To the hungry traveller who’s just touched down in Honolulu, it may be tempting to head to a familiar American restaurant chain in the Hawaiian capital. Resist the urge, grab a handful of local macadamia nuts to whet your appetite, and set your sights on these.
From relaxed beachfront Waikiki restaurants to five-star fine dining, Honolulu has a plethora of places to casually nibble or lavishly nosh. Here are our top picks for the best restaurants in Honolulu.
1. La Mer
Address: 2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Food critics and Flighties (not to mention, the most critical of Flighties) agree, La Mer is the place to dine when in Honolulu. Its neoclassical French cuisine incorporates Hawaiian ingredients for a truly unparalleled dining experience. Located at the 5-star Halekulani Hotel, La Mer earns top ratings in its own right, as the only restaurant in Hawaii with repeat 5-stars by Forbes Travel Guide, and Five Diamond Restaurant by AAA. For a beachfront brunch, we recommend Orchids, located on the same property.
2. Bill’s Hawaii
Address: 280 Beach Walk, Honolulu, Hawaii
Fresh, chef-made food infused with the sunshine of Australia and Hawaii can be found at gastronomic guru Bill Granger’s Honolulu outpost. The Aussie chef brings his homeland’s signature easy-going vibe to upscale cuisine, as well as the country’s love for a good brekkie. Start your morning at Bill’s for a legendary breakfast, or end your day with a family-friendly dinner at Bill’s.
3. Ethel’s Grill
Address: 232 Kalihi Street Honolulu, Hawaii.
From truck drivers to tourists, head chefs to heads of state, Ethel’s has been serving up local comfort food since the ‘60s. This charming hole-in-the-wall is family run, now by the second generation, with the same commitment to quality and freshness that made Ethel’s famous. Gotta-tries are seared sashimi, layered taco rice and roasted sweet potato topped with barbequed pork. Expect the unexpected, from kimchi to Nutella adorning dishes. It’s fusion without the pretension.
4. Waiahole Poi Factory
Address: 48-140 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, Hawaii.
Looking for a rustic, off-the-beaten-path Hawaiian meal? Make like a local and head to Waiahole Poi Factory. You don’t need to go to participate in a luau to enjoy traditional food like Kalua pig, lau lau, chicken long rice, and of course, poi. Take a seat at an outdoor picnic bench or the woven-grass lined inside eating area. Charming, cheap and chock-full of authenticity.
5. MW Restaurant
Address: 1538 Kapiolani Blvd #107, Honolulu, Hawaii.
If you’ve already been to Alan Wong’s, one of the most famous Honolulu restaurants, then it’s time to check out MW, run by a husband and wife who were trained under the great Alan Wong, a founder of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. This style incorporates Hawaii’s historical influences, resulting in dishes that reflect Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Spanish and Portuguese flavours. For a taste of Hawaiian regional cooking, from favourites like loco moco to innovative unagi arancini, this stylish restaurant should not be skipped.
Ready to try these incredible Honolulu restaurants yourself? Speak to a Flight Centre travel expert to customize your Better Beach Hawaii Vacation. Call 1 877 967 5302, enquire online or visit us at a store near you. We have packages worth drooling over!