From Hawaiian favorites like spam musubi and shave ice to Asian fusion and acai bowls, Hawaii is home to some seriously phenomenal restaurants. And while it’s easy to argue that Oahu is home to the best dining among the islands, it can be difficult to decide where to eat, especially if you’re only visiting the island for a short time – say, three days?
That’s where we come in; we’ve broken down our 72 hours on Oahu into three distinct days, with restaurant selections limited to a specific region of the island. On day one, we’ll explore Honolulu’s greatest eats, then it’s off to the windward coast for day two, finishing off on the north shore for day three.
Day 1: Breakfast at Koko Head Café.
There's no doubt that brunch is one of the best meals ever invented, and the food from celebrity chef Lee Anne Wong's Koko Head Cafe does not disappoint. Doesn’t this breakfast bibimbap look incredible?
Day 1: Lunch at Marukame Udon.
This casual Japanese eatery specializes in noodle soup, and there is almost always a line out of the door. It was even rated as the 10th best restaurant in America in Yelp's "Top 100 Places to Eat in the US."
Day 1: Snack break at Musubi Café Iyasume.
Located within the Aqua Pacific Monarch Café in Honolulu is Musubi Café Iyasume, an adorable shop with an impressive selection of musubi – and affordable prices. And really, is there any better snack to grab before heading to the beach than bacon, egg, spam and avocado musubi?
Day 1: Dinner at Alan Wong’s Restaurant.
Located in the heart of Honolulu, famed chef Alan Wong shows off his expertly-crafted Asian-fusion cuisine with a Hawaiian flare. This upscale third-floor restaurant is the perfect choice for a fancy meal.
Day 2: Breakfast at Cinnamon’s.
Guava chiffon pancakes, cinnamon buns, banana cream cheese French toast, Hawaiian omelets and eggs benedict, oh my! This charming café located in the heart of Kailua town is an island favorite, and they serve some amazing breakfast foods.
Day 2: Lunch at Uahi Island Grill.
Serving up contemporary Hawaiian dishes and plate lunches in an unassuming Kailua storefront is Uahi Island Grill.
Day 2: Snack break at Lanikai Juice.
While fresh juice, smoothies and acai bowls are normally thought of for breakfast, there is little better for an afternoon pick me up than a smoothie or bowl full of delicious fresh fruit.
Day 2: Dinner at Kalapawai Café & Deli.
Sandwich shop by day and contemporary dinners and table service by night, Kalapawai is one of Kailua's best.
Feel free to switch it up and head here for lunch, and Uahi Island Grill for dinner.
Day 3: Breakfast at Ted’s Bakery.
While there are a variety of coffee shops near Haleiwa, the bakery items and pastries at Ted's Bakery cannot be beat - especially these scrumptious pineapple muffins. Don't forget to grab a slice of haupia pie for the road!
Day 3: Lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.
Kahuku is known for a plethora of shrimp trucks, but Giovanni's is by far the most famous - and the perfect spot for a casual lunch while traveling between the north shore's most famous beaches.
Day 3: Snack break at Matsumoto’s.
Located in the historic surfing town of Haleiwa, on Oahu’s north shore, is this famous shave ice shop. What once began as a small grocery story has transformed into so much more – t-shirts, souvenirs, snacks and, of course, their famous shave ice. On a hot summer day, the store produces more than 1,000 shave ices!
Day 3: Dinner at Opal Thai Food.
This Haleiwa gem is closed Sundays and Mondays, but every other day of the week, you will find some of the best Thai food for miles.
Is your mouth-watering as much as mine right now? Where would you dine if you only had three days to spend on Oahu?