Seeking Recs & Feedback on Oahu Picks
First, thanks to everyone who posts on this board - reading all of your recommendations helped shape the first half of our upcoming trip!
We're coming from Los Angeles to celebrate our anniversary in mid-November - spending the first few nights in Waikiki and then heading to Hauula for the remainder of the trip. I think we've got Waikiki covered (though always open to feedback) with plans to hit the following places:
Hau Tree Lanai (early anniversary dinner)
Drinks at HWAK to catch the sunset
Side Street Inn
Pineapple Room or Morimotos for lunch
Others we may hit if in the area or have time: Diamond Head Grill (before/after hiking), Leonard's, Liliha Bakery, Mai Tai Bar, Duc's Bistro, Rainbow Drive-In
Though we're planning to see a lot of the island while there, Hauula will be our homebase for starting day trips or wrapping up in the evening for the second half of the trip. Looking around, I didn't see a lot of food options mentioned close to that area and would appreciate any feedback on breakfast/lunch/dinner spots nearby.
Also, our actual anniversary is while we're staying there, and though we don't need anything fancy - hence, the earlier dinner at Hau Tree Lanai - we'd love suggestions for a place where we could sit down, get good food and maybe some wine/cocktails, but doesn't require much driving. Not sure if anything fits the bill...
1188 Maunakea St, Honolulu, HI 96817
3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI
Diamond Head Grill
2885 Kalakaua Ave Fl 2, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant
2863 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
There really isn't much in the Hauula area. There is a place that was on Man vs. Food, Hukilau Cafe in Laie. I've never been, but it gets at best mixed reviews. I'm guessing that its probably OK, but you don't want to be there during a rush. It's only open breakfast lunch, keep that in mind. A little further up the road is Kahuku. Best known for shrimp trucks (numerous threads) there is also the Fiji Market and Curry Shop in the old Sugar Mill 'complex'. Again someplace I've not yet been, but it gets consistently good reviews. There is also a place that sells shrimp in that complex, I don't think its as good as some of the shrimp trucks, but its slightly more civilized. Sorry, can't remember the name or hours. Maybe someone else does. It did have good coconut shrimp. Finally further up the road is the Turtle Bay resort, formerly known as Kuilima. Hopefully Bill Hunt will chime in as he recently returned from a trip to that part of the island. He did not recommend Leonardo's, the others I gather were pretty OK or better.
Hope this helps some. Oh, one more thing, sadly in spite of its charming exterior and great view of the ocean, Crouching Lion Inn at Ka'a'awa hasn't gotten a decent review in decades. I don't know how they keep the doors open. So sad.
55-662 Wahinepee St, Laie, HI 96762
Crouching Lion Inn
51-666 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaaawa, HI 96730
Dean's Drive Inn, in Kaneohe is very popular. Their ahi cakes and teri beef get lots of good comments. It's a bit of a drive from Hauula, but still on the Windward side, so if you go to Honolulu, you'll either go through Wahiawa or Kaneohe. They're closed on Saturdays.
Your choices in Honolulu are pretty solid except for Morimoto IMHO, I think it is over hyped and as a result overpriced. I think Yohei, Mitch's and Imanas Tei are better Japanese restaurants and sushi bars.
Kin Wah Chop Suey in Kaneohe is pretty solid and in Kailua, Crepes No Ka 'Oi is great for breakfast and Teddy's Bigger Burger for lunch.
If you are there on a Saturday, hike Diamond Head that day, as early as you can, before 7AM or so (take water with you) and stop at the Kapiolani Community College Farmer's Market afterwards.
Imanas Tei Restaurant
2626 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Kin Wah Chop Suey
, Kaneohe, HI 96744
I do agree, and feel the same way about Hanalei, just up the road from Turtle Bay. We are more inclined to "stay on property," when on the North Shore, but then we love our wines!
We do not want a dark, rural 2-lane, and neither do the locals, when a couple has had two bottles of nice wine.
Thanks all! Your input has been very helpful and I appreciate the warm welcome. The suggestions around the area sound great. I do think I'll scratch Morimotos off the list in favor of a more laid back lunch experience. I actually have more places I'd love to try than time I'll actually have to do it at this point - good dilemma, though.
I'll take a look at dining at 21 Degrees North. Even if we just had one glass to toast our anniversary at the top of the meal, that'd be sufficient for us. We've been on some of those kind of roads on the other islands, so I know exactly what you're talking about and appreciate the heads up.