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Mar 1, 2011 12:51 PM

A good lunch near the airport?

We will and at Honolulu International at about 2pm having flown for ten hours. Is there somewhere we can get a good lunch after we get our bags and a rental car? We will be heading for Turtle Bay but that seems like too far to go without lunch. We will be going toward Kanehoe and then north to Turtle Bay eventually.

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  1. Dean's Drive In (Kaneohe)
    The Ahi Cakes are killer and the Rack of Lamb besides everything else.

    1. One option would be Henri Louis in Mapunapuna, just a couple of miles from the Airport, and from there pretty good freeway access. Henri Louis is a local 'steakhouse' kind of place, good but not amazing food, decent service, decent prices. Also nearby is 99 ranch market which has a pretty decent food court, and there is a pretty decent chinese restaurant in the same building. After 10 hours on a plane, a food court would not be my first choice, but it may present more options than a single restaurant.

      A bit closer to the airport there are a couple of other options. There is a sandwich and pizza place called The Big Kahuna just outside the airport proper. If you were there earlier this might be my first recommendation. They do their baking first thing in the morning and the breads aren't as good by 3pm, and sometimes they run out of pizza dough. Not far from Big Kahuna is Byrons Drive-In. One of the older plate lunch places around, also known for their Slush Floats. If you just want to stuff your face pretty quickly and be on your way, this would not be a bad choice. Some of their food is really good, some of it not so much. None of it is gourmet, but it is local style.

      3 Replies
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        Hi KMan,
        Would you please amplify your comments about the 99 Ranch food court? We drive by it regularly but have not stopped in though I generally like food courts.

        1. re: Joebob

          It has been over a year since I was in there, someone with more recent experience would probably be better versed.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            It's mediocre...there's variety but.....

      2. Actually, depending on traffic, Hale`iwa is not THAT far away.

        Usually, we're heading to HNL, and will stop at Nico's, but it's in the opposite direction for you.

        We had a lovely late lunch at Luibueno in Hale`iwa (thanks to K'man, IIRC), and that would be worth the wait.

        After much rejoicing on our previous North Shore trip, last one was pretty bleak. Only 21 Degrees North was worth the effort a Turtle Bay. Ola was a big letdown, as they had been good previously, but have lost all focus, and the kitchen seems tired. The Palm Terrace was about to close for refurbishment, and it really showed. Not sure if they have reopened. Once, Turtle Bay was a culinary wasteland, but then things greatly improved - only to slide downhill badly last year.

        Now, I'd drive back to Jamison's by the Sea in Hale`iwa, and just forgo the wines.

        Enjoy, and Turtle Bay, themselves, were great!!!!



        4 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          actually since they are headed towards Kaneohe, Nico's would be almost on the way, but by the time they got there Nicos would be closed (3pm). And Haleiwa would be a good place to stop (albeit a bit far from the airport- 45 min or so) but they are not headed that way at all, headed up the windward side rather than the north shore route. They could stop at (ironically enough) Haleiwa Joe's in Haiku/Kaneohe, but again kinda far from the airport. If I direct them to Zippy's, then Joebob will never write a nice thing about me again, and even though out of the way a little bit Sam Choy's stops lunch service at 2pm. Maybe they should just stop at Liliha bakery and stuff themselves with cocopuffs while driving. Go into a sugar induced coma someplace in the middle of the wilson tunnel.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Isn't Pah Ke not too far from the Kaneohe Zippy's?

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Haleiwa Joe's is not open during mid afternoon, they are dinner only. I have always wanted to try Dean's if you do it is cash only.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Oops, my bad. Somehow I thought they were headed to Turtle Bay. Duh!

                Yes, if going to Kane`ohe, then I'd do Nico's, and jump on the Pali - then pop out, just above town.

                I also must be the only person frequenting this board, who has never dined at Zippy's. Gotta' stop by some day, and then I can moderate the fight between you and JoeBob! [Grin]

                Mahalo for that correction,


                [Edit] Now I see my mistake. TB is the final destination, but through Kane`ohe. Note to self - read every line, before commenting!

            2. Mitch's has pretty good sushi, and it's right there.

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

              1. A great lunch spot not far from the airport is Ethel's on Kalihi Street. A tiny hole in the wall popular with locals, very tasty food. Everything I've had there was good, mahimahi, pork chops, chicken katsu donburi, ox tail soup, spare ribs. Hours are for breakfast and lunch though, so 2:00 pm might be pushing it. Maybe on your return flying out?

                2 Replies
                1. re: curiousgeo

                  Didn't think anyone went to Ethel's anymore.
                  That's usually our first stop from the airport. Definitely a hole-in-the-wall....what was that place a motel? Ox tail ramen and garlic mochiko chicken are great. Everything is "sumo-size" !!!


                  1. re: monku

                    That was a fun read monku. Prices have gone up a bit since the article was published, but still a great value for what you get.