Dining in Oahu Honolulu The Gathering Place, HI

Lu Lu's Waikiki

2589, Suite #2, Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki

LuLu's is a long standing staple in the Waikiki pub food and nightlife scene and is absolutely the place of choice come game time on the tube for locals and visitors. The high energy sounds from the crowd above of this second floor establishment call you to climb the stairs and come on in for reasonably priced drinks AND eats.

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Description : ABOUT Dukes Restaurant and… view more

YAH Says : Dukes Restaurant and Barefoot… view more

Dukes Restaurant and Barefoot Bar

Duke's Restaurant and Barefoot Bar / Canoe Club is a main attraction within the Outrigger Waikiki as an island dining and socializing delight. Facing world famous Waikiki Beach and draped in rich wood tones, accents and furnishings with international surf legend Duke Kahanamoku adorning the walls within frames, Duke's exudes everything Hawaiian.

Duke's Restaurant Waikiki

The restaurant is consistently busy so arrive on the verge of an appetite as opposed to having full on hunger pangs. You will most likely have a bit of a wait during prime dining hours but the atmosphere is so enticing that you wont mind loitering aimlessly to pass the time. Once seated you are treated to friendly service with Aloha smiles. Bring on the Tropical Drink Menu!

For a quick bite the Barefoot Bar menu's prized possession includes our favorite Cajun Chicken Sandwich (not very Hawaiian, we know) - stuffed with one massive breast, thick slouched avocado, crisp bacon, Swiss cheese and served with a side of wedge fries - or the Chicken Katsu. For those in search of a full course meal we suggest the Crispy Coconut Crusted Black Tiger Shrimp for starters and try the authentic Kona Style Grilled Fillet (tenderloin rubbed with kona coffee and sea salt) As an entree. There is no question as to the dessert and to order anything other than Kimo's Hula Pie would render you oblivious to the whole experience.

Duke's Restaurant Waikiki

Duke's is wonderfully contemporary Hawaiian and our choice for Best Waikiki Dining Experience!

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Description : ABOUT Tikis Bar and… view more

YAH Says : Tikis Bar and Grill… view more

Tikis Bar and Grill Waikiki

One walk along Waikiki's Kalakaua Avenue in the late evening and you can't help but look up when you hear the atmospheric anthems from the second floor of this Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel dining and nightlife amenity. Live reggae, slack key, ukulele, and good ol' fashioned rock & roll rhythms belt out from the balcony of Tiki's Bar & Grill, beckoning passer-byers to come upstairs and join in the fun.

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Aloha spirit is in full swing in the aura, decor, and menu at Tiki's. Walking passed the giant tiki statues at the entrance prompts more than a few photo opportunities and if the restaurant manager is anywhere around he'll be sure to graciously insist that you pose beside them while he implants permanent memories into your camera's SD card. Palm thatched roofing hangs above the bar stools in the lounge area and the seating is wide open, spacious, and welcoming, especially the wrap around patio which appears to account for about half the square footage. The only thing obstructing your view of the beach are palm leaves which as far as we are concerned only serves to accent the whole experience further. The patio then bends the corner towards the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel swimming pool where the live entertainment stage stands, indicating good vibes to follow if you stay into the late evening hours.

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Like the establishment, the menu at Tiki's Bar & Grill is ripe with tropical flare. For lunch we recommend the Kalua Pig Quesadilla (pictured - taro tortillas, pulled kalua pork, pepperjack cheese, and corn relish) from the PuPu (appetizers) menu. For something heavier you can't go wrong with the Grilled Mahi-Mahi Sandwich which is also served authentic style with a taro bun. Come back in the evening for dinner with a little extra change in your pocket for the Mac Nut Crusted Mahi ($28 - worth it!) or the Garlic Shrimp Carbonara ($25). Your dining experience at Tiki's Bar & Grill wouldn't be complete without sampling more than one of their famous drink menu favorites such as the Surf Mai Tai and the Greg Brady's Wipeout, served in signature tiki mugs, glasses, and hollowed out coconuts that you get to take home.

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Be sure to stop grab a souvenir at the Tiki Bar & Grill found at the entrance/exit on your way out. From tiki mugs to tiki t-shirts you'll want a reminder of what island life is like when back on the Mainland, until you return.

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Tiki's Bar & Grill Waikiki

Tiki in Tikis Bar and Grill Waikiki

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3. Tita's Grill

Address : 56-485 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, Oahu, HI

Phone : (808) 293 2225

Description : ABOUT Titas Grill Welcome to… view more

YAH Says : Titas Grill Everyone knows… view more

Titas Grill

Everyone knows to cruise through to Kahuku on the North Shore to sample the goods from famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck but another ridiculously well reviewed establishment that doesn't receive as much media hype for serving up giant servings of shrimp plate lunch and other grinds on Oahu is Tita's Grill located along the same stretch of Kamehameha Highway in Kahuku.

Tita's Grill is authentic Hawaiian all the way and the spirit of Aloha graces the faces of the staff and belly rubbing collection of locals and tourists on site as you pull up to the front of the palm shaded, outdoor seated and well aged road side diner. The scent of garlic and gravy waft through the air and the sight of mounds of food piled onto plates that can barely contain the ingredients wet the appetite so intensely that you can barely manage squeeking out your order through the salivation and anticipation.

To order anything other then the Loco Moco ($8.50) for breakfast would be crazy (yet understandable given the other breakfast plates on deck serving up a variety of portugese sausage and SPAM). Be sure to order some homemade Hawaiian sweet bread on the side to sop up the gravy at the bottom of the plate and if you've got room throw some extra Bula Coco Rice ($3) in the mix. For lunch or dinner you'll want to knock out the Shrimp Plate ($12) but will more than likely get knocked out yourself by the plump as a well fed Samoan extra large 10 or so shrimp that arrive in your eager grasp. Many will exclaim that Tita's shrimp plate puts Giavanni's to shame but it's a subjective opinion and it's a debate we're more than happy to test for the next decade. If seafood isn't your thing (what are you doing in Kahuku?) then we recommend the spicy Kalbi Ribs or the Killa Moco (like it sounds) with an order of Hawaiian sweet rolls on the side (yes, this is a consistent theme). Tita's even has a pretty hefty burger and sandwich menu for those that like traditional road side american flare. Before you leave Kahuku in the evening back towards where ever it is on the island you ventured from, grab one last order of Hawaiian sweet bread for the road to tide you over until you return.

For foodies, Tita's Grill is everything you come to Hawaii for, all rolled up into one aloha filled dining experience.

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Description : Chuck's Steak House Outrigger… view more

YAH Says : Chuck's Steak House Outrigger… view more

Chuck's Steak House Outrigger Waikiki

Review pending. Check back soon.

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Description : Hula Grill Outrigger Waikiki… view more

YAH Says : Hula Grill Outrigger Waikiki… view more

Hula Grill Outrigger Waikiki

Review pending. Coming soon.

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6. Town Kaimuki

Address : 3435 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu, HI

Phone : (808) 735 5900

Description : ABOUT Town Kaimuki "Local… view more

YAH Says : Town Kaimuki Review pending.… view more

Town Kaimuki

Review pending. YAHglobal recently visited Town Restarant in Kaimuki. Check back soon for updates!

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Description : ABOUT SALT Restaurant in Kaimuki… view more

YAH Says : SALT Restaurant in Kaimuki… view more

SALT Restaurant in Kaimuki

Review pending. YAHglobal recently visited SALT Restaurant in Kaimuki. Check back soon for updates.

SALT Restaurant Kaimuki

On Waialae all day? Grab a light lunch at Verdi and finish the day off at SALT next door. 

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Description : ABOUT Sweet Home Waimanalo… view more

YAH Says : Sweet Home Waimanalo What… view more

Sweet Home Waimanalo

What better way to experience the edible personality of Oahu than by paying a visit to a place with a menu that borrows its ingredients in near entirety from the island itself? Sweet Home Waimanalo is that place and their sustainable foods, beverages, and smoothies are fast becoming the most popular roadside refreshment stop on the windward side of Oahu. Its location along Kalanianaole Highway is perfect for those venturing to or from the destination points of Kailua, Bellows, or of course Waimanalo Beach. However one could not be blamed for making the extra miles to Sweet Home from anywhere on the island.

While many can lay claim to the "sustainable" label here on Oahu, Sweet Home Waimanalo manages to deliver a menu that is fresher and more flavorful than practically any other similar establishment in the area. If you're starting your day a Sweet Home Acai Bowl (w/Acia, Strawberries, Blueberries, Banana, Apple Juice, Granola, and Honey) will sweeten your taste buds while energizing even the longest day ahead for those planning activities like a kayak trip to the Mokuluas. A Kalua Pork Bowl for lunch is prime while a side of Avocada soup can serve to complement the meal or stand alone as a thick, healthy, and hearty slurp. Sweet Home is also known for their fish tacos and assorted wraps so any selection from that neon chalked end of the menu will serve hungry patrons well. If one was forced to narrow down only one reason to visit Sweet Home Waimanalo then the highest praises would have to go to the sippable selection with orders like the Makapu'u Point Smoothie (w/papaya, mango, pineapple, pineapple juice, banana, and honey) and the Nalo Plantation Iced Tea (w/black tea and fresh pineapple juice). For those really in a rush you can grab a local Ono Pop, pastry (try the Coconut Mochi Bar!) or cup of espresso to go on the road as well.

Sweet Home Waimanalo also serves as a quaint gift shop, yoga studio, rooftop garden, and cozy gathering place for travelers and locals together.

Sweet Home Waimanalo

Guy Fieri gave his stamp of approval. Now our editor Marcus Maraih has too!

Sweet Home Waimanalo

Sweet Home Waimanalo

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Description : ABOUT Shore Bird Waikiki… view more

YAH Says : Shore Bird Waikiki While… view more

Shore Bird Waikiki

Shore Bird Waikiki

While the Shore Bird Waikiki Restaurant & Beach Bar is a popular beach front spot to sip Mai Tai's and mingle before, during, and after the sun sets on Waikiki it is often most praised for its breakfast buffet. It's because of their AM buffet line that we've featured Shore Bird here in our Oahu dining section.

There are so many breakfast options available to tourists up and down Kalakaua avenue that the Shore Bird, albeit quite renowned for their breakfast buffet, often goes unnoticed within the Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel. While located in the Outrigger, the Shore Bird indeed stands on its own as an all day beach front establishment that steps out onto the sand. You can't find a better ground level Waikiki view to enjoy the most important meal of the day.

As far as the buffet goes, the Shore Bird offers a great selection of fruits and traditional breakfast items (scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast, etc...) with Hawaiian flare (e.g. Portuguese sausage) here and there but it's their pastry section that takes the cake. From soft and moist coconut/pineapple loaves to fresh banana bread to red velvet mini cupcakes, the Shore Bird breakfast buffet pastry case rivals that of almost any local bakery. For $15 a sitting the Shore Bird offers the best value breakfast in Waikiki with an open air view that will leave you stuck to your seat happily waiting to digest both the unlimited cuisine and the scene.

Shore Bird Waikiki Pastry Case

Shore Bird Waikiki Pastry Case

Shore Bird Waikiki Unlimited Breakfast Buffet

Shore Bird Waikiki Unlimited View

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Description : ABOUT Halenas Hawaiian Food… view more

YAH Says : Halenas Hawaiian Food Everyone… view more

Halenas Hawaiian Food

Everyone has their own opinion about the best authentic Hawaiian dining spots in Honolulu. Locals and frequent visitors to Oahu proudly declare their recommendations for the most ono haupia, poke, poi, kalua pig, laulau, and chicken or squid luau in town. All too often one eatery will earn renown for one of the above Hawaiian delicacies but fall short on the others. Hungry packs of friends and family can spend hours bickering about where to eat because it seems no choice can be made without sacrificing a satisfying meal for some in the party. This is when Halena's ends up being the consensus choice.

Halena's may not be the most convenient nor attractive of Honolulu diners but without question it's the one destination that serves excellent authentic Hawaiian food across the board. No item on Halena's historic menu lacks in flavor or portion. For well over six decades this diner has been serving up true North Pacific island cuisine for a good price and with a side of aloha. While it cannot be stressed enough that every item on the menu can do no wrong the Kalua Pig & Pipikaula Short Rib combo is a favorite of anyone while the Squid Luau is the best choice for more adventurous palates. 

Honolulu looks forward to a seventh decade of ono Hawaiian cuisine from Halena's so be sure to pay this humble eatery a visit on your next pass through Oahu.

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