That Restaurant CRAY !!! Where to Eat in Honolulu / North Shore !!!
POW! WOW! Hawai’i 2015 is creepin’ up! If you’re in Honolulu in February, make sure you drop by POW! WOW! conceptualized by our homie Jasper Wong and his awesome team. POW! WOW! brings together talented artists from all over the world working collectively to create amazing art. Unfortunately, I’ll be missing out on the event this year, but here’s a list of some of the island’s best grinds. Thanks to my sis, Amy Wong, who runs an awesome children’s brand called Big Bad Wolf, for always recommending the best spots! Trust me, this girl knows how to eat!
Ono Hawaiian Foods: Ono needs to be at the top of your to eat list. Ono Hawaiian Foods is a small mom and pop restaurant that serves delicious and legit Hawaiian food. I’d imagine this to be what a Hawaiian home-cooked meal would taste like or Hawaiian comfort food. Order the Salt Meat Watercress Soup, Kalua Pig, Laulau, Lomi Salmon & Haupia.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food: Helena’s is another go-to spot for Hawaiian food serving a similar menu to Ono Hawaiian Foods.
Liliha Bakery: This place is OG and has been around since 1950. They offer a vast selection of baked goods and Hawaiian comfort food. Liliha is famous for their coco puffs, chantilly, dobash, haupia, turnovers, and donuts! They also have a comprehensive dinner menu including Hawaiian classic Loco Moco, Meatloaf and old fashion pancakes!
Pioneer Saloon: Pioneer Saloon is an awesome little joint in Honolulu, Hawaii serving some legit, straight up, and what I would consider good Hawaiian/Japanese comfort food. My favorite dish at Pioneer Saloon is the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with small cubes of buttery avocado, crisp strips of shiso served on a warm bed of flavorful furikake rice.
Zippy’s: I love Zippy’s! It’s essentially the Denny’s of Hawaii. The food is actually pretty decent, cheap, and it’s open late!
Breakfast / Brunch
Boots & Kimo’s Home Style Kitchen: Located in the Northern area of Honolulu, Boots & Kimo’s is one of the most bumpin’ brunch spots in the city. They have awesome omelets and some of the best pancakes ever. They are known for their badass Kimo’s famous macadamia nut sauce on his onolicious banana pancakes – the creamiest and sweetest nut sauce I’ve ever put in my mouth over soft fluffy pancakes!
Cinnamon’s Restaurant: Cinnamon’s has been around since 1985 serving classic brunch comfort food that everyone loves. The Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing are on point. They are also known for their cinnamon rolls, Eggs Benedict (with the choice of Crabcake Kalua Pork or Mahi Mahi), Benedict Omelet, and Guava Chiffon Pancakes!
Cream Pot: Raspberry Ricotta Soufflé pancakes! Eggs Benedict on French toast with bacon and salted caramel sauce! Cream Pot has all that along with eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes. We tried a bunch of stuff, but I was all about the ricotta soufflé pancakes.
Fresh Café: Fresh is a dope café in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako District brewing awesome coffee made with 100% Kona coffee beans and homemade sandwiches, salads, and tasty baked goods. That Açaí Bowl doe… Back in 2012, we did a collaborative menu with them and were planning to do another one soon!
Hawaii Health Bar: Another spot for Açaí Bowls is Hawaii Heatlh Bar right near Diamond Head! They also have shakes and juices there as well.
Kimukatsu: Kimukatsu is a bomb ass tonkatsu spot that serves all tonkatsu everything. Their tonkatsu is made with a helluva lot of TLC from selecting prime cuts of pork, using a special layering technique with 25 thin slices of pork, each coated with a light breaded crust, and gently fried. The original tonkatsu is pretty legit, but I was really diggin’ the other flavors which had tonkatsu stuffed with cheese, garlic or black pepper.
Nanzan Girogiro: Nanzan Girogiro is Amy’s favorite Japanese Omakase restaurant and for the price, you get amazing value. I’ve never been, but I trust her 100%.
Mitch’s Sushi Restaurant: Honolulu has a plethora of dope sushi restaurants. The owner of the restaurant, Craig Mitchell also owns a fishing company. Therefore, Mitch’s ultimately has access to the best of the best seafood flown in from all over the world on a daily basis. The menu is comprised of all the sushi essentials and then some including live lobster, abalone, and the tastiest toro.
Yohei: Another Japanese hole in the wall recommended by Amy. She recommends their hamachi collar and simple lunch sets.
Pho Huong Lan: This Vietnamese restaurant is hidden in the Chinese Cultural Plaza in Chinatown Hawaii. The second you walked through the glass doors, you can smell an incredible waft of pholicious broth. The broth was super flavorful and perfect on its own – just a squirt of lime juice, no condiments necessary.
678 Hawaii: 678 Hawaii is a Korean barbecue / yakiniku spot that uses premium quality meat. The only downfall is that you’ll smell like BBQ when you leave.
Pig And The Lady: Focusing on Vietnamese fusion, Chef Andrew Le serves an eclectic menu inspired by his mother’s home cooking and the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam, Asia and the Pacific. Also check out their other restaurants, Lemongrass Cafe and at their delicious banh mi sandwiches at their Farmers Market booth!
Lucky Belly: Lucky Belly is an Asian-inspired restaurant utilizing locally grown products focusing on ramen combined with local favorites. Similar to Momofuku serving baos along with wraps, soba, oxtail and more.
Hot Dogs & Burgers
Hank’s Haute Dogs: Hank’s has a huge selection of wieners including beef, pork, chicken, vegetarian and even lobster! YES, LOBSTER! These tasty dogs are paired perfectly with all sorts toppings and condiments with delicious creations such as the Fat Boy, a deep fried bacon wrapped hot dog served with mayo, tomato, and lettuce! Hank’s also has an internationally diverse selection of sausages with items including Hawaiian Portuguese sausage, German bratwurst, Spanish Chorizo, and Cajun Andouille.
VJ’s North Shore Dogs & Burgers: VJ’s burgers are made with local Hawaiian organic 100% grass-fed, fresh ground beef. These bad boys are mad juicy, succulent and flavorful. VJ’s also has a selection of unique and interesting flavor combos that will get your taste buds turnt. My favorites are the Bleu-Pearadise, Buddha Head, and Yarrow on Taro.
Cocina: Cocina is actually a Mexican restaurant, but Amy claims that this is where she’s had the best burger in Honolulu.
Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert: Bubbies is kind of a big deal in Honolulu and considered to have some cray cray ice cream as well as the best mochi. Locals are all about that Bubbies and insist that it’s the beez neez of all ice cream. I personally have had better ice cream mochi, but if you’re in the city, it’s worth stopping by.
Leonard’s Bakery: Leonard’s Bakery is old school and is notorious for their malasadas! Malasadas are essentially Portuguese donuts, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar.
Kamehameha Bakery: Kamehameha Bakery is another classic Hawaiian bakery known for their Poi Doughnuts! They have two kinds – ones that are glazed with a sweet, sugary crust and ones that are stuffed with haupia pudding (coconut pudding)! The lines are usually insane!
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck: North Shore is amazing! The drive up the coast is about an hour, but it’s well worth it, especially if you stop for Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck! There are a bunch of trucks scattered along the shore, but I was instructed specifically to eat at Giovanni’s by born and bred local Hawaiians. Order the Shrimp Scampi!
Uncle Woody’s BBQ Corn: Just a few steps away from Giovanni’s is Uncle Woody’s. Try the Baja Style BBQ Corn, smothered in butter, mayo, lime and Parmesan cheese and the Island Style BBQ Corn, also slathered with butter and sprinkled with salt.
Vintage Cave: I haven’t been but have heard nothing but amazing things about this place.American, Asian, Brunch, Dessert, Dinner, Hawaiian, Honolulu, USA, Japanese, Korean, Lunch, North American, Portuguese, Vietnamese