Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Oah'u List

Back in late spring my dear dear friends, the M family, wanted to know some of my favorite casual inexpensive places to eat on Oah'u. After sharing the list of my absolute favorites, I started getting a few requests here and there for the list.  Requests have started to trickle in more frequently from all corners of my existesphere. So, for my readers, here is my list. Created with I, G, O and T (natch) in mind, but good for anyone who likes to eat. The list skews heavily in favor of Honolulu. My family lives there so that's where we hang out for the most part.

Ono Seafood
Best poke on the island, IMO.  It's a walk up counter, no seats. Get poke and other items for a picnic or your hotel room.  Have a picnic on the beach. I always get some to bring home with me for a meal on the plane.
Ono Hawaiian Foods
Smallish cafe with traditional Hawaiian foods and a nod at some Japanese items. Super delish, very locals.
 Nijiya Japanese Market
 I don't know if you are as fanatic as I am about Japanese food, but D and I always hit Nijiya before we get to our hotel to stock up on fruits, deli items, bottled water and so on to keep in our room.

Been to both of these Greek places and both have good food. Both are BYOB, and very reasonable. Both are out in the general direction of Diamond Head.
Olive Tree

Next door to a great wine shop, you can buy a bottle there and drink it on there on the patio.

The Mad Greek
Ate here with a group of just coming of age young men on my last visit for my brother's 21st birthday dinner. We were starving after a long hike straight uphill. No one in Hawaii cares if you are a little trail worn. 
Izakaya Gaku
Hands down best izakaya on the island. You will need a reservation.  People think it's a little spendy, but I don't think it's any spendier than izakaya in L.A. and it's very pretty. About to do a blog post on it, actually. Don't miss the fried chicken.
Izakaya Nonbei
Plays a close second fiddle to Gaku.

Bare bones sushi by the airport. Supposedly the freshest fish on Oahu. We ate here on our way out of town just last month. YUM!
My folks have been coming here FORever. Yelp reviews aren't great, but I have always thought it's super fantastic. Very simple. Should be convenient for you. Not glamourous, but very good. Lots of Japanese people/families in here. Dad always calls for a reservation, but this might be because he knows them.
Brasserie Du Vin
One of my dad's girlfriend's favorite places. French wine bar in Honolulu! If they are having the art walk while you are in town, go here and eat then stroll the packed streets of Chinatown and check out the art and businesses. I wouldn't venture into this neighborhood super late at night. But anytime before 10 pm and you are fine. I also wouldn't go into any of the bars in Chinatown unless it's art walk night. We made this mistake once. Haoles/mainlanders not welcome.
My dad freaking loves Zippy's. It's like the Hawaiian Denny's. They are scattered all over the place. There is always one convenient.
Shrimp Truck
If you go to the North Shore, hit this for lunch. So delicious.
Pineapple Room/Mariposa
For a treat. These are both kinda fancy, but not as fancy as Alan Wong's.  Both are located in dept stores in Ala Moana. Mariposa is located in the Neiman Marcus, and the Pineapple Room is inside of Macy's (Macy's at Ala Moana is actually a nice store).  GREAT food at both.
Also in Ala Moana. GREAT place for lunch or breakfast with a nice view of the ocean and Ala Moana beach. The walls are all open and it's on the third floor. Lots of tiny birds fly in to pick up crumbs off the ground. It sounds totally unsanitary but it's actually really charming.

Mai Tais
I am adding this to the list for blog readers. This is our favorite sports bar in town. If we are in for any major sports event (NBA playoffs, U.S. Open, etc) we always meet Dad here for a few drinks and some mediocre appetizers. This is a sports bar in paradise. If you are at Ala Moana shopping, head up to the top floor where the sit down restaurants are and have a potent mai tai here enjoying open air seating and misters on very hot days.

None of the above places (except kinda the shrimp truck) are touristy places. I can certainly give you recs for those. But honestly, meh.



Kitten with a Whisk said...

Tourist places are usually the last place you want to go! I remember back to one of my first (out of dozens) trips to Key West, a local said the best places to eat are off of Duval Street.

He was 100% right.

Marie said...

Ooh, hope I can use this list sometime in the near future, which doesn't mean I actually have any plans in motion. But I'm gonna!

Ian and Gannet said...

We used this list and it GREATLY improved our trip! Wonderful suggestions. Also add "The Cream Pot" for brunch.

Food, she thought. said...

Ian & Gannet, Obviously The Cream Pot is a destination on my next visit. So glad ya'll had a great time.