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On my most recent trip to Hawaii, I was curious to see if there had been any additions or changes to the local coffee scene. After all, it has been a while since I wrote about the best places for coffee in Hawaii. There are no newcomers to the coffee scene worth mentioning, however, it is worth noting that Honolulu Coffee Company, which is my favorite, has expanded. They have taken over two spots at the Sheraton in Waikiki that were previously used by Peet’s Coffee. Strange but true, Peet’s Coffee did not make it in Hawaii.
So instead of writing about coffee in Hawaii, I decided to ask some local friends on Oahu what their favorite restaurants were. I’ve lived in Hawaii, so I have a few of my own to mention, but let’s start with their recommendations first. They did know that I’d be writing about their suggestions, so I asked them to keep in mind that many tourists don’t rent cars if they stay in Waikiki. We took this into account. Let’s start with the restaurants that are easily accessible if you stay in Waikiki.
Diamond Head Grill is for sure a local favorite. There’s not much space to sit and eat there. It’s best to take your food down to the beach or as a picnic in the park. Everyone, including me, loves their plate lunch. And their baked goods are good, too!
Michael Mina’s The Street opened up not too long ago right in the heart of Waikiki. The whole area that used to be the International Market was gutted and rebuilt as a mall with high end stores. They also added a few restaurants and The Street is one of them. It’s an interesting concept because it’s more of a food hall than a restaurant. Upscale food halls seem to be trendy right now. I didn’t get to try The Street, but if you like this kind of setting and food, The Street comes highly recommended from my friend.
Roy’s Waikiki is easy to get to if you stay in Waikiki. I’m a big fan of Roy’s and have been enjoying his restaurant for years. The ribs are delicious and no one beats his Chocolate Souffle dessert! There are many locations of Roy’s that I prefer to this location, though. If you have a car, try the Roy’s in Hawaii Kai. Or if you go out to Ko Olina to see the Disney property, there’s a Roy’s there that overlooks the golf course. Sunsets are beautiful from this location.
The Hau Tree Lanai is a favorite for locals, especially for breakfast. It’s an ocean front outdoor restaurant at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. My friends especially recommended the Hau Tree eggs benedict.
Monthly Kaiseki available at The Miyako Japanese Restaurant at The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. Authentic Japanese style cuisine at an affordable price of $58.00 and for an additional $20 we can add sake pairing to entice your meal. Call us at (808) 921-7077 or book on opentable.com.#miyakorestaurant #miyakojapaneserestaurant #kaiseki #sake #japaneserestaurant. Closed on Tuesdays.
I had forgotten about Plumeria Beach House until one of my friends mentioned it. It’s at the Kahala Hotel. This hotel is a wonderful property to visit. It’s beautiful, and when I lived on Oahu, I always loved showing it to anyone who visited. It’s a quiet spot with ocean views. The food is a bit expensive, but it’s good and the setting can’t be better. I’ve been here for brunch on my birthday, so maybe think of it as a special occasion restaurant.
Before we leave restaurants within walking distance of Waikiki, and talk about other restaurants on other parts of the island, I’ve got two to recommend.
You’ve probably eaten Japanese food, but have you ever had okonomiyaki? It’s hard to describe. Many people say it’s like a pizza pancake. I say forget the descriptions and try it. I have been eating okonomiyaki since my first trip to Japan in the 1980’s and I love it. Chibo, in Waikiki, is my favorite okonomiyaki place in the states. Unfortunately, they recently moved to a much smaller space, but the food is still excellent. For a starter, I always get their seafood salad. Yummy! Their garlic chicken is also worth trying. But the main event is the okonomiyaki. You get to put whatever ingredients you want in your okonomiyaki. My two favorite okonomiyaki choices are mochi and bacon okonomiyaki and a mixed seafood okonomiyaki. If you get a chance, it’s fun to watch them make it. I’m craving Chibo as I write this!
Another fun Japanese restaurant, pretty close to the Diamond Head side of Waikiki, is Tokkuri-Tei. I’ve been eating here for years and keep going back. It’s Izakaya style, which generally means bar food. Some call this style “small plates” but that doesn’t do it justice either. Those descriptions are really misleading. The menu at Tokkuri-Tei is extensive and very creative. It’s hard to offer you suggestions because everything here is good, and it really depends on your sushi tastes. So just go. But go hungry and go with lots of people. The portions are not small plates, and you’ll want to try as many dishes as you can.
So that’s it for places to eat around Waikiki. In part 2, I’ve got 8 more restaurants to recommend that will take you to Chinatown, Kaimuki, and the North Shore. Have I missed any of your favorite dining choices around Waikiki? Let me know in the comments below.