Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
Dec 30, 2010 07:02 AM

Best Places for Pupus and Drinks on Oahu?

My husband and I will be spending 5 days on Oahu January 13-17. This is our first time staying on Oahu; Maui is our "happy place". I enjoyed reading all the posts of recommended restaurants. Thanks for sharing everyone. Since this is a short trip and we want to explore, we plan to stop at as many great places as we can and enjoy an appetizer and drink. We will do one or 2 nice dinners as well, but on vacations we love our "pupu crawls". We get to try lots of different places, no leftovers, and we still have energy for other activities - not to mention the swimsuit factor!

We especially enjoy fresh local produce and seafood including poke and sushi, great atmosphere, but a dive with personality is fun, too. For drinks we are looking for fresh interesting cocktails, a good selection of quality beers, decent sake and wines by the glass (not necessarily all at the same place). We'll have a car and want to see the island, so any location is OK. Maybe you could recommend a few places that we can walk between in Chinatown, and also in Waikiki. Oh, and we don't want to forget a couple of fabulous desserts! So, mahalo for your recommendations!!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Probably the most popular response would be Side Street Inn, either the original Kakaako location or the new location on Kapahulu. Great local style food served as meals or pupu's.

    If you aren't adverse to spending some money there are few things nicer than sitting on the terrace (house without a key) at the Halekulani at sunset enjoying cocktails and pupus while enjoying some of the best hula and hawaiian music on waikiki beach.

    I haven't been (sigh) but I hear really good things about Hiroshi's at restaurant row. Tappas/Pupus, a rose by any other name...

    Not universaly agreed with, but if I go to Sam Choy's out on Nimitz, I'm usually happier sharing a variety of pupu's with some of their home brews than a meal.

    Gordon Biersch used to have great pupus. The last two times I went I was sorely disappointed. The calamari was soggy, the other dishes were just plain blah. maybe someone has more up to date information.

    Tiki's gets surprisingly good reviews, although again, I haven't been.

    Longhi's is very popular. I've been twice. Meh, it's ok. The food is overpriced, the service pretty good, drink selections above average. Nice view of Ala Moana Park and the ocean beyond.
    Not sure exactly how it's gonna help your waistline, I think I end up actually eating more when I do pupu's, but it is a lot of fun. You must have enough willpower not to order that other dish. Enjoy

    Side Street Inn
    1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI

    888 Front St Ste H, Lahaina, HI 96761

    2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

    8 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      Mahalo, KaimukiMan! You're probably right that ordering pupus won't do much for our waistlines, but looking forward to more delicious stops helps us to limit the ordering at each place - unless it's so fabulous that we must stay for more!

      Thanks for the great suggestions. We will definitly do the first four!
      House Without a Key was already on our list for the dreamy Waikiki sunset so thanks for confirming that one.
      Hiroshi looks wonderful too, both for appetizers and their Locally Grown Menu on Sunday and Monday.
      And and Sidestreet seems to be a must try if only because Bourdain says so.
      Sam Choys looks good to DH for the microbrews. Any more opinions on that, or more recs for places with interesting beers?
      Again, thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

      1. re: terijoy

        Remember - you can eat at the bar at either Hiroshi or Vino (they adjoin in the same space) for 50% off all food (that's true! ALL FOOD) if you sit at the bar from 5:30 and have your order placed by 6:30.

        I found myself on Friday at Neiman's and while they have no "Happy Hour" it is a most civilized way to spend a late afternoon having cocktails (a NM martini is amazing) and a tasty prime rib thinly sliced sandwich with melted brie and sweet potato fries with this bowl of au jus remniscent of a french dip/french onion soup to dip it in. They were sweet and split it onto 2 plates without us asking. We then had the 7 cheese plate but you can either have 3 or 5 choices and it is beautifully plated with fruits, slivered almonds, raisins, grape and cantaloup. My suggestion to them was put the melon in a small ramekin as the juices ran and started to blend into the cheese at the base affecting the cheese itself flavor wise. But there is no way you can find a more lovely and value driven platter beautifully presented with the most lovely selection of cheeses in a better setting looking out at the ocean.

        1. re: manomin

          Mmmm... one more for the list. Mahalo, manomin!
          And I always love a bargain, but are these 50% off at the bar opportunities usually crowded?

          1. re: manomin

            Manomin, by Neimans do you mean Mariposa in NM in Ala Moana? Thanks again!

            1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

            1. re: terijoy

              Yes in Ala Moana top floor. You can also get a side order of the fries although not noted on the menu. Those NM martini's are crazy good with the sake and Belvedere vodka and pickled ginger and cucumber slice. If you're lucky you'll have either Jameson W. or Mark U. as your server.

              1. re: manomin

                the NM martini sounds very cool! Is there a Chow thread about that? Or does Mariposa have a website? My search doesn't bring up as much information as I'd like to see. If our server is Jameson or Mark, should I say you sent us, manomin?

                1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

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

            2. re: manomin

              I agree that Mariposa is one of the "most civilized" spots for an early evening "drop by," and if one tarries, the food is excellent for dinner, as well.

              Between HWAK, and Mariposa, I might lean towards the former, but only if I was actually dining elsewhere, say La Mer, or out of the Halekulani. If an evening meal had not been planned, then Mariposa would get the nod.


              La Mer
              2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

              1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

              2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

          2. re: KaimukiMan

            I would second HWAK, at the Halekulane, but would add that the food at the "restaurant" is not the ultimate. Poolside is different, and one of the best combos on O`ahun, IMHO.



          3. Some of our Favorites are:
            Doraku (Happy Hour or Pau Hana)
            Wolfgang's (HH)
            Apt 3
            Tropic's Bar & Grill (Taco Tuesdays)
            Morton's (HH)

            , Kamuela, HI 96743

            1 Reply
            1. re: russkar

              Mahalo, russkar! Some fun suggestions and good deals, too!
              The lanai at Doraku for Happy Hour sounds like the place to be. Should we get there before HH to get a seat?
              Your post got me searching for Happy Hours and found that Sansei has Late Night HH 10:00 - 1:00 with half price sushi and apps. Anyone have opinions on this one?
              if anyone else has recs for pupus, appetizers, tapas, dim sum, small plates of any kind we'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm so envious of those of you who get to live in paradise! Be sure to let us know about the views, too. Can't wait to smell that Hawaiian breeze and sink my toes into the warm sand!

            2. Aloha..
              We were there in September and spent a week in Waikiki and everyone has given you outstanding advice..
              For me, it was House without a Key for drinks not the food...Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai bar which has been a fave since I was a enfant..
              Hula Grill at the Outrigger for the everyday HH from 4-6 for the killer mai tais for $4 and some of the best calamari.
              Sansei for HH sushi..
              Mariposa at NM's and I've heard that Jameson is the man!
              Beach Bar at the Moana Surfrider is nice for a cold one but the food is meh.
              Top of Waikiki for old school HH from the rotating thingey..

              Here is my thread..

              Mahalo and have a wonderful time!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Beach Chick

                Jameson is the only server to wear a silver name tag having been honored as NM employee of the year in the past.