'Ai Love Nalo is plant-based cafe/restaurant on Oahu. They have vegan Hawaiian food, refreshing smoothies, sweets, and Hawaii's best local fruit parfait!
I've driven far for this fruit parfait.
'Ai Love Nalo is located in Waimanalo, a 45-minute drive from downtown Honolulu. It's worth the drive (it's also a great first stop if you're doing an around-the-island day trip). I come here for the fruit parfait. It is incredible. And they use all local fruits, perfectly ripe.
I'm not vegan and/or plant-based but I LOVE 'Ai Love Nalo. It's sunny and cheerful. Service is sweet. And the drive to Waimanalo makes it feel like we're heading on a mini vacation (make sure to drive the long way along the water). I'll round up mom, dad, and grandma and we'll go lunch. Everyone has their favorite menu items.
What to get at 'Ai Love Nalo
Ok! The menu is a nice size, but can be overwhelming because everything sounds so good and looks really pretty. This is what we order:
This is a must. It also double as a breakfast, snack, or light lunch.
The fruits change from day to day, but they're all local and so fresh. All the best fruits! A recent parfait (photo above) included: sweet potato, pineapple, dates, avocado, banana, real nice poi (steamed, mashed taro), and mix of toasted granola and seeds.
How beautiful is that! This is light years away from other generic fruit cups. I love the diversity of local fruits, and how they include other non-typical fruit parfait items like avocado, sweet potato, and the poi.
This is named "Outta this Swirled" on the menu heheh. It's a real dreamy vegan soft-serve made from bananas and coconut milk. It's topped with pineapple, papaya, banana, granola, cacao coco flakes, and a chocolate "magic shell". Chopped macadamia nuts sprinkled all over. My grandma loves this, especially on a hot day.
Pictured above is the large (grandma and I split one after stopping by the OK Poultry egg farm, more at the bottom of this post), but the small size is perfect for one.
Gramma Nani's Bread
Sweet bread made from ulu flour, mango, and macadamia nuts! The slice is toasted till it's nice and golden with crisp edges. Then topped with a warm coconut cream sauce and more crushed macadamia nuts. So tasty!
Oh WOW Laulau!
I could make a meal of all the sweet things at 'Ai Love Nalo, but I guess we have to eat savory food at some point, yeah? ^_^
There are eight different bowls/plates/wraps on the menu. Two stand out in particular because they are vegan takes on Hawaiian food (which is rare and hard to find in Hawaii!)
The "Oh WOW Laulau!" plate is my go-to savory order. Laulau is a classic Hawaiian dish that is made of fatty pork and butterfish wrapped in luau leaves. 'Ai Love Nalo turns it vegan by replacing pork and fish with trio of Hawaiian vegetables: kalo (taro), 'ulu (breadfruit), and 'uala (sweet potato). They wrap all that in luau leaves, steam, and spoon over housemade coco sauce. Such a bright take on a classic.
The laulau plate comes with poi, tofu poke (plain or spicy), and a salad. The greens of course, are top notch.
The other distinctly Hawaiian plate on the menu is the "Kaukau Lūau."
Kaukau is Hawaiian pidgen slang that translates to, "go eat / to eat."
And Lūau is one of my favorite Hawaiian dishes!
It's a stew made from luau leaves cooked down with beef (or squid, aka squid luau). 'Ai Love Nalo cooks their version with local vegetables, coconut milk, onions, and garlic. Also comes with sides of poi, tofu poke (plain or spicy), and a salad.
Smoothies and Kombucha
Don't forget to get a drink for the road! The smoothies and kombucha actually make up the bulk of the menu offerings. My three favorite smoothies include:
- Lime in Da Coconut - Coconut milk, Tahitian limes, avocado, banana, coconut flakes, and honey
- Daily Dose - Kona coffee, coco milk, bananas, dates, cacao powder, and cacao nibs
- Watermelon Splash - Coconut water, papaya, watermelon, honey, and coconut flakes
Another part of the menu focuses on Smoochies which are basically slushies made with kombucha (from their sister organization, Waimanalo Kombucha Co.). These are my three favorite Smoochies:
- The Experi-Mint - Kombucha, mango, mint, agave, and cloves
- Cherry Bomb - Kombucha, cherries, sweet basil, and agave
- Blue Ginger - Kombucha, blueberries, ginger juice, and agave
FYI: 'Ai Love Nalo is located near OK Poultry LLC. This is where we like to buy our eggs. Stop by if you can (go early, they sell out early).
'Ai Love Nalo: Insider Tips
- Like many popular Hawaii spots, this place is very packed during peak lunch hours. Try to go early, around 10:30 or 11am. If you go too late in the afternoon they may be sold out of items.
- Check out the backyard/outdoor seating area...many people seem to miss this part.
- Do not park in the Waimanalo Market Co-op parking next door (unless you are going there). Park only in the parking spaces in front of 'Ai Love Nalo.
- Because 'Ai Love Nalo is far out, you might as well check out some great places nearby. I love OK Poultry LLC for fresh eggs. And right next door to 'Ai Love Nalo is Waimanalo Market Co-op. The Market carries lots of local and Hawaiian food items. Definitely stop by before/after your lunch. Also nearby is Frankie's Nursery where you can buy great local fruits (and some special exotic ones).
'Ai Love Nalo: Info
- 'Ai Love Nalo | 41-1025 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795 | 808-888-9102 | ailovenalo.com
- PRICE: Plate lunches: $11-14, Smoothies: $6-7.50; Sweets: $7-9
- HOURS: Monday-Friday: 10:30am-3pm, Saturday-Sunday: 10:30am-5pm