A Comprehensive Food Guide to Oahu Hawaii

As a second honeymoon, my wife and I took a trip to the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Considering that it was January, we wanted to go somewhere warm, but that was also a completely different experience for us. After much evaluation we settled on the farthest U.S. state from the Northeast. Neither of us had ever been there, so in addition to offering up some warmth in the winter, we got to experience something new. I didn’t know much about Hawaii other than what I saw on TV such as leis, luaus, ukuleles, the fact that the islands are stunning (I still wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the place), and that there is a local love of all things Spam.
Man Fuel - Food Blog - Waikiki, HI
Man Fuel - Food Blog - Hawaii - Spam

Before even leaving for Hawaii, I quickly started doing my research into the restaurants. A few hours later and many revisions during the trip, I created an online map of every place I wanted to try that spanned across the entire island. Despite my lofty goals and a rental car with great gas mileage, my wife and I could not physically try every single place due to time, but more importantly, stomach capacity. Nonetheless, we did our best and this post includes the best of the best of what we ate in Hawaii. Surprisingly enough, almost everyone we knew told us that everything in Hawaii is crazy expensive (and some things are definitely unreasonable), but the vast majority of the restaurants included here provided amazing meals at reasonable prices.

Breakfast and Coffee

Musubi Cafe Iyasume
2427 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 921-0168
Note: Awesome musubi. It will ruin musubi for you anywhere else. It’s that good.

Tucker and Bevvy
449 Kapahulu Avenue #203
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 732-0050
Note: Good, solid breakfast in a typical American / Australian style.

Beachside Kitchen
2556 Lemon Rd
Honolulu, HI 96815
Note: Not the best breakfast, but it’s so cheap and fast, that it can be worth it for a quick bite.

Thang II French Coffee and Smoothies
1287 Kalani St
Honolulu, HI 96817 (Kalihi)
Note: Best coffee we had in Hawaii. Strong coffee balanced with sweetness and you must try it with boba (tapioca pearls).


Authentic Hawaiian Food

Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 737-2275
Note: My friend (a local) recommended this place to us for our first experience with Hawaiian Food. It was fantastic. A must visit.

Helena’s Hawaiian Food
1240 North School Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 845-8044
Note: I discovered this restaurant from famous food shows, but they couldn’t capture how wonderful the food turned out. Another must visit.


Food Truck

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
56-505 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku Hawaii, 96731
Note: It’s a truck, but it’s permanently parked. There is covered seating, a simple menu, and a sink to wash up after. The food was really good, but be ready for an incredible amount of garlic if you try the scampi.


Asian and Asian-Inspired Food

The Pig and The Lady
83 North King Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 585-8255
Note: Vietnamese fusion food that delivers on traditional flavors with a twist.

Opal Thai
66-197 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 637-7950
Note: A truly unique dining experience where the owner asks you questions about your favorite Thai foods and then creates a custom meal for you. If you’re adventurous enough to trust someone else to order for you, then you’ll have a great time here!

Sushi Bay
590 Farrington Highway
Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 693-9922
Note: The sushi is so good and so ridiculously affordable that I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around this place. Cheap, delicious, filling, and features a conveyor belt. What more could you want? Eat what you like, but you absolutely must get the mini-mix don ahi tuna bowl.

Side Street Inn
614 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Note: My friend who lives in Hawaii met up with us and took us to this restaurant. The Asian-inspired dishes really captured the best qualities of Korean cuisine. The Li Hing Margarita is a uniquely Hawaiian flavor with a sweet and tangy quality.


Miscellaneous World Food

Bills Sydney
280 Beach Walk
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 922-1500
Note: We enjoyed Bills, but it wasn’t our favorite place to eat overall. Nonetheless, it was a great find for quality and somewhat affordable dining in the tourist infested Waikiki Beach area.

The Olive Tree Cafe
4614 Kilauea Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 737-0303
Note: After almost a week of trying different foods, my Greek wife wanted to go back to her roots and try this Greek restaurant out. The food was very well done and the flavors were excellent. The food quantity isn’t much considering the price and ordering for dining in is a bit of a disaster, but overall a good experience.


Bakeries and Desserts

Ted’s Bakery
59-024 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 638-8207

Note: If you can get to the North Shore then make sure to make a stop here for a sweet snack. Decadent pudding-style pies and fantastic pastries.

Leonard’s Bakery
933 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 737-5591
Note: Good luck finding parking here because Leonard’s is always jammed full of people. The soft doughnut-like malasadas are that good. I recommend Haupia filled and the sugar with cinnamon flavors.

Honolulu Cookie Company
[Many Locations]
2552 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
Note: At first glance, these cookies don’t look like they are anything special, but the truth is that they taste ridiculously good. The best part is that in all of the many store locations, there are free samples!

Zippy’s and Napoleon’s Bakery
601 Kapahulu Avenue
(808) 733-3725
Note: An insider tip from my friend who lives on the island showed us the late night treasures that await in Napoleon’s fast food style bakery in Zippy’s.


Best Shave Ice

Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha
Aina Haina Shopping Center
820 West Hind Drive #11
Honolulu, HI 96821
(808) 373-5111
Note: This is the BEST shave ice on the island. Seriously. Not an exaggeration. It’s a little out of the way and in a strip mall, but you must go here to try the natural homemade syrups over the most delicate shave ice ever. Keep an eye out for Uncle Clay himself. He’s so personable that he chatted with my wife and I for 20 minutes as well as gave us each no less than three hugs before we left.

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
66-087 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 637-4827
Note: Amazing shave ice on the North Shore in one of our favorite towns, Haleiwa. Second only to Uncle Clay’s, Matsumoto delivers tons of flavor options and a more traditional style of shave ice in a cone.


Farmers’ Market

KCC Farmers’ Market
Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 260-4440
Note: My friend called this farmers’ market “a must experience” and he was right. 


8 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Food Guide to Oahu Hawaii

Add yours

    1. Thanks for checking it out! I know you’re in (or were in) Vietnam, so I hope I’ll get to read something about your trip! The Instagram photos have been ridiculoooouuuuus!

  1. I’m born and raised in Hawaii, and love Hawaiian food – tried it at multiple places, including those listed in this article. But for me, the best is Haili’s Hawaiian Food. It has the best lau lau, bar none. You can choose one with pork or one with chicken. Why is it so superior? Because the luau leaves used in the lau lau are soft, but not overcooked and mushy. To me, the texture of the luau leaves makes the lau lau spectacular. BTW, it’s not just me – the manager told me that they sell 500-1000 lau lau a week. Now that’s popular!

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