From mouth-watering loco mocos and traditional plate lunches to kalua pork, lau lau and poi, Hawaiian food is as unique as the islands themselves. Whether you’ve lived in Hawaii your entire life or are visiting for the first time, you definitely need to eat at as many of these 13 delicious Hawaiian restaurants as possible.
1) Helena's Hawaiian Food
One of the state’s oldest Hawaiian restaurants, Helena’s Hawaiian Food is well-known for using secret family recipes. Be sure to order “Menu D,” a tasting menu that comes with kalua pork, lomi salmon, dried beef short ribs, and luau squid. Don’t forget about the haupia dessert!
2) Pono Market, Kapaa
Family owned and operated since 1968, Pono Market serves up a variety of seafood plate lunches, as well as manju, musubi, poke, and sushi. You’ve got to try the Lau Lau, though it is unfortunately only available during specified lunch hours.
3) 808 Grindz Café, Lahaina
Serving up everything from local fried rice just like your momma makes to loco moco, steaks and simple breakfast food, 808 Grindz Café is a local favorite.
4) Da Poke Shack, Kailua-Kona
There is no way to make a list of the best Hawaiian food in the state without including Da Poke Shack – acording to Yelp, this seafood joint is the top-rated restaurant in America. That’s a pretty high honor for a seaside eatery nestled in a condominium complex known for their takeout poke, as well as local specialties and salads.
5) Ono Seafood, Honolulu
Rumor has it that the best poke in Honolulu comes from Ono Seafood. The seafood is fresh, and the poke is made-to-order instead of sitting all afternoon in a big container.
6) Mark’s Place
Serving up everything from plate lunches to bento boxes, Mark’s Place is a local favorite and features different food combinations every day.
7) Mama's Fish House, Paia
With a 4.5 stars on Yelp and more than 3,500 reviews, Mama’s Fish House is definitely doing something right. With fresh and delicious seafood and a picturesque oceanfront location, there is little better than this Paia eatery.
8) Rainbow Drive-In
One of the most iconic eateries on Oahu, Rainbow Drive-In is famous for its scrumptious plate lunches, complete with rice, mac salad and your choice of meat, as well as their mouth-watering loco moco plate.
9) Hawaiian Style Café
If you’re in the mood for home cooked Hawaiian and American food, look no further than this breakfast and lunch favorite.
10) Koloa Fish Market, Koloa
This family owned counter-service eatery serves up the best Hawaiian and American plate lunches – to be enjoyed on a nearby beach, since there are no seats here.
11) Coconut's Fish Cafe, Kihei
This seafood joint serves up Hawaiian fish tacos, sandwiches, pastas and plate lunches at affordable prices in a laid-back, family friendly atmosphere with great service and even better seafood.
12) Kaaloa’s Super J’s, Captain Cook
Often recognized as being as local as you can get, this Captain Cook eatery serves up delicious, authentic Hawaiian food in a no frills atmosphere.
13) Ono Hawaiian Foods, Honolulu
While this eatery is close to Waikiki and serves up the best Hawaiian food around, including portions of lau lau bigger than your fist, the joint is small, and you’ll have to bring cash with you. But we promise that the trouble you may have finding parking is well worth it.
Which of these eateries is your favorite? What other restaurants would you add to this list?