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Local Favorites

  • Foodland Poke (Multiple Locations)

    • A local grocery chain that serves some of the best Poke on the island. You can ask for a Poke bowl and they will serve your selected Poke choice over rice.

  • Off The Hook Poke Market (Manoa)

    • One of the best poke spots on the island, take-out only.

  • Side Street Inn (Kapahulu)

    • ​Local diner food, good for dinner with big portions.

  • Rainbow Drive-In (Kapahulu)

    • ​Local Food for Lunch Take Out or Eat at picnic tables – I think it is terrible but a lot of people love it.

  • Diamond Head Grill (Monsarratt) 

    • Local Food For Lunch – Take Out or eat at picnic tables (must try blueberry cream cheese scones).

  • Pioneer Saloon (Monsarratt)

    • Japanese-style local plate lunches, also have a location in Kakaako.

  • Highway Inn (Kakaako)

    • Traditional Hawaiian food.

  • Waiahole Poi Factory (Kahaluu)

    • Traditional Hawaiian food (Must try sweet lady of Waiahole).

Pacific Rim/Fusion

  • Kapa Hale (Kahala)

    • ​ One of my new favorite spots for Pacific Rim food.

  • Roy's Hawaii Kai / Roy's Beachwalk

    • Classic Hawaii eatery with a menu boasting Pacific Rim and fusion dishes.

  • Miro Kaimuki (Kaimuki)

    • I love this place for its prix fix menu, the chef used to work at a Michelin-rated restaurant and combines French and Asian flavors.

  • Senia (Chinatown)

    • ​The chef worked in Michelin-rated restaurants.

  • Mud Hen Water (Kaimuki)

    • ​Farm-to-table concept (must try the miso rice pudding).

  • Lucky Belly (Chinatown)

    • Good noodles and dumplings.

  • Fete (Chinatown)

    • New American restaurant.


  • Gaku (King Street)

  • Yakitori Ando

    • Great nabe and yakitori, run by a former sum-san. Need reservation well in advance.

  • Yakitori Hachibei (Downtown)

    • Elevated Yakitori restaurant.​​

  • Tonkatsu Tamfuji (Kapahulu)

    • ​Excellent Tonkatsu, make sure to make a reservation well in advance. (It is the best around, #2 would be Ginza Bairin in Waikiki).

  • Torikyu (University)

    • Good yakitori restaurant for a more casual dinner.

  • Izakaya Naru (University) 

    • Great Izakaya with food from Okinawa, it feels like you walked into Japan Izakaya (limited menu and seating).

  • Yaki Yaki Miwa (King Street) 

    • ​Izakaya with Okonomiyaki as a specialty.

  • TsuruTonTan (Waikiki)

    • Udon specialty restaurant with unique udon flavors.


  • Maguro Brothers (Chinatown)

    • High-quality sashimi and poke, it is a no-frills takeout/eat-in sushi stall in a food market – only open for lunch.

    • They also have a location in Waikiki that is only open for takeout during dinner.

  • Sushi ii (Ala Moana)

    • ​Great Sushi, I recommend you request a counter or front room. One of my favorite restaurants (not Omakase, order what you want).

  • Sushi Atsushi (@ATSUSHI) (Restaurant Row)

    • Great omakase with only eight seats. The Chef is friendly and they serve great sushi. BYOB!

  • Sushi Gyoshin (Ala Moana) - My new favorite Omakase, only 8 seats.  Need reservation well in advance. BYOB

  • Sushi Sho (Waikiki)

    • ​World class sushi and atmosphere  in the Ritz Carlton.

    • Requires reservation in advance.

    • The Pix fixe menu without drinks is ~$300 per person.

      • Also of note is Ginza Onodera, but if gonna splurge I prefer Sushi Sho – it is like watching and eating art.

  • Sushi Sasubune (King Street)

    • ​Omakase. Reservation is recommended but good quality sushi (run by Japanese, but geared towards locals/tourists).


  • O'Kims (Downtown)

    • A hole-in-the-wall restaurant with interesting takes on Korean Food. I recommend requesting outside seating.

  • So Gong Dong (Ala Moana)

    • ​Hole in the wall shop that makes amazing SoonDubu (spicy tofu soup).

  • Mikawon (Waikiki)

    • Good Korean food in Waikiki​.


  • Pho Saigon (Ala Moana)

    • ​Great Vietnamese Restaurant, simple and good.

  • The Pig and the Lady (Chinatown)

    • ​Vietnamese Fusion has a great mix of flavors and serves some very unique dishes.


  • Thai Issan (Market City, Kaimuki)

    • ​Hole in the Wall with really good Thai food, great for takeout (has gone a bit downhill as of late).



  • Maharani (King Street) 

    • Used to be the best I think Spice Up and Tadka are better now, while the best on the island does not compare to the best elsewhere.


  • Le Mer

    •  My go-to restaurant for special dinners, amazing view and fantastic french fare.  Request ocean view table, or I think the best seat is the ocean/diamond head table. 

  • La Vie (Waikiki)

    • ​Nice menu of French food. While it is in the Ritz Carlton the atmosphere (for the level of food and price) does not match. But the food is excellent. Would be among my top if the atmosphere was better, feels like a lobby bar.


  • Taormina (Waikiki) 

    • Japanese-style Italian food.


  • Kalapawaii (Waimanalo and Kailua)

    • Good Sandwiches and vibe in Waimanalo or Kailua.


  • Sweet E’s Café (Kapahulu)

    • Good breakfast and brunch spot famous for its stuffed french toast. Be prepared to wait as lines tend to be very long.

  • Koko Head Café (Kaimuki)

    • Good breakfast and brunch spot famous for its skillets.

  • Over Easy (Kailua)

    • Good brunch​ spot.

  • Orchids Halekulani (Waikiki)

    • ​Great place for a gourmet brunch buffet.


  • Bar Leather Apron (Downtown)

    • Amazing Cocktails that are probably the best on the island. You will need a reservation.


  • Jejubing (Alamoana)

    • ​Korean "Gourmet" Shave Ice called bingsu.​​​​




  • Makapuu (Hawaii Kai)

    • Paved and easy hike.​

  • Koko Head (Hawaii Kai)

    • Long stairway, very challenging but great views.​

  • Manoa Falls (Manoa)

    • Nice waterfall hike but a bit overcrowded.​

  • Diamond Head Hike (Waikiki)

    • Famous hike but is very overcrowded with tourists.​

  • Kuliouou Ridge Trail (Kuliouou)

    • More challenging trail that will take a couple of hours.​

  • Lanikai Pill Box (Kailua)

    • Very crowded and hard to find parking but very beautiful.​

  • Maunawilli Falls (Pali)

    • Great waterfall hike that is not as crowded.​

  • Ehukai Pill Box (North Shore)

    • My favorite north shore hike.​

  • Pink Pillbox (Nanakuli)

    • Beautiful pillbox hike on the west side.​


  • Hanauma Bay (Hawaii Kai)

    • ​You can rent equipment at the beach (the best spot go far left when you are facing the ocean and go all the way to the end of the beach, snorkel up and around the buoy, and stay on the side of the coral/rocks). Requires reservation now.

  • Three Tables/Sharks Cove (North Shore)

    • ​Best snorkeling after Hanauma Bay but only in Summer, parking can be tough.

Water Activities

  • Stand Up Paddleboarding (Waikiki)

    • ​You can rent in front of any hotel (it is easier than it looks, especially if it is calm).

  • Kayaking to Mokuleas (Kailua) 

    • You can rent kayaks and paddle to two small islands off the coast of Kailua.


  • Bellows (Waimanalo)

    • Only open on weekends.​

  • Waimanalo Bay (Waimanalo)

    • ​My favorite beach on the Island.

Farmers Markets

Other Activities

  • Kualoa Ranch (Kaneohe)

    • They have many tours of this amazing estate where many films were filmed like Jumanji and Jurrasic Park. Except for the horseback tour, I have done all the tours and liked the e-bike tour the best.

  • Blue Note Hawaii (Waikiki)

    • Live music

  • Lewars Lounge - Feels more like a NYC bar, with live jazz in the evenings at the Halekulani Hotel. 

For Kids

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