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Must Visit Places in Oahu

Hi Everyone,

My wife, daughter (7 yrs. old) and I will be vacationing in Oahu for five nights. Our options are listed below after reading all the blogs. Any additional suggestions for great food and must visit places will be great appreciated. Please also let us know where to eat great sushi and things to do for a 7 year old.


- Meals:
Luau at Paradise Cove
Alan Wong's
Helena's Hawaiian Food
Nico's at Pier 38
Ice Garden
Town Rest.
Boots & Kimo's
3660 On the Rise
Mitch's Fish Market

- Visits
Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay
One day at Wet n' Wild Water Park -- It is worth the visit?
Pearl Harbor
Diamond Head
Ala Moana Center
Tamashiro Market

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

3660 On the Rise
3660 Waialae Ave Unit Frnt, Honolulu, HI 96816

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

Ice Gardens
Aiea Shopping Ctr, Aiea, HI 96701

Helena's Hawaiian Food
1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817

Paradise Cove
1860 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815

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

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  1. Waiola Shave Ice
    Leonard's Bakery-Malasadas
    Dole Pineapple Plantation
    Matsumoto Shave ice-in Haleiwa

    1. we were just there last month, damn it was hot.

      i think your daughter will like the pineapple maze at the dole plantation, plus they have a little train that does a mini tour of the plantation. while you're up that way, go to the north shore and have some scampi from giovanni's shrimp truck.

      in waikiki, try matsugen, good ramen but it's also more than that. ezogiku and nakamura are also good for ramen and gyoza.

      shirokiya, a japanese dept store in ala moana has an interesting food section upstairs. try the kona coffee mochi ice cream.

      take a drive up the west coast, you can drive to the end of the road, it's an interesting drive, and you can stop at one of the local beaches. there's also a cave off the side of the road that you can stop at and wander inside.

      2 Replies
      1. re: doubledown

        Forgot to mention the Dole Pineapple Whip.

        1. re: monku

          Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely try to stop by as many places as possible. Again, thanks!!!!

      2. No plate lunch at all? I know its not healthy, but you gotta try at least one plate lunch place. Rainbow, or Grace's, Diamond Head Market, Sugoi's, Mitsuken, Tsukenjo's, or at least Kakaako Kitchen (even if it's not exactly plate lunch.)

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

        3 Replies
        1. re: KaimukiMan

          I was going to say where are the plate lunch places?
          Rainbow Drive-In two blocks from Waiola Shave Ice.
          Give me the Mix Plate anytime.

          How about McDonalds for saimin and Hawaiian breakfast of Portuguese sausage/Spam and eggs w/rice.

          Rainbow Drive-In
          3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            My latest favorites from Rainbow, either the half chicken or bbq pork plate with gravy on the rice. That and a slush float, OMG I'm a happy guy. I prefer the bbq pork to the bbq steak now. Mainly because the pork is cooked to order, the way the steak used to be in years past.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Oh, I love the roast pork and the meatloaf from Tsukenjo's. Thankfully I don't eat that very often! Used to go to their truck in the furniture store parking lot.

            2. 1. I wouldn't put Gyotaku on MY list.
              2. Do you like water parks? Then you will like Wet 'n Wild, perhaps as much as your daughter will. Plus you can get eggplant fries at Poke Stop on your way back.
              3. Will you have a car? Many people enjoy driving around the periphery and enjoying the scenery. And you can get shave ice and good Thai food on the North shore.
              4. If you are staying in Waikiki your daughter might enjoy "eating out" at Fatty's, particularly the cake noodles.
              5. GREAT sushi doesn't come with moving dishes, but your daughter will enjoy the moving plates more.

              1. Don't kno when you going but., here's a small list of non food things to do so you can get hungry-
                Aloha Festivals Waikiki Hoolaulea -sept 18th
                Bishop Museum
                Iolani Palace 9a-5p mon-sat (Royal hwn band on fri 12n-1p)
                Pearl Harbor-go early
                Marine Time Museum
                Waikiki Historic Trail Walking Tour
                Pali Lookout
                Waimea Falls
                Da beaches..
                Note :Helena's is closed on sat sun mon

                2 Replies
                1. re: flylice2x

                  I just got back from Hawaii a couple of days ago. If you're on the North Shore I'd add Ted's Bakery for haupia chocolate cream pie. And if you're looking for a shrimp truck experience up that way, you might want to consider the shrimp plate at Ted's. Good garlic and butter seasoning but the difference is that they pre-shell their shrimp AND it comes with a slice of your choice of cream pie. The strawberry guava cream pie is good as well. I heard that their pies were better before they became a bit more commercial (you can get them at Oahu Foodlands) but since I hadn't had them before I thought they were pretty darn good. ; )

                  As for things to do, since you'll be jet lagged and getting up early, head over to the Honolulu Fish Auction and check out the action. Think mini-Tsukiji. Get there before 8am or it will be all over. And you can grab breakfast at Nico's afterwards (just a building over from the auction). You'll need to wear shoes (no sandals or slippahs) to enter. It's open to the public....just stay out of everyone's way as they go about their business.

                  A visit to House Without A Key at the Halekulani hotel for pupus around sunset is also warranted. You and your daughter will enjoy the quality musical entertainment and definitely the accompanying hula by either Kanoe Miller or Debbie Nakanelua. My favorite group is Pa'ahana.

                  House Without A Key
                  2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  1. re: hopkid

                    Thanks again to everyone for all the great suggestions. We will be staying at the Marriott Resort in Waikiki. Yes, we will have a car. We will be looking forward to visting all the local places. THANK YOU!!!!!

                2. Since you are at the Marriott don't forget to try Sansei right in your hotel. DK which adjoins Sansei is also great they dry age their own steaks on premise.

                  1. We wouldn't drive all the way to Kailua for Boots & Kimo's, instead slip over to the Halekelani and enjoy their buffet breakfast at House Without a Key, right on the water with beautiful views.

                    Then head around the south end of the island, past Hanuama Bay, then past Sandy and Mokapu, two of the top (and most dangerous) body surfing spots on the planet. Head up through Waimanalo to Kailua and stop at Agnes' Portuguese Bakery for what we think are the best malsadas on the island. (Hey, you're on vacation, try Agnes' and Leonard's and let us know what you think!)

                    Kailua, by the way, has a splendid beach, well protected by a reef and very safe. Plenty of casual local options for lunch, include Ba Le' (a local Vietnamese chain, try the grilled shrimp with noodle salad or the Vietnamese sanwiches on fresh baguette), and Teddy's Bigger Burgers next to Macy's.

                    We love Helena's, they're very welcoming, and tend to like the pipikaula shortribs, squid luau and kalua pork. Servings aren't huge, so have some poke', too.

                    Also, not big fans of the shrimp trucks, which tend to be overly garlicked and greasy, plus almost all use frozen shrimp. Only spots I know using locally-raised shrimp are Umi's and Romy's, which both own their own shrimp farms. We prefer to buy them live and fresh from Umi's and take them home to cook, not an option for you.

                    For lunch on the North Shore, we like the grilled maho sandwich with avocado at Kua Aina, where a lot of people love the burgers, and the skinny fries are good.

                    Also, the tiny Hula Grill (in the original location of Kua Aina) for grilled fish sandwiches and plates, coconut shrimp, burgers, etc. Next door is Strong Current, the best place for good t-shirts on the North Shore.

                    If your seven-year-old is with you, you might be more comfortable at Alan Wong's more casual (and less pricey) Pineapple Room on the third floor of Macy's at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. We've come to prefer it.

                    We like Town (there are some here and on yelp who don't care for it); it's the most SF/NY-like spot in Honolulu with the focus on local and organic. And it's pretty casual.

                    Also, have had good luck at the Roy's in Hawaii Kai, even if the wine list prices are outrageous (not unusual in Hawaii, and I mean pricing triple local retail) and if you can, sit outside on the patio, it's really noisy inside. Not sure if they currently do it, but at times they've had good local music on Sunday eve's.

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

                    1. just got back and enjoyed dining at OLA at Turtle Bay (they also serve lunch. be sure to get a table on the beach) and Alan Wong's. had a great dim sum lunch at Legends, followed by drinks at Indigo. wish we had more time to go back to Indigo for dinner.

                      on the Northshore, we really enjoyed Banzai Sushi in Haleiwa. we did drinks and apps at Jamesons by the Sea, as the rest of the menu did not spark much interest. we hit just about every shrimp truck on Northshore as well as Shrimp Shack just south of Punalu'u. totally loved our meal at Laie's Chop Suey. Kuhuku Superette is where we picked up ahi poke, salmon lomi lomi, pork lau lau, kalua pork, spam musubi, and Ted's Bakery pies for a picnic. Kaya's Market in Punalu'u has daily lunch specials, including mahi moco loco.

                      we did the same in Kailua at Times Grocery, picking up green mussels, poke, lomi lomi, beer and champagne for a beach picnic...this after going into a diabetic coma from Agnes' Portuguese for brekkie sweets and coffee.

                      we also picked up fresh shrimp and fish and cooked at the beach. the parks are clean and most have facilities. many have good snorkeling, which is a nice relief from the crowds.

                      if you have time on a Saturday morning, go to the KCC Farmers' Market. get there early, the butterfish and grilled abalone are not to be missed. there was another Farmers' Market nearby heading east that was selling lobster tails for $2 each!

                      a nice stop is Haleiwa Joe's at Haiku. the gardens are beautiful. we settled in for happy hour, sunset drinks and sushi apps. they are known for their prime rib. if you like, get there early. we were there just 30 mins after they opened and were told they only had a few left. my goal was to eat my weight in seafood, but that prime rib could have tempted me to stray if we had stayed for dinner. the Byodo-In Temple might be of interest to your daughter as well. I have never seen so many beautiful koi and black swans.

                      we went kayaking in Haleiwa. the paddle up and down the river was relaxing, and we saw a lot of huge turtles. your daughter might enjoy. hiking up Koko might be fun if you're up to the 1000 plus steps.

                      they were filming Pirates of the Caribbean in a harbor just northeast of Kailua. maybe you can get a squint if they are still out there on your visit.

                      if I think of anything else, I'll post. cheers~

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

                      Banzai Sushi Bar
                      66-246 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

                      62-540 Kamehameha Hwy Ste 1, Haleiwa, HI 96712

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: edible complex

                        Nice report. Pirates finished filming in Hawaii and is now in California. Haleiwa Joe's is where lots of people on our side go
                        for special meals like birthdays and such. I live quite close
                        and have carried out from there with great satisfaction. There are only I think they've told me 7 prime ribs each night and it is just wonderful.