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12 Best Restaurants in Oahu

Stephanie Band July 3, 2024

Oahu offers a diverse and rich culinary landscape that satisfies every palate. From traditional Hawaiian cuisine to innovative modern dishes, the island's restaurants provide unforgettable dining experiences. Here’s a curated list of the best restaurants in Oahu you must try.

1. The Pig and The Lady

Located in the heart of Honolulu, The Pig and The Lady is a standout restaurant known for its inventive take on Vietnamese cuisine. This family-owned establishment blends traditional flavors with a modern twist, creating dishes that are both familiar and surprising. The pho French dip and Laotian fried chicken are must-tries, offering a unique taste that captures the essence of both past and present culinary traditions.

2. Senia

Senia, situated in Chinatown, offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that showcases local ingredients in innovative ways. Chef Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush bring their fine dining backgrounds to Oahu, crafting dishes that are artful and delicious. The restaurant's tasting menu is a journey through Hawaii’s culinary landscape, featuring dishes like the Big Island abalone and Kualoa Ranch oysters, perfectly paired with their curated wine list.

3. Helena's Hawaiian Food

A beloved institution, Helena's Hawaiian Food has been serving traditional Hawaiian dishes since 1946. This James Beard Award-winning restaurant is famous for its laulau, pipikaula (dried beef), and lomi salmon. Helena’s offers an authentic taste of Hawaii, where recipes have been passed down through generations, making it a must-visit for those seeking true island flavors.

4. The Sunrise Shack

For a casual and healthy dining option, The Sunrise Shack is perfect. Known for its vibrant acai bowls and bulletproof coffee, this North Shore gem offers a laid-back atmosphere with delicious, health-conscious options. The tropical fruits and fresh ingredients make their bowls a refreshing and energizing meal, ideal for a post-surf snack.

5. Leonard's Bakery

No visit to Oahu is complete without stopping by Leonard's Bakery for its iconic malasadas. These Portuguese doughnuts, fried to perfection and rolled in sugar, come with various fillings like custard, haupia (coconut), and chocolate. Leonard's has been a staple in Honolulu since 1952, offering a sweet treat that’s loved by locals and tourists alike.

6. Over Easy

Located in Kailua, Over Easy offers a delightful breakfast and brunch experience. This cozy spot is known for its creative twists on classic breakfast dishes, such as the house-made corned beef hash and the lemon ricotta pancakes. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, Over Easy ensures a fresh and flavorful start to your day.

7. Matsumoto Shave Ice

A North Shore institution, Matsumoto Shave Ice has been serving refreshing shave ice since 1951. This iconic spot offers a rainbow of flavors and a variety of toppings, including azuki beans and condensed milk. Matsumoto’s is the perfect way to cool down on a warm day while exploring the charming town of Haleiwa.

8. Ted's Bakery

Ted's Bakery, located on the North Shore, is famous for its pies and plate lunches. The chocolate haupia cream pie is a standout, combining rich chocolate with creamy coconut for a decadent treat. Ted’s also offers savory options like garlic shrimp and loco moco, making it a versatile stop for sweet and savory cravings.

9. Nico's Kailua

Nico's Kailua is a top choice for fresh seafood with a casual vibe. This waterfront eatery offers a range of dishes, from poke bowls to fish and chips, all made with locally caught fish. The ahi poke and furikake pan-seared ahi are particularly popular, highlighting the island’s bounty in every bite.

10. Restaurant 604

Restaurant 604, located near the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, offers stunning harbor views and a diverse menu. From Hawaiian favorites like kalua pork sliders to American classics like burgers and steaks, there’s something for everyone. The relaxed atmosphere and scenic views make it a perfect spot for both tourists and locals.

11. Haleʻiwa Beach House

For a dining experience with breathtaking ocean views, Haleʻiwa Beach House is unparalleled. Located in the historic town of Haleiwa, this restaurant offers a menu that combines fresh seafood with island-inspired dishes. The fish tacos and garlic shrimp are standout items, perfectly complemented by the beachside setting.

12. Surf N Salsa

Bringing a taste of Mexico to the North Shore, Surf N Salsa offers authentic Mexican cuisine with a Hawaiian twist. This food truck-turned-restaurant serves up delicious tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, all made with fresh, local ingredients. The carne asada tacos and elote (Mexican street corn) are particularly popular, providing a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Oahu’s dining scene is a vibrant mix of traditional Hawaiian flavors and international influences, offering something for every palate. From casual eateries to fine dining establishments, these restaurants highlight the best of what the island has to offer. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these culinary gems are sure to leave a lasting impression.

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