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hawaii honeymoon help

Hi there. My fiance and I are trying to come up with a great two or three day mini honeymoon. I have never been to any of the islands, so I dont know which one to choose. I am a cook and I am most excited about exploring the food. So my question is this- which island should we choose for the best food experience. Any suggestions for hotels/B&B's are welcome as well. We cant afford fine dining (maybe one meal) so I'm looking more for quality cheap eats. Thanks for any help.

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  1. If food is a priority and you're on a budget, I suggest Oahu.

    1 Reply
    1. Oahu for the parameters you have set....however unrealistic...2-3 days to Hawaii from just about anywhere is not fiscally sound...
      If you have 2-3 days to Honeymoon and a limited budget...hop in the car and explore your local surroundings..... Check-in to a Fancy Hotel near you and do a splurge there.
      The Airfare alone to Hawaii will kill the budget(For 2-3 days????)

      7 Replies
      1. re: easily amused

        I agree. Go to San Francisco or Chicago. We have great food at all price levels but you
        are stretching yourself on airfare. However I can tell you lots of great places as can Kaimukiman he's a wealth of information!

        1. re: manomin

          Thanks Manomin. I agree that three days is an issue, but if their heart is set on Honolulu...

          So I'm guessing we are talking 2 breakfasts, three lunches, and two, maybe three dinners, along with assorted snacks. On one of those days they are going to rent a car and do the circle island thing ??

          Lunches are the easiest, lets start with those:
          1) Rainbow Drive In. Definitely not gourmet, definitely a local institution. Do not wimp out and get a burger. Plate lunch is what you gotta do, even if you only end up eating half of it.
          2) Shrimp Truck of choice on the north shore as part of your circle island drive. Also stop off at Matsumoto's shave ice in Haleiwa. Get the ice cream and azuki beans. Local style! One of the best, and again an institution.
          3) Nico's. Not in waikiki, but some of the best fish on the island and so worth it. Very reasonable price.

          Dinner
          1) Side Street Inn. Just order a bunch of appetizers and dig in.
          2) Kakaako Kitchen, then wander some of the shops or maybe head across the street for a movie. While you are there check out Satura Cakes.

          if you want to spend more on one dinner, then try Roys, it's in Waikiki and you wont have to pay for a taxi. Or check out Cafe Hula Girl (not listed in phone book, google it). Very good food, very reasonable prices for what you get. For a romantic setting you can't beat Hau Tree Lanai.

          Breakfast: Again assuming you are gonna be in Waikiki and nearby environs the first place on my list would be Wailana Coffee House. Very retro, another institution. Open 24 hours. Big City diner has good breakfasts, my two favorites are the fried rice (preferably with kim chee... yeah, even for breakfast) and the haupia macadamia pancakes. There is a place named Mac24/7 in Waikiki that everyone raves about. Check out the reviews. I had a bad experience there, but that was just me.

          If you have time one day take a walk up Kapahulu for a couple of snacks. Get some shave ice at Waiola Shave Ice (new location on Mokihana Street...not on Kapahulu avenue any more, but almost on the intersection), and from there a few more blocks up at Lincoln ave is Leonards Malasadas. Or check the bus schedule for the #14 bus and start at Leonards, then Shave Ice, and maybe finish off at Rainbow Drive-in. but don't over eat at leonards. BTW malasadas are an eat-it-now kind of food, or within an hour. they just don't keep very well.

          If you have to have a burger for some reason while you are in hawaii try Teddy's or Kua Aina. You might also check out the hot dogs at puka dog in waikiki. If you are adventurous and really have to have "real" hawaiian food, check out Ono's or Haili's both on Kapahulu.

          Thats three days already and no time for sushi or poke. Only one plate lunch (ok, two counting the shrimp trucks). You are in Davis, so you have access to chinese all the time, and probably Thai as well. Come, enjoy, spend some time on the beach, use sunsceen... even my Sacramento cousins burn here. Aloha

          -----
          Kakaako Kitchen
          1200 Ala Moana Blvd # 135, Honolulu, HI

          Side Street Inn
          1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI

          Wailana Coffee House
          1860 Ala Moana Blvd Ste Lbby, Honolulu, HI 96815

          Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant
          2863 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

          1. re: manomin

            >>"2-3 days to Hawaii from just about anywhere is not fiscally sound..."<<
            >>"Go to San Francisco or Chicago."<<

            Oh, c'mon people. The OP lives in my neck of the woods. SF is a worthy option, but it's more of an everyday getaway than a honeymoon destination. And it's often cheaper to fly to Honolulu than Chicago (although with Aloha and ATA out of the picture, the day of dirt-cheap fares seems to be gone).

            To the OP: I say go for it. If you can find a way to squeeze an extra couple of days in, then do it. Definitely head for O'ahu, both to maximize your available time (no connecting flights) and for the chow.

            KaimukiMan has a lot of good suggestions. A big +1 on Rainbow Drive In, Side Street, and the shrimp trucks. My only quibble - if I were only going to have one upscale dinner on-island, it would be at Alan Wong's. Nothing wrong with Roy's, but you can get it in SF.

            With more time, a stroll around Chinatown would be a must-do. There's some good dim sum and Vietnamese food to be had. But as noted, it isn't anything you can't find closer to home. Get some local kine grinds instead.

            Have fun!!!

            Nearly all the hotels on the island are in Waikiki, so focus your attention there (for a relatively cheap place to crash I've had good experiences with the Aqua hotels).

            -----
            Alan Wong's Restaurant
            1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

            1. re: alanbarnes

              agree with Alan's quibble, except for one thing. Alan Wong's isn't in Waikiki, Roy's is. Cab fare even that short distance makes a difference. Oh, and Alan Wongs is a bit pricier than Roys, or at least it was. Perhaps one of their lunches should be at the Pineapple Room in Macy's AlaMoana. Too many choices, not enough time. But yes, if they can swing it, Honolulu over SF for a Honeymoon if they are from Davis.

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              Alan Wong's Restaurant
              1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Agreed that Alan Wong's is a little pricier than Roy's, but the difference isn't huge, and IMO it's the better value.

                As for location, it's an easy (albeit not particularly scenic) walk from the west end of Waikiki. The hike from down by the zoo is a little more daunting, but then there's always TheBus up Kuhio. (What does it say about me that I'll pay for a 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings but am too cheap to spring for a cab?)

                -----
                Alan Wong's Restaurant
                1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  I agree with K-Man. And, while there is a Roy's in SF the Waikiki location has a most amazing chef who also does his own inspirations freely on the menu and has just started to offer a Vegan Prix Fix menu which is just incredible. Do not
                  discount Hawaii locations of Roy's. While I said other destinations initially it
                  did not mean I thought they shouldn't come here it's the point that they should
                  squeeze in a couple more days both to relax from the tedium of travel and to better enjoy dining and the beach and related vacation activities.

              2. re: manomin

                As a mainlander who just returned from a month's vacation in Honolulu, I agree with manomin's comments. We enjoyed the food at Side Street Inn at 1225 Hopaka St. near the Ala Moana Center. Their pork chops and kimchi fried rice are great. Portions are huge but they will happily box up the left overs. Hopaka St's appearance does not inspire great appetites nor does SSI but many locals eat there. Place opens at 2 PM so reservations are recommended after 4. Just look for the SIX garbage cans in front and you are there.
                Another funky place great for food is Uncle Bo's Pupu bar and grill located at 559 Kapahulu. Their steamed clams and ribs are outstanding, Place opens at 5:30 so call for reservations as the place fills up fast. Depending on where you are staying just take bus #13 towards Diamond Head. The bus stops in front of Uncle Bo's. On the 700 block of Kapahulu are a couple of Ono cafes that serve great poke.

                A great place for a buffet dinner is at the Pacific Beach Hotel at its Aquariumium restaurant where you dine next to a 2 story high aquarium. Outstanding buffet including everything under the sun: king crab legs, sushi, prime rib, pasta station, ribs etc. Place opens at 5 PM for dinner. Kind of pricey at $35/p, but if you are seniors the price is 2 for 1 starting at 5 pm. on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hotel is on Kalakaua Ave and Liliuokalani Streets.

                Enjoy your stay in Hono. We are already booked for another month or possibly two in spring of 2011.

                -----
                Side Street Inn
                1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI

                Pacific Beach Hotel
                2490 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

                Ala Moana Center
                1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814

            2. If you said where you are from, I missed it, but I assume that you are considering package vacations where the whole thing costs about the same as the flight alone. Let us know what you would like to eat, etc. so we can be more helpful and specific. IMOO, native Hawaiian food is not all that good i.e., traditional Hawaiian and gourmet do not go together. But there is a lot to like here...

              1. I agree with Joe Bob. I would spend maybe one night eating traditional Hawaiian food and then explore other things instead. I am guessing that you might be trying to get in luau (most honeymooner do) and you can get the Hawaiian traditional food there.

                As for other places, I would definitely hit the shave ice as mentioned and the shrimp trucks are cool. I think Puka Dog is awesome and something you won't find anywhere else. We also have great ramen shops, Chinese dim sum and sushi. Perhaps checking out the local markets or hitting up the KCC farmer's market on Saturday to buy some fresh tropical fruit would be good too. The food is great at the market and you will for sure find things that represent Hawaii.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: Joebob

                    Oh yes! A malasada is a must-have here. Again it is something that you won't find anywhere else. Its like the Hawaiian doughnut.

                    I was thinking too of things that might be inexpensive at the KCC market if you go. I think lilikoi (passion fruit) curd is delicious and unique. As is papaya seed dressing, fantastic on anything from salads to sandwiches. We have some interesting smoked salts you could pick up and of course the fruit (although only pineapple can be brought back to the mainland via plane). There is a large bread vendor that sells wonderful sweet bread in both a large loaf and sometimes hamburger buns plus they don't use HFCS like a lot of grocery store brands do. Finally, there are a couple of vendors who sell the famous Kona coffee. I would recommend picking up a few different types and then trying them at home. I think there is someone who sells toasted macadamia nuts too.

                1. If you're wanting a package deal which includes air plus hotel, you may want to look into Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays' offerings. Otherwise, if you're really want to have fun on a budget, you could get a hotel room with a kitchenette and cook /eat some of your meals in. (Imperial Hotel is a timeshare in Waikiki that might work). Shopping for local fruit like mangoes, apple bananas, pineapple, litchi, dragon fruit, star fruit at the KCC farmers market and/or China town is a fun experience and the fruits are great for breakfast along with malasadas from Leonard's bakery,Portuguese sweet bread (which you can buy at a supermarket like Foodland), fried slices of Portuguese sausage (ditto) along with Molokai or Kona coffee. Three breakfasts of this sort shouldn't set you back more than $25 total.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: honu2

                    Do you know if the KCC market has Hawaiian pink dragonfruit? Best I've ever had by far!

                    1. re: Joebob

                      I've seen it there occasionally.

                  2. Thanks for all the info! Airfare is actually not an issue. My fiances mom is giving us a bunch of miles she got from buisness trips. Which is why we settled on Hawaii. Before we were planing on staying in California, but with the free airfare.... why not explore farther.
                    Sounds like Oahu is a great bet. Any suggestions for really good sushi. Its his favorite so I think we'd have to have it one night.
                    Thanks again for all the suggestions.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Coffeeshakti

                      Here are the recs hounds were kind enough to share with me. I've been trying to work my way through them. Need to get to Honolulu more often...

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/511621

                      1. re: Coffeeshakti

                        Mitch's is the only place my husband and I have been for sushi on the island. The sushi is fantastic but the atmosphere is lacking to say the least. Also, we go there and can easily drop $200 not including alcohol as it is byob. It might make you feel a bit uncomfortable finding it too, as it is in the industrial area with a gravel parking lot. Great food and service but don't expect anything else.

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                        Mitch's Fish Market
                        524 Ohohia St, Honolulu, HI

                        1. re: Coffeeshakti

                          If the link works, you'll get an article about good sushi places under $2/plate: http://honolulu.metromix.com/restaura...

                          1. re: Coffeeshakti

                            If she has enough miles and is generous, go for FC on Hawaiian Air, or UAL. It's not the FC that you get to London, or to Tokyo, but goes a long ways to getting a young couple into the mood to enjoy the Islands. It's enough fun, that we've actually paid for that, though it's a step down from BC to Europe, or Asia. Still, great fun.

                            On my first trip to O`ahu, my client bought me FC tickets, and UAL had just introduced the 747 BC. The stewardess (they were called that back then) asked if I wanted to go upstairs. Before I could tell her that I was happily married, she took me by the hand, and we ascended a spiral staircase to that tiny little bubble (much larger now with 747-400's), where there was a piano bar. Trader Vic was at the keyboard, and the mai tais were flowing. Unfortunately, I had to work, as soon as I was arriving, so I could only sit back and sip. I think that he played on most flights from LAX to HNL for several months. He was not there on my return, but there was another gentleman playing, so it was still very good.

                            Aloha,

                            Hunt

                          2. Sorry to be so late to this thread.

                            While I go the opposite route - 10 - 21 days on the Islands, I have grabbed a flight, almost just to dine on O`ahu (needed some miles to retain Premier Elite status on UAL), so I know that quick trips can be great.

                            There are some great recs., and of the ones that I have dined, cannot challenge any. Maybe I missed it, but I would do one "splurge" dinner, and make that Alan Wong's King St. While not "romatic," per se, if you are into cooking and food, opt for the Chef's Counter, and do the tasting menu. Talk to the chefs behind the counter, and you will probably get a few "extra" mosels, especially if you let them know it's your honeymoon. Even when we are on other Islands, and our time is pressed, we try to have a good layover from Inter-Island to the Mainland, and just cab to AW's. We have missed them only once, and that was due to illness. We've been dining there from the first month that Chef Wong opened, so do go way back. Still, we never tire of the cuisine, the service and their wonderful aloha spirit.

                            As for lodging, we almost always do the Hilton Hawaiian Village, but that is because we're Hilton Diamond Members, and have more Hilton HHonors points than should be allowed, so it's easy for us to just cash in some of those. It's a bit Disney, but does have charm. Food at the old Bali By The Sea used to be quite good, but they have made a major change, and I've not been there since. Other dining on their property is marginal hotel food, and is to be missed in my book. However, you are centrally located in Waikiki and within walking distance of tons of great, though populated beaches, and good dining at all levels. Wailana Coffee Shop is just across the street, and is a wonderful time warp with good breakfast fare. Take it ALL in and enjoy at a really good price for Paradise.

                            Aloha, and happy honeymoon,

                            Hunt

                            -----
                            Alan Wong's Restaurant
                            1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826