This might come as no surprise, but the Hawaii.com team loves to eat!
We have compiled this list of recent award-winning restaurants and local favorites, featuring all price ranges, for our lovely members. Maybe your new favorite restaurant on the islands will be on this list.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Word has been getting out on Helena’s Hawaiian Food in Kalihi. It was voted Best Hawaiian Food 2014 by Honolulu Star Advertiser readers and has recently been featured on the Travel Channel. Helena’s has been dishing up quality Hawaiian food for over 60 years and is the place that both locals and visitors flock to in droves on Oahu when that craving for kalua pig hits.
Try: Laulau, Kalua Pig & Rice, Pipikaula Short Ribs
The Pig & The Lady
What was once a pop-up and farmer’s market fixture, The Pig & Lady has found a permanent space in Chinatown. Rising star in the culinary world, Chef Andrew Le combines “Asian street food” with an emphasis on a twist of the Vietnamese favorites his mother used to cook at home. This new restaurant has been turning heads; it was won the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s Best Restaurant: Critics’ Choice ‘Ilima Award 2014.
Try: Pho French Dip Bahn Mi and P&L Pho
Michel’s at the Colony Surf
Michel’s at the Colony Surf, located at the end of Waikiki, combines multicultural influences with fine-dining tableside service. Executive chef Hardy Kintscher is classically trained in French cuisine and tweaks classical dishes to match Hawaii’s regional flair. Michel’s has won numerous local and international awards, including Honolulu Star Advertiser’s Best Restaurant: People’s Choice ‘Ilima Award 2014.
Try: Steak Au Poivre, Hawaiian Apple-Banana Flambé, Cherries Jubilee
What started in 1968 as a meat market in Kapaa has evolved over the years into a food counter, selling local foods like poke (fish salads), spam musubis, handmade maki sushi rolls and laulaus, and their The Garden Island Newspaper’s Best Plate Lunch Award 2014 winning plate lunches. Beware though, go early and call ahead or face disappointment: once they sell out of food (normally around 1pm), they close for the day.
Try: Spicy Lobster Poke, Fried Chicken, Kulolo, Manju
Barbecue Inn in Lihue has been feeding no-frills local food to generations of Kauai residents since 1940. Dinners at this family-owned restaurant include an entree, soup or fruit, salad, homemade bread, a beverage, and homemade pie, all at reasonable prices. With such great value and service, it’s no wonder that Barbecue Inn won The Garden Island Newspaper’s Family Dining Award, voted on by locals, for 2014.
Try: Coconut Cream Pie, Teriyaki Steak, Fruit Cup (w/ fresh pineapple, papaya, mango, watermelon, and honeydew melon)
Known for its fresh seafood and top-notch service, The Dolphin has been welcoming visitors and locals to its fine-dining Hanalei location since the 1970’s. Dishes here feature the freshest fish and sushi, alongside locally grown organic greens from Kailani Farms. The Dolphin was voted Best Restaurant 2014 by The Garden Island Newspaper.
Try: Teriyaki Ahi, Calamari, “The Dolphin” Tahitian Poke
Honokowai Okazuya & Deli
The Honokowai Okazuya & Deli is located in a little strip mall near Lahaina, but don’t let the looks of the place fool you. Expect great local food and huge portions placed in that ubiquitous white Styrofoam container. Complete the meal with a can of lilikoi (passion fruit) or passion orange juice for the ultimate local dining experience.
Try: Black Bean Chow Fun, Lemon-Caper Ono or Mahimahi, Loco Moco
Haliʻimaile General Store
Located in Upcountry Maui, Hali’imaile General Store has been an award-winning Maui favorite since 1988. Enjoy Chef Bev Gannon’s creations while soaking up the “Old Hawaii” atmosphere of the repurposed 1920’s plantation general store.
Try: Bev’s “Famous” Crab Pizza, Warm Goat Cheese Tart, Sashimi Napoleon
Mama’s Fish House
Maui’s first fresh fish restaurant opened in 1973 and is located in Ku’au, on the North Shore of the island. Mama’s Fish House features fish caught by local fishermen each day and sustainable ingredients served in opulent 5-star style. This restaurant is constantly voted among the best on Maui.
Try: Tahitian Ceviche, Ahi Sashimi Salad, the Polynesian “Black Pearl” Dessert
Cafe 100 in Hilo attracts both visitors and locals alike with their dedication to authentic home-style food and their classic “Old-Hilo” charm. Cafe 100 serves up the plate lunch favorites like Chicken Katsu and Beef Stew, but their specialty is the loco moco, or rice with a hamburger patty smothered with beef gravy topped with an egg. Instead of the usual hamburger patty, try over 30 varieties of loco moco on their menu.
Try: Super Loco Moco and Kilauea Loco Moco
Cafe Pesto was once a small pizzeria in Kawaihae, which grew into an award-wining restaurant at the forefront of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Cafe Pesto boasts an extensive menu with Italian flair, but the wood-fire pizzas are the house specialty.
Try: Crab Cake Salad, Lokelani Pizza, Coconut Calamari
Huggo’s Restaurant, located in Kailua-Kona, combines stunning views of Kailua Bay in its open-air dining room with a bounty of fresh fish and local favorites that have been fixtures on the menu since the 1960’s. With an emphasis on a providing a one-of-a-kind experience, expect great customer service and quality food.
Try: Teriyaki Steak, Kona Poke, Crab-Crusted Ono, Ginger Creme Brulee