Aloha food enthusiasts and Oahu adventurers!
Have you ever found yourself lost in the paradise of Hawaii, craving a scrumptious meal but not knowing where to start? Well, fear not, as I’ve got your back! As someone who’s been exploring the culinary wonders of my favorite Hawaiian island with my boyfriend for years now, I’m here to be your guide through the mouthwatering flavors that Oahu has to offer.
You see, over time we’ve become quite the connoisseurs on this beautiful piece of Earth. Together, we’ve feasted our way through just about every restaurant imaginable – from cozy beachside shacks to upscale dining establishments with breathtaking views. And let me tell you: it’s been an absolutely delightful journey.
So whether you’re a meat-lover or a dedicated vegetarian, buckle up and join me on this flavorful ride as I reveal my top 11 restaurant picks based on menu variety, food quality and portion size, atmosphere and location, service excellence – all while keeping your wallet happy!
Warning: After experiencing these culinary delights along with their picture-perfect scenery (think sunsets and ocean waves!), don’t be surprised if you find yourself making up reasons to visit Oahu more often!
Now grab those chopsticks (or forks!) and let’s embark on this gastronomic adventure together. Trust me – your taste buds won’t regret it!
#1 La Mer – Open-air French restaurant with an Ocean view
Address: 2199 Kālia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
Le Mer is located at the Halekulani Hotel and has a breathtaking view of the ocean. It is a romantic and elegant spot with great indoor and outdoor seating. They serve gourmet food influenced by French cuisine and offer tasty, beautifully plated food with generous portions.
If you wonder if the food is good, this is Hawaii’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes 5 Star restaurant. Since this is my favorite date night restaurant I have tried just about everything they serve. I highly recommend the poached lobster with gnocchi, steamed red snapper, and beef cheek with truffle slices and onions. Ask your server to help you pair an amazing wine with your dinner.
You need to make reservations ahead of time and make sure you follow the dress code. Dinner jackets, slacks, and closed-toe shoes are required for men. Also, the restaurant is restricted to adults and children over 8 years old (like I said perfect date night!).
Service is quick and friendly and the waiters are very knowledgeable about the food they serve. You will feel relaxed, and not rushed at all. Much of the ingredients are locally sourced.
La Mer at the Halekulani Hotel is my number one pick because:
- The venue of the restaurant is beautiful and breathtaking with gorges decor and an oceanfront terrace.
- It’s a great place to try authentic French cuisine with a Hawaiian twist. And they are an award-winning restaurant.
- They have an extensive drink menu with high-quality wines that can be paired with your food by the waiter.
- Service is top-notch, professional, and well-versed on the menu.
Related: Best Restaurants in Oahu With a View
#2 Hy’s Steak House – The best fine dining and steak house in an elegant setting
Address: 2440 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
This gem of a restaurant is located at the Park Heights Hotel. It is an old-fashioned comfy restaurant with elegant decor and leather booth seats. The tables are massive, spacious, and well spread out. They also have a large massive and fully stocked bar.
If you are a steak lover like my boyfriend, you will have the best USDA Prime Beef served here. Try the dry age rib eye or the New York strip. My favorite items on the menu are the scallops with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and garlic steak with Shimeji mushrooms. Both are incredibly well-seasoned and baked to perfection. They also have vegetarian and fish options. For dessert try the chocolate trifle. ,
They have an extensive wine list and some great beers and cocktails (the Sangria cocktail is the best). The restaurant has a dress code, so make sure to wear closed-toe shoes and a collared shirt if you are a man.
Hy’s Steak House is a must-visit because:
- They serve the highest quality steak that is expertly prepared.
- They also have great seafood and vegetarian options.
- The portions are large and filling with amazing taste.
- The venue is luxurious and very comfortable.
- Service is professional, informed, and accommodating.
#3 Lucky Belly Restaurant – The top casual brick-and-wood Asian eatery
Address: 50 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817
If you are not looking for it, you will miss it. The restaurant is tucked away and only the cute pig sign is visible from the road (in Chinatown). This is one of my favorite places to eat at when in Oahu because the food is delicious and the atmosphere is so relaxed. It’s also the best place on the island to get ramen.
The inside of the restaurant is simple and modern. The tables are well-spaced apart and there is great artwork on the walls. They have a nice size bar with cocktails and seating. Overall it’s a small high-end boutique restaurant.
This is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner. There is enough privacy to make it a date night, or a night out with friends. The menu is creative and modern. Some of my favorites are the Shrimp Gyoza, Belly Bowl (belly, bacon & sausage with ramen), and the oriental chicken salad. But you won’t go wrong with whatever you order.
The service is really good here. And the waiters are friendly and attentive. They know their food really well, so feel free to ask for advice.
If you are craving some great ramen or some modern Asian food, make sure to visit Lucky Belly Restaurant. This is a must-visit because:
- They have the best ramen in town and the other items on the menu are delicious.
- It is a modern and elegant space, but still casual enough not to dress up.
- Service is top notch and the servers can help you with your meal choice because they are very knowledgeable about their menu.
- It’s a good spot for a casual date night or dinner with friends.
#4 Chef Chai – contemporary restaurant with a bar and celebrated chef
Address: 1009 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
Chef Chai is a contemporary restaurant at Pacifica Honolulu. They serve award-winning Hawaiian food with a modern twist and a famous chef. The venue is beautiful, elegant, and sleek. The outside seating is simple and surrounded by beautiful plants like orchids. They have a gorgeous bar.
The menu is big and there is a lot of diverse food to try. My favorite is the wok-seared jumbo black tiger prawns with roasted garlic chili sauce and Steamed Coconut Milk Ginger Brown Rice. They also have amazing roasted butternut squash and lobster bisque. The portions are large and filling. Whatever you choose you will get fresh food plated beautifully and intelligently sourced.
They make a mean dirty martini and my favorite Mai tai on the island. But also have some great wine. If you are not an alcohol drinker, they have some top-notch tea options (infusions).
We enjoy the service here whenever we come. Everyone is welcoming and they add to the overall experience. The servers are professional and efficient. They are impeccable even when they get really busy.
Visit this award-winning restaurant because:
- The food is diverse, creative, modern, and really high quality.
- The portions are large and filling and plated beautifully.
- The restaurant is elegant, simple and a true fine-dining experience without being pretentious.
- Service here is impeccable and they are very professional and organized.
#5 Sweet E’s Café – Best breakfast in a comfy-chic setting
Address: 1006 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Catch some amazing breakfast and lunch food at this chic and elegant restaurant working from 7 am to 2 pm every day. If you don’t mind a short wait to be seated this will become your favorite spot. (It’s my favorite breakfast place ever!)
The restaurant is small and simple. The tables and chairs are unassuming but comfortable and reasonably spaced out. They have a covered patio as well. They have a breakfast and lunch menu. But most people come because of the breakfast. My absolute favorite breakfast is the blueberry cream cheese French toast. It smells like vanilla and cinnamon and the filling is amazing. A perfect combination of creamy and chewy. (The banana-filled ones are also amazing).
For a savory breakfast, I recommend the breakfast burrito with Portuguese sausage or the corned beef hash eggs Benedict. They are both perfectly seasoned and cooked. The food smells amazing and the portions are quite large. Wash it down with the Plantation iced tea or pineapple juice. They also have great coffee choices (I take my before the food). Whatever you choose, you will leave full and impressed.
Service is quick and they don’t rush you even when they are busy. You can make reservations and they have parking! They have vegetarian options.
Make sure to have breakfast at Sweet E’s Café because:
- They specialize in breakfast and offer some amazing meals including stuffed French toast, breakfast burritos, and hash and eggs.
- The portions are very generous and the prices are good (especially for Honolulu).
- You can show up and wait in line, or make a reservation.
- The staff is super friendly and accommodating.
#6 Marugame Udon – handmade Udon and casual Japanese ordered at the counter
Address: 2310 Kūhiō Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
This is a great restaurant serving high-quality Japanese noodles and tempura. It’s a cafeteria-style restaurant so order your food and then find seating (it’s mostly self-service). It’s a cheap and high-quality eat that you will revisit many times (I know I do!) There may be a long line depending on when you arrive, but the place tends to empty fairly quickly.
My favorite Udon they serve is the Nikutama (sweet and savory beef, hot spring egg, and BK sauce). They also have an awesome chicken katsu curry and shrimp tempura (crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside). They also have great vegetable options with zucchini and mushrooms. It’s a vegetarian-friendly place.
They make everything from scratch and it’s very fresh. The portions are large and filling. If you can’t find parking, park at the international marketplace and walk from there.
This is a must-try this self-service Japanese restaurant because:
- They have amazingly made from scratch fresh food like Udon noodles, rice bowls, and tempura.
- They are family-friendly and there is no need to make a reservation. (If there is a long line, don’t worry it clears up fast).
- The space is comfortable, and clean and you don’t have to rush.
- The prices are some of the best on the island.
Address: 2330 Kalākaua Ave Ste 330, Honolulu, HI 96815
Located on the 3rd floor of Grand Lanai in the International Market Place, STRIPSTEAK Waikiki is a modern steak house. They create a combination of steak, American and Asian tastes at a very high level. And they often change their menu (it’s seasonal) so it’s well worth visiting multiple times and experimenting with different meals.
The venue is beautiful. Inside they have well-spaced tables and booths. They also have a nice size-covered terrace outside. For some drinks, while waiting for your seat, check out their fully stocked and impressive bar. They have happy hour! So come for discounted drinks each day!
Some of my favorite items here include Ahi tuna Crudo rolls and beef and pineapple skewers. My boyfriend lives for their triple-seared reserve strip steak which has a 3-stage sear using Hawaiian sea salt, sake, and soy glaze.
It is considered as being one of the best steakhouses in Oahu.
You will also love the service here. They are professional and good at their jobs. They are also very accommodating regardless of the size of your party or request. It’s a place where you can have a large dinner with friends or a quiet romantic time with your date.
Visit this modern steakhouse because:
- They serve high-quality steak with a modern and Asian twist on their cuisine.
- They have a strong menu for non-steak items too, also vegetarian options.
- The venue is elegant and classic, perfect for a romantic date.
- Service is impeccable and highly professional.
#8 Orchids – relaxing Ocean view and elegant casual seating
Address: 2199 Kālia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
Orchids is another wonderful restaurant at the Halekulani Hotel. It’s a more casual restaurant with an open-air and oceanfront setting. The food is a mixture of American and Italian and everything is incredible. It’s a mixture of pasta, seafood, Mediterranean seasoning, steak, and more. They serve all three meals a day and have a Sunday brunch (worth a second visit!)
Some of my favorite meals at Orchids include the lobster bisque, braised pork cheeks with pumpkin coleslaw, Hawaiian butterfish, and homemade crab ravioli. Everything is made from scratch, perfectly seasoned, and incredibly fresh. For dessert ask for the ginger yogurt Brulee or scrumptious coconut cake.
The afternoon tea is also a great activity to enjoy the beautiful setting and have some world-class tea and snacks. The sandwiches and scones are amazing. There is also a champagne version.
The service here is above and beyond and sets the restaurant apart from many. The waiters are attentive, helpful, and eager to make your experience perfect.
Choose Orchids for your perfect lunch or dinner because:
- It’s a relaxed and casual atmosphere perfect for every meal of the day.
- The ocean view and venue are stunning.
- The food is extremely well prepared, fresh, and tasty and there are many options.
- They serve an awesome Sunday brunch and have daily tea time.
- They change the menu often.
- Service is one of the best on the island.
#9 Nami Kaze Hawaii – Asian-inspired twist to classic breakfast items (Best brunch)
Address: 1135 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817
This is the most underrated restaurant on the island. The outside is unimpressive. But the inside of the restaurant is clean, sleek, and elegant. There is lots of privacy with walled-off booths and well-spaced tables. There is traditional Asian décor and a small but comfortable bar with seating.
The menu is huge and full of amazing well-portioned meals. For breakfast, I love the sweet options like custard French toast, and honey walnut shrimp waffles with soy sauce maple syrup. My favorite savory option is the Mushroom Omelet with sourdough. For lunch try their absolute gems the Chi toro and Lobster Roll and Teriyaki tuna burger with fries.
The restaurant also has many great vegetarian options, including the tasty spicy roasted cauliflower and broccoli. The portions are generous, and everything is well-priced. Not to mention incredibly well prepared, fresh, and just tasty. This is a simple restaurant with great flavor. If we judged it only on flavor, it would be much higher on the list.
- The restaurant has a huge menu including modern Japanese dishes and American breakfast dishes with an Asian influence.
- Everything is made from scratch. Fresh and in-house, which shows in the unique and excellent flavor.
- The restaurant is underrated both in taste and price. Enjoy it.
- The venue inside is elegant, and simple and has booths and lots of privacy.
#10 Azure Restaurant – upscale ocean-front Royal Hawaiian spot
Address: 2259 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
If you are looking for a special dinner spot. I highly recommend Azure restaurant (we celebrated our anniversary here)! The venue is stunning with an incredible city night view, ocean sunset, and Mountain View. The outside seating area is right next to the sandy beach, and the inside area is extremely elegant and classy. The table settings are pristine and include intimate candles and perfect lighting.
I love the vibe here. It’s a great place to sit down and feel taken care of. The restaurant has a pre-fixed four-course menu carefully curated by Executive Chef Shingo Katsura. Make sure to make a reservation and enjoy some amazing combinations like red and gold beet salad with spiced orange, Ahi Crudo with sugar snap peas, and pickled hearts of palm and Short Rib. For dessert try the Citrus Olive Cake.
Asides from great wines, this restaurant offers some original and hand-crafted cocktails. Try the Seasonal Collins with vodka and seasonal fruits. You can never go wrong with the Azure Mai Tai also, as it has fresh lime, orgeat, orange liqueur, and El Dorado 15 year.
Have a great date night at Azure because:
- They have a high-end pre-fixed dinner menu that includes fresh and beautifully prepared food made for the ultimate foodie.
- They serve amazingly fresh fish and made-from-scratch sauces and sides.
- The setting is surrounded by Hawaii’s natural beauty including the mountains, city lights, and open ocean view.
#11 Morimoto Asia – Gorgeous setting and modern food from an Iron Chef
Address: 2490 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
This is a super elegant and modern restaurant for a great lunch or dinner. It’s close to the beach and you can enjoy sunset views of the ocean and overlapping palm trees. Inside seating is stunning with massive wooden round tables. It’s spacious, comfortable, and inviting. The outside setting is simple, with an amazing view and enough privacy for a romantic meal.
The restaurant only serves dinner, and the menu is carefully crafted and chosen by Iron Chef Morimoto. My favorite options include the wok sautéed Chinese vegetables with tofu, lobster with red curry sauce, and rice noodles and spicy black pepper beef.
Everything here is extremely well seasoned, the tastes are clean and fresh and everything goes together perfectly. Ask the waiter to pair a beautiful wine with your meal.
For an interesting dessert and a work of art try the chocolate sphere with chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate ganache. Or their donuts (yes donuts with azuki bean and pastry cream). Whatever you choose, it will be amazing.
Make sure to make your reservations online, and you won’t have to wait to be seated. Service is incredible and extremely knowledgeable about their food.
Visit Morimoto Asia because:
- The menu is created by a legendary Iron chef.
- The food is made from scratch, modern, clean tasting, and delicious.
- The inside and outside setting is incredible, comfortable, and spacious.
- It’s a pleasant atmosphere with some of the best food and drinks on the island.
Oahu is a treasure trove of amazing restaurants, diverse ingredients, and spices brought from all around the world.
It is home to some of the most renowned chefs in the world.
It also offers some sizable and simple homemade cooking.
No matter what your taste in food, you will find some amazing picks on my list.
True foodies will experiment and try them all.
I hope you enjoyed the list (because I loved eating the food!)
Let us know about your experience and share our article with your friends, please.
Last Updated on July 11, 2023 by Brigitte