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Holes in my Oahu Itinerary- seeking low key local fare with drinks for dinner. Thanks!!

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Hi Chows,

I've passed through the euphoria phase of my trip planning and I'm now in my panicked 2-days-away overthinking every choice stage.

It's just me and my boyfriend and he's more of a foodie by association so I don't like to push too much on the $$$$. I wanted a mixture of casual and high end dining but heavy on the "beachy" "Hawaiian" feel. (Hence Hau Tree Lanai over Alan Wong's for dinner, etc. ) Yes, I'm mostly hoping for "good choices!" and not looking to start over from scratch, but always welcome feedback. Sunday Dinner is the trouble spot, see below:

FRI: (arrive at noon) Depending if we can wait that long for lunch, Helena's straight from aiport.
Dinner is Happy Hour drinks/food at Outrigger Hona Grill followed by HWAK drinks/pupus

SAT:
Lunch- Surf lesson on north shore followed by Giovanni's followed by Mastumoto Ice)

Dinner- Roy's Waikiki. (Was relieved to learn that this is chow-approved choice, not the same as eating as a Roy's on mainland. I secretly pined for Roy's)

SUN: Leonard's for breakfast, driving around the East side of the Island, probably can't plan lunch but have Kalapawai Cafe in my notes.

Dinner: ????? Would love some low-key, local approved food but with cocktails and a pleasant atmosphere (Like If Duke's weren't an annoying chain) Does this place exist? i've been combing through every Oahu thread I can find and haven't hit upon this. On trip advisor there is a place called Uncle Bo's that sort of fits the bill but no chows mentioned it ever. I wouldn't mind driving up to 40 minutes. Or like Mariana Sailing Club if the food was good.... I've also toyed with the idea of Happy Hour for dinner at Top of Waikiki, or Haiwaiiana Cafe which nobody on chow mentions but is beloved on Trip Advisor)

MON:
L-Chinatown Legend, Fattys, or Little Village Noodle House (???)
Dinner- Sushi Izakaya Gaku

TUES
L-Ono
D- Hau Tree Lanai

Thank you for your help. I feel like Chowhound is the only place where people understand this obsessing over where to eat on vacation!

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  1. La Mariana does not have food that you would like, go for a drink sure but don't eat. I would highly recommend Tiki's in Waikiki. Amazing chef went there from Roy's Original in Hawaii Kai. I've eaten his food and it's fabulous there! They have a dining room as well as a lanai with music most nights. I think you are missing out on lunch by not hitting Whole Ox deli in Kakaako, I just had an amazing lunch there this past Saturday. Cash only but wonderful. He is the only one here on Oahu completely dedicated to all of his pork and beef coming from the islands with butchering in-house. His deep fried potatoes (whole baby potatoes steamed then deep fried) allow the potato in all it's goodness to speak for itself. If you found yourself in Kailua at dinnertime Prima is wonderful. I've eaten there since they opened and have never had a bad meal. Recently I happened to be shopping at Sand People Kailua by the Times supermarket shopping center and they told me if I took my receipt to Prima I would get 10% off my dinner check. You will be glad you have picked Roy's Waikiki as well, one of my absolute favorites and great if you are partial to vegetarian even vegan they do it all with lots of aloha and genuine hospitality.

    1. When it comes to dining recommendations Trip Advisor isn't my choice ever! BTW: I'm a Senior Contributor for TA.
      IF you like Sushi I would go directly from the Airport to Mitch's Sushi which is a mile away. If not there maybe Nico's or JJ Dolan's depending on your food mood.
      Not a fan of Outrigger , HWAK is always good.
      Unless your a intermediate Surfer or better I'd skip N. Shore for a surf lesson and switch to Waikiki. The Food in N. Shore is weak other than Luibueno's (Mex).
      Roy's on Sat night needs to be early because they get slammed. Actually like Hawaii Kai one better lately.
      Leonards isn't anything more than a Malasada (donut) place. How about Cafe Kaila or Sweet E's?
      Sun Dinner - Le Bistro (Nui Valley) for some of the finest food on this Island or Azure or Michel's
      pass on Uncle Bo's, La Marina (disgusting).
      Mon: L- Legends D: Sasabune $$$$ (finest Sushi, worth it)
      Tue : Pass on D @ Hau Tree. Instead Michel's , Azure, Le Bistro, Alan Wong's.

      4 Replies
      1. re: russkar

        Thank you both!! Tikis may fit the bill for Sunday dinner. I swapped Hau Tree for Azure on sat night. Too bad I didn't book it earlier for sunset time, now only 830 is available. Looking at all other suggestions, much appreciated.

        Is Gaku worth the $$$? We have a Sasabune in LA so I am disinclined to go there.

        1. re: sarahbeths

          If you like Sushi in LA then my favorite is still Urasawa, unbeatable! $1000- for 2

          1. re: sarahbeths

            You can have sunset cocktails at bar located adjacent to Azure. The bar is outdoors w ubrellas covering in case it rains-Both Azure and bar are beachfront.

            1. re: UES Mayor

              Thanks all!