Honolulu, HI

Top Must-Try Restaurants for Your Next Visit to Honolulu

Sulabh Gupta

Honolulu is one of the most famous cities in Hawaii and is mostly known for its vibrant beaches and aesthetically pleasing beauty. For years its culinary scene has been underappreciated but Honolulu is quickly emerging as a city with world-class food.

Below is a list of top restaurants that have been leading the culinary scene in Honolulu and you should definitely check out these gems on your next visit to Honolulu.

THE PIG AND THE LADY

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The Pig and the Lady(Facebook)

"The Pig and the Lady" serves excellent Vietnamese in Chinatown. Burmese Salad and the creative Pho 75 are two must-try menu items. The restaurant offers creative, vegan-friendly vegetable dishes and tasty Vietnamese spice combinations inspired by Hawaiian Regional cuisine.

Turmeric catfish summer rolls at The Pig and The Lady are bursting with dill, mint, scallion, vermicelli, peanuts, house pickles, Fresno chili, grilled pineapple, and mám tôm bác sauce is something everyone should try.

Merriman’s

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Merriman's(Facebook)

Merriman’s is an award-winning Hawaiian modern gastropub. This place is a vision of Peter Merriman, who brought Hawaiian Regional cuisine to Ward Village. This place has also won multiple awards including Best Farm to Table Restaurant.

You can try Kalua Pig Quesadilla with mango chili sauce and house-made kimchee. Or opt for the “Bag o’ Biscuits” served with fresh honey butter. These both are excellent choices to try. The seafood menu choices are also awesome options to try and even the smoked oysters are to die for.

Merriman’s famous Mai Tai is something that every cocktail lover should try. This cocktail is made with handcrafted macadamia nut syrup and honey yellow passionfruit foam making it the best cocktail on the island.

MW RESTAURANT

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MW Restaurant(Facebook)

MW Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in the Kako’ako neighborhood. This place showcases excellent Pacific Rim cuisine by husband-and-wife duo Chef Wade Ueoka and Pastry Chef Michelle Kerr-Ueoka.

Mochi-crusted Kona Kanpachi is a must-try option on the menu. This is chef Wade’s signature item and is a unique and delicious fish preparation, served with seasonal local vegetables and a brightening vinegar-based sauce. “Fried Chicken” and gorgeously plated Ahi Poke Nachos are also must-try options on the menu.

Leave some room for dessert as Chef Michelle who was a James Beard Semi-finalist has some great delicacies to try. Her signature creation Tropical Fruit Creamsicle Brûlée, which features lilikoi sorbet and lilikoi custard, tapioca pearls, tropical fruits, and a gorgeous burnt sugar brûlée cap is something everyone should give a try. Lilikoi (aka passionfruit) is a distinct flavor of the islands.

MUD HEN WATER

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Mud Hen Water(Facebook)

Mud hen water is a famous place to try in a foodie-friendly Kaimuki neighborhood. It serves Hawaiian-style small plates served family-style.

Classic Pohole (Hawaiian fern) salad; baked banana with bacon, peanuts, egg, and curry butter; curry chicken rice croquettes; and elevated Hawaiian-style BBQ spareribs served with a fresh lime salt dipping dish are some of the best options to try.

For dessert, you should order the Chocolate Kiawe Bean Brownie. Served with black sesame gelato and mac nut toffee, it is one of the most divine and unique desserts on O’ahu, made from local kiawe bean flour. Leave some room to try Mud Hen Water’s famous Pineapple-Polenta Upside Down Cake.

Parking is a little tricky in this area. You can park a little farther and then walk to the restaurant. You will not mind walking after indulging in those desserts.

HELENA’S HAWAIIAN FOOD

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Helena's Hawaiian Food(Facebook)

Helena’s Hawaiian food opened its door for its customer in 1946. With over 75 years of its experience, this place has been serving the local community quality Hawaiian cuisine. This place also won the prestigious James Beard Award. The restaurant is now run by Helen's grandson, Craig Katsuyoshi. Do not forget to try squid luau, a classic Hawaiian dish made from luau leaves, coconut milk, calamari, and butter.

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