Hawaii January 14, 2020
The 12 Restaurants You’ll Want To Eat At In Hawaii In 2020
From underrated, roadside eateries to upscale, oceanfront restaurants, the Hawaiian Islands are home to countless incredible restaurants that are loved and frequented by many. In 2019, we featured several of these excellent eateries, and have now compiled some of our favorites into a 2020 dining bucket list. With popular roadside food stands, fine dining establishments in unforgettable settings, and eateries with cult-like followings, this list features 12 of the best restaurants Hawaii has to offer — one for each month of the year.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Hana Farm Stand
Nestled off the beaten path in the exotic rainforests of Maui’s coast along the historic Hana Highway is a tropical farm, marketplace, and grill just waiting to be discovered. Not only does this roadside destination support local agriculture and the community at large, but it’s a convenient, one-stop-shop for fresh Maui-grown produce, locally made products, coffee, snacks, and even full meals.
Learn more about Hana Farms and their incredible banana bread here
2. Mina's Fish House
Welcome to Mina's Fish House, a restaurant from famous James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michael Mina nestled along Oahu's leeward coast that re-imagines the Hawaiian fish house theme by offering a seafood bounty direct from the pristinely clear Hawaiian waters. Not only will you find enticing views of the Pacific Ocean and an atmosphere that exudes understated elegance but some mighty mouthwatering food and the world’s only fish sommelier.
Discover more about this remarkable restaurant — and what a fish sommelier actually is — here
3. Lagoon Grill
Located within the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast, the Lagoon Grill is an often-overlooked slice of paradise we can’t get enough of. This casual, laid-back eatery is known for its ethereal surroundings, scrumptious cocktails, and a menu full of American classics with an island twist.
Details about Lagoon Grill, as well as that stunning view, can be found here.
4. Eating House 1849
Welcome to Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, a stunning restaurant that not only serves up some mouthwatering meals but pays homage to Hawaii’s heritage. Today, we’re checking out the Koloa location, but you will also find a restaurant in Waikiki. Eating House 1849 pays homage to the Aloha State’s vibrant culinary heritage by blending the simple flavors and casual ambiance of a plantation town with the modernity of haute cuisine. Talk about delicious!
Find out more about Eating House 1849 here
5. Prison Street Pizza
Housed in a once-abandoned plantation-style house, Prison Street Pizza may look modest from the exterior, but after just one bite of their scrumptious pies, you’ll be hooked. Serving up freshly made, thin-crust pizzas with all of your favorite toppings — whether you’re a meat-lover or prefer all things veggie — there’s no better place for a casual meal with friends or family than Prison Street Pizza.
See what makes Prison Street Pizza so great here
6. 12th Ave Grill
Tucked away in the heart of Honolulu’s Kaimuki neighborhood is 12th Ave Grill, a local eatery that was recognized as one of the Top 25 Hidden Gem Restaurants in Hot Destinations by Kayak and OpenTable. The menu is full of unique flavors sure to satisfy your taste buds. From truffled sashimi-grade ahi tartare and smoked ahi bruschetta to crispy beer-battered local avocado and crisp salads, their small plates are particularly enticing. Our mouths are watering already.
12th Ave Grill is one of the world’s best hidden gems and you can learn more here
7. Duane's Ono Char-Burger
This roadside stand nestled on the side of Kuhio Highway on Kauai may be bright red, but its unassuming exterior leads many people to pass right by, but those in the know stop for one of the island’s best hamburgers. Welcome to Duane’s Ono Char-Burger, a cult classic known for its often long lines. If you love classic burgers, you’ll want to make the trip to Duane’s. These quarter-pound burgers are often ordered by the box, and once you take a bite, you’ll understand.
Learn more about this roadside burger stand here
8. Aloha Mixed Plate
For traditional Hawaiian plates with large portions, and beachside patio seating, look no further than Aloha Mixed Plate. This Lahaina restaurant — once described by the New York Times as "paper-plate-meets-million-dollar-view" — has been a local favorite since it opened in 1996. Utilizing a range of farm-to-table produce from their very own Hoaloha Farms, Aloha Mixed Plate has elevated and modernized the traditional Hawaiian plate lunch while remaining true to their roots.
Aloha Mixed Plate is one of our favorites, and once you learn more, you’ll understand why
9. Pounders Restaurant
Welcome to Pounders Restaurant, a farm-fresh, island-style dining restaurant that’s big on old Hawaiian charm and utilizing local flavors combined with spices from around the world. Serving fresh produce from island farms, Hawaii-raised grass-fed beef, locally caught seafood, savory dishes from the Pacific Rim, Pounders has a delectably diverse menu, but they're known for one food in particular: Hawaiian-style pizzas.
Learn more about this Laie restaurant here
10. Hilo Bay Cafe
With sweeping views of Hilo Bay, Mauna Kea, and the Pacific Ocean, as well as mouthwatering new American cuisine with a Pacific Rim twist, Hilo Bay Cafe deserves a spot on your Hawaii dining bucket list. Utilizing fresh, local, and organic ingredients as much as possible, the innovative and eclectic menu features everything from gourmet versions of comfort food to fresh sushi.
To see more about what makes Hilo Bay Cafe, click here
Born of a love for food and culture, Nuka is a must-visit for anyone who loves sushi. Though the space is small, the menu is mighty. You’ll find specialty rolls, sashimi platters, sushi bowls, and plenty of poke sourced from local purveyors whenever possible. A bit of a local legend when it comes to Maui sushi making, Hiro Takanashi, along with his chefs, has created a stellar menu full of high-quality sushi sure to impress.
Find out more here, sushi lovers
With three locations on the island of Oahu, Kono’s is one of our all-time favorite spots for slow-roasted pulled pork and Hawaiian classics. For more than 15 years, Kono’s has been selling it’s signature 12-hour slow-roasted kalua pork in their famous breakfast bombers, sandwiches, and plate lunches. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it, but there are options for non-pork eaters, too!
Find out more about Kono’s mouthwatering slow-roasted pork here
How many of these Hawaiian restaurants have you visited before? Are you going to add any of them to your 2020 dining bucket list? Share your opinions and experiences in the comments below. Address: 2910 Hana Hwy, Haiku, HI 96708, USA Address: 92-1001 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707, USA Address: 69-425 Waikoloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738, USA Address: 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Rd, Koloa, HI 96756, USA Address: 133 Prison St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA Address: 1120 12th Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA Address: 4-4350 Kuhio Hwy, Anahola, HI 96703, USA Address: 1285 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA Address: 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, HI 96762, USA Address: 123 Lihiwai St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA Address: 780 Haiku Rd, Haiku, HI 96708, USA Address: 67-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA