Hi friends! This post is for all my fellow foodies who love to travel. We’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling but I’ve been pretty slow at posting after the trips, heh. I’ve finally had enough time to go through the hundreds of photos I took on my most recent trip to Oahu to put together this post. Then I should be fairly caught up with all the travel posts. It’ll be pretty picture heavy but this is actually just a fraction of the photos I took! Sorry in advance if this makes you hungry… :)
Rainbow Drive In
LuLu’s Waikiki Surf Club
Being in Hawaii, I had to have a lava flow. This ended up being a harder feat than you’d think…but finally I hit the jackpot and we found a bar that served lava flows! Unfortunately the lava flow itself was pretty disappointing (it barely had any taste) but the location was amazing. We waited out a rain storm here and loved it. There aren’t real walls so we got an ocean view and people watched as braver people surfed and swam in the water. They have live entertainment every night which is cool.
Myna Bird Tiki Bar
Jared and I are HUGE fans of this spot – hahaha. We came here multiple times as well to grab happy hour drinks. Specifically, the $5 pina coladas. The Street is located on the bottom floor of the International Marketplace and they have the strongest pina coladas ever. (Shout out to our Lyft driver who gave us this recommendation.) The best part about the Street is that there are a variety of restaurants within this one area so you can just walk around and grab food with your drinks in hand. See below for the ramen we ate.
The Ramen Bar
I’m not the biggest ramen fan but Jared LOVES ramen. We both agreed this wasn’t the best ramen we’ve ever had but it was still really yummy. After a pina colada or two, you’ll probably want to get some food in your stomach :) This bowl was 25% off during happy hour and it’s the Tokyo shio chicken ramen.
Oh my gosh. Funny story…when I went to Oahu for Christmas a few years ago with my family we stayed at a hotel near this restaurant. We walked by it every night wondering why everyone was lining up for udon. None of us were particularly interested in hot noodles when it was already hot outside. So we just skipped it. Then when Jared and I went to Oahu, we walked by Marukame on an afternoon when there was literally NO line. At lunch time too?? We took that as a sign that we had to try it and the rest is history. We ate there again just two days later…and it took everything in us to not go back one more time before we flew back to Seattle.
The noodles are freshly made and every type is SO flavorful. They have your typical tempuras and sides but a bowl of udon is plenty. It can get crowded and you can’t save seats inside but we found that people finish pretty quickly. Don’t be too deterred by a line as it does move quickly. My favorite has to be the Niku udon – it has carmelized onions and sweet beef on top. YUM.
Tikis Bar and Grill
This is one of my top favorite places to get poke on the island. It’s a tiny hole in the wall but you HAVE to visit this place if you’re going to Oahu. The parking is super tight as you can see (yes that ugly yellow car is our rental car, hahaha) but there should be street parking nearby as well. Ono is in the area that Leonard’s bakery is so you could visit both at the same time. I love to get the spicy tuna which comes with 1/3 lb. of fish, rice, and your choice of a drink. It’s a super cheap and filling meal. We brought ours up to some mountain and ate while enjoying the view!
Island Vintage Coffee
Coffee on vacation is always a must!! Jared and I love to check out new coffee shops when we travel. We went to Island Vintage Coffee while in Haleiwa but I’m sure they have locations all around the island. The iced island latte which is macadamia nut flavored with coconut was SO good. I wish this was something we could get in Seattle!!
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
This is one of the most famous shave ice spots on the island as well! It’s in Haleiwa as well and you definitely can’t miss it because you’re guaranteed to see a line out the door. I was overwhelmed by how many flavors you can choose! I ended up getting three flavors and there’s a hidden scoop of ice cream underneath. Next time I need to get the condensed milk drizzled over the top!
Yes….the grocery store. To be honest, the poke from Foodland is truly one of the best pokes I’ve ever had. Jared and I still talk about it hahaha. We went to the Foodland at Ala Moana (which is such a nice mall!) and discovered that they also have $1 beers during their happy hour. So for all of you that aren’t afraid to dine in a grocery store…this is the spot for you.
Nico’s Pier 38
I thought that Nico’s was going to be this fancy restaurant overlooking the water but it’s actually a really casual restaurant! You order at a counter and everything. The restaurant was super busy during lunch but we still managed to grab a table on the patio. The portions were huge so in retrospect I think we could have shared! We got the combo plate with loco moco and BBQ chicken as well as a Hawaiian plate. It came with poi which Jared and I aren’t really fans of..heh. This would be a great place to get take out for the beach because the inside looks like a food court to be honest.
This was another spot that we went to just for a quick drink before dinner. They serve really strong mai tais and at this point I was sick of them, so I went with the pa’ina punch. I can’t really remember what it tasted like but here’s a photo of our drinks! I remember this place also had a nice view but we weren’t able to snag a good table since it was really busy.
They’re really affordable so you can get a whole box of donuts for the price of a few in Seattle. I love that they serve them hot as well. The best way to enjoy some fresh hot donuts is to take your box into the parking lot and just stuff your face while standing. The sugar is going to get everywhere anyway, so you might as well wait before getting into your car!!
We stayed at the Sheraton for part of our trip and they gave us free coffee coupons for Honolulu Coffee. The location inside the Sheraton had the CUTEST wallpaper that I of course took photos in front of. (I even got the barista to be a hand model for me.) I don’t know what they put in their matcha latte but it is the best matcha latte I’ve ever had. Bold statement I know.
Speaking of the Sheraton, I thought I would mention in case anyone is going to stay there. The pools are nice but to be honest this place is really pricey. We had some issues there and long story short, we got a free breakfast buffet one morning. I do NOT recommend eating there if you have to pay for it. It’s very expensive and it’s not that exciting.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
This famed shrimp truck is actually worth the trip to North Shore and nope, it’s not overrated. My family loved this place so I knew I had to take Jared there on this trip as well. The food never disappoints! I like the scampi but the garlic does get pretty intense, haha. The lines for this truck are crazy but don’t worry – there’s more than one! We went to the one closer to Haleiwa and it wasn’t too bad. Make sure you have cash for this spot!
Waikiki Yokocho Gourmet Alley
Okay…this place is the COOLEST. I can’t believe no one has ever told me about this place before! Yokocho is basically a Japanese food hall filled with a variety of restaurants and eateries. You can get everything from matcha soft serve to sushi to shabu shabu here. They also have a ridiculous happy hour from 11-6pm where Kirin’s are only $2. I’m not a big fan but turns out I’m okay with Kirin’s, haha.
We grabbed some yummy beef sukyaki at Umami Teppan in this food hall and it was really good!! I wish I could have eaten something at each of the restaurants here honestly. Imagine what I’m going to be like when I go to Japan….omg.
I included this in my ‘what to do’ post but Dole whip deserves another mention. Overpriced, perhaps, but delicious and you can’t find it everywhere. Worth the trip to North Shore for SURE. You can get a variety of toppings but I like the plain old Dole whip on its own.
Top of Waikiki
I typically find these sorts of restaurants gimmicky and overrated but Top of Waikiki restaurant was actually an awesome dining experience. It’s a revolving restaurant, kind of like Seattle’s Space Needle (which I have never been on…) that has a bar as well as restaurant. We got a few drinks at the bar until our reservation and had the hardest time deciding what to eat!
We ended up getting goat cheese rangoons (they have bacon in them, YUM) and for our entrees the grilled ahi and the salmon. Both were so good and just melted in your mouth. Then we got coerced into dessert so we got a molten chocolate butter cake. This spot is totally worth going to for a nicer dinner because the food really is that good! The drinks were also really good and we had a fun time chatting with the bartenders.
Musubi Cafe Iyasume
I don’t normally like Spam but musubis are SOOO good. There’s nothing fancy about them – it’s just rice and spam wrapped in seaweed. But there are also variations with things like cheese, kimchi, or teriyaki spam. We ended up getting musubis a few times for snacks and even brought some with us to the airport! Although you can find musubis at 7-11’s or ABC stores on every street corner, Musubi Cafe Iyasume has the freshest selection.
If you made it to the end, thanks for reading!! There are still some places that I didn’t get to go to that are on my list for next time but I would rather go to Maui or a quieter island if I go back to Hawaii anytime soon!