Great Eats on North Shore
I'm driving up to the North Shore (after 2 days in Honolulu) for a week and want to know if you would recommend any good restaurants/joints/dumps/trailers/shacks, etc. on the way or around there that are a must-try while I'm there. I'll try anything the natives can throw at me (I lived in China for a year and half). I'd prefer to stay away from all the tourist traps but if there are any that really stand out, please share!
Where on the north shore are you going to be? There are a few good/decent places in Haleiwa (Kua Aina, Jameson's, Haleiwa Joes, and one or two shrimp trucks).
Further down the coast the options are more limited. Most of the shirmp trucks do a decent job, you might check out this link:
Giovanni's is the best known, arguably the oldest, and arguably one of the better ones... but you probably know how chowhounds love to argue... er I mean discuss such things.
I would avoid Crouching Lion Inn at Kaawa. I'm told that once upon a time it was a worthwhile stop for a nice lunch with a great view. The view is still there....
The resort at Turtle Bay has recently (within a couple of years) been renovated, and the "fine dining" restaurant there (Ola?) has gotten some pretty good reviews by people who's opinion I trust, although it seems a bit pricey. The other restaurants there are supposedly "ok".
If you are in sunset beach Ted's bakery is best known for their pies, but other foods there get occasional mention. The poke (raw fish Hawaii style, pronunced po-key) is good at foodland supermarket.
enjoy your trip
Yes, I remember having some good meals at Crouching Lion. However, as you state, things have changed, and not for the better. We gave it a last try a few years ago, and were horribly disappointed for the thrid time. Have not been back since. Considering their location, and the lovely area, they could be so much better - like the "good old days." Someone, like you, would have to really tout them, to get me to go back.
You don't have to eat just OK burgers and OK burritos on North Shore anymore!
• Opel Thai Food lunch truck in lot across from McDonalds in Haleiwa is one of best Thai joints on the island.
• Haleiwa Eats: Almost as good Thai food in an airy cafe setting: http://honoluluweekly.com/restaurants/2005/09/country-thai/
• Banzai Sushi—sit on an open-air deck with other locals: http://www.banzaisushihawaii.com/
Owned by a Brazilian woman, so there's ceviche on the menu; get it.
• Romy's Shrimp Truck. Giovanni's is so over (and their shrimp doesn't even come from the North Shore—it's from Kaua‘i). Romy's is right NEXT to its own shrimp ponds. You can even see them harvesting the shrimp.
Check the video: http://hawaiirama.com/2008/06/eating-...
You might want to check out whether the TBR restaurants that I reported on are still up, running and doing a good job. It was a while ago, but we were impressed. Going back some, the only rub that we had was that Jameson's was the only good food nearby. We'd heard that the three new restaurants were quite good, and they were. As we love the resort and enjoy wine, not having to drive is a big, big plus for us. Even the smaller restaurant surprised us. Now, we did go a la carte, and did NOT do their buffet. The staff was so pleased that someone wanted to dine, and not do the buffet, that they crowded around our table and we had about four servers at our whim. The food was surprisingly good and the wine list managable. I must say though, that we are not buffet sorts, so that was never an option for us. Maybe make a call to TBR and ask about each of the three restaurants.
Good luck and much aloha,