Open Your (Foodie) Heart to Waikiki
For many, food plays a central role when traveling. Hawaii is certainly a foodie destination so much so that you really have to break it down by area to figure out how many restaurant, bakery and cafe stops you can cram into your vacation.
For this piece, the focus is the bustling streets of Waikiki.
Because the Hawaiian culture is so connected to the land and sea, please take a moment before you eat and consider where your meal came from. Express gratitude for all the hands who made the pieces come together and find the Aloha within that pays homage to Mother Earth for providing this nourishment set before you.
Here are 7 places to eat and drink in Waikiki
Located in the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger on Kalakaua Avenue, Maui Brewing Company isn’t just Hawaii’s largest craft brewery but they’ve nailed the food scene, incorporating authentic Hawaiian dishes and sourcing ingredients from local farmers as much as possible.
Menu Recomendation: Pineapple Mana Beer and Fish Tacos
Steps from Maui Brewing Company, also located in the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger as well as three other locations in town, Hawaiian Aroma Caffe is a favorite spot for breakfast, brunch and poolside sips (coffee, smoothies, tropical Mimosas). Between the Acai bowls and the Bohemian beach decor, you’ll want to pop in frequently during your Waikiki adventure.
Menu recommendation: The Original Acai Bowl
This spot is an immediate “yes” because you have to keep your eyes peeled while walking down Royal Hawaiian Avenue or you just might miss it. A hidden gem tucked away in the heart of Waikiki. Here’s how it works at Sam’s: choose your protein, pick your sauce and add a side. It sounds simple but the sauce options can stump you because they are all Ono (Hawaiian for delicious).
Menu Recommendation: Garlic shrimp
Just a short walk from Waikiki in the charming Kaimuki neighborhood, Cafe Morey’s is open for breakfast and lunch. The pastel dining room is just the beginning of the appeal. Order a plate lunch and choose from these side options: Salad, rice, baguette or mini pancake. You know a restaurant is doing it right when you can have your grilled ahi and pancake taking up the same space.
Menu recommendation: Crab Fried Rice
You can’t visit Oahu without stopping at Duke’s Waikiki. The famous beachside restaurant located in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Travelers come for the name but quickly find out why the iconic spot has remained a sought-after one for so many years. The food and drinks are just as good as the views. If you can get a Sunday evening reservation, you’ll be in great company with the music of Henry Kapono.
Item recommendation: Lava Flow a
Located in the upper level of the International Marketplace, Shorefyre serves up a popular brunch seven days a week and a nightly music scene. For foodies trying to hit as many restaurants as possible, Shorefyre offers a “small bites” menu that allows guests to sample a variety of items (including Hawaiian “Pipikaula” style beef jerky).
Menu recommendation: Loco Moco and Fried Brussel Sprouts (served with portugese sausage)
Fish lovers, rejoice! Whatever fish you were hoping to sample during your time in Hawaii is on the menu at Paia Fish Market located on Kuhio Avenue. Mahi Mahi, Ono, Snapper, Ahi, Salmon and Opah are all grilled to your liking with options for cajun style or blackened or even turn it into a burger. In true fish market style, there is no table service here but plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
Menu recommendation: Blackened Ono
Meet the journalist:
Erinne Magee is the founder of The Heart of the Hotel, a Reiki practitioner and author of THIS IS CAMP.