a colorful bowl of Hawaiian Poke

13 Best Restaurants in Waikiki You Need to Try (2022)

The island of Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures, languages, and history spanning more than a century. All these differences have been combined and are reflected in the diverse cuisine you will find across the islands.

The history, culture, and location influence the food in Waikiki. The obvious choice of fresh seafood is always at the top of every menu. At the following restaurants, you can enjoy the best sushi, seafood, American, French, poke, malasadas, and so much more. Some locations even have fabulous sunset views!

Whether you want an idyllic dinner for two or a gathering of family and friends, there is something for everyone on this list. Whatever your dining preferences are, these top restaurants in Waikiki will go above and beyond your expectations. These eateries serve up mouth-watering cuisine worldwide, while others cater to theme and atmosphere.

Oahu Cheet sheet with a view of China man's hat.

    Without further adieu, here are the best restaurants in Waikiki:

    The Best Breakfast in Waikiki

    1. Ars Café

    Ars Café, a quaint little coffee shop found on the outskirts of Waikiki, is a perfect place for breakfast.

    What better way to start your day than with their delicious honey mushroom toast oozing with gorgonzola cheese accompanied by a cup of their artisanal coffee?

    If you prefer a sweet treat, give their homemade gelato and affogato a try. And don’t worry about the sugar rush or the calories with this breakfast. You are on vacation!

    Outdoor dining space is limited, so you may want to grab your meal and take a walk to the nearby Kapiolani Park to enjoy a breakfast picnic. There’s no better way to enjoy your breakfast than watching surfers out in the distance or lazing on the beach.

    Location: 3116 Monsarrat Ave, Honululu

    Opening Times: Mon-Sat: 6:30am – 6pm, Sunday: 8am – 6pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.5 out of 5

    Price: $$

    Website: Ars Café

    2. Barefoot Beach Cafe

    When relaxing on the beach, head to the Barefoot Beach Cafe for a scrumptious breakfast. Located at Queen’s Beach on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki, this family-owned and run café is a perfect spot to enjoy your breakfast while taking in the best views around.

    You’ll be wrong if you think this is a snack bar. The Barefoot Beach Cafe offers far more than snacks. Their expansive menu covers breakfast burritos, eggs benedict, and fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

    You may wish to try their reasonably priced breakfast plate that includes two eggs, Portuguese sausages, smoked bacon, grilled ham, and rice, all prepared according to the customers’ wishes. Now that’s a fine way to kick start your day!

    There are also vegan options available. The Barefoot Beach Cafe serves lunch and dinner too.

    Location: 2699 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Daily: 8:00am – 8:30pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.4 out of 5

    Price: $$

    Website: Barefoot Beach Cafe

    3. Basalt Waikiki

    Basalt Waikiki is found within Dukes Lane Market & Eatery. Chef Keith Steel Kong, the founder of Basalt Waikiki, envisioned a contemporary and refined but casual restaurant that offers its patrons local cuisine. The restaurant also offers its patrons a fine dining experience.

    The drawcard of this iconic restaurant is the charcoal buttermilk pancake. It may sound odd, but it’s a must-try!

    This signature dish is now available as ready-to-cook pancake mix. Now you can taste this luxury in the comfort of your armchair!

    If you’re not into sweets early in the morning, then try their avocado toast topped with an over-easy egg for extra texture and flavor.

    Location: 2255 Kuhio Avenue, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 8am – 2pm and 4:30pm – 9:30pm, Sat-Sun: 7am – 2pm and 4:30pm – 9:30pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.4 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$

    Website: Basalt Waikiki

    4. Cream Pot

    You can try the Cream Pot for those in-between times, which serves a delicious brunch feast.

    This charming little spot found on the mountainside of Waikiki has a fantastic European ambiance. You will welcome the change with this restaurant, as it is vastly different from others found in the area.

    Try their signature soufflé pancakes, which are light, fluffy, and delicious. They can be enjoyed with a selection of fresh mixed berries or banana and berry compote. These tasty treats are the reason you find lines heading around the block. Accompanied by a hot cup of tea, you’re a happy angel with a tummy of deliciousness.

    If you are bereft of a sweet tooth like some, try their maguro eggs Benedict, a poached egg topped with raw ahi and rice. Almost like breakfast sushi!

    Location: 444 Niu Street, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Thurs-Mon: 8am – 2pm. Closed on Tues and Wed.

    ⭐RATING: 4.2 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$

    Website: Cream Pot

    5. Goofy Cafe and Dine

    Goofy Cafe and Dine is west of Waikiki and is so named after the left foot forward surf posture. This joint has the right moves when it involves food, with heartwarming, healthy meals for breakfast.

    The acai bowl contains a selection of locally produced tropical fruits, while their loco moco contains Big Island beef and fresh farm eggs. You cannot go any healthier than that!

    To satisfy the surfing crowd, Goofy Cafe serves breakfast all day! So head in when you hunger for a healthy meal or to work off a hangover.

    Location: 1831 Ala Moana Blvd #201, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Open from Wednesday to Monday between 7am – 2pm. Closed on Tuesday.

    ⭐RATING: 4.3 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$

    Website: Goofy Cafe and Dine

    The Best Sushi Restaurants in Waikiki

    When visiting any Pacific island, no holiday is complete without enjoying an authentic platter of fresh sushi prepared by experts.  

    There are several great sushi restaurants around Waikiki, and here we have selected a few which may suit your discerning palate.

    6. Doraku Sushi Waikiki

    Doraku Sushi, created by Kevin Aoki, is found at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Kevin Aoki strives to be inventive in his menu by incorporating Pan Asian and Latin American flavors with traditional Japanese ingredients. There are many reasons for the lines snaking around the block, and these are just a few of them.

    You are guaranteed each dish is freshly prepared using only fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Doraku’s menu is well-balanced, catering to seasoned sushi lovers and beginners alike.

    You can start your night with deliciously prepared sushi and end with sake and music.

    Location: Royal Hawaiian Center, 2233 Kalakaua Avenue Suite 304, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Daily: 11:30am – 10pm, Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 4pm – 5pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.1 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$

    Website: Doraku Sushi Waikiki

    7. Eating House 1849 Waikiki

    Eating House 1849 Waikiki is another brainchild of famous restauranteur Roy Yamaguchi. His chain of restaurants, aptly named Roy’s Restaurants are hugely successful.

    Well known for his Asian fusion dishes, Chef Yamaguchi honors traditional Hawaiian foods in Eating House 1849 by incorporating the old with the new. He uses simple, traditional flavors fused with a modern twist. The result is a gastronomical explosion!

    Location: 2330 Kalakaua Ave #322, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Daily: 4pm – 9pm, Happy Hour: 4pm – 5pm, Sunday Brunch: 10:30am – 2pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.3 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$$

    Website: Eating House 1849 Waikiki

    8. Furusato Sushi

    Furusato Sushi can be found at the front and center of Waikiki. This modern, stylish but elegant restaurant serves up a delicious spread of sushi.

    The Hawaiian or the Waikiki Bridge is ideal for two people sharing, with a pleasant selection of fresh sushi and sashimi.

    Location: 2424 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Open daily between 11am – 10:30 pm.

    ⭐RATING: 4.6 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$

    Website: Furusato Sushi

    9. Izakaya Matsuri

    Chef Yoshi relocated to Hawaii from his homeland of Japan in 1998 and embarked on his dream of being a business owner, which he did in 2002 when he opened his first eatery.

    Yoshi and his better half Julie – Izakaya’s sommelier – established this joint in 2017 and are fully dedicated to serving the finest sushi and sashimi complemented with sake and wine.

    The food here is fantastic, the service is wonderful, and the atmosphere is perfect. This is definitely one of our favorite places to eat in Hawaii!

    Location: 1436 Young St. #103, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Tues-Sat: 5pm – 10pm, Closed Mon and Sun

    ⭐RATING: 4.4 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$$

    Website: Izakaya Matsuri

    The Best Sunset Restaurants in Waikiki

    Watching the sky change color as the sun sets over the sea while enjoying a flavorful, delectable meal is potentially one of the best ways to end a day of sightseeing and exploring.

    There is no need for music or candlelight to distract from the meal or the stunning display of the setting evening sun.

    Here are the best restaurants in Waikiki to enjoy the sunset on one of the Pacific islands of Hawaii.

    10. Duke’s Waikiki

    Duke’s, named after famous surfer Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic champion and popularly called the Father of modern-day surfing, is found in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.

    This restaurant faces the Pacific Ocean and has spectacular views of the sunset. It has a very accessible and easy vibe to it, which is expected from a restaurant situated on the beach, where patrons can shed their shoes and sink their feet into the soft, warm sands.

    Duke’s Waikiki has a diverse menu catering to all tastes and includes everything from appetizers, salads, and tacos to more enormously portioned entrées and cocktails to tantalize your taste buds.

    At Duke’s, you will find signature dishes like their Coconut Shrimp with a spicy lilikoi sauce, Huli Huli Chicken, or whatever the day’s catch is served with a rich, creamy macadamia nut sauce.

    The next time you want to leave an impression on your significant other, take them to Duke’s to enjoy scrumptious meals while watching Mother Nature show off her colors.

    Make sure to reserve your table ahead of time here to secure your spot.

    Location: 2335 Kalakaua Avenue #116, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Daily: 7am – 12am

    ⭐RATING: 4.4 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$

    Website: Duke’s Waikiki

    11. House Without A Key

    House Without A Key is the ideal spot to watch not just the sunset but also stunning views of the ocean and Diamond Head. It’s a great place where you can while away the day!

    As the sun sets, you are entertained with live music and a graceful display of hula dance by a former Miss Hawaii.

    Their classic mai tai is the perfect beverage to sip while you take a nibble on their signature coconut cake.

    Location: 2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu

    Opening Times: Daily: 7am – 10:30am, 11:30am – 8:30pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$$

    Website: House Without A Key

    12. Michel’s at the Colony Surf

    Experience French fine-dining cuisine at this premier oceanfront Hawaiian restaurant. Michel’s at the Colony Surf offers a fantastic sunset view and delectable food – the perfect ingredients for an evening you will remember!

    Popular dishes include the Steak Diane, French Onion Soup, Abalone, and the Ocean Platter. You can pair the dishes with excellent wines for a perfect taste sensation.

    Location: 2895 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu

    Opening Times: 5pm – 9pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$$

    Website: Michel’s at the Colony Surf

    13. Hula Grill Waikiki

    This restaurant has outside seating with beautiful views of the beach and ocean. Hula Grill Waikiki offers Hawaiian regional cuisine with ingredients straight from the land and sea.

    Our favorite items on the menu include the Filet Steak Kiana with Bamboo Steamed Long Beans and the Braised Mushroom Ravioli for dinner. If you have room for dessert, make sure to try the pineapple upside-down cake with caramel rum sauce.

    Also, their beers on tap and an array of delicious cocktails will surely keep your thirst at bay.

    Location: 2335 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 203, Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

    Opening Times: Daily: 7am – 10:30pm

    ⭐RATING: 4.4 out of 5 stars

    Price: $$$

    Website: Hula Grill Waikiki

    5 Must-Eat Foods in Waikiki

    Traveling to a new place offers you a chance to try out local foods made with the freshest produce. In this way, you experience the tastes of traditional foods and get to know the best of the place you are visiting.

    Waikiki has five foods that are native to this stunning stretch of beaches. They are found in many traditional and Asian fusion dishes throughout the island.

    1. Loco Moco

    In Spanish, “loco moco” literally translates to “crazy burger,” but this contemporary Hawaiian dish is anything but crazy!

    It consists of a hamburger patty sitting on a mound of white rice, with a generous drizzle of gravy and a fried egg.

    You will find variations of this delicious dish in eateries around the island.

    2. Laulau

    Laulau is a native dish of Hawaii and translates to “wrapped package.” It consists of a salty, mouth-watering blend of pork shoulder and butterfish, wrapped in luau leaves and tied with ti leaves. This delicious package steamed for four hours produces moist, succulent meat.

    It’s fascinating to observe chefs prepare these packages of deliciousness. You can watch them at the Highway Inn in Honolulu if you have time.

    3. Poke

    With the popularity of sushi growing worldwide, you undoubtedly must have come across this tasty morsel of fish. Pronounced as Po-key, the dish traditionally consists of raw tuna, although other raw fish or octopus are sometimes used.

    They are marinated in a soy sauce dressing, seaweed, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and spring onions.

    This simple, refreshing, and healthy meal will tempt your tastebuds with an explosion of flavor and texture.

    As a native food, you can find poke anywhere on the island, including grocery stores. It is not reserved only for restaurants.

    4. Poi

    Poi, described as a traditional Hawaiian dish, is a staple in many homes. It is made from fermented kalo root (commonly known as taro root), has a slight purplish tinge, contains high amounts of vitamin A, and is low in fat.

    Poi is an acquired taste and may not appeal to the tastes of tourists. It is often enjoyed as an accompaniment to laulau or as a starch substitute.

    5. Malasadas

    Unlike the other foods mentioned above, malasadas are not native to Hawaii. They are of Portuguese origin and were brought to Hawaii around 1878.

    Malasada means undercooked; they are deep-fried dough balls coated in sugar, much like our humble donuts.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Below are frequently asked questions that may help first-time travelers to Waikiki.:

    Do restaurants have gluten-free or vegan options?

    Yes, many restaurants in Waikiki have meal options for vegans and gluten-free patrons. Here are a few suggestions of restaurants you can find gluten-free and vegan options:

    • Duke’s Waikiki
    • Furusato Sushi
    • Roy’s Waikiki
    • Barefoot Bar Waikiki

    Is There a Dress Code?

    There are no particular dress codes at most of the restaurants in Waikiki.

    The Wrap-Up

    So there you have it, some of the best restaurants in Waikiki for every type of foodie! Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a five-course meal, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste buds in this vibrant and diverse city. Just remember to come hungry!

    Mahalo for reading our post. Until next time, Aloha!