Honolulu Guide to the Best Restaurants, Bars and Beyond

December 19, 2018Fancy Nanc-ista
Eating my way through the tropical city of Honolulu


The Ultimate Guide of the Best Eats, Drinks and Gems in Honolulu, Hawaii
If you like fresh fruit and fresh seafood; Honolulu, Hawaii should be your next tropical destination to head to – With a combination of Polynesian, Japanese, and American cultures; in just one city, you can find a diverse selection of the best cuisine.

Last week I took a break from LA and traveled solo to Honolulu, Hawaii. While there I had the opportunity to try some of Honolulu’s top grub and wined in on great happy hour deals beach side, all while mingling it up with such amazing Hawaiian locals! I kept these places in mind because I really wanted to write up a Honolulu guide for you all for the next time you visit here! And if you love exploring and trying new restaurants and bars as much as I do; you’re in luck! From world-class restaurants to beach eats, fresh seafood, hometown grub, great happy hours and more; it’s all on here. The places found below are spots I discovered via Yelp and from the many wonderful locals themselves. Hope you enjoy!

1) POKE.
Because no visit to Hawaii is complete without poke, am I right? When visiting, I stopped by 3 different poke spots. Poke (if you are not familiar) is diced raw fish and is one of the traditional dishes of Hawaiian Cuisine.

If you look up “poke” on Yelp, you will discover various restaurants to check out – below are just the top recommendations the locals and Yelp suggested –

Where to Go:
Shaka Poke-
This small hole in the wall poke place, located in downtown, is a must to check out while in Waikiki. Not only was the poke fresh but the staff were very friendly and made me feel right at home, not to mention very unbeatable prices! I ordered their Ahi Tuna and Salmon with spicy mayo and white rice; so good!

Find them on Yelp
Located in Waikiki Shopping Plaza
2250 Kalakaua Avenue

Maguro Spot-
Found this place on Yelp when I was nearby craving poke for lunch. Had a great star rating so I had to check it out. This spot is nearby Waikiki Beach which is a great light snack to take with you. The restaurant is quite small with not many seating anyway.

The menu here is super straightforward so if you are hoping for a ton of toppings, this is not your place. However, if you want something simple, yet fresh and light – this IS the place.

Find them on Yelp
2441 Kuhio Avenue

Foodland-
Foodland, also known as a grocery store (similarly to a Whole Foods), has many fresh foods including a poke bar station. This was one of the places many of the locals suggested to try for poke. There are various locations; I went to the Foodland located in the Ala Moana Center; and it was amazing! Super fresh, good portion and pricing.

Find them on Yelp
Located in Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard

Ono Seafood-
Although I did not get a chance to try this spot out; I’ve heard only great things about it. It supposedly is one of the top favorite local spots for poke!

Find them on Yelp
747 Kapahulu Avenue

The Buffet at Hyatt-
I stayed at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa during my trip. The hotel was absolutely amazing needless to say, and I was lucky enough to try out their restaurant within the hotel; The Buffet at Hyatt.

Seafood is definitely one of my favorite types of cuisine so I was right in heaven. The Buffet offered a wide range of seafood selection as well as a delightful table of desserts. My absolute favorite section was the sushi and poke – totally fresh made from their Chefs right there and then. Highly recommend stopping by as a hotel guest, tourist or local if you are craving a wide variety of fresh seafood. The pricing ain’t bad either if you consider the amount of seafood you will be consuming.

Find them on Yelp
Located at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
2424 Kalakaua Avenue

2) SUSHI.
Like poke; why bother going to Hawaii if you aren’t going to indulge in their sushi? Living in LA, yes there’s great sushi spots there but Hawaii has some of my favorites.

Where to Go:
Sansei in Marriott-
Though I did not have time to stop by Sansei this time around; I did the last time and it was seriously one of the best sushi restaurants I’ve tried to date. Everything was phenomenal; from the apps to the sushi and their service, a thumbs up for me! If you’re looking for a wide selection of food and drinks this is your place.

Find them on Yelp
Located in Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
2552 Kalakaua Avenue

Doraku-
This place was highly recommended by locals and also on Yelp when looking for good happy hour specials. I actually stayed in one night and decided to order from here – tried their Emperor Roll and Red Dragon Roll; both were mouth-watering incredible!

Their happy hour deals run daily from 4-6 PM.

Find them on Yelp
Located in Royal Hawaiian Center on the 3rd floor
2233 Kalakaua Avenue
Suite 304

Sushi ii-
If you are looking to splurge on expensive but the best sushi – head on over to Sushi ii. Recommended by many locals; supposedly you get what you pay for.

picture via Reddit

I really wanted to go here but didn’t get the chance (am putting on my list for next time)!!

Find them on Yelp
Located in the Samsung Plaza
655 Keeaumoku Street
Suite 109

Sushi Murayama-
This was another recommended expensive sushi restaurants to check out. Almost a 5 star rating on Yelp, so without a doubt I am sure it’s worth checking out.

Find them on Yelp
808 Sheridan Street
Unit 307

3) HAWAIIAN / LOCAL EATS.
Where to Go:
Me’s BBQ-
This place is my absolute favorite spot for some tasty BBQ! Been here twice already and it never disappoints! The portions are always GIGANTIC and it’s very affordable too. Just a side tip, they only accept cash – if you don’t have any laying around on you, there’s an ATM at the convenience store next door.

Find them on Yelp
151 Uluniu Avenue

Highway Inn-
There are two locations; I came here for breakfast with a friend at the Kaka’ako location and let me tell you it was TOO GOOD! If you are looking for some good home style Hawaiian cuisine, I recommend it! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner options all day – which is great for me because I am not a fan of eggs (which limits me to only sweets). Anywhoo, there menu is HUGE; my friend ordered pancakes and eggs and I ordered their Hawaiian Beef Stew Plate – I want more!

If you choose to go to the Kaka’ako location; I recommend stopping by the Waterfront Park located minutes from there. Great views of the city and a relaxing spot to just chill and relax.

Find them on Yelp
680 Ala Moana Boulevard
Suite 105

Diamond Head and Market Grill-
This place is a definite must when in the area or after a quick hike up Diamond Head Hike. They are known for their specialty baked goods specifically their signature scones. The scones were humongous; I didn’t try it because I had just finished my hike and did not want to eat a lot of carbs, opted for a slice of banana bread instead (which was AMAZING). This spot also serves breakfast and lunch options – I had tried their teriyaki chicken plate; huge portions, cheap and delicious!!!

Find them on Yelp
3158 Monsarrat Avenue


4) OTHER ASIAN CUISINE
You can never go wrong with Asian food – and if you are in Hawaii, you came to the right place to try them all!

Where to Go:
Marukame Udon-
This place is always popping! No joke, at all times, there is always a line – the line went by pretty fast though, so don’t let that stop you from trying it! The udon was AMAZE! Especially on a chilly ‘winter’ day, it’s definitely Udon weather.

You can choose your own bowl and customize your bowl with a variety of ingredients. Totally affordable too!

Find them on Yelp
2310 Kuhio Avenue

The Pig and The Lady-
A lot of locals have raved about this place – I did not get to go; but I need to next time! This is the spot you should go for good old traditional Vietnamese cuisine and if you really want pho.

Find them on Yelp
83 North King Street
Chinatown

Siam Square-
If you have a crave for Thai – this restaurant is a must! A cute space with amazing authentic Thai food that is affordable. I tried their Green Curry with White Rice for dinner; and I loved it.

Find them on Yelp
408 Lewers Street
Suite 200

Topped-
Topped was recommended by a local and I can see why. I passed by this joint but didn’t get to try it. Topped just opened up in Waikiki. The menu is super simple with three different options, Braised Beef, Spicy Pork and Shoyu Chicken, paired with white rice. All look like mouth-watering dishes with a price you can’t beat!

picture via Yelp

Find them on Yelp
2229 Kuhio Avenue
Unit F


5) MEXICAN FUSION CUISINE.

Where to Go:
Buho Cocina Y Cantina-
Craving Mexican while in Hawaii? Buho Cantina is a modern take on traditional Mexican cuisine; it’s located on a rooftop in downtown Waikiki. I came here for dinner one of my last nights there and absolutely loved it. The atmosphere, the workers, and the food were on point.

I ordered their Al pastor tacos and a side of chips and salsa – dying for more. Buho Cantina offers amazing happy hour deals as well. You can get a wide variety of cuisine from the hours 2 to 6 PM daily for such a great price and don’t forget to try their margaritas!

Find them on Yelp
2250 Kalakaua Avenue

Tommy Bahamas-
Yep, they have a clothing store – but up top lies a restaurant with a great view of Waikiki Downtown. Another place I didn’t get to try but supposedly they have really delicious tacos!!

Find them on Yelp
298 Beachwalk Drive

6) COFFEE, TEA & BOBA.

Where to Go:
Nana’s Green Tea- 
Who here is a fan of anything Green Tea flavored? This gem is a local favorite, located in the basement level of Yokocho gourmet alley. While you may have guessed, they have all things green tea – coffee, ice cream, sweets, you name it! Though the ice cream was tempting, I tried their matcha latte; soooo good.

Find them on Yelp
2250 Kalakaua Avenue

Teapresso Bar
Looking for a Boba place? Look no further. Top rated on Yelp; this must be a poppin’ spot! You can choose from signature boba to as far as customizing your own tea!

Find them on Yelp
510 Piikoi Street

7) HAPPY HOURS / BARS / LOUNGES.
Tourist or local; find out where you should be taking your next date, friend, and/or self with these hot places below.

Where to Go:
The Study at The Modern Hotel-
Came here for their happy hour when I was staying next door at The Ilikai. This place is really a hidden gem as it acts as a book shelf by day and as the clock strikes 6 the book shelf opens into a hidden bar.

If you are into a more upscale lounge type feel, this is a great place to hit up. During the week, The Study gives off chill, speakeasy vibes but by late night and weekends I heard it turns into a bustling club/lounge. Luckily for me, I came at a random hour during the week where nobody was there, but had a chance to enjoy a glass of wine and relax after a long day of shooting. The bartenders at the bar were super friendly and made me feel right at home.

As the night goes on, they have live music performances. When I was there, an acoustic artist, Jeremy Cheng performed and he was really good.

And onto the good part, happy hour – served Monday thru Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Definitely check The Study out if you are visiting and/or are local.

Find them on Yelp
Located in The Modern Honolulu
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard

Hideout at The Laylow-
This is a super cute and trendy outdoor bar located in a fairly new hotel called The Laylow. I came here on my last night and fair warning, it gets pretty damn windy and cold up there so bring a jacket just in case!! The Hideout has a good selection of food and drinks – I tried their Rose Sangria and the Margherita flat bread; both were great.

They also serve happy hour as well. From 4:30-6:30 PM daily you can enjoy a good variety of tasty drinks and a few options for food.

Find them on Yelp
Located in The Laylow, Autograph Collection
2299 Kuhio Avenue

Rumfire-
This is a great place to take your date or just have a fun day to night spot! Super lounge-y feel but overall great atmosphere.

I didn’t get to try out any of their special cocktails or food; but I really enjoyed my time there. The servers are friendly and prompt too.

They serve happy hour daily from 3-5 PM with a mixture of signature drinks and delicious apps.

Find them on Yelp
2255 Kalakaua Avenue

Mai Tai Bar-
The perfect place to enjoy the Hawaii sunset while enjoying tasty strong drinks is at Mai Tai Bar. I literally had to bold that word for you because the drinks are no joke, STRONG. Hey, you get your monies worth – so whose complaining? πŸ˜›

I came here on my last day and I’m so happy I did. The cocktails are a little on the pricier side but were perfectly crafted and can’t beat the beautiful beach and ocean views. Definitely try their Mai Tais while you’re there, obviously – I tried their signature favorite – royal mai tai. Though after a few sips I definitely felt it – it was very worth it!

Find them on Yelp
Located in The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
2259 Kalakaua Avenue

Il Buco-
So I would totally consider this place a hidden gem! It’s tucked away downstairs in the Sand Villa Hotel minutes from The Hideout – which is how I found out about this place. When dining at The Hideout, I was craving a nice glass of wine. I had asked the bartenders where I should go, and they recommended me to go here. I am so happy I decided to go because I met some amazing people that night.

Il Buco is a tiny spaced dinner spot – known for their incredible Italian dishes and impeccable wine selection; this spot is a must to check out! When I went I didn’t eat because I already had dinner prior, but I heard their calamari and pasta dishes are to die for. I really liked this little hub, it’s very laid back and homey feeling. The bartender there kept me company and I ended up hanging out there all night meeting a variety of local people.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle streets of Waikiki, this is a good spot to do so.

Find them on Yelp
Located in Sand Villa Hotel
2375 Ala Wai Boulevard

SKY Waikiki-
Though it did not get the best ratings on Yelp – it was recommended by some locals because of it’s sky high killer rooftop views and good drinks and crowd scene – the food not so much. I did not get a chance to check it out but I’m all about the rooftop scene, so definitely need to the next time I’m there!

Find them on Yelp
2270 Kalakaua Avenue

Duke’s Waikiki-
Very popular spot for both tourists and locals alike. If you are looking for a beach vibe, this is your go-to joint. A great selection of Hawaiian / American cuisine and cocktails – this is a must to head to while in Waikiki.

Find them on Yelp
2335 Kalakaua Avenue

Honolulu, Hawaii is home to a diverse cuisine scene offering unique eating and drinking experiences. What are some other must-have places to try while in Honolulu? Leave me a comment below and let me know! πŸ™‚
And if you made it this far; thank you so much for reading! This took me a long time to write up so I appreciate it!!! 
Can’t wait to eat my way through a new city!!!
xo,
Fancy Nancy

If you plan on traveling solo – read all about my experience here.

Comments

  • Unknown

    January 19, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Before now, I had not heard of Poke. It sounds and looks delicious. Whenever I travel, food is an important part of my experience – so thank you for sharing this. I'll know exactly where to go.

  • Perfectly Samantha

    January 20, 2019 at 12:16 am

    I love the look of that flatbread! I love finding new pubs to go to, so thanks for this! πŸ™‚

  • Sharon

    January 21, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Wow — now I'm really hungry! The barbeque looks the best to me — and I would love a glass of the white win with it. I hope to make it to Honolulu sometime to try some of these dishes!

  • Katie Hughes

    January 21, 2019 at 4:49 am

    This is an awesome post! So many great recommendations here – such a shame that I didn’t have it when I last went to Hawaii! Guess I’ll just have to go back!

    Ps I’m also super hungry after reading this!

  • Michaela

    January 21, 2019 at 4:49 am

    That's such a thorough and useful guide! Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list and I'm going to eat ALL the poke and sushi when I finally make it there πŸ™‚

  • Nancy Sevilla

    January 21, 2019 at 4:55 am

    Poke is amazing; especially in Hawaii! You must try!! And yes I totally agree, me too!!

  • Nancy Sevilla

    January 21, 2019 at 4:55 am

    The flatbread was amazing!! and you're welcome, hope you enjoy!!

  • Nancy Sevilla

    January 21, 2019 at 4:56 am

    Omg the BBQ spot is my ultimate #1 spot for Hawaiian bbq – so you must check it out!! You totally should go! <3

  • Nancy Sevilla

    January 21, 2019 at 4:56 am

    Oh bummer!! Well hopefully you can save this for the next time you head back! πŸ™‚

  • Nancy Sevilla

    January 21, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Thank you! I appreciate it! Hawaii is seriously such an amazing place, you definitely need to and eat at all these poke spots! :))

  • Nafisa Habib

    January 21, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    I love exploring tropical destinations. Honolulu in Hawaii sounds so welcoming and good to see there are many local eateries to try fresh seafood to local food.

  • Nancy Sevilla

    January 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Me too!! Yes Hawaii is a special destination you should totally put on your bucket list!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Post

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa

December 19, 2018

Next Post

Hotel Review: Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites

December 20, 2018
shares