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Aug 25, 2010 08:22 PM

Burger Picks for Oahu


I'm looking for the best burgers in Oahu. I've been there several times, so I have some ideas. What I'm really looking for is some local knowledge on the burger scene. Of course, all contributions are welcome.

I have to say, I've had some fairly pedestrian burgers in Oahu. I'm wondering if there's a place that makes Wow! burgers.

It would make my next stay there more memorable.


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  1. In no particular order:

    Kua Aina: Originally in Haleiwa, but now with a couple of locations, these are a longtime favorite on Oahu.

    The Counter: One of the newest burger places in Honolulu, the beef is particularly good, and they have a wide variety of toppings and condiments.

    Burgers on The Edge: Also fairly new, good burgers, a lot of toppings, they also serve wagyu beef (meh), the sweet potato fries here are really good.

    Teddy's Bigger Burgers: Open a few years and expanding on the island, i think better than in and out or 5 guys. An upscale chain.

    Big City Diner: One of the best burgers on the island, big city diner also serves a variety of other foods.

    Murphy's Tavern: A long time restaurant in downtown honolulu, this is also recognized as one of the best places to get a good burger.

    W&M Burgers: W&M has been around since the 60s. They serve a local variation of the old time hamburger joint burger.

    Both Mariposa and the Pineapple Room at Ala Moana make good burgers.

    The Shack used to have really good burgers, but the last time i was there the patty was a machine stamped prefab disk, I wont be going back.

    I would not recommend getting a hamburger at most plate lunch places (grace's, rainbow-drive-in etc)

    1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

    Big City Diner
    3569 Waialae Ave Ste 3, Honolulu, HI 96816

    6 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      Haven't eaten there yet but Honolulu Burger Co. on Beretania has been getting some press recently. For a casual place, I like Teddy's over Kua Aina, and for a fancy place, I love the burger at the Pineapple Room. Lunchtime only I think.

      Great thread.

      1. re: garrett

        Honolulu Burger Co. does look interesting. Grass fed big island beef, wow... and reasonable prices. Thanks garrett, I need to check this place out.

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          Wow, these are great recommendations!

          The Pineapple Room and Honolulu Burger Co. look most interesting to me so far. I've been to Alan Wong's, but I haven't been to the Pineapple Room yet. Mariposa looks good too, although it was the lobster club that drew my attention.

          Thanks for all of the wonderful reviews. I'm looking forward to posting my own when I return from my trip.

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

          1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

          1. re: Burger Expert

            Unfortunately I have found the lobster club at Mariposa inconsistent and now they decided to charge $2.00 extra for their truffle oil fries which is absurd when you can get local greens salad w/out charge. Sometimes their bacon is less than done so if you do go tell them you want it crisp or else is somewhat of a relatively uncooked unappealing addition.
            I like the burger @ town, gorgonzola, bacon (again I tell them crisp), their fries with deep fried herbs on top often you can get garlic aioli if they have it for something else for fries to dip in.
            Roy's Waikiki has a very nice burger on the bar menu, asian flavors lovely meal.

            1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

            1. re: manomin

              Thanks for the bacon tip. I definitely like my bacon on the crispier side. I love a good aioli too. Garlic is my friend.

              I have to say that money is not a concern for me. I'm certainly interested in saving money when possible, but this trip is all about the best flavors available. And a slight nod towards convenience.

              1. re: Burger Expert

                I just re-visited this thread and have a comment. Burger Expert, were money a concern I wouldn't be forking over $20.00 for a sandwich. I just find it odd to be nickel and dimed over fries at that level of dining. If anything they should charge more for the greens.

    2. I'm fond of the Spud Burger at Teddy's. It's a burger topped with a McDonald's-like hash brown patty. It would be truly awesome if they used fresh hash browns.

      I've also had the Parisian at Burgers on the Edge. Burger with fois gras, apples and a wine reduction. I probably wouldn't have it again, because it was expensive, but I didn't regret trying it. The quality of all the ingredients was tops, and I agree that the sweet potato fries are great.

      A few years ago, I had something I think was called the Volcano Burger at Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch & Crab. Burger topped with crab cakes. Sounded better than it was, which was just okay. The combo almost had the effect of canceling each other out; better to have them separately. Doesn't look like it's on the menu anymore, though.

      My meal card for my upcoming Labor Day trip is almost full, but I might have to find a spot for Honolulu Burger Co. ...

      Burgers on the Edge
      890 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

      1. Sometime ago five of my friends went out and tried some the Honolulu Advertiser's nominees for best burgers (most of the places listed on this board). Three out of the five chose Teddy's Bigger Burger. (That was my second choice). It is a good burger and I think their sauce takes it to another level.

        My personal favorite is Kua Aina's Ortega burger.

        Everyone agreed that the kobe patty at Kiawe Grill (across from Stadium Park; btw, Kiawe is the Hawaiian mesquite, which they use to grill their burgers) was the best patty. (They really had a wimpy bun.)

        We did not care for Pineapple Room's burger (I believe grass fed beef), although I really liked the extras (bbq sauce, onion rings and a bunch of other stuff).

        I think W&M is a bit overrated (but it sure does smell good when you drive by!), and I would pass on that.

        Tried a burger at Honolulu Burger Co. and I thought it was just OK.

        Not a big fan of the Counter or Burger's on the Edge.

        Oh, for something different, you might want to try South Shore Grill's burger--which comes on a ciabatta roll, coleslaw with some kind of aioli sauce (can't remember specifically).

        South Shore Grill
        3114 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

        1. Just got back from Honolulu Burger Co. a few minutes ago. I probably should have tried the plain burger, better to judge the burger, but the Blue Hawaii burger looked so good.

          They may have been very slightly heavy handed with the gorgonzola topping, but better that than too skimpy. Lots of grilled onion, and a couple of slices of bacon. The lettuce was coarsely shredded, and the tomato was fresh.

          The meat is very lean, but not dry, and I thought it was flavorful, especially for a burger that lean. Must be the grass raised thing. They cook all their burgers medium, but it was not dried out, and while I prefer rare to med/rare, it was not a problem this way. The state health department basically requires burgers here to be cooked medium.

          There were two of us and we split a large order of the sweet potato fries. These were cooked extra crispy, just shy of overdone, but excellent.

          We got there just after 1pm, and between the time we arrived and the time our order was ready (about 6 or 7 minutes) the place pretty much cleared out. I am sure that contributed to not only the quality of our food, but the service as well. We sat out front, and at least three times employees came out to make sure our meal was ok and we had everything we needed. I am sure you won't get that kind of service during the lunch rush, but when we were there, the service was excellent.

          I will definitely be back.

          6 Replies
          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Thanks for the report K-Man. I always know I can trust your account whether good/bad/suggestive/indifferent. I am with you with better more gorgonzola than less. I'd like to go there myself whenever it is I make it all the way to town! Sounds yummy!

            1. re: manomin

              Agreed. This is a good review. Thanks K-Man. Honolulu Burger Co. is definitely on the must visit list.

              1. re: manomin

                thanks manomin.I look forward to your report (or invite me to join you) I forgot to mention t hat they got a real nice char on the burger without burning it.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  went back again yesterday with another friend who wanted to try it. This time i got a cheeseburger, and I asked to have it medium rare. They were willing to cook it that way. The beef was again very lean, but flavorful and cooked to perfection. A trace of pink in the middle, and nicely charred on the outside.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    I had the cheeseburger for dinner tonight. Although I didn't specify, the burger arrived closer to medium rare than medium, but that's a plus in my book.

                    This was my first encounter with a grass-fed burger, and I would agree that it was lean but by no means less juicy or flavorful. I thought it was a quality burger. My only complaint would be that I like a softer bun. I ended up taking off the top and eating it open-faced.

                    A lot of interesting topping choices; I was tempted to try the Spam.

                    The sweet potato fries were excellent, if a little too large an order for one. The blue cheese fries sound good.

                    1. re: Debbie M

                      thank goodness i didn't notice the spam. ive been there three times in a week and a half already.

                      the sweet potato fries are much better than the regular fries, which i found to be soggy and greasy/oily. i was going to talk to them about it, but they were in the middle of a photo shoot. i guess it's going to get more popular soon.

            2. We've been to all the mentioned Burger Places and our favorite is still Liliha Bakery (they make their own buns) plus Char Grill the meat Patty while you sit at the counter watching the whole time.

              3 Replies
              1. re: russkar

                Liliha Bakery looks interesting. I may need to try their burger. The coco puffs look good too. Thanks for the cross-purpose recommendation.

                1. re: Burger Expert

                  The mahi mahi sandwich at Liliha Bakery isn't too shabby either.

                  1. re: Burger Expert

                    i don't think i ever made it that far down the menu (the pancakes are sooo gooood.) if russkar recommends it, it's good food. wow a great burger followed by a coco puff, now thats life.