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Feb 3, 2013 05:24 PM

Oahu Tasting Menu and Farmers Markets

My wife and I will be in Oahu shortly and are looking for your help!

We are looking for a great tasting menu in Oahu. Also, what are some great "musts" for restaurants in Oahu?

What are the best farmers markets in Oahu? Are any of these close the Waialua?


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  1. How far are you willing to drive? Honolulu is an amazing eating city but far from where you will be (Waialua). The traffic can be hairy going in and out of the city too. It depends what else you'll be doing, too, as I imagine you'll want to shower/change before a nice, upscale dinner. And you might not want to drive too far after a long dinner.

    The KCC Saturday morning Farmers Market in Honolulu is is probably the best farmers market. It was amazing to both eat and shop, as there are a lot of food vendors in addition to produce. I ate and bought grilled abalone, Hawaiian coffee, fresh pineapple, strawberry-azuku mochi and lilikoi butter from Made in Hawaii Foods, Vietnamese food from The Pig & The Lady, fresh uncooked macadamia nuts, fresh seaweed. I ran out of space far too quickly! Only wish I had a second stomach for the fresh juice from young coconuts, Hawaiian chocolates, Ono Pops, and more.

    However, it gets very very busy & you need to get there as close to opening time as possible (7:30am). The parking situation may be tough, too.

    Search on here for "Oahu north shore" for options closer to you.

    1. The Haleiwa Farmers Market is no longer in Haleiwa (which practically adjoins Waialua); it moved to the Waimea Valley Park last August. However, if you're going to be driving up up that way anyway, you might want to check it out. It's held on Sunday.

      Waimea Valley is way closer to Wailua than the KCC Farmers Market at Diamond Head.

      3 Replies
      1. re: honu2

        What time does the Haleiwa Farmers Market take place? And is it Sundays and Thursdays? (I haven't been able to find anything concrete, so your help is much appreciated!)

        1. re: Suzie4399

          I think this is their official web site:

          Thursdays, 3:00-7:00 pm in beautiful Waimea Valley
          59-864 Kamehameha Hwy
          Haleiwa, HI

          They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

          The days of operation changed in the summer, which is why if you are looking at a guide book or something, it is probably outdated. In August 2012, "organizers announced the farmers market will now be held at Waimea Valley and no longer on Sundays."

          1. re: kathryn

            And do not confuse it with the Waimea Farmers Market which is on Hawaii Island.

            For those unfamiliar with the Hawaiian Islands, most of the major islands have a valley named Waimea. It can get confusing.

      2. Thanks very much for the help. We will be renting a car when we're there, so we don't mind spending a bit of time in traffic if it means getting a good meal. Given that, are there any "musts" for restaurants in Honolulu, and what is the best tasting menu there? Thanks again!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Austin9471

          You might be interested in my recent trip report (with the caveats that I missed out on Helena's and Shimazu Store):

          I would research Chef Mavro and Nanzan GiroGiro. And the new Vintage Cave.

          1. re: Austin9471

            The thought "be careful what you wish for" comes to mind when you said you don't mind spending a bit of time in traffic, as there are times when H-1 is closed and the best bet is to drive the other way around the island. At any rate, rush hour on H-1 starts about 3:15 and ends about 6:30 on weekdays, so you'll want to allow a lot of time if you're trying to get from Wailua to Waikiki (or Alan Wong's or Chef Mavro's which are just outside of Waikiki) for dinner during the week.

          2. Not quite farmers markets, but the open markets in chinatown (from river street to smith street) are always interesting.

            The best tasting menu would be between Alan Wong's and Chef Mavro. Each has it's devoted adherents.

            There are a few threads, fairly recent, about North Shore Dining, check those out and let us know what questions you have. Most of it is in Haleiwa, some down at the Turtle Bay resort, and some in between.

            7 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Do you happen to know the prices for the tasting menus? We wouldn't be doing wine. I think I'm able to see prices on the Chef Mavro site, but not Alan Wong's... Any help would be much appreciated!

              1. re: Suzie4399

                I found a review from 2012 that said it was $105 for 7 courses and $85 for 5 courses. The best thing to do is call and ask, though. Prices may have gone up.

                1. re: Suzie4399

                  The prices kathryn shows are about right. Last time I checked Alan Wong's was slightly higher than Chef Mavro's. I notice that LaMer has a tasting menu as well, although it is more 'continental' than Hawaiian Fusion. I don't know why the price isn't on Alan Wong's site, its rather annoying. Have to put Hunt to work on it, he can slap someone's hand.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    We have recently enjoyed the tasting menu at AW's (King St.), Chef Mavro's and La Mer. All were very close in price, though we DID have a bunch of wine, so it's tough to break things out much. Still, Kathryn's prices should be close, depending on the "level" that you choose at Chef Mavro's.

                    Of the three, on that Dec. trip, I give the nod to Chef Mavro's, with La Mer very close to that, and AW's just behind (one dish was just not focused, IMHO).

                    If I could only do one, predicated on having done those, at those restaurants for years, I would probably go with Chef Mavro's.



                    PS - not sure what the deal is, regarding prices. However, I seldom really look THAT closely, and just "go with the flow." Maybe some day I will awaken and be astounded at what I paid!!!!!!

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Thanks, all!
                      Does anyone know approximately how much time we should set aside for Chef Mavro's 6 Course Tasting or Grand Degustation (haven't decided yet)? Just trying to plan a reservation :)

                      1. re: Suzie4399

                        Degustation (our fave) takes 2 1/2 - 3 hrs. Highly recommended.

                        1. re: russkar

                          'degustation' doesn't sound too appetizing. i am sure it's good, though.

              2. Alan Wong's, La Mer and Chef Mavro are probably the three most well known foodie spots on Oahu. I'd give the nod to La Mer based on setting and ambiance. It sits on the ocean with an amazing view.

                Not tasting menu place, but other spots to consider are Town, Duc's Bistro, Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar, Epic and Indigo.

                Not sure if your names means you are from Austin TX or not, but I'd check out spots that are unique too like Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Okonomiyaki Chibo, Ichiriki, Jinroku, Curry House Coco Ichibanya, Hot Pot Heaven, Pho To-Chau Vietnamese Restaurant, Ezogiku, Ramen Nakamura Yakiniku Koryowon (or Korea House), Million Restaurant, Sikdorak and Yakiniku Don-Day (to name a few).

                3 Replies
                1. re: scottca075

                  i don't recommend ezogiku, i am always disappointed when i eat there.

                  instead, you may want to try palace saimin in kalihi. open 11-11 except sunday and monday. saimin is a local hybrid of chinese and japanese style noodles.

                  i do, however, give a thumbs up to curryhouse (coco inchibanya)!

                  1. re: indelibledotink

                    It depends on which one you go to, I don't like the Ezogiku in the Royal Hawaiian Center, but the one across from Nakamura is fine.

                    1. re: scottca075

                      i've eaten at the ezogiku on university and the one by don quijote in the ala moana/waikiki area.