This hybrid bar and grill is set in downtown Honolulu and is a favorite hang-out for the business and media communities and one of the only places in the Hawaiian Islands where you can get a pint of Guinness from the tap. While the bar roars with excitement, the restaurant serves great salads, steaks and other fare at decent prices. The food is fresh, and the service is congenial.
Set in one of the nicest hotels on Waikiki Beach, this is a great place to start or end a day in paradise. The breakfast buffet is huge and lavish. A la carte lunch and dinner menus offer a variety of tasty sandwiches, salads and hot dishes. You'll dine al fresco under the shade of a native Kiawe tree, enjoying picturesque ocean views. Needless to say, the sunsets here are exquisite. Live Hawaiian music at sunset is a long-standing tradition.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this place offers good food in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant takes its name from a huge Hau tree that grows out of Waikiki Beach and shades the beachfront terrace. This is a great place to take in the sunset while enjoying a wide variety of seafood and other well-prepared offerings at moderate prices. Mai Tais here are large and make a great view even better. The Hau Tree has live slack-key guitar music on weekend nights.
While the competition for "Best Luau" is tough in the Hawaiian Islands, this spectacular event might deserve the title. It takes place on 12 acres of gorgeous beachfront property in Western O'ahu. Guests are shuttled to the cove during the day and, upon arrival, are invited to participate in authentic Hawaiian games and activities. At sunset the roasted pig is brought forth, and guests can heap their plates and settle down to watch the show. Hawaii's history is told through music and dance. Call or check the web site for prices and reservations.
The "Aloha Spirit" is very much in evidence at this friendly, entertaining luau. On Germaine's strip of beach, guests can dance the hula, sip free-flowing Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians, and stuff themselves on a sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian and American favorites. At the dinner show, performers from varied South Pacific islands entertain the crowd with displays of skill and dexterity.
This bakery is a local secret that islanders have kept close to their hearts for years. The small diner counter almost always has a line and the food is simple and inexpensive. But ask anyone about the bakery and they will drool at the thought of the cocoa puffs. They are small cream puffs filled with a cocoa pudding and topped with a secret Chantilly frosting that is simply legendary. For under a buck a piece, this is one of the best things about Hawaii, ever. It is open from 6 a.m on Tuesday to 8 p.m on Sunday. Mondays remain closed - Lottie Tagupa
Being a small store, it can get quite difficult for patrons to spot Ono Seafood, but the hassle is completely worth it. As you enter this place, a whiteboard announcing the menu welcomes you and one knows what to expect. What draws hoards of tourists and locals to this eatery is the most delicious Hawaiian salad, poke that is served here. Though other varieties are offered here, tako and Ahi poke dominate the menu. Guests can also choose their own fillings and the order will be ready in a minute. So go ahead and gorge on this local specialty!
This little factory makes authentic Italian Gelato with a tropical twist. (To anyone who doesn't know, gelato is the upper-class cousin of ice cream). The flavors are inventive, often featuring local Hawaiian fruits and vegetables. Depending on how creative you are, you can munch on Campari, Coconut or Irish Cream Gelato. Although this gelato is sold at various points throughout the island, the least expensive way to get it is direct from the factory. Order it by the pint or the gallon.
This "Shave ice" (snow cones to those from the mainland) institution could be considered the best example of this frozen treat in all of Oahu. At Waiola, there are more flavors than any other ice cream shop, as they grow exponentially with your own imagination. Some flavors range from plebeian banana to exotic li hing mui (pickled plum). There's a extra charge for additional ingredients that can be hidden inside; for example, ice cream or the Japanese favorite, red azuki beans.
Located in the legendary Halekulani Hotel, this is a place to relax and enjoy the good life. The richly decorated lounge is old fashioned and "clubby" - dim lighting and piano entertainment add to the decadent atmosphere. Service is polished and knowledgeable, and the selection of liquors, beers and wines is excellent. Sip a cognac or a brandy and enjoy the balmy night air. While no place in Hawaii requires formal dress, this place comes close. Upscale resort-wear is requested.
This plain Waipahu fishmonger has expanded from a simple fish market to one of the best kept island secrets for poke, fresh fish and catering for special occasions. If you're visiting on a Friday afternoon, on a day when the University of Hawaii Warriors are on the gridiron, or during the holiday season, be prepared for a long wait. The parking lot will be overflowing with oversized trucks that are filled with barbecue grills, cases of green bottled beer and coolers all set for partying and tailgating Hawaii style.