Oahu on the "less fancy" side
My boyfirend and I just got back from a trip to Oahu where we spent a good portion of it eating:) We are both educators so we didn't have a huge budget to go to any of the super upscale restaurants, but here's some feedback on those that we did hit up.
My Faves were:
- Cafe Haleiwa- on the Windward Coast- we went out for breakfast every morning and this was by far my favorite place- it is a small, unassuming place with great prices- but the food is killer- all super fresh- I had mahi wth vegetables and it was the best mahi mahi I had on our whole trip- if you make it up this way you must stop by
- Lei Lei's at Turtle Bay Resort- it's the bar/grill at the golf/pro shop- so it's definitely super casual- the drinks were the best I had on our entire trip and the fish sandwhich I had was divine- we ordered the seared ahi tuna as well and it was delicious- service here was also very friendly and they bent over backwards to make sure that you felt like you were "on vacation"
- Hula Grill- it's located in one of the big hotels on the beach- simple menu/not pricey but the food was great and there is a great view of the ocean- they only serve breakfast and dinner- and it appears there is always a small wait- I feel it's worth it though
- Keo's - we ate here for New Year's Eve and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves- I don't eat a ton of Thai food- so I don't feel like I can weigh in on how it compares- I just know that I loved my pad thai and the lemongrass soup- both basics but really great
- Sushi Man- so there is sushi on every corner it seems like and I just happened to stumble into this one and ate there 3 times while there- it's fresh- made to order and done so very quickly- great to pick up and take to the beach
- Markeplace Grocery? a small grocery at Kaulia Beach...- they had guys out front grilling burgers that were great- but the best part is the stuff we ordered from the deli inside- best macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten! the black bean salad was great too- this is a perfect place to grab lunch on a beach day
Here's a couple that I liked but didn't love:
- I love Country Cafe- my boyfriend LOVED this place- we went back twice- it wasn't bad, but it reminded me of a lot of food we can grab at diners here in New Orleans.... we ate there for breakfast twice- the pumpkin ginger bread was great!!
- Kaka'ako Kitchen- again my boyfriend LOVED this place- I really appreciated how simple and light the meal was- good mahi mahi here- but I have a hot sauce addiction and I was disappointed that there wasn't any there for me to put on my eggs and fish
- Mac 24/7- we had our Christmas dinner here- my Bf- got something that came with their white cheddar mac and cheese and that was the highlight of the meal (notice a mac and cheese trend- hope this doesn't discredit all of my opinions:) I had a tuna fish sandwhich- which was really good but served in a pita that could have been warned- we really enjoyed the salad that we started with and the onion rings were divine
- Cha Cha Cha- I love mexican food- so it's hard for me to ever say it is ever bad- this was decent- service not great- but I enjoyed my pulled pork quesadillas (sp) and the guac was fresh
- Diamondhead Grill- I was a little disappointed here bc this was one of our "spurlge meals" - it's what my BF called overpriced hotel food- it's in the W- the meal was aight and small- he had a pasta dish that was actually pretty good and large- I ordered wrong- the crab fondue-- TOO FILLING and kind of reminded me of something that you could get at a Red Lobster and a small pasta dish/tapa - it was okay but not $10 okay--- the service and atmosphere were great-- and the food wasn't bad- it just wasn't what our tourist travel books had hyped it up to be
- Lulu's Grill- I love the atmosphere here- it's a 2nd story open air restaurant with a great view- I had the crab cakes benedict- they were appetizing but they weren't fresh out of the water - my BF had the Loco Moco w/spam and enjoyed it
I could have done without-
Ono's-I feel terrible saying this bc it is a local place and I think that my test buds just aren't aligned- ppl around us loved what they were eating and there was a line- but I just didn't find anything there appetizing and the atmosphere was a little too small for me
The Budget Buffett at Polynesian Culture Center- we weren't expecting a great meal- but this was down right a crime in my opinion- we paid $15.00 for a Shoney's buffett basically..... overall we weren't a fan of the Polynesian Culture Center bc it was - even as tourists we felt like it was "too touristly" -a money trap
I hope this helpful! I don't claim to have a fine palate- but I do live in one of the best eating citiies. and I do love to eat!
I totally agree with u on Ono's-I am island born and raised and ate there for the first time during Christmas holidays. I think Ono's great for what it is-gives a sampling of Hawaiian type food but by no means is it something I would go back for and if I didnt know what great Hawaiian food tasted like I would be a bit turned off. I totally would have picked a place like Young's Fish market and purchase all the different dishes and take to beach or home instead. Now a place like Young's has what is GREAT Hawaiian food!!
Thank you for the report. Going back three trips, we did breakfast at Lei Lei's and enjoyed it very much. Our lodging included breakfast at the TBR, and one of the servers whispered that we'd actually do better by dining over there. We gave them a try and by gosh, the server was correct. Every day that we played golf, we'd start there. Other days, we just took our "free" breakfast at the resort. Now, for a resort breakfast, it was not bad - better than most, but not quite as good as Lei Lei's.
Have not dined at most of the rest, but the question for more budget-oriented dining on O`ahu always comes up. Now, I have a thread to link to for them.
Hi Mecmec - thanks for your post! It goes to show you don't have to spend tons to enjoy a vacation - but doing a bit of research like reading the blogs sure can make a dining difference when you do plunk down for food when traveling! Heading to Oahu this Thursday and will be adding your comments to my (growing) list of places to try (and to avoid!) - Mahalo! Pigeage