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Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (or Good Places to Eat Breakfast)--O'ahu Style

I really like watching Foodnetwork's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" as I love diners and diner food (especially breakfast). Unfortunately, I don't think O'ahu has many great diners. What is specifically disappointing is the lack of creative updates on diner food. It's a bit surprising to me because I think there would be a solid market for this type of food. (The lines for IHOP were pretty long when they first opened up here.)

Anyway, this is thread to discuss some of the better diners and breakfast eating places on O'ahu.I'll try to breakdown and post some of my favorites as well some places I've been to recently.

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  1. What about the crepe places? I've heard one or two are good. Do they serve breakfast? Also, Liliha Bakery?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joebob

      I think I've only been to one crepe place (next to Serge's in Manoa). I like the nutella, banana crepes, although that's more of a dessert than breakfast food, imo.

      Re: Liliha Bakery

      I think they make some of the best pancakes (although they might have slightly gone downhill). It's just regular pancakes, but they're really good for some reason. (I think the fact that they come to you piping hot is a factor.) Also, try their grilled butter rolls with "radioactive jelly."

      1. re: Jazzaloha

        I always hear from people that the crepe place on Hekili in Kailua is really really good.

    2. I lived in Kaneohe for a short while and visit Oahu every year. I have always liked Koa House for their pancakes, and much prefer it to Boots and Kimo.

      1. Liliha Bakery has awesome pancakes and pastries (try the coco puffs). I love Jack's in Kenaohe for the biscuits. And, I would hit Rainbow Drive-in for the Mahi-Mahi with scrambled eggs and toast.

        1. Have to agree that Oahu really lacks an outstanding triple D. There are a number of decent breakfast spots we patronize, but nothing like what you can find on the mainland. We like Jack's in Aina Haina, Like Like Drive In, Wailana Coffee Shop, Anna Miller's and Liliha Bakery.

          Besides the pancakes, Liliha Bakery also makes a terrific mahi mahi plate. I also like Rainbow's portuguese sausage and eggs with chili over the rice, a rib sticking breakfast plate served all day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: curiousgeo

            Not necessarily breakfast, but the sizzling hamburger steak plate from Dot's in Waiahwa is kind of triple D' ish, local comfort food.

          2. I'm not sure how long Kit and Kitchen has been serving breakfast, but I recently went to check it out. Basically, it's cheap but the quality can be decent (for the price) to not so great. That's the same for the breakfast items we got. (I can't remember most of them now. I do remember the pancakes, which were of a similar quality to microwave pancakes.)

            Our family has recently been going to Mocha Java for breakfast--a place made not typically thought of as a restaurant. They have some interesting dishes that are pretty decent.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jazzaloha

              I didn't realize they opened again. They were really good in the 80's and until they closed.

              1. re: Jazzaloha

                One of my friends just LOVES kit n' kitchen, and has taken me there a few times. I thought it was OK, good even, but not 'all that.' On the other hand the owner comes over and makes sure she is well taken care of, that does change the dining experience.

                1. re: Jazzaloha

                  Yeah, the owner seems like a really nice guy, which makes me root for him. The deal with Kit n' Kitchen is value. You get decent portions and quality for the price you pay--which is pretty minimal. It's not a place I would recommend to out-of-towners, but for locals, especially those on a budget.

                  @Man

                  Was Kit n' Kitchen open in the 80s? Where was it?

                2. I would think of Zippy's as the ultimate 3D place, it is a diner and a dive.

                  Rainbow & Like Like both qualify on the drive-in side.

                  Koa Pancake House, Wailana Coffee House, Eggs n Things, Bogart's Harry's Cafe, Ana Miller's, Nu'uanu Okazuya, Alakea Delicatessen and Matsumoto's Okazuya.

                  Those all have good breakfasts, some have good lunches too and then there are places like Ethel's, Helena's, Boulevard Saimin, Side Street Inn, Chun Wah Kam, Char Hung Sut, Libbey Manapua, Cafe Kalia and Kahai Street Kitchen.

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                  Side Street Inn
                  1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI

                  Alakea Delicatessen
                  201 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813

                  Wailana Coffee House
                  1860 Ala Moana Blvd Ste Lbby, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  Char Hung Sut Restaurant
                  64 N Pauahi St, Honolulu, HI 96817

                  Boulevard Saimin
                  1425 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817

                  Matsumoto's Okazuya Restaurant
                  1323 Gulick Ave, Honolulu, HI 96819

                  Kahai Street Kitchen
                  237 Kalihi St, Honolulu, HI 96819

                  1. Pancakes and Waffles (1284 Kalani St, behind the old Gem store on Dillingham) has a pretty good breakfast, depending on what you order. The vinha d' alos is excellent, and the fried chicken (after 10am) is very good. Haven't tried the crepes or benedicts, but the pancakes are fine.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: macaraca

                      the crepes are pretty good. these are cousins or something of the original Koa Pancake House, thats why the similarity in menus. Not sure why they didn't keep the Koa name, but this opened before Koa started expanding all over the place.