Liliha Bakery

Try the best places to eat around Oahu from Waikiki to the North Shore

With so many delicious places to eat around the island you’ve got your choice of fun local divvy haunts, mom and pop eateries, farm to table food experiences to fine dining venues. I’ve asked a variety of travel writers and bloggers to share their favorite eating places around Oahu and they have some amazing recommendations for you to try below. You’ll love all the diversity of foods and eateries in Oahu and hopefully this post will inspire you to try out all of these cool places to eat in Oahu now.

Places to eat around the North Shore

Places to eat around the North Shore

There’s plenty of fantastic places to eat around the North Shore with food trucks, popular vegan to Shave Ice spots to discover around the North Shore now.

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

An iconic stop in Haleiwa, Matsumoto’s Shave Ice is very well known and popular with locals and visitors to this town in the North Shore. Started in 1951 as a small mom and pop sundry shop and expanded to introducing local flavors on super fine shave ice, the place became a hit and changed entirely to making Shave Ice dishes for the masses to enjoy at their new location. Made with their own local syrup mixes, there’s plenty of combinations to try out but my favorite is called “The Hawaiian” with pineapple, coconut and banana and also add a scoop of ice cream that is your favorite flavor.  Price of their Shave is reasonable at $3.50 for three flavors.

Address66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Famous Kahuku Shrimp truck

Famous Kahuku Shrimp truck

Located in the North Shore area in the Kahuku food area where the shrimp farms are located, Kahuku Shrimp truck is in my opinion more authentic than any of the other shrimp trucks in the area and uses the White shrimp grown in the farms nearby. This unassuming shrimp truck vendors sells delicious local shrimp and other seafood combinations with outdoor open-air seating. The food is presented in a mixed plate dish with salad or mac salad, rice and the delicious garlic shrimp or you can order other sauces like their lemon butter, coconut shrimp or hot and spicy dish.

Check out their reviews on Yelp here for more details.

Address56-580 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731

Raised by the Waves

Raised by the Waves

While many people associate Hawaii with heavy, comfort foods (think barbecue pork and malasadas), plenty of restaurants on Oahu have embraced a lighter, more plant-based approach to Hawaiian staples, like poke. One such restaurant is a charming eatery, tucked away on the North Shore in Kahuku, called Raised by the Waves. This locally-owned and operated restaurant takes a healthy approach to breakfast and lunch foods, dishing up unique dishes crafted from organic ingredients to local surfers and visitors alike. The owners have self-proclaimed that the restaurant is “dedicated to Hawaii surf culture” and the menu reads like a well-curated list of dishes meant to refuel your body up after a long morning in the water.

Raised by the Waves

Offerings vary from crowd-favorites, like Buddha bowls (albeit with unique twists like the addition of ali’i mushrooms and nori flakes), to more novel dishes, like a banh mi sandwich, topped with pickled daikon and carrots and house-made CBD-infused “cheez”, made from pumpkin seeds. The restaurant’s bohemian surfer vibes can be felt throughout the interior, from the bright airy space, with plenty of wicker accents, to a literal surfboard leaning casually in the corner. Given that this restaurant is fast-casual, there’s no need to make reservations or worry about the long lines of some of the most famous restaurants in Oahu. That being said, Raised by the Waves is not a place for you to stop when you’re in a rush- rather, it’s a chill place to gather with friends and recap your morning catching some rad waves (turmeric- and maca-infused acai bowl and golden milk latte in hand, of course).

Address: 56-565 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731

Jessica with Uprooted

Pounders Restaurant

Pounders Restaurant

If you are looking for one of the best restaurants on the North Shore of Oahu, Pounders is a great option.  Pounders is located just outside of the Polynesian Cultural Center in the Hukilau Marketplace.  

Pounders prides itself on using fresh local ingredients.  This includes fresh seafood and local grass-fed beef.  It is also certified as an Ocean friendly restaurant.  

Pounders is open from 11:00 am – 8:30 pm.  I recommend going at 11:00 am before the Polynesian Cultural Center opens. Dinner is another great option if you decide that you do not want to attend a luau at PCC.  

We love eating at Pounders. The food is fantastic and the service is phenomenal.  Pounder’s is a sit-down full-service restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly, and casual.  Honestly, the food at Pounders is better than anything we have tried on our multiple visits to Oahu.  The main dishes range from $17- $55 per person. 

Pounders is a great restaurant for special occasions and celebrations.  It is also perfect for a nice date.  Pounders allow you to sit down and enjoy the company around you.  Everyone will love the food and will make wonderful memories eating at Pounders. 

Lisa with Planning Away

Pounders Restaurant

Places to eat around Honolulu

You’ll find the bulk of foodie spots to eat around Honolulu and with so many amazing foodie spots to enjoy, here are some of the top pics to put on your bucketlist of places to eat in Honolulu area now.

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Who said local food is not well rated? Helena’s Hawaiian Food in Honolulu is hidden and local but actually has won a James Beard award in early 2000. Serving lasty local Hawaiian Food since 1946, her food is delicious and tasty comfort food at its best. If you are craving some delicious Hawaiian food from Lau Lau, Kailua pork, Squid Luau to Kulolo, then this is the right place to eat well in Honolulu.

Address: 1240 N. School Street, Honolulu

Town Restaurant


Promoting fresh Farm to Table with the freshest ingredients, Town excels at doing just this but with so much flavor and unusual ingredient combinations that you will love trying out. Well crafted food and organic in a bright and airy space that is comfortable and modern vibe that makes the food experience fantastic. You’ll enjoy reading all the specials and what’s on the menu that is fresh and created with love.

Address: 3458 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu

Rainbow Drive-In

Rainbow Drive-In

You can’t go to Oahu without stopping at the iconic Rainbow Drive-in, it’s one of the best places to eat in all of Hawai’i. This community staple has been around since 1961, serving comfort food to locals and tourists alike.

This restaurant is drive-in style, so it’s very casual with covered outdoor seating. Due to the current restrictions, the only option is takeout, but it’s worth it. When things begin to return to a new normal, you definitely have to dine in and take in the entire experience.

You may need to make a few stops at this local spot because there are so many great options on the menu. You have to try the Loco Moco, Macaroni salad, and chili. Although these are my favorites, there is so much to choose from.

Along with being delicious, this is one of the most affordable places to eat in Honolulu, especially if you are visiting Oahu on a budget. The portions are generous, so you may have enough for two meals. I highly recommend eating here at least twice during your time in Oahu, especially given how close it is to Waikiki. 

If you don’t have the time to stop by the restaurant, they are on several food delivery apps, so support this local community restaurant that’s been servicing the island for over 40 years.

Address: 3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Corrita with Itz A Family

Legend Seafood restaurant

Legend Seafood restaurant

Anyone that is in the mood for Chinese food especially Dim Sum knows that Legend Seafood in Chinatown is the place to be in Honolulu. Serving the tastiest Dim Sum dishes that’s brought out hot and fresh, you’ll want to be seated close to the kitchen to get the best bites fresh and hot when there’s plenty of choices. Specialty Hong Kong Cantonese style dim sum seafood dishes which are rolled out in carts from the kitchen. Try all the delicious standards like Hai Gow, Shrimp Shu Mai, Charsui and beef tendon or steamed Lok Fun with scallops.

Address: 100 N Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96817

Legend Seafood restaurant and dim sum to die for
Legend Seafood restaurant and dim sum to die for

Sweet inspirations at Leonard's Bakery

Sweet inspirations at Leonard’s Bakery

One of the best things about going to Hawaii is getting to experience foods that typically aren’t available anywhere else. A favorite restaurant in Oahu for both locals and tourists alike is Leonard’s Bakery and it’s not uncommon for people to stand in line for 45 minutes to an hour waiting for their order.

Leonard’s is particularly famous for the hot malasada puffs they bake fresh while you wait. 

While you can get other types of pastries at the bakery, their malasadas are famous worldwide and are what most people come for. 

A malasada is actually a Portuguese pastry that Leonard started making back in 1952 and the recipe quickly became a hit. They use their special dough to make what is basically a large donut without a hole. They also sell filled malasadas which are their biggest seller.They come in a variety of filled malasadas with tropical fillings from guava, passionfruit, mango to coconut custard.

Sweet inspirations at Leonard's Bakery

While the bakery in Honolulu can get quite crowded, the Malasada Mobiles are a great option for those not wanting to wait as long. Many people stop at the one located in the Waikele Shopping Center on their way to spend the day at the Ko Olina Lagoons. The wait there is usually much shorter than at the original bakery. There are also three other Malasada Mobiles locations in Oahu.

Leonard Bakery food truck

While phone orders aren’t allowed at the food trucks, they are allowed at the storefront. If you order two dozen or more malasadas you can phone them in, skip the line and pick them up without having to wait. However, they are best eaten while still warm, so don’t order more than you want to eat at one time!

By Karee at Our Woven Journey

Duke's Restaurant in Waikiki

Duke’s Restaurant in Waikiki

One of the best places to eat in Oahu is without a doubt Duke’s Waikiki.  Named after famed surfer and beloved native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, this restaurant is a top spot to get fresh, local fish and Hawaiian cuisine.  Some of the best things to get there include their local, in-season fresh Hawaiian fish dishes, which are sourced sustainably and with respect of the Kai (ocean).  While the fish might change with the season, the preparation of it is by choice depending on your favorite flavors and style. We love the Duke’s Baked Fish, prepared with garlic, lemon, and sweet basil glaze. 

You can also choose land dishes, salads with ingredients from local farms, as well as dishes prepared with local Hawaiian flavors, to experience a true taste of the islands. Duke’s is also kid-friendly, with a great Keiki (kid) menu they will love. But leave room for the prize of the meal, the Kimo’s authentic Hula Pie!  Prepared with a chocolate cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and macadamia nuts, this dessert is a “must-have” treat on one of the best Hawaiian islands for families.  Be warned, though.  It is huge and big enough to share!  Duke’s Waikiki is definitely one of the best places to eat in Oahu. 

Keri with Bon Voyage with Kids

Places to eat in East Oahu

Let’s not pass up all the cool foodie spots on the east side of Oahu worth the drive alone but of course you might want to have a fun beach day or explore outdoors at some cool places like Kailua, the Koko Heads stairs, Lanikai or Waimanalo beforehand.

Cinnamon's Restaurant in Kailua

Cinnamon’s Restaurant

The breakfast place to go to in Kailua for delicious pancakes and local Hawaiian food. This warm and homey place has a nice low key vibe and the waitresses are very friendly, serving up a variety of breakfast food, delicious pancakes like their guava chiffon pancake or more hearty eggs and meat entrees with local flare like Kalua pork eggs benedict. Come hungry and you’ll enjoy your breakfast or any time meal here.

Address: 315 Uluniu St Kailua, HI 96734

Waiahole Poi Factory

Waiahole Poi Factory

A popular local favorite dining spot for local Hawaiian food that really shines on the east side of Oahu

Located in the historic Waiahole Poi Factory, this unassuming place offers the tastiest traditional Hawaiian food you’ll want to try like Laulau, Kalua Pig, squid and beef Lu’au, hand Pounded Poi, and for dessert creamy Kulolo. If you are not familiar with local Hawaiian food, then try the mixed plate and you’ll get a little bit of everything to sample and see if you really like the traditional Hawaiian style food here.

Address: 48-140 Kamehameha Hwy Kaneohe, HI 96744

Check out all these other cool Oahu topics

What’s in a Hawaiian Breakfast

What is Hawaiian food?

Tropical Hawaiian fruit

Traditional Hawaiian food favorites

Delicious Desserts from Hawaii

Have you tried any of these places to eat in Oahu?

Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your tips and suggestions for additional hikes to try around the city.

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Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.