Salt & Wind Travel

The 11 Best Places To Eat In Oahu Waikiki (2024)

Whether it’s your first or 50th visit to O’ahu, sooner or later, you’ll be ISO the best places to eat in Oahu Waikiki. This beachfront stretch of Honolulu is legendary, but it’s also pretty touristy and not frequented by locals. Even so, some of Honolulu’s best restaurants are on Waikīkī Beach, from casual options to award-winning fine dining.

If you plan an upcoming trip to Hawai’i, you might ask: “Where are the best places to eat in Honolulu?” We have a vetted list for Honolulu for our travel planning clients, but here we’re narrowing the focus and sharing the top Waikīkī beach restaurants from Hau Tree and Heyday to La Vie and The Deck.

Best Places To Eat In Oahu Waikiki
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11 Best Places To Eat In Oahu Waikiki 

All of these local restaurants have been visited in person by Team Salt & Wind Travel and have been among the favorites of our Hawai’i travelers for delicious food. But remember that, like the hospitality industry at large, Hawai’i is experiencing labor shortages, so it’s best to go into experiences with patience and understanding. From casual dives to some of the most high-end restaurants in Hawai’i, here is a list of the top ten restaurants for food lovers traveling to Waikīkī.

But let’s dive into the top Waikiki restaurants for food lovers. Mind you, these are all sit-down restaurants with full service, and almost all are located in hotels. This list doesn’t include bars that don’t serve food, grab-and-go spots, bakeries, or beloved street food spots. So, while we adore b.patisserieMusubi Cafe Iyasume, Marugame Udon, and Double Fat Ice Cream, they aren’t on this list.

Best for Live Music: House Without a Key

Kicking off our list of Waikīkī beach restaurants is House Without a Key, which is known for its quality cocktails like its signature Mai Tai. This waterfront restaurant with ocean views at the luxury Halekulani Hotel is popular for live performances, often including traditional Hawaiian music and dancing from former Miss Hawai’i winners.

This newly renovated alfresco bar and restaurant is busiest at sunset, but we also like going later to enjoy music and bites under the stars. Opt for locally-inspired small bites like Pipikaula salad bundles (crusted black pepper marinated flank steak), Char Siu coconut baby back ribs, poke, and ahi.

House Without A Key, Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kālia Rd, Honolulu

Best for Casual Happy Hour: Duke’s Waikīkī

Situated at Duke’s Waikīkī restaurant is named after legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku, who surfed the beaches of Waikīkī. In other words, you can sip and snack while you look out at the very waves he rode.

This is the most laidback spot on our list, and it too is busiest at sunset because it’s a great place for happy hour. The food is basic because it’s a beachfront bar more about the setting than anything else. As such, we recommend going for cocktails and simple pūpū, or bite-sized appetizers, like ahi poke tacos or Korean sticky ribs.

Duke’s Waikiki, Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, 2335 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu

Best for Creative Cocktails: Heyday

For a cocktail hour and dining experience with a throwback flair, check out Heyday, the little sister to the acclaimed restaurant Fête, which is situated at the White Sands Hotel. Here, you’ll be transported back to the 1960s with traditional Hawaiian music, a retro aesthetic, and open-air dining.

This Waikīkī beach restaurant is attention-grabbing thanks to its bamboo bar, where visitors can ride swings while sipping on innovative cocktails. Go for the many takes on the Mai Tai cocktail, but stay for the casual and well-executed takes on classic bites and good food like a curry chicken Club sandwich, Steak Diane, and Ginger scallion fried rice.

Heyday, White Sands Hotel, 431 Nohonani St, Honolulu

Best for Fast Casual: Ginza Bairin

If you’re searching for a fast-casual meal, a great spot is Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, the second most informal restaurant on our list after Duke’s Waikīkī. This is the only U.S. location of the Japanese restaurant, and, as the name indicates, it’s all about fried pork.

The choices are limited to regular or premium kurobuta, thick or thin cut, and all are served with cabbage salad. But that minimal menu means they’re highly focused on consistency and quality. When in doubt, order the tonkatsu sandwich, as it never disappoints. 

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, Regency on Beachwalk Waikiki by Outrigger, 255 Beach Walk, Honolulu

Best for Local Food: Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi

For local flavors and some traditional Hawaiian food, look no further than Eating House 1849. Helmed by legendary local chef Roy Yamaguchi, this Waikīkī beach restaurant pays homage to the bounty available from local farmers, fishermen, and foragers while serving traditional dishes with a creative twist.

Eating House 1849, International Marketplace, 2330 Kalākaua Ave #322, Honolulu

Best for Modern Local Food: Mahina & Suns

This restaurant at the Surfjack was started by our friend, Chef Ed Kenney, but is now run by Chef Erik Leong. The cocktails and fresh fish are excellent, but also try the local dishes and sides often made with native ingredients like ‘ulu (breadfruit) and pohole (fiddlehead fern).

Mahina & Suns, Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, 412 Lewers St, Honolulu

Best for Wine Bar Vibes: Island Vintage Wine Bar

The team behind Island Vintage Coffee and Island Vintage Shave Ice opened Island Vintage Wine Bar in 2019. This locally-owned spot serves farm-to-table food and has an extensive wine list. Its tucked-away spot in the Royal Hawaiian Center makes it a bit of a hidden gem and a good place to grab a light bite.

The menu has a mix of foods from cheese and charcuterie and snacks like Korean fried chicken or poke tartare to mains like Sukiyaki Soba. Grab a table in the back that looks out onto the tropically landscaped courtyards of the Royal Hawaiian Center.

Island Vintage Wine Bar, Royal Hawaiian Center, Building C, Level 2, 2301 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu

Best for Views of Diamond Head: The DECK

Travelers hoping to see Hawai’i’s iconic Diamond Head crater while they dine should book a table at The DECK. Located on the rooftop of the historic Queen Kapi’olani Hotel, its location on Kapahulu Avenue between Kūhiō Avenue and Kalākaua Avenue means it has some of the best views.

The rooftop terrace of this open-air restaurant is a 10,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor area that is covered, so it’s a great option if it rains. Go for the creative cocktails and the breathtaking view, but stay for the live music and great vibes.

The DECK, Queen Kapiʻolani Hotel, 150 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu

Best for Creative Beachside Dining: Hau Tree

This beachside stylish restaurant is set among twinkling lights and trees. It isn’t located right on Waikīkī Beach but is just down the shore on Honolulu’s “Gold Coast” with frontage on the quieter Sans Souci Beach, making it a local favorite for elevated local cuisine. The team behind Hau Tree includes the talented Chris Kajioka and chef de cuisine Alan Takasaki, and it’s a lovely spot for dinner or an indulgent brunch.

Hau Tree is on the bottom floor of the Kaimana Beach Hotel and has a gazebo-style bar where guests can relax with a cocktail, but don’t miss out on the local-meets-Mediterranean food. A few popular dishes we liked on a recent visit include the crispy Spanish octopus with miso bearnaise, the New York strip steak with smashed potatoes, and the burrata toast with truffled honey.

Hau Tree, Kaimana Beach Hotel, 2863 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu

Best for High-End Sushi: Sushi Sho

Set back from the water in the chic Ritz Carlton Residences, sushi lovers visiting Hawai’i can find one of the best dining experiences at Sushi Sho. 

Chef Keiji Nakazawa moved from Tokyo to open this fine-dining sushi experience in 2016, and it’s been a favorite ever since. The chef crafts beautiful, unique plates with an expert technique and a deft hand with super fresh seafood, making it the perfect place for sushi lovers everywhere.

FYI, the restaurant also offers a takeaway menu so you can enjoy some of the best sushi in Hawai’i while sitting beachside — just be sure to order it in advance.

Sushi Sho, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, 383 Kalaimoku St. 8th floor, Honolulu

Best for French Fine Dining: La Vie

A list of top Waikiki beach restaurants wouldn’t be complete without one fine dining option fit for a special occasion, and it just so happens our pick serves as the entrance to the aforementioned Sushi Sho.

It is also located in the Ritz Carlton Residences and on the 8th floor, but where La Vie differs from Sushi Sho is that it skews modern French. The restaurant view and drinks are worth a visit, but you’d be remiss not to enjoy the elegant tasting menu that raises the bar on Waikīkī dining.

La Vie, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, 383 Kalaimoku St. 8th floor, Honolulu

Frequently Asked Questions

Waikīkī Beach is situated on the south shore of the island of O’ahu within the city of Honolulu. There is a boardwalk that follows the white sand beaches that stretches just about 2 miles, making it a very walkable part of the city.

Dating back to the midcentury when Hawai’i first became a travel destination, Waikīkī Beach has been the epicenter of tourism on O’ahu. The area is known for its friendly waves, sandy beaches lined with numerous hotels, lively nightlife, and restaurants. 

These days there is premium shopping along Kalākaua Avenue, foods from shave ice to Japanese pastries at the various cafes, and some of the top bars. The area is high on convenience, but it also has a fair amount of chain restaurants and souvenir shops catering to tourists. Hence, it isn’t a place many residents visit regularly.

As such, we encourage you to visit other neighborhoods like Chinatown, Downtown, Kaka’ako, and Kaimuki, and to day trip to the other parts of the island, like the North Shore.

Some of the top restaurants in Waikiki include La Vie, Hau Tree, Sushi Sho. These restaurants offer a variety of cuisines and dining experiences, from casual beachside eateries to upscale dining

Hawaii Food

20 Local Foods To Eat In Hawaii

Now that you’re versed in places to eat in Oahu Waikiki, you may be searching for more great food for your next trip to Hawaii. In that case, you’ll want to read up on what to eat in Hawaii. From local classics like poke bowls and loco moco to traditional Hawaiian food like kalua pig and laulau, here are the must-try dishes for your next trip.

Have Us Plan Your Hawai’i Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in Hawai’i vacation planning? If you’re looking to plan a trip to Hawai’i, our Hawai’i trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

Photo Credit: Palm trees and hotels on waikiki beach By wendy laurel; Photo by Mariya Oliynyk on Unsplash; Mai Tai on beach by Maridav 

Hawaiian Diacritical Marks: In an effort to be accurate and respectful of the Hawaiian language, we use diacritical marks in our articles on the region. For more about which marks are used in the language and how to find proper spelling, refer to this Hawai’i Magazine article.

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