Hawaii January 22, 2018
The 12 Hawaii Restaurants You Must Try In 2018
underrated eateries to upscale, oceanfront restaurants, the Hawaiian Islands are home to countless incredible restaurants that are loved and frequented by many. In 2017, we featured several of these excellent eateries, and have now compiled them into a 2018 dining bucket list. With popular roadside food trucks, 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. Click the captions to learn more about each.
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. Marukame Udon
One of the best restaurants in the Aloha State is Marukame Udon, a casual, cafeteria-style Japanese eatery with a cult following. This casual Japanese eatery specializes in delicious noodle soup, and there is almost always a line out of the door. Noodles are made using the Sanuki-style method, and you can watch cooks sheeting and cutting the fresh dough into noodles while you wait. Each step of the udon-making process is taken care of by a different person, by hand. And it shows — the udon is absolutely mouthwatering.
Click here to read more about this scrumptious Japanese eatery.
2. Mama’s Fish House
Mama’s Fish House, one of Hawaii’s most famous eateries, is also the absolute best restaurant in Hawaii — according to the Hawaii Magazine 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards, that is. With fresh and delicious seafood and a picturesque oceanfront location, there is little better than this Paia eatery with breathtaking sunset views that evokes memories of old world Polynesia. First opened in 1973, Mama’s Fish House was Maui’s first fresh fish restaurant, and has been serving up mouthwatering surf and turf entrees, creative appetizers, and creative tiki drinks ever since.
Click here to read more about this award-winning restaurant.
3. Mike’s Kiawe Broiled Huli Huli Chicken
Located on Oahu’s windward coast just north of Kaneohe near Paradise Bay Resort and the Hamama Falls Trailhead, Mike’s is certainly off the beaten path… but trust us, you won’t find more mouthwatering chicken anywhere else in Hawaii. Naturally flavored with Hawaiian sea salt and broiled over Kiawe wood in an outdoor rotisserie to give the chicken a smoked flavor, the chicken served from this roadside eatery will make your taste buds explode.
Click here to read more about this hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
4. ‘ULU Ocean Grill & Sushi Lounge
Located within the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island’s Kona Coast, ‘ULU Ocean Grill & Sushi Lounge clearly is about as secluded as it gets in Hawaii — at least when we’re talking about prime beachfront real estate, that is. With approximately half of their tables sitting on the outdoor lanai, there is little obstructing you from those expansive ocean views your heart desires. You’ll even find spotlights pointed at the shoreline so you can watch the waves crash against the beach when the moon isn’t shining brightly overhead. ‘ULU Ocean Grill offers more than just stunning views: the food is top-notch. The culinary team places an emphasis on local cuisine with a regional, seasonal and artisanal philosophy, and you won’t find more mouthwatering food — or more gorgeously plated entrees — for miles.
Click here to read more about this oceanfront restaurant.
5. La Mariana Sailing Club
Located on Oahu’s Sand Island, La Mariana Sailing Club is one of the last truly original tiki restaurants found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and an absolute must-visit while in Honolulu. Nestled on the shores of Keehi Lagoon just six miles away from Waikiki and tucked behind a row of warehouses sits this iconic tiki bar and restaurant that will transport you back in time to Waikiki’s golden era. The food and beverages served at La Mariana are all part of the overall island vibe as well: we suggest starting your meal with one of their famous mai tais or zombies, followed by any of their delicious surf ‘n turf staples. The ahi spring rolls and kalua pork nachos are local favorites.
Click here to read more about this nostalgic restaurant.
6. Rainbow Drive-In
Though this classic fast-casual eatery in Honolulu may not look like much, Rainbow Drive-In is famous for its scrumptious plate lunches and local charm. The open-air eatery opened in the 1960s, and has been serving up loco mocos, teri burgers, hot dogs, chili, fried rice, battered mahi mahi, and other iconic Hawaiian fare, including breakfast favorites. This timeless Honolulu establishment is one of Obama's favorite places to visit when he's in town, and for good reason.
Click here to read more about this iconic restaurant.
7. Paia Fish Market
Located in the historic plantation town turned surfing mecca of Paia, on the corner of Hana Highway and Balwin Avenue, is the Paia Fish Market, a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Serving up everything from traditional Hawaii plate lunches and fish tacos to seafood burgers, pastas, and salads, you won't be disappointed here. The fish is as fresh as it gets, the portions are large, and the prices are reasonable. What more could you ask for from a seaside seafood joint?
Click here to read more about this seafood joint.
8. Top of Waikiki
Located in the heart of Waikiki on the island of Oahu, is the Top of Waikiki, a one-of-a-kind luxury restaurant located on the 18th floor of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza that not only rotates an entire 360 degrees but also serves up some amazing Pacific Rim cuisine. Top of Waikiki is not only the only revolving restaurant in the state of Hawaii, but it is one of less than 60 such restaurants in America. In the center of one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, this revolving restaurant serves up mouthwatering dishes, from the freshest seafood around and juicy stakes to savory salads made with local ingredients and desserts to-die for.
Click here to read more about this one-of-a-kind restaurant.
9. The Coffee Shack
While you’ll find secluded restaurants with killer views throughout the islands, The Coffee Shack will provide you not only with delicious food, secluded surroundings, and panoramic views but also some incredible dining companions. Overlooking 26 miles of stunning coastline on Hawaii Island’s Kona Coast, you’ll want to add this breakfast and lunch joint to your Big Island bucket list as soon as possible.
Click here to read more about this cozy restaurant.
10. Kula Lodge & Restaurant
Hiding within this stunning little census-designated place is a restaurant that will take you millions of miles away from it all. This is the Kula Lodge & Restaurant, and it is not only remote and secluded but perhaps the most charming restaurant you’ll ever dine at. This incredible restaurant serves up mouthwatering American and Hawaiian cuisine in an absolutely jaw-dropping setting. Serving up progressive and contemporary cuisine created using fresh, local produce grown in Maui’s upcountry and seasoned with homegrown herbs and spices, your meal is sure to be top notch.
Click here to read more about this incredible restaurant.
11. 53 By The Sea
With sweeping panoramic views of Waikiki, Diamond Head and the surf at Kaka’ako, as well as an elegant and luxurious setting, 53 By The Sea is easily the most gorgeous restaurant you’ll find in Hawaii. This Honolulu restaurant is undoubtedly worthy of a queen or king, but you shouldn't be scared off by the upscale atmosphere. Emanating from the kitchen and permeating the elegant dining room are the smells of both Hawaiian cuisine and Mediterranean fare. Fresh herbs, local produce, succulent seafood, and hand-cut meats are combined to create the centerpiece for this incredibly unique dining experience on the island of Oahu.
Click here to read more about this simply stunning restaurant.
12. Hana Burger
Hana Burger is an absolute must-visit for anyone driving Maui’s famous Road to Hana. Surrounded by green grass and grazing cattle, Hana Burger is perhaps the prettiest food truck we’ve ever seen. The menu features a fresh fish sandwich, farm salads, house-made pickles and taro chips, fresh fruit smoothies, and, of course, a variety of mouthwatering burgers. The signature Hana Burger is made from grilled grass-finished beef, and is absolutely mouthwatering.
Click here to read more about this remote restaurant.
How many of these incredible restaurants have you visited? If your answer is none, you’ll want to add these remarkable restaurants found across the Hawaiian Islands to your 2018 dining bucket list.