There are so many great Oahu restaurants that it is hard to narrow down just where to eat. Especially, if you only have 48 hours. So, here’s my guide to the best of the best, where to go if you only have a short time. For more in-depth coverage of where to eat in Oahu, make sure to check out my article, 22 Foods You Must Eat In Oahu.
Your Oahu Restaurants 48-Hour Itinerary
Diamond Head Grill
There are lots of good loco moco to be had at several Oahu restaurants, but for me the best is found at Diamond Head Grill. They grill their meat patty, which gives it even more flavor. And, the gravy is just perfect. I also like the choice of brown rice, and I like adding a little sriracha to the top for an extra punch.
Liliha Bakery is an institution in Honolulu, as it’s been around since 1950. It’s most well-known for its cream puffs and poi donuts, but I love their lilikoi malasadas and the green tea almond croissant. Anything you get here will be to die for.
Kahai Street Kitchen
For the best plate lunch in Honolulu, definitely go to Kahai Street Kitchen. They offer a more gourmet version of the standard plate lunch, and they allow you to substitute tossed salad instead of mac salad. This is definitely one of my favorite Oahu restaurants.
You’re missing out if you don’t try the snow ice at Frostcity. Snow ice is a mix between shave ice and ice cream, and I like it even better than traditional shave ice. My favorite is the Thai basil, coconut, pineapple, but they also offer unusual flavors such as Thai tea, haupia, and lilikoi. This is a great treat to beat the heat.
Pig and The Lady is Vietnamese-influenced, and I feel like everything I eat there is cooked with passion and love. The Pho French dip is still one of my favorite items on the menu. Last time I went, I tried the ahi tataki on tomato toast and the duck pho. The duck was a little dry, and the pho wasn’t as rich as the beef pho, which I prefer. Don’t skip the soft serve ice cream for dessert. I had the butterscotch miso which was divine.
Heavenly Island Lifestyle
Heavenly, in Waikiki, is the place to go for a healthy breakfast. I had the morning veggie which included a local greens salad with asparagus, an acai bowl, a taro English muffin, and carrot/pineapple juice. And, I loved the atmosphere where the walls had cool artwork and positive words everywhere. This is a great Hawaiian breakfast spot for vegetarians.
Malasadas are one of my favorite Hawaiian specialties. They are the fluffiest and lightest Portuguese doughnuts, but they are better than doughnuts. You have to eat one to know how good they are. I had the seasonal specialty pumpkin and haupia (coconut custard). The best place to get them is at Leonard’s Bakery.
Hono’s Shrimp Truck
You can’t go to Hawaii and not try the shrimp trucks on the North Shore. In Haleiwa’s food cart pod, you will find the Korean shrimp truck, Hono’s, which I like more than the famous Giovanni’s. Though, I got the spicy garlic, which was a bit too much spice for me. Go with the garlic butter, unless you like the spice. Note, that Yelp has one of the listings wrong, and the only location is in Haleiwa, not Laie.
Wing Ice Cream Parlor
The Tom Kha ice cream at Wing Ice Cream Parlor in Chinatown tastes exactly like the soup with its coconut, ginger, lemongrass flavor. It’s made with coconut milk, and is so delicious. Wing is known for its creative ice cream flavors such as Golden Milk, Thai Tea, Pineapple Thai Basil, and Rosemary with Blood Orange Swirl. Many of the flavors are vegan, too. There’s also a wish list, so you can ask for your favorite flavor to be made.
The hot stone Bibimbap from Sara’s Cafe is some of the best Bibimbap I’ve ever had. Sara makes sure you have plenty of gochujang sauce to stir in, and the hot stone bowl causes the rice to be crispy, like a Korean version of paella. Sara is a true gem, and she serves up Korean home-cooking at her hole in the wall in Honolulu. Anything you order from her will be good. I also really enjoyed her Korean chicken wings. One thing is for sure, you will devour every bite.