Best Places to Eat in Hawaii: Oahu Eatinerary 2012

Leonards Bakery Honolulu

Leonards Bakery Honolulu. Photo by Thad Zajdowicz.

If you’ve read my Eatineraries for Hong Kong and London, you’ll know that I love to seek out great local restaurants and shops. It’s not too hard to find the high end restaurants that can boast Michelin stars or locations in top hotels, but finding out where regular people eat really helps me get a feeling for a place. It’s also usually a great way to save a few dollars while travelling!

More than any other place that I’ve researched, Hawaii appreciates its local grinds (food) and they aren’t afraid to share. Many Hawaii bloggers already have lists of best local places to take visitors. I’ve combed through a few of these lists and  identified the names that come up over and over again. Note that there are a lot of other great restaurants and hidden gems around but this list is purely made up of places for which I’ve seen multiple recommendations. Some of these are pretty popular, have long line-ups and bad parking, but they seem to be tried and true.

The 2012 Oahu Eatinerary

Click on the name to see my review or their website. Where I can’t find a website for the eatery I’ve included a link to a Yelp review. As I continue my research from reading Hawaii Food Blogs and getting responses to my Hawaii Foodie 5 I’ll add to this list. Check back to see updates.

Name Known for Yelp Rating Trip Advisor Ranking
Boots & Kimos Breakfast, macadamia nut pancakes 4 / 5 12 / 83 Kailua
Cinnamon’s Breakfast 4 / 5 1 / 83 Kailua
Helena’s Hawaiian Food Local food 4.5 / 5 8 / 1278 Honolulu
Leonard’s Bakery Malasada 4.5 / 5 6 / 1278 Honolulu
Liliha Bakery Coco puffs 4.5 / 5 46 / 1278 Honolulu
Matsumoto Shave ice 4 / 5 8 / 40 Haleiwa
Ono Hawaiian Foods Local food, laulau 4 / 5 21 / 1278 Honolulu
Rainbow Drive-in Local food, big mix plate 4 / 5 62 / 1278 Honolulu
Shimazu Store Shave ice 4.5 / 5 145 / 1278 Honolulu
Side Street Inn Local bar food, Tony Bourdain 4 / 5 37 / 1278 Honolulu
Taniokas Poke, fried chicken 4.5 / 5 3 / 72 Waipahu
Ted’s Bakery Chocolate & coconut pie 4.5 / 5 1 / 1 Sunset Beach
Tita’s Grill Local food 5 / 5 1 / 17 Kahuku
Waiola Shave Ice Shave ice 4 / 5 N/A
Zippys Local food, mac salad Various (chain) Various (chain)

 Honorable Mentions

These eateries are either a little too pricey to make my main Eatinerary, or they were recommended by trusted friends but did not show up with regularilty on local food blog lists.

What do you think?

Got some better places? Put them in the comments and tell us why. If enough people agree I’ll add it to the list. Also, if you have suggestions for Maui I’d appreciate it.

This post was shared with:
Travel Tips Tuesday hosted by Walkingon Travels and Suitcases and Sippy Cups.
Friday Daydreamin bosted by RWeThereYetMom.
Photo Friday hosted by Delicious Baby.

17 thoughts on “Best Places to Eat in Hawaii: Oahu Eatinerary 2012

    • I’m kind of a shrimp snob because we have amazing spot prawns here in Vancouver and the North Shore shrimp truck I randomly picked on my last trip was so-so. I’m sure there must be really good ones though. I’ll look into it for another post. Let me know if you have a favorite, but after eating at Tita’s, Ted’s, and Matsumoto on my North Shore day I’m not sure if I’ll have space left to eat at any shrimp trucks! 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback. The last time I tried to go to Matsumoto I gave up and went to the place next door. Now I’ve found a couple of good looking places in HNL and Waikiki I might not make that stop in Haleiwa. I also really want to try Cinnamon’s, but the timing will be tough since we’re in Waikiki and then Ko Olina so it’s a bit of a commute for brekkie. Any suggestions on timing?

      • Unfortunately I can’t help you with timing at all. We’re not that organized when it comes to itineraries. If we accomplish more than two things in a day, and I’m including getting up as one of them, then we’ve accomplished miracles.

        • We tend to make a lot of loose plans and then are lucky if execute on more than a couple of them.

          We change hotels on the Monday so if we’re still on Vancouver time maybe we’ll try to get to Cinnamon`s early that morning and then get back in time for checkout.

    • Thanks for sharing! I’ve never had them but I love pancakes and I love macadamia nuts so I’m hoping for synergy rather than whatever the opposite of synergy is.

  1. LOVE Macadamia nut pancakes. Get them every time we are on one of the islands. I still haven’t made it to Oahu but people keep talking it up. Maybe we will hit there next year. And thanks for the link to your London favs. I’ve pinned it so I can reference when we head that way later this year.

    • Glad to help. Hopefully that list will still be relevant. I loved every place that we tried on that list when I was in London last year!

      I’m reasonably sure that Macadamia nut pancakes will make an appearance on this blog at some point in the future…..

  2. Liliha Bakery was positively the BEST bakery that we had on the entire island! We filled up a whole box of stuff and just passed it around the car to share. AMAZING! The Coco Puff was great.

    I recommend skipping Leonard’s. It gets a lot of praise, but we didn’t think it was anything worthy of mentioning, especially compared to Liliha Bakery.

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