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Apr 1, 2009 03:06 PM

Oahu- Did research-Need feedback

I am staying in Haleiwa, but I will have access to a car. I am a foodie who likes to taste and expereince it all. I won't have a huge bidget, but will sacrifice if I have to for a great trip with good food.

I have done research and 150+ pages I have copied off Chow, Yelp, Frodor's, personal blogs, etc. I narrowed and collected my food ideas.

What do you know about these places? Good/Bad? Best dishes? Suggestions? Helpful expereinces ? My brain hurts with all the reading, note taking, and highlighting- Help* :)

Teddy's Bigger Burgers
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
Boots & Kimo
Rainbow Drive-In
Cha Hung Sut
Side Street Inn
Kapahulu Poi Shop
Kua Aina
Mitch's Sushi Bar
Nico's Pier 38
Ted's Bakery
Diamond Head Market Grill
Ono Hawaiian
Haleiwa Eats
Grass Skirt Grill
Shark Cove Grill
Puka Dog
House without a Key
Brasserie Du Vin

Thank You for your help!!!!

I will be on the Oahu May 23-June 1st staying with a local.

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  1. you did your homework indeed.

    There are a couple of other places in Haleiwa:

    I would add Jameson's to your list, there is nothing like sitting on the lanai watching the world go by.

    Haleiwa Joe's gets mostly good reviews. I don't think it is as good as Jameson's, but several of my friends really like it.

    Pizza Bob's used to have a good reputation, supposedly still OK, but not as good, I haven't been there in years so my opinion would not be up to date.

    There are a couple of shrimp trucks that are in Haleiwa itself, both of them have recieved good reviews in chowhound threads.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I would heartily second Jameson's. I was one of those, who panned Hale`iwa Joe's, but we were totally unimpressed and missed Jameson's to fit it in. When one has a poor meal, that's one thing. To miss a place that has always impressed us, for what it is, because of that stop - well, maybe some of that came through in my review. Still, I tried to keep it totally objective, and just did not find anything to like about Hale`iwa Joe's (the Hale`iwa location only).

      As far as HWAK, it's a great venue for tropical drinks and experiencing some excellent Hawaiian music on stage. For food, or wines, I'd give them a pass and actually dine elsewhere. Experience them for what they do well, and walk down the street to dine.

      I did not see Ola (North Shore at the Turtle Bay Resort). It's upper-middle in price range, and did impress us. There was one mis-step, but they covered it in a heartbeat. Yeah, could have been perfect, but for one screw-up in the kitchen. Still, they were quick to make it all perfect. Stuff happens, and it's how you handle it, that leaves the lasting impression. Their Kahuku Sweet Corn Chowder was something that I shall always remember and will use as a paradigm for all other corn chowders to come. It was also right in the middle of our trip and was one of many. It was still the best of the lot. I'd stay a week at the TBR to taste that dish just once.

      Nico's was good, but the ahi was far, far better than their mahi-mahi "fish-n-chips." I would order the former in a heartbeat (wife's order), but would pass on the latter (my order).

      Most of all, travel safely, dine wel, enjoy and report back, when you return from paradise.


      1. re: monku

        And don't forget the Dole Plantation on your way into town to get a Pineapple Whip.

      2. We ate at Grass Skirt in 2008 and thought it was really good. When I went there in January I thought it was decent but probably nothing I'd go out of my way for.

        There's an ice cream place in Hale'iwa that carries the Bubbie's ice cream mochi. I loved them so much I went three days in a row I don't remember the name but the name on the sign out front doesn't match the name on the sign in back (if that helps). There is no comparison between the Bubbie's mochi and the others.

        Puka Dog is unique and actually tastes very good, nice cheap lunch. I actually liked this much better than Haute Dog.

        If you are in the Waikiki area I would go to Matsugen if you want a world class food experience under $20. The noodles are unbelievable.

        There is also a Thai place in Hale'iwa that we found to be reasonably priced. It was my favorite dinner I had on the North Shore.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ladybugthepug

          I agree.. had both Puka Dog and Hank's on a recent trip, I enjoyed Puka a lot more.

          Natalie - Your list has a lot of the same places that I had on my list. Some of the places I was actually able to make it to:
          Leonard's Jr (went multiple times, tried different flavors)
          Giovanni's (was ok, didn't really understand the hype; actually enjoyed the hot dog cooked in shrimp butter better)
          Zippys ( a few times)
          Boots & Kimo (mac nut pancakes were good but not worth the wait on weekends IMO)
          Puka Dog
          Waiola's (very good shaved ice)
          Curry House (very comforting on a drizzly night)

        2. Hi Natalie,

          I just got back from Oahu yesterday and went to a few of the places you've listed.

          Teddy's, Leonard's, Rainbow Drive-In, Zippy's, Puka Dog were all good and fairly inexpensive.

          Teddy's serves gourmet customized burgers made of 100% ground chuck so it's high quality. You can get a burger, fries, and a drink for about $7-$9 depending on the patty size and toppings. They allow upgrades on everything including fries, most people recommend cheese fries or spicy fries, whereas the garlic fries are pretty much regular fries since the garlic flavor is almost non-existent.

          Leonard's is a bakery that was established in 1952 where their signature items are malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) and pao doce (Portuguese sweet bread). The malasadas can either be plain (non-filled) with cinnamon and sugar on the outside or filled with options of custard, coconut, chocolate, etc.. and have a special flavor of the month. It was banana for the month of March. The plain malasadas are 70 cents a piece and the filled ones are 90 cents each. I found both types to be very good. They are best eaten right away. I recommend the plain, custard, and coconut ones.

          Rainbow Drive-In is a diner with limited, outdoor only seating. They have Hawaiian bbq items like the mixed plate (bbq ribs, mahi mahi, chicken) which comes with two scoops of white rice and your choice of macaroni salad or coleslaw. They also have other items like cheeseburgers, chili dogs, beef stew, shoyu chicken, slushies, etc.

          Zippy's is a local fast food chain in Hawaii. I went there once and ordered a chili chicken combination plate which was recommended on Yelp. For about $7 you get two pieces of chicken, a side of chili, white rice, and macaroni salad. They also sell items like Portuguese bean soup, sweet and sour ribs, etc. Most items are available as a "mini" plate where it's a smaller portion and a couple dollars cheaper than the full size. I'd recommend getting a couple mini plates if you're interested in trying a few dishes.

          Puka Dog was really good and they even make fresh squeezed lemonade per order. They have two sausage options of Polish and veggie. The buns are all fresh and toasted. There are numerous options for tropical relishes (starfruit, pineapple,etc), mustards (guava, passionfruit, etc) and garlic spreads (mild, jalapeno, habanero). Each hot dog is allowed 3 toppings included in the price. I got a Polish and it was $6.25. Not bad for a quick, great lunch.

          I know I have a new account on here, but I also have an established account on Yelp.

          I hope this information helps.

          1. I've been dreaming about Teddy's since we went in October. We'll be in Oahu again this month, and I can't wait for more Teddy's. Their special sauce is soo good ( or "ono" I should say). We also really like Tokkuri Tei on Kapahulu for izakaya. The prices are great, but the place gets busy. Make a reservation or get there early if you don't want a long wait prices are good, and the selection of sake is phenomenal. Service is also excellent. I'm torn on Puka Dog. It's yummy in a kind of over the top touristy way. They put a lot of sweet stuff on that dog -- can kinda get to be too much. Worth a try, though. We'll go again this trip and then regret it while we waddle back to the hotel. If you go to Hank's Haute Dogs, be sure to get the onion rings (Maui onion onion rings = super yum). If Town isn't out of your price range, it's worth a trip to get mussles or clams in their Cinzano sauce. manomin got me hooked!

            3 Replies
            1. re: pickles210

              Totally agree on Tokkuri Tei. I couldn't remember the name of it, but was thoroughly impressed. Unfortunately for me, I had just got done doing my Hank's vs. Puka Dog taste test. I had to sit there and watch my wife chow down on some seriously good food.

              This place is a must try if you're into Japanese food at a good price.

              1. re: pickles210

                Glad you love the mussels! I had an order Saturday night. And a note, they are not served at
                lunch now, dinner only. Hank's in Waikiki does not serve onion rings or fries so you'll need to
                go to the Coral St. location for those things. He also has a new iced tea which is really good
                I think it has jasmine and some other fruit flavor, don't remember. I like the original Hank's.
                I've eaten lunch 3 times in the last month and dinner once last week at town and they are
                really tearing it up in the kitchen, just putting out awesome food. Having out of town relatives
                allows for such numerous visits!

                1. re: manomin

                  manomin -- i've only been to the Hank's on Coral. i'll have to try that new iced tea --yum! i'm hoping to get a lobster dog, too, this time. i'll definitely stick with the Coral St. location because those onion rings are a must. only a little over a week before we're in Honolulu -- woo hoo! already have reservations for Mavro and Town.