You might get some ideas from http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334698. The Honolulu material is at the end - first is Kaua`i, then North Shore. Most restaurants are at the higher-end of the spectrum, but there are tons of mid to lower-end recs. on this board, that a search should reveal.
i dont like dukes to eat... too pricey for what you get.. go for drinks (lavaflow!) and duke's on sunday (insert henry kapono song here)... for food that is kinda like duke's but tastier, less crowded... try chai island bistro and/or tiki's.
shorebird.. not impressed because you can get better elsewhere
i would add the mainstays: side street inn, rainbow or hks for plate lunch (you can get ono on the mainland), zippys for late nite grub--> chili over rice or the zip pac/surf pac are popular
shrimp trucks at north shore (folks like giovannis) i actually like this other one further down kamehameha highway 'cause they don't charge $2 for extra rice... hahaha
matsumoto's for shave ice...
oceans/brew moon/mai tais (ala moana, not the one in waikiki) for pupus (and dancing ;P although i think ur missing piranhha room oh well) yay! there's a new place at ala moana where you can go for dinner and dancing.. pearl i think it's called... there's also a place inside restaurant row (or circle hahah) that has great local bar... hahaha kaimukiman just reminded me, but i forgot again.. i just go meet my cuzins there. i dont pay attention.. =)
that japanese fast food joint makai bottom floor ala moana for their portuguese sausage musubis... $1.25 =)
wailana coffeehouse for macadamia nut pancakes
cholo's for (that's right) mexican... i like their spinach and chicken green enchilada... my fried likes it with a spicy corona....
ps u may be there for kamehameha day! YAY! i would check what festivals they will be having.. a local radio station was announcing some concerts of bands i like.. you may want to check other celebrations too 'cause festivals are SOOO fun =)
don't shop over at that one grocery store in waikiki, food pantry i think? if ur renting a car, ur better off shopping for water and snacks and foodland... the menehune water is usually cheaper... if you don't have a car, take the bus ($2.00) to ala moana and go to the foodland there... oh and FYI, if you take the bus form ala moana BACK to waikiki, take it from makai side--it may be too crowded on the other sides...
aloha!!!!! =) *sending shakas* =)
aiya kinipela.... how many times i going tell you, da ROW bar stay at restaurant ROW, so babooze you!
If you want to go to Dukes in Waikiki, try lunch time,its way cheaper, and all the surfer girls (and surfer boys) will be along the shore and rinsing off at the shower. Not that the view of the beach isn't nice by itself. For mexican, Cholos is pretty good, but I prefer Azteca in Kaimuki. Nice family run place, Mom, Dad, and Son. My fav. there is the enchilada suiza. There is also a place not far from the airport on Sand Island Access Road for Mexican, sign says "San Antonio Style". Not sure what that means,but it was tasty. Of course coming from LA to eat mexican food here really doesn't make much sense.
You gotta try plate lunch at least once. Rainbow drive-in on Kapahulu is very close to Waikiki. The bbq steak (teri-style), chili dog plate, and boneless chicken (gravy on the rice- hahaha) are the local favorites there. If they have roast pork that day, its good too. It is sort of a travesty, but they do have "green salad" if you want.
Zippys is always good and they are all over the place (except waikiki) but I'm not overly fond of their chicken katsu. Their fresh fish special is usually pretty good, and a whole lot more reasonable than Sam Choy's. I like it with the garlic vegetables on th side. For chicken katsu, Gracies is better (Mauka side of Kaimuki ave between Kapahulu and Kapiolani) or Beretania between Keeamoku and Piikoi, same parking lot as the big times market. If you really want to clog your arteries get the Katsu Curry, with sauce on the rice. I'm not overly fond of L&L, too much mayo in the mac salad (or maybe not enough mac in the mayo salad?).
Late night favorites include LikeLike Drive-in on Keeamoku (pronounced Lee-Key-Lee-key), Zippys, or (if you can read the Japanese sign) Sanoya for noodles at the corner of South King and Hauoli St (right accross the other Times Market). Dunno why, the English sign is on the back - facing the wrong way on a one-way street. I think they are open till like 3am. The menu is in English.
Hale Vietnam in Kaimuki has great Pho. In fact most Vietnamese places (outside waikiki) are good for Pho. And don't forget Leonards near the top of Kapahulu (at Lincoln i think) for the fresh malasadas! Some people prefer Champion (Beretania a little past Isenberg (or is it just past McCully?)).
shoots den! hahaha i bin working too hard! besides, restaurant row is da kine HAHA NOT a row! HAHAHA
i like the cream filled malasadas over at leonards... i like the ones with the guava custard.. another bus ride
i think it's across from snorkel bob's if u were get rent snorkels =)
i trust my friends palate and this is what he wrote:
Best Hawaii Regional Cuisine:
3660 On The Rise
Chef Mavro(strange for wine though)
Indigo - Food is decent, great ambiance though
Michel's at the Colony Surf
Bistro at Centruy Center
Side Street Inn
New that I have heard good things about:
Places I go:
C&C Pasta Company - BYO good Italian
12th Ave Grill - BYO(though not for long) upscale comfort food
Good Locations to Eat:
Dukes Canoe Club, Bali by the Sea, Mariposa, Hanohano Room, Shorebird, Haleiwa Joes Haiku Plantation - Locations are great, most on the water or 30 floors up with fantastic views. Not necessarily the best food though but stunning/fun settings.
Unfortunately the Bistro at Century Center closed a few months ago, it was really good, also C&C Pasta Co. is closed as well. Try Town on Waialae Avenue (same neighborhood as 12 th Ave.) they make some killer cocktails there and some amazing mussels and other dishes, they are also open for B&L. True about Haleiwa Joe's in Haiku, I like about a block away and the food is good but the view is way better, I like to call up and order take out from there. Alan Wong's of course is really good and I can't not say go to Roy's either the flagship at Hawaii Kai or the newest one in Waikiki (also open for lunch, nice outdoor bar). What is so strange about Mavro for wine? That is one of their hallmarks to have the best wine pairings picked by committee for their dishes. L'Uraku also closed awhile back. You can find chef Hiroshi Fukui at his Hiroshi's Eurasion Tapas which I strongly recommend as well. Indigo at lunch is nice especially if you don't have the buffet which is all cold dishes and not easily determined as to what they are and someone serves you as they stand behind the table. They also have a regular menu which I would have liked as I like their food but I was someone's guest.
I was just at Ala Moana today and Mariposa was packed for lunch as usual!
I did not see this comment, when I posted to your initial request for info. If it were my first trip, however predicated on years of experience dining in Hawai`i, I'd do:
1.) Alan Wong's King St.
2.) Chef Mavro's King St.
4.) 3660 on the Rise
5.) La Mer
6.) Indigo (China Town)
Then, if I had any more time, I'd add another one, or two to the mix.
Much farther down the $-scale, but still a few wonderful simple meals, has been the Shorebird Broiler. Not the most romantic, until you and you SO sit, without any interruptions from the staff, and watch sunset on Waikiki, but that is the romance of your own making.