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Guidebook for Honolulu

Kate

Guidebook for Honolulu

Food Scene
Probably my favorite restaurant. Located in downtown Honolulu (Chinatown), their French Dip is best French Dip I've ever had. Only available at lunch though. They usually nail other dishes too though. The cook/owner knows what he's doing! Make reservations before you go and ask them what flavors of homemade soft serve ice cream they have today.
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The Pig and The Lady
83 North King Street
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Probably my favorite restaurant. Located in downtown Honolulu (Chinatown), their French Dip is best French Dip I've ever had. Only available at lunch though. They usually nail other dishes too though. The cook/owner knows what he's doing! Make reservations before you go and ask them what flavors of homemade soft serve ice cream they have today.
A short 5 minute drive from your apartment. I love this place because it's BYOB and their Burmese salad is delicious. I crave this salad and could eat it once per week for the rest of my life.
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Dagon
2671 South King Street
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A short 5 minute drive from your apartment. I love this place because it's BYOB and their Burmese salad is delicious. I crave this salad and could eat it once per week for the rest of my life.
Another gem in downtown Honolulu (Chinatown). The owner is so confident in his cooking skills that he often doesn't allow you to order from the menu, unless you insist. You tell him what you like and then he just brings you out random dishes. Both times I have been here I thought everything was delicious, even things I didn't think I'd like!
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Opal Thai
1030 Smith Street
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Another gem in downtown Honolulu (Chinatown). The owner is so confident in his cooking skills that he often doesn't allow you to order from the menu, unless you insist. You tell him what you like and then he just brings you out random dishes. Both times I have been here I thought everything was delicious, even things I didn't think I'd like!
Where the locals eat! Located right down the hill from your apartment. You may get a first impression of this place that it's a little dumpy, but the food is good. I usually get the garlic salmon or the small sashimi platter (you have to ask about it, may not be on the menu). The prices are pretty good too.
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Fresh Catch Kaimuki
3109 Waialae Avenue
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Where the locals eat! Located right down the hill from your apartment. You may get a first impression of this place that it's a little dumpy, but the food is good. I usually get the garlic salmon or the small sashimi platter (you have to ask about it, may not be on the menu). The prices are pretty good too.
This place in downtown Honolulu (Chinatown) is so delicious! Yakitori is basically japanese meat on a skewer and this place takes that concept to the next level. I loved their fried edamame, chicken sausage and best of all their wagyu beef. I never knew beef could be so tender. I'm getting hungry right now just thinking about it.
Yakitori Hachibei
This place in downtown Honolulu (Chinatown) is so delicious! Yakitori is basically japanese meat on a skewer and this place takes that concept to the next level. I loved their fried edamame, chicken sausage and best of all their wagyu beef. I never knew beef could be so tender. I'm getting hungry right now just thinking about it.
This laid back Waikiki restaurant has pretty views of the ocean and decent food. They often have local musicians playing on the lanai.
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Tikis Grill & Bar
2570 Kalakaua Avenue
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This laid back Waikiki restaurant has pretty views of the ocean and decent food. They often have local musicians playing on the lanai.
This restaurant is located in Hawaii Hilton Village (Waikiki) and is right on the beach. I've enjoyed the food I've had here and it is in an excellent location if you'd like to go for a walk before or after lunch or dinner.
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Tropics Bar & Grill
2005 Kalia Road
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This restaurant is located in Hawaii Hilton Village (Waikiki) and is right on the beach. I've enjoyed the food I've had here and it is in an excellent location if you'd like to go for a walk before or after lunch or dinner.
This newly opened restaurant in the Kaimuki neighborhood just down the street used to be a traditional Chinese restaurant, but the owners son took over and gave it a foodie twist. The food is served family style, but the plates are not huge. I love the cauliflower appetizer, the fried chicken, and the scallops, but honestly everything is delicious.
Restaurant XO
3434 Waialae Ave
This newly opened restaurant in the Kaimuki neighborhood just down the street used to be a traditional Chinese restaurant, but the owners son took over and gave it a foodie twist. The food is served family style, but the plates are not huge. I love the cauliflower appetizer, the fried chicken, and the scallops, but honestly everything is delicious.
Delicious coffee and often a line await you at this Waikiki coffee shop!
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Island Vintage Coffee
2301 Kalakaua Ave
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Delicious coffee and often a line await you at this Waikiki coffee shop!
This uber casual place in Waikiki is a great place to grab a snack or bite to eat right on the beach. It's the perfect spot to watch the Friday Night Fireworks that start promptly at 7:45 p.m.
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Barefoot Beach Cafe @ Queen's Surf Beach
2699 Kalakaua Avenue
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This uber casual place in Waikiki is a great place to grab a snack or bite to eat right on the beach. It's the perfect spot to watch the Friday Night Fireworks that start promptly at 7:45 p.m.
Located right above the famous Duke's restaurant in Waikiki, this place has delicious food (known for their fresh fish) and is less busy than the more iconic restaurant below. It also has gorgeous views of the ocean from their open air second floor dining area. If you were hoping to go to Duke's and couldn't get a reservation, try this place instead. Entrees are $20 - $40.
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Hula Grill Waikiki
2335 Kalakaua Avenue
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Located right above the famous Duke's restaurant in Waikiki, this place has delicious food (known for their fresh fish) and is less busy than the more iconic restaurant below. It also has gorgeous views of the ocean from their open air second floor dining area. If you were hoping to go to Duke's and couldn't get a reservation, try this place instead. Entrees are $20 - $40.
Would you like to try authentic Hawaiian Food? Then this is a great place to go. You can get loco moco (rice topped with a burger patty, egg and gravy). If that doesn't tantalize your taste buds try their cheeseburgers, tater tots, hot dogs or chili. About a 5 drive away.
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Rainbow Drive-In
3308 Kanaina Avenue
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Would you like to try authentic Hawaiian Food? Then this is a great place to go. You can get loco moco (rice topped with a burger patty, egg and gravy). If that doesn't tantalize your taste buds try their cheeseburgers, tater tots, hot dogs or chili. About a 5 drive away.
Vegan? Well then you are in luck because we have a highly rated vegan restaurant right down the street. I haven't been there personally, but I've heard good things about it.
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Vegan Hills
3585 Waialae Ave
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Vegan? Well then you are in luck because we have a highly rated vegan restaurant right down the street. I haven't been there personally, but I've heard good things about it.
I love this little vegan restaurant. My favorite items on the menu are the medi-bowl (hummus, falafael, baba ganoush, salad), mint-carob shake, and their chia seed pudding with fruit. It's a great place to stop if you are heading to Bellows beach for a snack. You can also get North Shore Goodies Coconut Peanut Butter at the little market next door, which is seriously the best peanut butter I've ever had and it only has 2 ingredients in it - peanut butter and coconuts.
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'Ai Love Nalo
41-1025 Kalanianaole Highway
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I love this little vegan restaurant. My favorite items on the menu are the medi-bowl (hummus, falafael, baba ganoush, salad), mint-carob shake, and their chia seed pudding with fruit. It's a great place to stop if you are heading to Bellows beach for a snack. You can also get North Shore Goodies Coconut Peanut Butter at the little market next door, which is seriously the best peanut butter I've ever had and it only has 2 ingredients in it - peanut butter and coconuts.
Looking for a quirky place off the beaten path? Look no further than La Mariana Sailing Club. Located in an industrial park and adjacent to a harbor, this restaurant is Oahu's only real, genuine tiki bar/restaurant complete with real puffer fish lamps that are strung throughout their dark wood bar. Stop by to have a drink or dinner and enjoy a real piece of old school Hawaii. it doesn't have the most delicious food I've ever had, but the drinks and ambiance make up for that. This is a great place to stop on your way to the airport as it is very near it.
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La Mariana Sailing Club
50 Sand Island Access Road
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Looking for a quirky place off the beaten path? Look no further than La Mariana Sailing Club. Located in an industrial park and adjacent to a harbor, this restaurant is Oahu's only real, genuine tiki bar/restaurant complete with real puffer fish lamps that are strung throughout their dark wood bar. Stop by to have a drink or dinner and enjoy a real piece of old school Hawaii. it doesn't have the most delicious food I've ever had, but the drinks and ambiance make up for that. This is a great place to stop on your way to the airport as it is very near it.
You will have to wait in a long line, but it goes pretty fast. This place has the best udon I've ever had. Make sure to get a soft-boiled egg in your udon and some fried chicken or shrimp tempura too.
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Marukame Udon Waikiki
2310 Kuhio Avenue
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You will have to wait in a long line, but it goes pretty fast. This place has the best udon I've ever had. Make sure to get a soft-boiled egg in your udon and some fried chicken or shrimp tempura too.
If you make a trip to the north shore and you like shrimp, you should definitely stop at a shrimp truck! My personal favorite is Shrimp Shack, but other popular shrimp trucks are Giovanni's and Romy's. There are other food trucks too if shrimp isn't your thing.
Shrimp Shack
53 - 360 Kamehameha Highway
If you make a trip to the north shore and you like shrimp, you should definitely stop at a shrimp truck! My personal favorite is Shrimp Shack, but other popular shrimp trucks are Giovanni's and Romy's. There are other food trucks too if shrimp isn't your thing.
Neighborhood spot serving up baked goods, sandwiches & coffee drinks in a laid-back atmosphere.
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Coffee Talk
3601 Waialae Avenue
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Neighborhood spot serving up baked goods, sandwiches & coffee drinks in a laid-back atmosphere.
Drinks & Nightlife
Located in downtown Honolulu, aka Chinatown, there is no sign to mark the entrance of this trendy spot. Has a cute patio, extensive wine list, great cocktails, and small bites.
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The Tchin Tchin! Bar
39 N Hotel St
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Located in downtown Honolulu, aka Chinatown, there is no sign to mark the entrance of this trendy spot. Has a cute patio, extensive wine list, great cocktails, and small bites.
Karaoke bar with both an open karaoke room and private karaoke rooms located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu (Chinatown). Also has a bunch of video games. Can't go wrong if you are looking for a fun night out!
Nocturna Lounge
500 Ala Moana Blvd
Karaoke bar with both an open karaoke room and private karaoke rooms located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu (Chinatown). Also has a bunch of video games. Can't go wrong if you are looking for a fun night out!
About a 5 minute drive from your apartment. Great cocktails, a wonderful beer list, good food and a nice gastropub vibe. We like to get the burgers and the strawberries and bacon dessert. Again, not touristy.
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Pint and Jigger
1936 South King Street
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About a 5 minute drive from your apartment. Great cocktails, a wonderful beer list, good food and a nice gastropub vibe. We like to get the burgers and the strawberries and bacon dessert. Again, not touristy.
If you like a laid back vibe, but also want to see live music, this is a great place to check out. They also have improv comedy there several times a month. I really like this place! It's located near Waikiki, but this is not touristy - it's where the locals go. Check their website or call to see what band is playing.
Jazz Minds Honolulu
1661 Kapiolani Blvd
If you like a laid back vibe, but also want to see live music, this is a great place to check out. They also have improv comedy there several times a month. I really like this place! It's located near Waikiki, but this is not touristy - it's where the locals go. Check their website or call to see what band is playing.
Waikiki restaurant by day, more clubby at night, this place is right on the ocean and has excellent views and people watching. Stop in for a drink at the bar or grab a table outside if coming early. If arriving after 9 p.m. you may encounter a line to get in and DJs.
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RumFire
2255 Kalakaua Ave
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Waikiki restaurant by day, more clubby at night, this place is right on the ocean and has excellent views and people watching. Stop in for a drink at the bar or grab a table outside if coming early. If arriving after 9 p.m. you may encounter a line to get in and DJs.
Do you like trying different types of beer? Then this place is for you! They have tons, might I even one hundred or more, types of beer on tap. The food is good too. You may want to make a reservation if planning on going here as it is located in Waikiki and very popular. In fact, I would recommend that for any place in Honolulu. Always phone first if planning a night out or else you may be disappointed.
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Yard House
226 Lewers St
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Do you like trying different types of beer? Then this place is for you! They have tons, might I even one hundred or more, types of beer on tap. The food is good too. You may want to make a reservation if planning on going here as it is located in Waikiki and very popular. In fact, I would recommend that for any place in Honolulu. Always phone first if planning a night out or else you may be disappointed.
Sightseeing
A visit to the USS Arizona at Pear Harbor is one of the must do things on Oahu. You will learn a lot about the attack on Pearl Harbor and it will give you an appreciation of what life was like during that time on the island and what the soldiers and civilians went through.
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Pearl Harbor
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A visit to the USS Arizona at Pear Harbor is one of the must do things on Oahu. You will learn a lot about the attack on Pearl Harbor and it will give you an appreciation of what life was like during that time on the island and what the soldiers and civilians went through.
Arts & Culture
This is a nice art museum with beautiful architecture. If you like art, it's fun to visit any day of the week, but if you happen to be in town on the last Friday of the month and are looking for some night life, their Art After Dark event is really fun. They usually have DJs, musicians, food, drinks, art, and people dressed to the nines. It's an especially fun event for singles. ;-)
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Museo de Arte de Honolulu
900 South Beretania Street
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This is a nice art museum with beautiful architecture. If you like art, it's fun to visit any day of the week, but if you happen to be in town on the last Friday of the month and are looking for some night life, their Art After Dark event is really fun. They usually have DJs, musicians, food, drinks, art, and people dressed to the nines. It's an especially fun event for singles. ;-)
A museum of natural and cultural history of the Hawaiian Islands.
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Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice Street
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A museum of natural and cultural history of the Hawaiian Islands.
Parks & Nature
Literally right up the street from our house. This is a great trail along the ridge. There are some boulders that you have to climb up and down along the trail. A few miles in you will come to a small clearing overlooking Manoa Valley and Waikiki. I usually pack a little snack and sit there appreciating the view, then turn around. I've never gone past the clearing, but I've been told you can keep going although it gets pretty steep.
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Waʻahila Ridge State Recreation Area
3081B Paty Drive
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Literally right up the street from our house. This is a great trail along the ridge. There are some boulders that you have to climb up and down along the trail. A few miles in you will come to a small clearing overlooking Manoa Valley and Waikiki. I usually pack a little snack and sit there appreciating the view, then turn around. I've never gone past the clearing, but I've been told you can keep going although it gets pretty steep.
About a 20 minute drive from your apartment. I love this trail, although I consider it fairly hard, but I'm also not in the best shape. I think it's about 5 miles roundtrip and gets steep at the top. The views from the top are amazing, but make sure you go on a clear day. You can see the windward side of the island and the Hawaii Kai area too. It's very windy at the top, so just be careful near the ledge! Also, wonderful to stop by Kona Brewery after the hike to reward yourself with a delicious beer and meal!
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Kuliouou Ridge Trail
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About a 20 minute drive from your apartment. I love this trail, although I consider it fairly hard, but I'm also not in the best shape. I think it's about 5 miles roundtrip and gets steep at the top. The views from the top are amazing, but make sure you go on a clear day. You can see the windward side of the island and the Hawaii Kai area too. It's very windy at the top, so just be careful near the ledge! Also, wonderful to stop by Kona Brewery after the hike to reward yourself with a delicious beer and meal!
One of my favorite trails on the north shore. You have to park at Dillingham Airport. The views are simply stunning from this trail the whole way up. On nice days you can watch glider planes quietly swoosh by and sky divers parachute down from the sky. I think it's about 3 or 4 miles roundtrip if you go to the picnic benches and turn back, although you can keep going for a few more miles if you are up for it. On hot days, I love to come down from this hike and jump into the ocean at the beach across the street.
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Kealia Trail
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One of my favorite trails on the north shore. You have to park at Dillingham Airport. The views are simply stunning from this trail the whole way up. On nice days you can watch glider planes quietly swoosh by and sky divers parachute down from the sky. I think it's about 3 or 4 miles roundtrip if you go to the picnic benches and turn back, although you can keep going for a few more miles if you are up for it. On hot days, I love to come down from this hike and jump into the ocean at the beach across the street.
Located on the very northwestern tip of the island. You hike on a dirt road along the ocean to a fence. Once inside the fenced in area, there is a really good chance you will see Albatross and Monk Seals. Need I say more? It's just a really cool experience and good for people who want a flat hike. It's often hot on this trail, but the wind keeps you cool. I would definitely bring plenty of sunblock and water. It's about 5 miles or so roundtrip.
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Kaena Point Trail Parking
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Located on the very northwestern tip of the island. You hike on a dirt road along the ocean to a fence. Once inside the fenced in area, there is a really good chance you will see Albatross and Monk Seals. Need I say more? It's just a really cool experience and good for people who want a flat hike. It's often hot on this trail, but the wind keeps you cool. I would definitely bring plenty of sunblock and water. It's about 5 miles or so roundtrip.
It's okay that this beach gets a bit crowded because it is beautiful, the sand is soft, and the people watching is fun. And unlike other beaches that have a wicked shore break, it is a bit gentler if you just want to splash around a few feet offshore. I definitely recommend packing some snacks and enjoying a few hours here. If you get hungry, you can also try Buzz's Steak House across the street, which has pretty good food.
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Kailua Beach Park
526 Kawailoa Road
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It's okay that this beach gets a bit crowded because it is beautiful, the sand is soft, and the people watching is fun. And unlike other beaches that have a wicked shore break, it is a bit gentler if you just want to splash around a few feet offshore. I definitely recommend packing some snacks and enjoying a few hours here. If you get hungry, you can also try Buzz's Steak House across the street, which has pretty good food.
Located on the Windward side, this is by far the prettiest beach on the island and has the nicest, softest sand. It's also a gorgeous drive if you take the southern route to get there from the apartment. If you are looking for a great photo opportunity or just a place to relax for the day, this is a great option. You can swim here, but just be aware of the shore break, which has sent me tumbling a few times. Our daughters don't seem to mind though!
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Bellows Field Beach Park
41-43 Kalanianaole Highway
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Located on the Windward side, this is by far the prettiest beach on the island and has the nicest, softest sand. It's also a gorgeous drive if you take the southern route to get there from the apartment. If you are looking for a great photo opportunity or just a place to relax for the day, this is a great option. You can swim here, but just be aware of the shore break, which has sent me tumbling a few times. Our daughters don't seem to mind though!