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Aug 1, 2007 04:55 PM

In Oahu with car - good eats, good value?

We'll be in Turtle Bay for four days and in Waikiki for three.

Sounds from this forum like Waikiki is slim pickings for food. We are definitely willing to drive for good food, particularly if it's a good value. We're looking for mostly moderately priced stuff or lower with maybe one expensive night out. We''re fine with hole-in-the-wall too.

Besides the shrimp stands in the North Shore (we'll go there for husband--I don't like shrimp), where else should we go? And if we're stuck in Waikiki one night, what's our best best for decent food?


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  1. We were at Turtle Bay last summer. Lei Lei's in the golf clubhouse serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had both lunch and dinner. They were both good but I thought the lunch was better. We had a very good dinner at Ola at the resort. We were going to try 21 Degrees North for dinner but they were closed on Sunday and Monday. Very strange for a restaurant at a resort during the high season. We tried several of the shrimp trucks at Kahuku but the one we preferred was close to Turtle Bay. When you exit Turtle Bay, turn right on Kamehameha Hwy. The shrimp truck will be on your left a short distance down the highway. I believe it only operates on weekends. Continue west on the highway until you reach Haleiwa town. Get a shaved ice at Matsumoto's Grocery Store on the main drag. Just look for the line out the door. It's worth the wait.

    Honolulu has some great food. For low to moderate excellent food in funky surroundings try Helena's Hawaiian Restaurant and the Side Street Inn. The Pineapple Room in the Macy's at the Ala Moana Center is excellent for lunch and early dinner. If they have them, try the crab cakes. The moderately priced Pineapple room is owned and operated by Alan Wong, whose main restaurant, Alan Wong's, is one of the best restaurants in Hawaii. For an expensive splurge dinner, I highly recommend both Alan Wong's and Chef Mavro. We had an outstanding dinner at Chef Mavro last summer.

    Enjoy your trip.

    1. For the North Shore (mostly on the TBR property), take a look at my reviews from last Oct.
      The North Shore stuff is in the middle, with Kaua`i first, and O`ahu last. Most of the spots are not what I would call bargin spots. There are tons of posts on smaller, down-scale spots on the North Shore, that you should be able to find with a search. Same goes for dining in, or very near, to Waikiki. Yes, there are a lot of chains and tourist-oriented restaurants with less than great food, but there are many smaller spots, where the food is to die for.

      With an auto, look at restaurants like Indigo (China Town), and 3660 on the Rise, to the DH side, and slightly inland, from Waikiki.


      1. I'm sure you have read the recent postings about hole in the wall places as well as cheap eats. they reference some pretty good websites as well. for a stuck-in-waikiki night, how much do you want to spend? you can run the gamut from teddy's bigger burgers to Bali By the Sea and La Mer. Consider the Chart House in the Ilikai annex, or maybe chucks (above Dukes). Dukes is virtually on the beach, not the greatest food, but there isn't anything wrong with it. Just expensive for what you are getting. I have heard mixed reviews on Tiki's. Initial comments were great, been falling off over time. Hy's still has some of the best steaks in Honolulu, but not really an "island" experience. In spite of the city putting up a nasty plywood barricade at the natatorium, the view from the Hau Tree Lanai is still spectacular, especially just at sunset. Lousy service, good (not great but very good) food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: KaimukiMan

          Sounds like the service has declined at Hau Tree Lanai, since I was last there. We've always had good service with up-down food, but the sunset (prior to your referenced construction) view, while dining usually helped on the down nights. Only real complaint that I've had is that the tables seem to get closer together on each visit, so it began to feel really, really crowded. Maybe we'll give it a go, on our next trip over, just for "old time's sake."

          Thanks for the update,

        2. i love the food in hawaii.. but then again i've lived there and go back frequently... there's soo many places to eat.. but i can understand where you are coming from = but you're on the right track by posting =) besides stuff that has been mentioned already, there's a new place that's a wine bistro in honolulu that looked really appetizing, i saw it on the cheap eats posting (mahalo again KM!).. but it doesn't appear that it's cheap eats... hahaha i'm definitely checking it out during my upcoming annual trip =)

          oh and since you have a car, you really won't be stuck in waikiki =) every place is really easy to get to =)

          1. I always forget that one of our premiere Thai restaurants is in Waikiki... Keo's. At the ewa end of Kuhio Avenue, home of the famous "evil jungle prince" and some of the best curry I've ever had. Yes for the most part it is "toned down" for American Tastes, but I have ordered it hot, and (to me) it was. Perhaps not Thai hot, but then I didn't order it that way.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              We loved Keo's, back when it was on Kapahulu (original location?), but were mildly disappointed, when we tried the newer one in Ward Center (IIRC). It was OK, but lacked the kitchen's work of the older one. It seems that that location is now gone, and that the main restaurant relocated to Kuhio. I have read some negative reviews here, but have not sampled this iteration. We really enjoyed the old place and the food was always top-notch to our palates, though we may have only sampled a small piece of their, then extensive, menu.

              I'm glad to see a positive post for an old favorite, even if the address is now different. I'll make it a point to try the Kuhio location next trip.