- KCC Farmers' Market. Get the Kukui kimchee sausage.
- Malasadas at Leonard's Bakery
- Ono Hawaiian Food. Adrian recommended the squid lu'au.
- Rainbow Drive-In for plate lunches
- Mitch's Fish Market and Sushi Bar. Recommended by Ann. By the airport. Total hole in the wall, but super fresh and delicious. Fish market with a restaurant tacked on next to it. Fish gets delivered straight from the plane. The Mitch’s Special is expensive ($100/ per person) but totally worth it. Best abalone, lobster, uni I’ve had in a while. Reservations recommended, especially if you want the special.
What we've tried:
- Hole-in-the-Wall Tour. Tour is led by local food critic.
- Bourdain spots: Puka Dog and Hula Dog
- Uncle's (HCF recommendation) or Nico's Pier 38 (HLF recommendation) for seafood. They're next to each other. Nico's is more of a locals place and is cheaper. Uncle's is more expensive, but has a better selection and more elaborate food.
- Omega Mandoo House
- 220 Grille. Recommended by Lisa Leong. Part of the KCC Culinary School. Uses local products.
- Fort Ruger Market. Recommended by Ann.
More of Ann's suggestions:
- Mochi Ice Cream – Bubbies – I think they sell these in grocery stores, but the variety and the freshest onesones are in the shops. One of the locations is in a high traffic part of Honolulu or Waikiki. Depends where you’re staying and if you have a car.
- Mochi – Nisshodo’s – In a warehouse in an industrial part of Honolulu. Not the easiest place to find, but pretty close to the airport. Check the hours too. I think they only take cash.
- Fancy - Alan Wong’s – There was a lot of hype about this place. I thought it was very good high end Hawaiian food. Also the ambiance and service were great. Reservations are difficult to get, so either have your concierge book it for you or call at least a month ahead (if you have the lead time). They have a couple options of set menus, or you can order a la carte. At least $80/person.
- Restaurant in a Bowling Alley – Totally random, but really good desserts. The food going by looked really yummy too
- Beautiful brunch/breakfast spot – Ko’ Olina - Near a bunch of manmade lagoons. If you eat at the restaurant, the front desk will validate the $30 parking for the hotel/resort. Totally worth it, in my opinion. Throw in a couple hours of snorkelling swimming in the lagoons and you’ll have a great morning! We spotted turtles and tons of fish in the lagoons
HCF and HLF recommendations:
- Duc's bistro
- Town. Uses local products. Order tapas style.
- 12th ave grill
- Uncle Bo's
- The Whole Ox Deli (breakfast and lunch)
- Mei Sum (Dim Sum)
- Little Village Noodle house (lunch and dinner)
- Sheraton. Kai's. Buffet. Try to use all local products.
- Zippy's. Known for chili and rice.
- Irifune. Kapahulu St. Kaimuki. BYO booze. Apparently it's the "coolest" restaurant in Honolulu according to a friend who used to live there. It's seriously a laid back, family joint. As laid back as laid back gets.
I was strongly encouraged to just relax at the beach. Other possibilities:
- Hike Diamond Head State Monument
- USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor
- Visit http://bishopmuseum.org & shop at http://alohashirts.com
- 'Iolani Palace
- Shangri La. Doris Duke's home
- 50 cents an hour along Kapiolani Park on the eastern (quieter side) of Waikiki. Maximum of four hours.
- $12/day at Waikiki Banyan
- Supposedly free parking by the Waikiki Shell (2805 Monsarrat Ave.) across from the zoo and along the Ala Wai Canal
When staying in Waikiki, I like the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, which is on the quieter side near Diamond Head. Several people who HCF works with regularly use the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the Waikiki Park, or the Ilikai Hotel.
The Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel is in the heart of downtown Honolulu (near the HCF offices).
A good middle ground choice is the Ala Moana Hotel. It was recently renovated, and it's on the western side of Waikiki, closer to Honolulu but still on the beach.