Though the Hawaiian Islands are small in terms of land mass, the islands feel huge as soon as you consider the countless restaurant options found across the state, some more popular than others. From casual drive-ins and seaside poke joints to upscale seafood restaurants and resort restaurants, these 12 famous restaurants found throughout Hawaii are totally worth the hype.
1. Rainbow Drive-In, Honolulu
This Honolulu classic is one of Obama's favorite places to visit when he's in town, and for good reason. 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.
3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
2. Da Poke Shack, Kailua-Kona
This seaside eatery nestled in a condominium complex is known for their takeout poke, as well as local specialties and salads - and was once considered the best restaurant in America, according to Yelp.
Oceanfront Kona Bali Kai Condos, 76-6246 Alii Dr #101, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
3. Mama’s Fish House, Paia
With 4.5 stars on Yelp and more than 4,000 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 with breathtaking sunset views.
2310 Kuhio Ave. #124, Honolulu, HI 96815
4. Haleiwa Joe’s, Kaneohe + Haleiwa
This classic Hawaiian restaurant not only serves up some of the freshest seafood around but is also located in quite the picturesque setting. An iconic Hawaiian seafood restaurant, Haleiwa Joe’s has two locations that are pure Hawaiian paradises: on Oahu’s north shore in Haleiwa, and windward Oahu at the Haiku Gardens.
5. Hukilau Lanai, Kapa’a
Located at the Kauai Coast Resort, Hukilau Lanai is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner, and daily from 3 – 5 p.m. for poolside happy hour. Handcrafted dishes – like poke nachos, sweet potato ravioli, and macadamia nut chicken – are made using products from Kauai and the neighbor islands as much as possible.
Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy, 520 Aleka Loop, Kapaa, HI 96746
6. Lahaina Grill, Lahaina
This contemporary bistro serves up a variety of new American cuisine – including seafood – using only the freshest ingredients from Maui farms, dairies, and surrounding oceans. Lahaina Grill has been recognized by Honolulu Magazine as Maui’s best restaurant for more than 20 years.
Lahaina Inn, 127 Lahainaluna Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761
7. Marakame Udon, Honolulu
This casual Japanese eatery specializes in noodle soup, and there is almost always a line out of the door. It was rated as the 10th best restaurant in America in Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the US for 2016, so it should definitely be added to your 2017 dining bucket list if you have yet to check it out.
2310 Kuhio Ave #124, Honolulu, HI 96815
8. The Manago Hotel Restaurant, Captain Cook
The restaurant at the Manago Hotel is not only Hawaii's oldest restaurant in continuous use, but is also famous for their pork chops, as well as a menu featuring a variety of fresh fish, sandwiches, and some ono Hawaiian side dishes.
82-6155 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook, HI 96704
9. Hali’imaile General Store, Makawao
Though called a general store, this establishment is actually a critically-acclaimed restaurant that serves up seafood and eclectic American food with Asian overtones. The pineapple plantation setting and quaint country ambiance make this a must-visit destination in Makawao.
900 Haliimaile Rd, Makawao, HI 96768
10. Hawaiian Style Cafe, Waimea
If you’re in the mood for home cooked Hawaiian and American food, look no further than this quaint diner located in Waimea that serves up some scrumptious breakfast and lunch options. From massive pancakes and kalua pork hash to lighter or vegetarian options, there is something for everyone at this charming café.
65-1290 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
11. Liliha Bakery, Honolulu
A full-service bakery, coffee shop and diner located in Honolulu, Liliha Bakery has been a community staple since its doors were opened in 1950. In addition to their famous coco puffs, the Coffee Shop serves up traditional Hawaiian breakfast favorites, including pancakes, and Portuguese sausage and eggs.
515 N Kuakini St, Honolulu, HI 96817
12. The Gazebo, Lahaina
This busy breakfast spot is located right on the beach at the Napili shores condo complex. Don’t allow the hour long line to discourage you, Gazebo Restaurant serves the best breakfast food for miles – you’ve got to try their famous macadamia nut pancakes. Pro tip: if you arrive and the line is too long for your liking, walk around the corner and order your food to go – you can then take your breakfast and eat on the beach, with the same view!
5315 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Lahaina, HI 96761