Discover the Top 10 Neighborhood Gems to Eat at on Oahu
When visiting the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, it’s hard to resist the allure of the popular tourist spots, such as Waikiki and the North Shore. However, if you want to experience the authentic flavors of Hawaii and mingle with the locals, it’s worth exploring the lesser-known neighborhoods. From traditional Hawaiian dishes to international cuisine, here are the top 10 neighborhood gems to eat at on Oahu.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food – Kalihi
Helena’s Hawaiian Food is a beloved local restaurant located in Kalihi that has been serving traditional Hawaiian dishes for over 70 years. The restaurant’s simple decor and communal seating create a warm and inviting atmosphere, where guests can enjoy iconic dishes like laulau, kalua pig, and poi. Helena’s is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the flavors of Hawaii’s past.
Ono Seafood – Kapahulu
Located in Kapahulu, Ono Seafood is a small, unassuming seafood market that serves some of the best poke on the island. The market’s limited menu features only a handful of dishes, but each one is made with the freshest ingredients available. Visitors can try classic poke options like ahi or tako, or opt for something more unique like the spicy garlic shrimp poke.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – Kahuku
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is a North Shore institution that has been serving up delicious garlic shrimp plates for over 20 years. Located in Kahuku, this food truck draws long lines of locals and visitors alike, who eagerly wait for the buttery, garlicky shrimp served over a bed of rice. Don’t forget to try the lemon butter or hot and spicy sauce!
Piggy Smalls – Ward Village
Piggy Smalls is a trendy, modern restaurant located in Ward Village that serves up a fusion of Vietnamese and Hawaiian flavors. The restaurant’s small plates are perfect for sharing and allow diners to try a variety of dishes like crispy pork belly bao buns, pho French dip sandwiches, and banh mi hot dogs. Don’t forget to try their unique cocktails and craft beers!
Highway Inn – Waipahu
Highway Inn is a family-owned restaurant that has been serving up classic Hawaiian dishes since 1947. Located in Waipahu, this restaurant has a welcoming atmosphere and a menu full of local favorites like loco moco, kalua pig, and laulau. Highway Inn also sources its ingredients locally and supports sustainable farming practices.
Koko Head Cafe – Kaimuki
Koko Head Cafe is a trendy brunch spot located in Kaimuki that offers a unique twist on classic breakfast dishes. The restaurant’s signature dish is the cornflake French toast, but diners can also choose from savory options like the breakfast bibimbap or sweet options like the lilikoi (passionfruit) curd pancakes.
Opal Thai Food – Haleiwa
Opal Thai Food is a tiny Thai restaurant located in Haleiwa that serves up some of the best Thai food on the island. The restaurant’s simple decor and limited seating create an intimate and cozy atmosphere, where diners can enjoy dishes like the yellow curry, pad see ew, and spicy basil chicken.
Aji Limo Truck – Various Locations
Aji Limo Truck is a popular food truck that serves up Peruvian-style ceviche and seafood dishes. The truck moves around the island, but can often be found in the Kailua area. Diners can enjoy a variety of cereals.