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Late night bites in Waikiki (flight arrives at 9:30pm!)

Hello everyone! We will be arriving in Honolulu very late at night, and need to pick up our rental car before making our way to our hotel. We will be staying at the Aqua Waikiki Wave in Waikiki. With 3 hungry kids in tow, we will need grab a quick bite after our long flight!! Do you have any suggestions for places near our hotel? I've heard that most places close early on the island. Are there any places open until 11pm at all? Even a McDonald's, Starbucks, or other chain would suffice :) Mahalo!

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  1. A fairly recent discussion of late night places here:

    It is good that you have a rental car because then you can grab a quick bite on the way to your hotel from the airport, rather than trying to rely on a cab or bus after you check in. If you try to eat after you check in, it might be 11pm already... I'd eat as soon as you can after you land.

    Your hotel is right in the middle of in the main tourist area of Waikiki, but you will likely end up going to another neighborhood for good late night eats.

    1. kathryn gave some good advice. for a tourist location Waikiki closes down early except for the bars. Because of time zones Hawaii, including our tourists tend to be early to bed, early to rise.

      If all else fails Mac 24/7 in the Hilton Waikiki Beach toward the east (Diamond Head) end of Kuhio Ave - not in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's not my favorite place, it's not cheap, but about the only place in Waikiki to get a variety of food in the wee hours. The other best option is Wailana Coffee Shop. I recommend sticking to breakfast type foods, pancakes, eggs, etc. Wailana is toward the west (Ewa) end of Waikiki on Ala Moana Blvd. Note that the Waikiki IHOP closes at 10pm, not 24 hours as many mainland locations.

      The thread kathryn noted is well worth reading.

      1. are you coming in on a weekday or a weekend? that makes a difference because restaurants open later on weekends, so you would have more options available to you then.

          1. Thanks all!! We will be arriving on a weeknight. Kathryn - I will check out that thread.. thank you. I was also thinking that I'd stop up on snacks from home to put in our luggage so that we'd have at least some stuff on hand once we land. What time do grocery stores close in Honolulu or Waikiki? Any 24-hr grocery stores by any chance?

            13 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                And it is so close to our hotel! Thank you so much Kathryn -- this will be a must stop for us once we get into Waikiki on our first night!!

              2. re: f00die

                Safeway is gonna be better price wise (you won't necessarily believe that at the time, food's expensive here.) There are two entrances to Safeway, one at either end of the store facing the parking lot. Late night one or the other will be open, so don't panic if you walk up to the entrance and find shopping carts turned up blocking the doors, the other entrance will be open.

                A few blocks up Kapahulu, and a block or so west is a 24 hour Foodland. A local supermarket chain, it is also open 24 hours (Market City Foodland). In general Safeways and Foodland's here are open 24 hours.

                In Waikiki itself is a Food Pantry on Kuhio between Walina and Kanekapolei, parking behind store, 30 minutes free if you buy something. They are open till 1am, but the prices there on most items will really scare you. Food Pantry (2 locations) is the only true grocery store in Waikiki, although there are some small mom & pop stores here and there, they generally close by 10 or so, more convenience marts than grocers.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  Thanks for the tips on other grocery stores in the area! Chowhounders are the best :)

                2. re: f00die

                  Since you arrive on a weekday, I would say get a meal before you head to your hotel. On Kapahulu Ave., you could go to Side Street Inn or Izakaya Nonbei which are open till midnight or even pick up something from Zippy's or the Safeway which are both open 24 hours. Just so you know, there is a Mcdonald's open 24 hours about a block away from your hotel on Kuhio Avenue.

                  1. re: killersmile

                    Thanks! Just curious -- do the McDonald's in Hawaii serve anything uniquely Hawaiian on their menu that isn't available on the mainland? I love visiting McD's around the world... so many cool choices that can make an otherwise boring meal quite interesting!!

                    1. re: f00die

                      Instead of apple pie, you may see taro pie, pineapple pie, or haupia (coconut pudding) pie. As well as saimin (Hawaiian ramen). For breakfast, portugese sausage, and spam, with eggs and rice.


                      Also, Starbucks in Hawaii offer mocha coconut frappucinos.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Actually it's in addition to apple, yes Hawaii McD's still serve the deep fried apple pies, I know many areas in the U.S. mainland do not. The saimin kathryn mentioned was McD's first ever departure from their standard menu items.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          You know, it seems like waaay, waaay back in the day (mid '70s, maybe?), I remember the Hilo McDonald's serving rice and Portuguese sausage for breakfast. Did saimin came on board about the same time?

                          1. re: spoonlicker

                            saimin was introduced in the very late 60's, and within a couple of years they started serving rice and Portuguese sausage for breakfast. Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice is still one of McDonald's of Hawaii's best selling items.

                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              is Portuguese sausage similar to Spanish dry cured sausage, or more like a moister softer salami?

                                1. re: f00die

                                  similar to chorizo, maybe a little moister, but i've seen a lot of variation in what people call chorizo.

                  2. Since you'll have 3 kids with you, I suggest you stop at the Zippy's restaurant at 601 Kapahulu Ave. Zippy's is a local fast food and casual dining chain which caters mostly to people who live in Hawaii. The Zippy's on Kapahulu will be on the way to your hotel; it's open 24 hours per day with decent parking; and it will give you a chance to try some local favorite dishes like Portuguese bean soup, teri-beef (ie., teriyaki beef) sandwich; a mahi (ie. mahimahi) burger or plate; saimin. You can check out their menu online. Most Zippy'sRestaurants have a Napoleon bakery as part of the operation, so you could pick up some breakfast pastries for the next day and not worry about feeding five people who will probably be getting up at different times the next morning. Napeleon is known for its apple turnovers but banana bread is a staple Hawaii breakfast item.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: honu2

                      And this Zippy's is just a quarter mile or less down the road from Safeway, so backtracking to do some quick shopping afterward isn't a big deal, just a couple of blocks and across the street. It's also not far away if you want to stop at the Hotel first. I just wish this Zippy's had table service and a nicer eating area, but the food is the same.

                      H1 past the University off ramp, next exit is King Street, take that one and get in either middle lane. Go through the first intersection, past Foodland (on the right) turn right at the next intersection under the freeway (by the big green building-board of water supply pump station), and you will be headed down Kapahulu.

                      1. re: honu2

                        Thanks! I see from google maps that this location is very close to the hotel, so I am writing it down now as another option for us! My goal is to try local Hawaiian fare as much as we can, and this place sounds like a perfect intro for us... great way to kick off our vacation on the first night :)

                        1. re: honu2

                          Awesome... it's on my list now! Mahalo!!

                          1. re: honu2

                            Zippy's and a stop at safeway seems perfect to me. That way you are supplied up for any early morning risers in need of coffee, juice or a morning snack.

                            1. re: Bellachefa

                              I agree -- Zippy's and Safeway it is! Thanks Chowhounders! You guys are the best!!

                              1. re: f00die

                                by the time you get to zippy's chances are they will be out of whatever specials they had that day. Popular items at Zippy's are Fried Chicken plate, Chili Frank plate, , Portuguese Bean Soup, All the Saimins, Zip Pac (a bento style meal in a box), catch of the day if they still have any, clubhouse sandwich, teri chicken sandwich. The salads not so much. Burgers are so so. If available at whatever time, most of the breakfast stuff is pretty good.

                          2. Never count on your flight getting there at the arrival time and then add getting the car....lucky if you check in by 11pm.
                            Your hotel has a resto in the lobby that serves till 3-4am..
                            I would dine there or get the food to go to eat in the room.

                            1. I wouldn't go all the way to Waikiki. Bob's Barbecue in Kalihi has some of the best plate lunches you would want. Definitely recommend the Teriyaki Beef, Teriyaki Chicken, Kalbi or mixed plates. The Chocolate malts are good, too. If you want something more in the vein of what you're used to, go with a burger -- they are barbecued, and very tasty.

                              Open until 11 pm. Though it's more dining at picnic tables in front of the restaurant, or in the car on the way over to Waikiki. Alternatively, if you want something more convenient, Byron's Drive-In is OK (if they are still open -- I've heard that they might have closed down). They are right there at the airport.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: macsak

                                  Well, that sucks. They made a good slush float, OK plate lunch and they were always a reliable standby when I was late and going to or coming from the airport.

                              1. A friend recently took me to Chodang Korean Restaurant, by the ala moana eggs and things (corner of Piikoi and Kona St.) Very good, reasonable prices and open till 1am every night.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                  chodang is meh.

                                  in general for Korean, head on over to keeaumoku st, which is a few streets over, and there is restaurant million, a hole in the wall open til 2a, and sorabol, a beautiful restaurant open 24/7. however, the area is felt to be sketchy at night by some, so keep that in mind if you have small kids like the OP.

                                  I wonder where the OP chose to eat and how their vacation was.

                                  1. re: indelibledotink

                                    million is on a street that is very sketchy at night
                                    sorabol is ok if you park right in front

                                    1. re: macsak

                                      ive been to both million and sorabol. both are adequate at best, not terribly authentic. chodang is much better, albeit a smaller menu than sorabol.

                                      million might be better if you want to grill meat at your table, but we weren't doing the bulgogi/kalbi thing (btw, million is not ON keeamoku street, its on sheridan.)

                                      and sorabol is just second rate in general. always has been always will be. if you want to have your kids exposed to ladies of the evening and bar hostesses while eating, go right ahead, but to me its the inside of sorabol thats sketchy because of the customers, not the outside.

                                      ive never felt uncomfortable in the area around million or sorabol, maybe im just oblivious, but then i grew up eating chinese food in oakland's chinatown, and mexican across the street from the alameda county jail. now those are sketchy neighborhoods.

                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                        I would have to agree with KMan. Sorabol is okay, but nowhere I need to return to. The same for Million. There are other korean restaurants that do it better. Chodang is good for what it is, which is a cheap spot to get some decent korean. You don't go there expecting the best, but for the price it's a good value, especially the $5 soondubu, meat jun, or bibimbap.

                                        1. re: killersmile

                                          the meat jun at chodang isn't all that great.

                                          to me, sorabol has atmosphere, and their soups are delicious.

                                          million has become so popular as a late night spot that they changed their hours and no longer serve lunch. the raw beef bibimbap is pretty good.

                                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                                          I agree with Kman and killersmile, that neither million, nor sorabol, is terribly authentic nor particularly good.

                                          In another vein, not open late at night but there is a decent Korean fast food place at the shopping center in Waikele. I think it is called Tasty Barbecue or something like that, but it is fast food. Another really good Korean fast food place is Young's Kal Bee in Aiea, but it's not open late, either.

                                      2. re: indelibledotink

                                        kman is right, million is on Sheridan st, pretty close to chodang.

                                    2. All this talk of late night Waikiki dining makes me yearn for the long closed Dynasty Restaurant when it was located in that small hotel on Ala Moana Blvd. It was open 24 hours back then and served really good Chinese food. When we went in during the early morning hours the place would be packed, people in the visitor industry off the swing shift, Waikiki nightclub goers, bar hoppers, UH students, everyone would end up there. And did I mention the food was really good.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: curiousgeo

                                        In the late 1970's, we used to go to Canterbury Coffee House (I think it was in what was called the Wailana Hotel back then) at about 3 in the morning, after the club would shut down. Good late night snacks.

                                        1. re: Hoc

                                          Are you sure it wasn't Wailana Coffee shop across from Canturbury? Wailana has been around forever, and is still open 24/7. Not great food, but after an evening in waikiki not a bad place for some hotcakes or fried chicken while sobering up before heading home.

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            I'm pretty sure it was Canterbury. Up on the Second Floor of the Hotel. They served a decent artichoke. Isn't Wailana down on the first floor, with great big windows?

                                            1. re: Hoc

                                              yes, you are right about Wailana. The space you are talking about has been Todai for a long time. Don't remember what was there before. I don't remember Canterbury Coffee Shop, not that that means anything. LOL.