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Hot in Honolulu: 10 Top Places to Eat and Drink

Hawaiian Islands

With a dynamic food scene, innovative chefs and a multicultural worldview, Honolulu is fast becoming a true foodie destination – be surprised by its modern interpretations of Hawaiian classics and unique dining experiences.

An abundance of fresh local produce, a variety of flavours and unique recipes: it all adds up to a big plateful of excitement. Whether you’re up for a splurge in one of Honolulu’s finest restaurants, a breakfast burrito in a cooler-than-cool café or hunting out exquisite Vietnamese food in Chinatown, the island will have your appetite well and truly filled.

Here are our top spots to discover the gourmet side of Hawaii’s most famous surf city.

Hawaiian Islands

Image Credits: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Waikiki Beach

The neighbourhood of Waikiki is renowned for its postcard-perfect beaches, constant sunshine and perfect waves. But over the past decade Waikiki’s blossoming food and drink scene has been capturing the attention of foodies as much as beach bums.

An iconic establishment here is Duke’s Waikiki. Named after surf legend Duke Kahanamoku and housed in the award-winning Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, this chilled-out restaurant serves up island favourites crafted with local ingredients. Steps away from Waikiki Beach, this is the kind of place you come with sandy feet to devour a fish taco and sip a tiki-inspired cocktail while watching the sun set over the Pacific.

Craft beer fan? Maui Brewery Co is a Honolulu must-visit, designed to celebrate the art of craft brewing as well as Hawaii’s history and culture with over 36 beers on tap and relaxed indoor and outdoor dining.

Don’t leave Waikiki without indulging in exquisite Pan-Asian fare at Morimoto, headed by celebrity Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Showcasing a refined menu where the flavours of China, Korea, Japan and Thailand collide in a glorious taste explosion with the fresh produce of Hawaii, Morimoto’s hero dishes include Peking duck, sticky ribs, Korean kalbi, dim sum and traditional wok fry dishes – all served steps away from Waikiki Beach.

Hawaiian Islands

Image Credits: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Kaimuki

Up-and-coming Kaimuki is an eclectic spot sprinkled with coffee shops, old-school eateries and quirky stores. Here you’ll find some of the latest additions to Honolulu’s dining scene, as well as some of the island’s hottest restaurants.

Headed by celebrity Chef Ed Kenney, pioneer of Oahu’s farm-to-table movement and the inspiration behind the island food revolution, Town Restaurant showcases an ever-changing seasonal menu where innovative new American cuisine and Italian-inspired dishes are served in an ultra-modern industrial setting. Think fried eggplant with feta cheese and cucumber yogurt; homemade gnocchi with pork, beef and porcini; or a perfectly cooked local striploin with Roquefort butter and fries.

It wouldn’t be a trip to the beach without ice cream, and Via Gelato delivers with classic Italian favourites including stracciatella (chocolate chip) and lemon sorbetto, but also flavours with a local twist like passionfruit and Kulolo (taro root).

Hawaiian Islands

Image Credits: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Kaka’Ako

The once-industrial neighbourhood of Kaka’Ako might just be Honolulu’s newest hotspot, starting to rival Chinatown, traditionally considered the city’s liveliest area.

Commanding the scene here is SALT at our Kaka’ako, the epicentre for local culture, food, shopping and innovative events. With curated retail, restaurant and mixed-use space, SALT at our Kaka’ako is a dynamic city block, a destination within the destination. Its biggest drawcard is Moku Kitchen, offering a delicious menu of hand-thrown pizzas, tasty burgers and slow-fire roasted prime ribs, all made with local ingredients including mushrooms from Hamakua, macadamia nuts from Waiehu and strawberries from Kula.

Coffee connoisseurs, 9bar HNL is your go-to, with an impressive coffee list including nitro cold brew, batch brew, iced coffees and espresso shots pulled with nine bars of pressure (that’s where the name comes from), as well as start-the-day favourites like granola bowls and breakfast burritos.

Hawaiian Islands

Image Credits: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Chinatown

Welcome to the pulsing heart of Honolulu, a dynamic district where exciting food and cultural traditions come together. One of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, Honolulu’s has become one of the most electrifying destinations in the city, brimming with trendy bars, open-air markets, cool eateries and an eclectic arts scene.

An institution of Chinatown, starting as a popular famers’ market stall and growing into one of Honolulu’s best restaurants, The Pig and the Lady will delight with its Vietnamese-inspired cuisine. Blending the vision of chef Andrew Le (the ‘Pig’) and the loving home-cooking of his mother Loan Le (the ‘Lady’), this ultra-cool eatery serves Vietnamese with a Hawaiian twist and hits the mark with its fusion-style cocktails like including the Rumaway Club, made with Ko Hana rum, cinnamon and grapefruit. Come for lunch to skip the queue and savour crispy banh mi, braised lemongrass tofu vermicelli and fragrant pho, surf island style.

When the day’s meals are done with and it’s time to embrace Chinatown’s vibrant atmosphere with some laid-back drinks, the best place to do so is Tchin Tchin! Bar, a rooftop bar with exposed bricks and comfy sofas, serving up an extensive wine and cocktail list with sweeping views over the ocean – the perfect end to a Honolulu day.

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