I can feel my stomach expanding as it continues to be filled with nourishment and happiness. Here are some recommendations of restaurants I been to within Honolulu, particularly around the strip of Waialae Street. I will embed Yelp links to their name and put the dollar signs I believe are more appropriate than what Yelp gives them:
- Sweet Home Cafe ($$) – A Taiwanese hot pot. Definitely come here with a group of friends to chow down on a variety of food you will cook in front of you. If you stay after an hour, they will serve you a giant bowl of dessert! Make sure to be prepared with an empty stomach.
- Zippy’s ($) – I like to think of Zippy’s as a fusion of Panera Bread and Denny’s … but it is “less healthy” than Panera Bread yet way better than Denny’s. It is a cute chain restaurant where you can either dine in the restaurant or where you can order your food to-go. They also collaborate with the Napoleon Bakery which has scrumptious pastries like a coconut turnover. Their Korean Fried Chicken plate is to die for!
- Leahi Health Bar ($$) – If you need some energy boost, then this place is where you have to go. Their selection has a variety of green smoothies and kale salads that will not only leave you full but also feel energized and ready to conquer the world.
- Rainbow Drive-In ($) – It has similar vibes as In & Out. They have a wide selection of plates that will contain macaroni salad/slaw, rice, and a meat dish: Beef patty, Shoyu Chicken, Mahi Mahi, you name it. I would recommend ordering something and then eating it at the closest beach. I did it with a friend and it was amazing!
- Koko Head Cafe ($$) – A very hip, modern breakfast place that sometimes has a long line. Luckily, my friends and I when there was hardly any line. Their selection has a fusion taste between Japanese, Hawaiian, and Korean food. You can get light plates from their Breakfast selection like their omelets or heavy plates from their Brunch selection like their skillets.
- Island Brew Coffeehouse ($) – Another hip, modern space but more of a cafe. I would recommend coming here for their sandwiches and coffee. I had a Hawaiian Honey Latte with cinnamon added on top and I immediately fell in love. They also have acai bowls and FREE wifi. Visit one of these cafes with friends to study, catch up, or do work.
- Koa Pancake House ($) – This restaurant is actually behind Koko Head Cafe. Sometimes when there is a long line at Koko Head Cafe, people would come to this restaurant. This place doesn’t let you down. Not only are their prices way cheaper but their service is one point with how fast they are able to dish out their plates. Plus, their food is fulfilling and delicious. If you are looking for something relatively basic and chill, then this is the restaurant for you.
As much as I would love to give more recommendations, having to spend so much money eating out came with a heavy cost. Fortunately, a friend (looking at you Shiming) and I went grocery shopping. A tub of yogurt, a bag of granola, and some berries have been my staple. Regardless of the monetary circumstances that I always kept in the back of my mind, my belly is happy!
I would love to know more recommendations of Hawaiian restaurants since I do plan to potential visit again and might even study.
What are your favorite Hawaiian eateries/restaurants?