Hawaii must eats !
we are planning a family vacation in Honolulu and looking for some recommendations on the big island. since we are taking the little ones with us, we would like to try a bunch of hole in the wall type places esp food that is unique to Hawaii. anything is game.
also, need a rec for the best restaurant to go without the kids.
I haven't been to Honolulu for several years...
Alan Wong's - the "ahi cake" appetizer is incredible, layering raw ahi tuna with smokey grilled eggplant; however they really packed in the tables... I felt as though I was on honeymoon with the couple next to us.
Roy's (Hawaii Kai area) - it's a bit out of town, but if you can time the sunset and get a view, it's very nice and most of the food is top notch; unless a special is extremely tempting, though, the tried and true items that have stuck on the menu for a decade probably are the best bet.
Kaka'ako Kitchen - At the Ward Center, this restaurant runs the range from Pacific Rim fusion to plate lunch; served in a polystyrene "to go" box, you can eat right outside on the patio -- and watch the cars come in and out of the parking lot -- or take it a dozen blocks to a park on the water. Excellent prices, superior execution. And afterwards you can hit the Brookstone for an electric chair massage.
Malasadas - these Portuguese-inspired "doughnuts" come in a variety of styles and people fiercely defend their favorites. To me, most of them are boring fried bread puffs, but the ones at Champion Malasada are more hearty, a bit like the heft of a buttermilk doughnut in an ocean of raised ones.
Manapua - these supersized char siu bao can be found at any number of places, but for quality of filling, Char Hung Sut in Chinatown beats all the others that I've tried. You might want to map it in advance between traffic and parking can be a bit unpredictable. Also, as you might expect of a carry-out dim sum operation, freshness and selection are best early in the morning.
For local food at cheap hole-in-the-walls, try Ono Hawaiian and Helen's Chinese on Kapahulu. Gina's Korean BBQ in the Foodland strip mall off Harding; there is also a decent ramen place, Sumo, in that mall. For a beach picnic, stop by an Okazuya (Hawaiian Deli) for savory snacks...try Ebisu on King or Caryn's on, I think, Beretania. All of these are within a 10 minute drive of Waikiki, if you are staying in West Honolulu, there is a whole other world of options.
For a bit more money, try some of the best Thai food you will find anywhere in the US at Mekong, with branches on King and Beretania.
If you are there on a Tuesday, check out Keiki (kid's) night at Sam Choy's Breakfast Lunch and Crab. They have all kinds of kids activities and Choy has many dishes that have become Hawaii standards.