Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
Jan 6, 2011 07:05 PM

Weekend in Waikiki for local chowhounds

Won a 2-night stay at the Moana and using it for the weekend of the b'day of my SO. Rarely eat in Waikiki, for obvious reasons, but do know our way around pretty well. Looking for relatively inexpensive but good chow for one dinner, a couple of lunches, and 2 breakfasts....not on a tight budget but want to eat well and spend wisely, not waste money and tastebuds on tourist traps.

Friends are taking us to Hy's for one dinner, so that leaves one evening meal to decide on.

The only places that seem somewhat appealing are the original Arancino, and Fatty's Chinese, but they could be lunches, as well. Any CH suggestions for locals looking to eat well in the heart of tourist land?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The Happy Hours @ Doraku & Wolfgang's are very good deals.
    They both start around 5p and feature some great Appetizers.
    We were at Arancino's last week and disappointed with half our selections. Pizza was good.
    If you have a car The Olive Tree Cafe in Kahala is very casual and good. BYOB

    Olive Tree Cafe
    4614 Kilauea Ave Ste 107, Honolulu, HI 96816

    1 Reply
    1. re: russkar

      Thanks for the HH suggestions. Probably won't head out to Kahala, as we can go there any time...looking to find chow worthy places in Waikiki while we are staying there which we can then recommend to friends who are visitors.

    2. I'd consider the Hau Tree Lanai or Michel's for dinner. Neither is relatively inexpensive, but you are practically sitting on the beach and the food is excellent. Dukes is a good lunch choice, again not cheap, but their lunch prices are, or at least used to be, far more reasonable than dinner, and again beachfront eating. Tiki's gets some good reviews, i thought it was OK the one time I was there. Other than that you are looking at spending some bucks for some of the better places. At the same time there are few things as local but not tacky touristy as sitting on the lanai at the House Without A Key watching hula and listening to Hawaiian music while the sun goes down. Right next door is the Shorebird at the Outrigger. Have no idea how it is since they renovated, I've been told they didn't change it much.

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

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

      1. We stayed at the Royal Hawaiian in September but friends stayed at the Moana....they hated the Moana Surfrider hotel...ask not to stay in the older section.
        We went daily to Hula Grill happy hour at the Outrigger for $4 mai tais and some of the best calamari..pork sliders too...found this to be a great HH along with Duke's.
        We had an exceptional meal at Roy's and Diva, the GM took really good care of us.
        Drinks at the Mai Tai bar at the Royal Hawaiian along with House without a key.
        Top of the Waikiki for happy hour was fun and they made a decent ahi poke stack.
        Coupon for 2 for 1 breakfast in the 101 things at Moose's on Lewer's and this was solid and saved about $15.
        HH at Hiroshi and Vino too.

        Here is a link on Happy Hour and other Aloha fave's..

        5 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          You cannot get better service with more aloha than my dear dear friend Diva. She is super amazing and runs a very tight ship. Did you any vegan dishes? They do a most amazing job of them. All of the Waikiki managers are great, Lou & Kelli make an awesome team with her.

          1. re: manomin

            Aloha manomin!
            Diva was so incredible that I personally wrote to Roy and corporate and copied Diva to let her know what a class act she is!
            I had the Ahi rare and my DH had the Butterfish but she took such good care of us like the rock stars that we are..hee hee
            You are so so blessed to consider her a dear friend and we cannot wait to go back and get that wonderful Aloha spirit from Diva and her staff!
            Did you know her back in the waffle house days?
            She should be the Governor of O'ahu!
            Mahalo manomin!

            1. re: Beach Chick

              She is an excellent wine consultant as well. Nice of you to take the time to write i know that was appreciated by all. The really cool thing is she started as a server and rose to the top, Roy really is a great employer and has lots of strong women in key positions. I like to sit at the bar in the afternoon and order martini's and pupus and watch the parade of bad fashion go by and also watch the comings and goings at the Halekulani especially seeing the brides in their dresses. The bar menu is an offering of Roy's Classics which is a great way to experience his flavors and style.

              I "met" her through a server on the old SS Independence where she had worked as well. She had left there but he asked if I knew her at Roy's (Hawaii Kai). I went and met her and we've been friends ever since. No birthday/anniversary is complete without seeing her! She's one of if not the hardest working women in food here and the best!

          2. re: Beach Chick

            Thanks, BC, for the suggestions. Since we won the free room, I guess we can't complain, but will take your rec about the better rooms. Had forgotten about Moose's breakfast...was last there maybe 20 years ago and remember it was a good deal, so will look for the coupon.

            1. re: macaraca

              Aloha macaraca and have a great time being a tourist where you live!

          3. Easy...just stroll up Kapahulu avenue.

            1 Reply
            1. re: feastygirl

              I completely agree that there are good places up Kapahulu starting at one end with Rainbow and going all the way up to Leonards just below the freeway. But if you check the original posting he was looking for places that were In Waikiki, not nearby ("... in the heart of tourist land...")

            2. Report on our weekend in Waikiki:

              Friday evening we were guests of friends who took us to Biba's at the Hale Koa Hotel (must have US military or retired military ID)...the company was better than the meal, as we expected, but as they were hosting us, and feel comfortable there, we couldn't complain. "Spit-Roasted Chicken"...maybe, maybe not, but the half-chicken was edible, if not memorable. Mashed potatoes were soooo smooth, must have come from a box. Prices are very inexpensive, so if you are on a tight budget and can get in, you can get basic american grub at good prices, but no real chowhound will bother if they have other choices. Tried the Li Hing Mui Margarita...a mistake... quite pink, and much too sweet.
              Next morning breakfast at Moose McGillacuddy's...found the coupon in the tourist guide that offered 2-for-1 (thanks for the tip, Beach Chick!). Good food, good service,and at 2-for-1, a great price. I had a 3-egg omelet and the SO went for chicken-fried steak. Huge portions, and quite tasty. With the coupon, and no drinks (had coffee in the hotel room first) the bill was only $12 for both of us.

              A late lunch at Fatty's Chinese...our first real adventure, and the highlight of the weekend. Sat at the counter and watched the show...had the fried shrimp over white rice...9 fairly large ones, head on, with a light, salty batter...not really breaded, maybe just egg whites, as it was quite delicate coating the perfectly cooked shrimp...really delicious! The best thing I ate all weekend. The SO had the Beef Chow Fun. Taste excellent...the hot wok gave it the proper smoky flavor, and the sauce was just right. Thin beef slices very tender. Only complaint was the fun noodles were thicker than what you would get in Asia, but that is probably what is available to them, not the fault of Fatty's. Portions so large we took half back to the room with us and stuck them in the fridge to take home. Total bill about $17. An interesting note: had read reviews which said to be sure to order items that were prepared to order, not those in the deli case, which we did, but while we waited, someone sat down who seemed to be a regular, and happened to be sight-impaired (red/white cane). He ordered a lunch plate and also egg rolls which the waitress brought right away. He tapped them with his finger, called the waitress back, said " I want fresh ones." Without a word she took them away, went in the back and reappeared with uncooked ones which the chef dropped in the hot oil, then were served to him...too hot for him to eat right away!

              Sunset drinks at the Moana's Banyan Courtyard Beach Bar...slow service, but lovely setting before dinner. Sat night our other friends took us to Hy' first time ever there, and it was something of a disappointment, since at those prices, the food should be superb. Had a lobster bisque, which had wonderful flavor, but was way too salty. Had I been the host, I would have sent it back. Ordered chicken piccata, which also was tasty, and also a little too salty, but bearable, but the chicken breast was much too dry. The SO had Beef Wellington with black truffle sauce...also too salty. The hosts each had shrimp cocktails which looked very nice, huge shrimp, 5 or 6 each, then split a steak entree. We all shared one dessert, "Cappuccino Truffle - Coffee Ice Cream Dipped in Dark Chocolate and served with a Satiny Grand Marnier Chocolate sauce."...that was very good.

              The service was excellent, but I was glad we didn't have to pick up the tab, which was probably close to $200, and glad that the hosts had a $75 gift certificate, so they were not paying full price.

              After 3 large meals in one day, we slept in Sunday morning, skipped breakfast, walked to the end of Kapi'olani Park and back, and then checked out and had lunch at home.

              All in all, a nice weekend in Waikiki, with the best food at Fatty's and Moose's! With friends hosting us for both dinners, we spent very little, and enjoyed playing tourist, watching the crowds, and not worrying about parking as we usually have to do when we visit Waikiki for some event. Thanks to other CH tips and suggestions. Mahalo.

              5 Replies
              1. re: macaraca

                Aloha macaraca!
                Sounds like you had a good weekend playing local tourist in wonderful Waikiki..
                Glad you found the 2 for 1 coupon at Moose's..we thought it was a good deal with the amount of food and the quality, which we both were surprised how good it was and cheap too!
                Did the Moana upgrade you to the tower?
                Beach house has a great oceanfront setting watching the is meh.

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  BEACH CHICK.. we meet again!! ALOHA.... WE have the same travel itinaries I think... ARizona california now hawaii....

                  We are staying in Maui and waikiki.. Maybe I should add a seperate thread.. We are trying to find accomodations in either west or south Maui as the weather will be nicer in December in these areas and looking for CHOWHOUND restaurants/happy hours we can ideally walk to and leave the car behind for evenings. Drive for lunches. Our vacationing is all about the dining as well.. I was looking into Kihea area but any other place you may suggest ???

                  1. re: palmtree38

                    Aloha palmtree!
                    Start a another thread and I'll be happy to throw in my aloha two cents..
                    Not a fan of Kihei..go south to Wailea or go North in Ka'anapali/Napili/Kapalua area.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      we did book ka'anapali area!!! I see your on holidays in hawaii now looking at a recent post. have a fab time and safe travels.. Will get some great suggestions from you when you return..


                2. re: macaraca

                  I know this is an old report and thread, but thought I'd throw in my two cents on Hy, which is always my first choice when it comes to steaks in Honolulu. What Hy's does really well is steaks with nothing on them, none of the fancy sauces, crusts, etc. although I do like their garlic steak because for me a dish can never have too much garlic.

                  Next time you get to Wakiki for breakfast or lunch check out Me Korean BBQ, it is a great little place.