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Best Places To Eat In Waikiki (2021)

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From Japanese food to refreshing shave ice, dim sum, casual eats, sunset cocktails, and even afternoon tea, these are the best places to eat in Waikiki. Whether you're looking for a fun night out, casual get together with friends, or just afternoon snacks and sweets, we have you covered.

Afternoon tea at Moana Surfrider.

Is it me or does it seem like everyone is coming to Hawaii all of a sudden? From visitors to locals returning to visit family, and even locals looking for a weekend staycation, Waikiki has gotten busier and busier.

There's a lot of food in Waikiki, and a lot of very good food...but you have to know where to look! Here are all the must eat Waikiki spots, listed in no particular order. They are all delicious ^_^

Spam-Omelet-Avocado-Unagi Musubi from Musubi Cafe Iyasume
Musubi Cafe Iyasume

Musubi Cafe Iyasume

Do you love musubi? Because we sure do! Musubi Cafe Iyasume is musubi heaven offering 38 different types of musubi. They range from the classic Spam Musubi to the multi-layered Spam-Omelet-Avocado-Unagi Musubi. It's the perfect place to get a quick and easy breakfast or lunch on the go (or to take to the beach). They also make many types of mini bentos. Prices are super fair for Waikiki and most importantly, the food is onolicious!

Click here for the full post and tips on Musubi Cafe Iyasume.

Course 1 of the Shusaizen Set from Restaurant Suntory, featuring Tuna Tartar with Heart of Palm, Avocado, and Quail Egg, Scallop and Squid Nuta, and Choy Sum Karashi-zuke.
Restaurant Suntory

Restaurant Suntory

Located on the 3rd floor of Royal Hawaiian Center, Restaurant Suntory is loved by both locals and visitors. The food here is super onolicious. For fun family dinners, make a reservation at the teppanyaki tables. Have date night at the sushi bar. Or go with friends for the shabu shabu and sukiyaki sets. Everyone leaves Suntory Restaurant happy.

Protip: Order the Shusaizen set - Offered only during lunch hours (must pre-order when you make reservations).

Click here for the full post and tips on Restaurant Suntory.

Hula and live music at House Without a Key.
House Without A Key

House Without A Key

*House Without A Key is currently under renovation, re-opening Fall 2021.

Ahhh what is a trip to Waikiki without a visit to House Without A Key? Located inside the legendary Halekulani Hotel, this is one of my favorite spots to go with friends who are visit. I also love coming here with local friends...feels like we are on vacation! House Without A Key is beautiful and the mai tais are out of this world.

Cocktails at House Without a Key.
Cocktails at House Without A Key.

For the best experience come around 5pm (aim for an hour before sunset). Cross your fingers for a good outdoor table, order a mai tai, and enjoy the beach views and live music and hula. I always have a wonderful time here.

Click here for the full post and tips on House Without A Key (at Halekulani Hotel).

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

Come here for katsu! Originally from Japan, this beloved katsu spot is located on Beach Walk. Order from the classic menu offering different cuts of pork (like pork loin, thick-cut pork loin, pork tenderloin), or go loco style with the katsu loco moco. I also really like the katsudon.

Protip: They have good $15 lunch specials.

P.S. If you love katsu, also check out Tonkatsu Tamafuji on Kapahulu Ave (just a 5-minute drive from Waikiki).

Soft serve and shave ice from Matcha Cafe Maiko
Matcha Cafe Maiko

Matcha Cafe Maiko

It's all about the matcha soft serve here! I like to order the Maiko Special Matcha Parfait. The parfait layers matcha soft serve with matcha chiffon cake, roasted chestnuts, azuki beans, and soft and chewy shiratama mochi. On a hot day, get the Matcha Shave Ice which comes matcha soft serve with matcha shave ice...the best of both worlds!

P.S. They opened a 3 locations in San Francisco in the past few years. I still love the Hawaii original the best (can't get shave ice in SF), but SF locations are still tasty ^_^

Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan.
Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan

We love dim sum, and Tim Ho Wan (originally from Hong Kong) is a go-to spot! Situated on the 3rd floor of the Royal Hawaii Shopping Center, this is the only dim sum place in Honolulu with outdoor seating. It's bright and breezy and the food is delicious.

Favorite dishes include bbq pork buns with a beautiful crust, steamed and saucy bean curd stuffed with shrimp, deep-fried eggplant and shrimp, and the ever popular siu mai. Their siu mai is sooo ono! Also pay attention to any Hawaii-only special items on the menu - we enjoy the pinapple-filled black rice mochi.

Check out our guide to the best dim sum spots in Honolulu.

Hau Tree Lanai

This recently opened restaurant at Kaimana Hotel (newly renovated) has a prime location right on the beach. It's a picture perfect spot ideal for brunch with friends or a sunset dinner. The menu is a crowd pleaser with dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes and lobster rolls for brunch, and steamed mahi mahi and grilled kanpachi at dinner. Reservations are a must. Don't skip dessert! I love the toasted coconut cake.

Afternoon tea at Moana Surfrider
Afternoon Tea at Moana Surfrider.

Afternoon Tea

There are three "main" afternoon tea spots in Honolulu: Kahala Hotel, Halekulani Hotel, and Moana Surfrider. Halekulani Hotel (currently renovating, reopening Fall 2021) and Moana Surfrider are in Waikiki. Moana Surfrider offers afternoon tea on Saturdays and Sundays by reservation only. Call early, they book up fast.

Afternoon tea is served on the Veranda and it is the complete experience...Hawaii-style! From savory bites to warm scones with lilikoi butter and petite sweets, and a fun selection of teas, afternoon tea is always so fun. Bring your best friend (or your mom and grandma!) and have a very relaxing afternoon.

Read about afternoon tea in Honolulu. Read our in-depth post about afternoon tea at Moana Surfrider.

Marukame Udon

Line are always out the door at this affordable and extremely popular udon shop. Marukame has multiple locations in California, Texas, and Hawaii...but everyone knows this specific location in Waikiki is the most delicious. Fresh made udon, served cafeteria style. Line up and order your udon of choice, and add on all the toppings you desires. It also centrally located right in the heart of Waikiki, close to lots of shopping and dessert.

Tsurutontan Waikiki

As you might have guessed, we love udon (and all sorts of noodles) in Hawaii. Tsurutontan is an udon shop from Japan, and they are famous for giant bowls of fresh udon, made in house daily. Always busy during lunch and dinner, this full service restaurant has something on the menu for everyone. It's also a pretty large restaurant, great for groups and families.

P.S. Locals love the weekday lunch special...only $9.95 for a choice of udon (I always pick the curry udon) and the weekly donburi (rice bowl).

Sushi chefs at Sushi Sho.
Sushi Sho

Sushi Sho

Looking to go all out on a stunning sushi dinner? Look no further than Sushi Sho. Located inside the Ritz-Carlton Waikiki Beach, this intimate and beautiful (wait till you step inside...wowow) sushi spot is a bucket list restaurant for many sushi lovers. It's the best sushi in Waikiki by far. Call early to secure reservations. Omakase is around $300 per person and worth every penny.

Protip: If you can't get a reservation or want to try Sushi Sho without doing an omakase, order their takeout chirashi. It's $30-$50 (depending on which chirashi you order) and a great way to get a taste of Sushi Sho.

Salmon sashimi and uni on rice from Maguro Brothers.
Maguro Brothers

Maguro Brothers

This is a tiny takeout spot offering a menu of beautiful sushi bowls, like that king salmon bowl pictured above! I also added a side order of uni heheh ^_^ They also have fresh ahi poke bowls and combo chirashi-poke bowls for the indecisive.

The original Maguro Brothers location is in Chinatown. It was such a hit that they opened a second location in Waikiki. It's only open in the evenings (because the brothers work at the Chinatown location during the day), so plan accordingly.

Read our in-depth post, including protips and what to order at Maguro Brothers.

A bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.
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Mahalo for Reading!

Alan

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

We haven't been back to HNL for two years; ever since Covid started. But I hope to return next Feb for my annual visit back home. We always stay at the Sheraton Waikiki, so your post is some good info for me to remember for my next trip back home. Hope the Sheraton's Kai Market buffet will be reopened at that time. I love that buffet a lot!!

Kathy

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

Hi Alan! A vacation back home sounds perfect, especially with that good Sheraton location right on the beach + buffet! Sign me up :) - Kathy

Jeanne

Tuesday 18th of May 2021

Yes I think everyone is taking off for Hawaii. In fact, my daughter and her friends are leaving next month for Maui! I don't know if they'll be able to procure a car (uber in maui??) but hopefully there will be some delicious local food they can walk to. My daughter is already over the moon about spam musubi.

Kathy

Wednesday 19th of May 2021

Aloha Jeanne! That sounds like it's doing to be a super fun trip for your daughter! The rental car shortage is nuts! Most people I know have been taking Ubers (heard there can sometimes be a long wait for the Uber to show up because of high demand) or renting cars via Turo (where individuals can rent out their own cars). Hope she has a happy, safe, and delicious vacation :) - Kathy