Hey there, fellow foodies!
Are you planning a trip to Waikiki and wondering where to eat? Look no further because I’ve got you covered. As someone who has visited this paradise multiple times with my boyfriend, I know how overwhelming it can be to choose from the plethora of dining options available.
Waikiki is known for its diverse food scene that caters to every palette and diet. From upscale eateries like Roy’s and La Mer to local favorites such as Goofy’s and Hula Grill serving Hawaiian-style plates, there’s something for everyone here. And let’s not forget about the extensive Pan Asian cuisine available in Waikiki, especially Japanese dishes carrying authentic flavors.
As an experienced traveler with a passion for good food, I’m excited to share my expertise with you on what makes these restaurants stand out based on factors such as taste, ambiance, service quality, price point – all while keeping search intent in mind so that your next meal will be nothing short of amazing. I have personally tried and tested the following restaurants in Waikiki.
Warning: You might end up craving these dishes long after your vacation ends!
Best Upscale Restaurants in Waikiki
Waikiki has many choices for fine dining, from which I’ve listed a few hot favorites below. You’ll find terrific seafood classics at Roy’s Waikiki and its extension, Eating House 1849. Head to Oahu’s Michelin star restaurant La Mer for gourmet-quality food, and Stripsteak Waikiki for the juiciest cuts of meat.
Roy’s Waikiki – Best Waikiki Restaurant with a view
Every hip town has a celebrity chef to boast about, and that’s Chef Roy Yamaguchi for Waikiki. In fact, you’ll find Chef Roy’s eateries spread all over Oahu, known for their classic Japanese-American fusion flavors and terrific seafood.
The best one is the Roy’s on the Waikiki beachfront, with gorgeous outdoor lanai seating that offers sunset views to enjoy with your meal.
You want to try the three-course, prix-fixe menu here, starting with tangy Schezuan Back Ribs and classic Spring Rolls. These are followed by a choice of meat or seafood, braised short ribs, or Macadamia Crusted Fresh Catch, both equally delicious, with creamy pasta on the side.
My boyfriend and I are fans of their seafood specials like the Misoyaki Butterfish with sweet ginger wasabi butter and the Classic Trio of seafood entrees made from fresh catch.
We consider Roy’s as one of the best restaurants in Waikiki. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- They serve delicious desserts like Lime Cheesecake and Upside-down Pineapple Cake, made from Hawaiian pineapples.
- They have impeccable service and a friendly waitstaff.
- Their prices are reasonable for the quality of fine dining.
Address: 226 Lewers St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI.
La Mer – Best Seafood Restaurant Waikiki
Don your best formal attire for La Mer, one of Oahu’s Michelin-star restaurants on Waikiki Beach, offering a fine dining experience like no other. Located inside the Halekulani Hotel, La Mer’s menu features French classics with flavors on par with the best gourmet restaurants in New York and LA.
Try the dinner at La Mer, which is a relaxed affair, giving guests time to savor each dish. And if you get the eight-course Degustation menu, prepare to spend a few hours eating while the sun sets behind the Diamond Head volcano seen from La Mer’s dining area.
We’ve tried their four-course tasting menu with seafood classics like Lobster and Escargot Ravioli, as well as delicious meat options of Beef Tartare, a tender Filet Mignon, and roasted duck. You can end your meal with house-special desserts or a platter of cheese.
Here’s why La Mer is widely considered one of the best restaurants in Waikiki:
- The dining experience is unmatched to any other place on the island.
- You can enjoy terrific cheese and wine pairings at the end of your meal.
- The sommelier makes great recommendations for drinks based on your order.
Address: 2199 Kalia Rd Halekulani, Honolulu, Oahu, HI.
Keeping up with the trend of celebrity chef eateries, head to Stripsteak Waikiki in the Grand Lanai, run by Oahu’s favorite Chef Michael Mina, whose food brings strong Asian flavors to classic American fare.
From their laid-back location, enjoy views of the International Marketplace, overlooking bustling shops and the coast in the distance.
Start with the duck-fat fries served with an assortment of sauces, and the house-special foie gras, which are terrific appetizers that whet your appetite while your steaks get a final sear in the kitchen. Next, go for the 8 oz. Center-Cut Filet Mignon with garlic fried rice and the Prime Delmonico Ribeye with black truffle butter.
Round your meal off perfectly with the basque cheesecake with roasted strawberries, which tastes as delicious as it sounds.
Here’s why we consider Stripsteak as one of the best restaurants in Waikiki:
- They serve the juiciest steaks in town, well-seasoned and bursting with flavor.
- The dining atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable.
- They have a terrific Tasting Menu, which includes small portions of all their specials.
Address: 2330 Kalakaua Ave Ste 330 Ste 330, Honolulu, Oahu, HI.
For those who want to expand their culinary exploration and enjoy not just great food but also amazing views, Oahu offers a variety of restaurants. From stunning beach views to high-rise cityscapes, there are several restaurants in Oahu that combine great food with unforgettable views. Check out our list of the top Oahu restaurants with a view to elevate your dining experience.
Eating House 1849
Eating House 1849 is another one of Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s brainchild restaurants, which serves traditional Hawaiian favorites and Roy’s signature Asian-fusion food. The ambiance at Eating House is more laid-back than other upscale eateries, but the quality of food and impeccable service places them in this category.
We recommend starting with their crispy Spring Rolls and Grilled Pork Bao Buns for appetizers. Then, try their Mahi Mahi with creamy risotto, juicy State Fried Chicken, spicy EH Ramen, and Kiawe-Smoked Ribs (these were so tender they fell off the bone!)
Finish your meal with a s’mores blondie skillet and banana bread for dessert, which round the meal perfectly.
Eating House is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Waikiki, and here’s why you’ll agree:
- They offer a casual atmosphere and unmatched fusion flavors.
- Your meal will start with complimentary edamame, or cheesy quesadillas.
- Their range of drinks from the bar pair well with the menu items.
Address: 2330 Kalakaua Ave 3rd Floor Space 322 International Market Place, Waikiki.
Best Pan Asian Restaurants in Waikiki
There’s a terrific range of Pan Asian food in Waikiki, where you’ll find authentic Japanese, Chinese and Korean restaurants, which pioneered their cuisines in Oahu and have been running since. Each restaurant specializes in a specific food, so try Ginza Bairin for crispy Tonkatsu, Marukame for tasty udon, and Musubi Cafe for delicious spam musubi.
Marukame Udon – Best Vegan Restaurants in Waikiki
Head to Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, where you’ll find long lines spilling into the street from this cafeteria-style eatery. That’s because Marukame Udon serves the best udon in Oahu, made from hand-cut noodles in a rich broth.
Don’t let the lines scare you away, as the grab-and-go nature of this eatery ensures all guests get served quickly with piping-hot bowls of udon.
They have a range of udon flavors, from which you should try the Classic Bowl with a boiled egg and rice, and the Curry udon, which has a unique blend of flavors from sweet beef chunks and spicy curry. Marukame also makes vegan udon from ground marinated soy, which is a must-try even if you’re not vegan.
We love the incredible food at Marukame Udon, as they’re undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Waikiki. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- Their udon carries the most authentic and rich flavors.
- Their shrimp, and chicken tempura are delicious, coated with a light batter.
- The Oolong or Bubblegum iced teas pair so well with the udon.
Address: 2310 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI.
Ginza Bairin Tonkatsu – Best Japanese Restaurant in Waikiki
Japanese-famous street food tonkatsu gets an elevated taste at Ginza Bairin, a local-favorite eatery in Waikiki, which serves authentic Japanese flavors. The restaurant also has a Yoshoku side which adds Asian fusion flavors to classics like steak and pasta.
The 90-year-old Ginza Bairin introduced tonkatsu to Oahu’s streets – a panko-fried pork cutlet that he makes with chicken and shrimp as well. If you love fried meats bursting with flavor, don’t miss the terrific Kurobuta Pork Loin and Chicken tonkatsu.
I’m also a big fan of their seafood katsu, made from jumbo shrimp, white fish, and salmon, served with fried mixed mashed potato.
Ginza Bairin is one of the best restaurants in Waikiki, and here’s what makes them even better:
- Their food comes in huge portions so come with an appetite.
- Their prices are very reasonable compared to other places in the area.
- Their range of burgers, steaks, and pasta are just as good as the tonkatsu.
Address: 255 Beach Walk Spc 1, Honolulu, Oahu.
Musubi Cafe Iyasume
With lines outside even before their early morning opening, Musubi Cafe Iyasume is a local favorite spot for bentos, musubi, and other Japanese classics to get on the go. But don’t let the long lines scare you away, as they move quickly, and you get your packaged box of food in no time.
We usually stop by here before an early morning hike, as their bento boxes make for a hearty meal to start the day.
With the musubi, you can pick from various fillings like spam, avocado, eggs, eel, salmon, and more. Pair your musubi with their tasty salmon roe or rice balls, all made fresh before the restaurant’s opening.
Here’s why Musubi Cafe is one of the best restaurants in Waikiki:
- Their Japanese food is both cheap and delicious.
- The musubi comes wrapped in fluffy rice and is super filling.
- They serve the most delicious and warm miso soup.
Address: 2427 Kuhio Ave 2nd Floor, Mitsuwa Marketplace, Honolulu, Oahu.
Put your fancy shoes on as this next eatery takes you to the Ritz Carlton in Waikiki, home to Sushi Sho, a unique Japanese restaurant run by Keiji Nakazawa. The seating is somewhat formal, as guests sit on armchairs in a semicircle around the live sushi station, but the chefs keep you entertained with their conversation and skills.
We were amazed at the sushi concept here, which combines Edomae sushi with local and imported seafood to serve aged sushi instead of fresh, like the flavorful wild yellowtail nigiri. Other creative dishes are a bite-size riff on laulau, snail roe surf-and-turf, caviar, and uni on chawanmushi.
Don’t miss Sushi Sho if you visit the Ritz Carlton, as it’s one of the best restaurants in Waikiki.
- Their Japanese Masters create the best sushi in Waikiki.
- They alter menu items to the guest’s food allergies.
- Their staff is very friendly and accommodating.
Address: 383 Kalaimoku St The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu.
Best Local Restaurants in Waikiki
You can’t come to Waikiki and miss the terrific Hawaiian food served in local eateries. You’ll find the best traditional food in Hula Grill, locally sourced coffee from Kona Coffee Purveyors, terrific desserts at Island Shaved Ice, and a Hawaiian breakfast at Goofy Cafe & Dine.
Hula Grill Waikiki
Located in the heart of Waikiki beach, Hula Grill serves regional Hawaiian food from the different islands. This is a great spot to enjoy freshly brewed coffee in the morning from their outdoor seating area as you watch beachgoers filling up the shore.
Everything on their extensive menu is delicious, so try their popular Kiana Filet Steak with bamboo-steamed long beans, Braised Mushroom Ravioli, and classic Hawaiian Loco Moco served with a juicy patty and the tastiest gravy on top.
Hula Grill also has terrific breakfast options like Eggs Benedict with Portuguese sausage and Hawaiian Pineapple and Coconut Pancakes.
Here’s why we consider Hula Grill as one of the best restaurants in Waikiki:
- It’s a local-favorite eatery for Hawaiian food.
- Their breakfasts come in big portions, so you’ll be full for the rest of the day.
- Their prices are reasonable for the quantity and flavors.
Address: 233 Elm Street Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Honolulu, Oahu.
Kona Coffee Purveyors
Some of the best restaurants in Waikiki are in and around the International Marketplace, like Kona Coffee Purveyors, whose cold brews, range of coffee flavors and fresh pastries will have you hooked to this place.
The cafe is joined with San Francisco B. Patisserie, run by Chef Balinda Leung, who brings her excellent baked goods to Kona Coffee Purveyors, like the flaky, buttery Strawberry Guava Kouign Amann, and Black Sesame Tart.
Our favorite way to enjoy this place is by coming early in the morning, grabbing a fresh brew or latte with a Smoked Ham and Gruyere Croissant for me and any passionfruit dessert for my boyfriend, then taking it to the beach.
Here’s why you’ll agree that Kona Coffee is one of the best restaurants in Waikiki.
- The rich coffee and seasonal pastries here are unmatched.
- The baristas make their own version of cold brews, which are super delicious.
- They source local coffee beans from Kona in Big Island.
Address: 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu.
Island Vintage Shave Ice, Wine Bar, and Cafe – Best Sit-Down in Waikiki
Island Vintage is a local favorite in Waikiki specializing in shaved ice, wines, and a sit-down cafe, all close to each other. You’ll find their shaved ice sold from a kiosk next to the Royal Hawaiian Center. They serve some of the best shaved ice in Oahu, with authentic island flavors made from fresh fruit into pulpy syrups.
You can also get great snacks and breakfast from the Island Vintage Cafe, which has delicious acai bowls topped with lilikoi (passionfruit) and seasonal fruits like fresh lychee.
Close to their shaved ice kiosk is the Island Vintage Wine Bar, which has a casual atmosphere in its upper-story bar. Here you can enjoy tasting different bottled beverages and get terrific poke and steamed clams on the side.
Here’s why Island Vintage is the best restaurant in Waikiki:
- The range and quality of food here is unmatched.
- They have great staff at all three locations.
- Prices are low and worth the quality of food.
Address: 2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu.
Goofy Cafe & Dine – Best Fun Restaurant in Waikiki
Goofy Cafe has become a household name in Waikiki for its delicious breakfast, traditional flavors, and low prices. Come early in the day to avoid the crowds and to eat from their terrific range of breakfast items.
We always stop by Goofy for breakfast since my boyfriend is a fan of their salmon Eggs Benedict with purple potatoes and the Goofy omelet with Portuguese sausages, melty cheese, and fresh vegetables.
You should also try their loco moco, made with beef patties from the Big Island, topped with sunny side eggs, and homemade gravy on brown rice instead of the usual white.
Here’s why you’ll agree that Goofy’s Cafe is the best restaurant in Waikiki:
- They have a casual setting that’s fun to hang out in.
- Their menu features terrific vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
- Goofy’s is dedicated to serving healthy food, like fresh acai bowls, topped with fresh fruits.
Address: 1831 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, Oahu.
Winding Up The Best Restaurants in Waikiki
Food lovers will be loath to choose a favorite restaurant in Waikiki, as the town has eateries for every occasion, celebration, and diet. But after reading this article, you’ll be all caught up with the best places to eat local food, gourmet meals, different cuisines, and even cheap food for the next time you wind up in Waikiki.
Looking for the best place to have breakfast in Waikiki? Head to Goofy Cafe & Dine, Hula Grill, and Kona Coffee Purveyors.
Need to try delicious pan Asian classics from Waikiki? Head to Sushi Sho, Musubi Cafe Iyasume, Ginza Bairin Tonkatsu, and Marukame Udon.
Planning a night out of fine dining? Don’t miss Roy’s Waikiki and La Mer.
The best restaurants in Waikiki are a treat for everyone!
What are some must-try seafood dishes at a seafood restaurant?
Some of the must-try seafood dishes at a seafood restaurant include fresh fish, poke bowls, and duck foie gras.
What makes a fine dining restaurant stand out from others?
A fine dining restaurant stands out from others due to its modern cuisine, open air dining room, and à la carte menu.
How can you elevate your bacon fried rice dish?
You can elevate your bacon fried rice dish by adding pork belly fried rice or sushi rice to it.
What is a unique dessert option that you should try after having dinner at a Hawaiian cuisine restaurant?
Macadamia nut ice cream is a unique dessert option that you should try after having dinner at a Hawaiian cuisine restaurant.
What personal observation can be made about the ambiance of a seafood restaurant?
The ambiance of a seafood restaurant is usually lively and vibrant with an emphasis on fresh fish.
What makes the coconut shrimp at Hula Grill Waikiki stand out from other seafood dishes?
The coconut shrimp at Hula Grill Waikiki is a unique dish that combines fresh seafood with a crispy coating of shredded coconut. The dish is served with a tangy dipping sauce that perfectly complements the sweetness of the shrimp.
Unfortunately, Tommy Bahama Restaurant does not serve breakfast. However, they do have an extensive dinner menu featuring fresh seafood and prime rib.
Where can I find the best fish tacos in Diamond Head?
If you’re looking for delicious fish tacos in Diamond Head, look no further than Hula Grill Waikiki. Their fish tacos are made with fresh seafood and topped with a zesty salsa and creamy avocado sauce.
In addition to their famous garlic shrimp and coconut shrimp, Hula Grill Waikiki also offers mouth-watering entrees like prime rib and fresh seafood caught daily by local fishermen.
What is hula pie and where can I find it in Waikiki restaurants?
Hula pie is a decadent dessert consisting of macadamia nut ice cream piled high on top of a chocolate cookie crust, drizzled with hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. You can find this signature dessert at both Tommy Bahama Restaurant.
Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by Brigitte