a fun & funky Oahu eating guide
I have debated on posting this because I don't really want all of my favorite spots to become overly crowded. But since they are THE BEST places and I don't want any of you to go to Hawaii and eat something sub-par or miss something truly extraordinary, I'm spilling.
We travel to Hawaii at least once a year because my parents are there. Because we get to "live like a local" when we are in town, we don't tend to choose the places that every tour bus goes.
But the places we go are SO FABULOUS. I tend to choose spots where the drinks are stiff, the waitresses are rude, and the atmosphere is top notch. Unfortunately in a tourist town like Hawaii, you don't get a lot of rude waitresses, but I'll let that slide since the weather is so nice.
Here are my top picks for the best of the best on Oahu.
Buzz's Steak House in Kailua is my very favorite restaurant in the world. It has been for 25 years -since my parents first started staying in Kailua. The drinks are amazing (sound like a local and order a BFRD - a big f'ing rum drink), the food is outstanding, and the location near the beach could not be better. It's the ultimate Hawaiian dining experience.
I'm not alone in thinking that. The Obamas frequented the deck when they stayed in town.
If you've never been to an old tiki bar, then this is the spot for you. La Mariana in Honolulu is a bit dicey to drive to. You literally drive on the docks like you're going to a shipping yard before you park at an overgrown wall and walk around the corner to the best tiki bar in Hawaii. You can even get your drink in a souvenir tiki mug.
Don't forget to order the ahi spring rolls. There is nothing better. Seriously. Nothing.
Ok, so everyone has found Haleiwa Joe's. Like everyone, but it's for good reason. The location is in the hills over Kaneohe and the view of the gardens is gorgeous. They don't take reservations for parties under 8 people. We think we've discovered the trick to go a little later, like at 7pm for dinner. If you arrive at 5pm you will wait. And wait. And possibly wait.
Malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts and when they are filled with Haupia (coconut cream) they get elevated to the most epic treat ever. Leonard's has an actual shop in Honolulu or a food truck that's easy to spot on the island thanks to it's classic red and white stripes. Grab a few and eat them while they are warm.
Plate lunch is the epitome of Hawaiian lunch. Two scoops of mac salad, a scoop of rice, and some meat product along side. I choose Chicken Katsu every time, but popular options in my family are also Teriyaki Chicken or Kalua Pork. Fat Boy's is my favorite spot because it's literally around the corner from our place. But L&L is also epic and if you're in the mood for airplane noise and freeway traffic, then Byron's is the place for you!