, keep it up.