Oahu and Maui are some of my favorite travel destinations. In fact, it’s safe to say that Maui is my happy place. If you’re in Hawaii and looking for a few great dining options, look no further. From gourmet dining experiences to the shaved ice shack, you’ll taste the culture in every bite at these locales. Hawaiian eateries pride themselves on adding love and tradition to their foods. Try these local favorites for the ultimate in Hawaiian dining adventures.
In Hawaiian, Ma’ona means “fulfilling” and that is the mission of this Musubi shop. Musubi is a meal in the palm of your hand, a portable method of carrying and eating rice for a quick bite on the go. Located in the heart of downtown Honolulu, Ma’ona Musubi is a local-Japanese inspired onigirazu (sandwich-style musubi) and donburi (rice bowl) shop dedicated to serving fresh, healthy, and fulfilling food.
They offer dozens of flavor combinations made with authentic Japanese and local ingredients, all combined with the award-winning Tsuyahime brand of premium-grade rice to satisfy your taste buds and your belly. Ma’ona Musubi is only open Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, so get there early before the day’s delicious creations are sold out.
The menu hasn’t changed much since the Highway Inn first opened in 1947, and the reason is pretty simple. Generations have grown up eating, loving and coming back for more. Every morning, each Lau Lau is carefully hand wrapped in the traditional Hawaiian style. The kalua pork is shredded thread by thread. LAU LAU (like wow-wow, but with an “L”) is a traditional Hawaiian food consisting of a piece of pork and butterfish wrapped in luau (loo-ow) leaves (think spinach) and steamed for several hours. Combo plates are served in the traditional way with poi or rice, steamed ‘uala (sweet potato), and haupia with a choice of lomi salmon, potato-mac salad, or local greens with liliko’i dressing.
Star Noodle on Maui is known for their Steamed Pork Buns. What could be better than a full sake bar to go with your fresh house made noodles? Star Noodle boasts an innovative menu of island-inspired Asian fare like hapa ramen (which features fresh noodles cranked out daily on an 80-year-old machine from Japan).
Star Noodle was also featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Guy Fierei raves about the Vietnamese Crepe: a crunchy shell stuffed with a coconut milk-laced mixture of shrimp and pork. It’s served with fresh lettuce leaves to create make-your-own wraps.
Merriman’s Restaurants are driven by their long-standing commitment to Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers, offering fresh, authentic regional cuisine at its peak flavor. Each day, Merriman’s Restaurants strive to “Do The Right Thing!” for the earth, for each other and for their guests. Each of the three Merriman’s Restaurants on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island feature authentic Regional Cuisine. While each has its unique flair and flavor, all locations offer Hawaii’s finest ingredients and recipes.
Offering magnificent views across Maunalua Bay, the flagship restaurant of US celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi first opened back in 1988. Since then, it has been at the forefront of Hawaii’s fine dining scene, celebrating native ingredients and forging strong relationships with local fishermen and farmers. The original – and perhaps best – of Yamaguchi’s chain of more than 30 restaurants, Roy’s Hawaii Kai mixes traditional foodstuffs with Roy’s Japanese influences to superb effect.
Save some room for dessert! Serving shaved ice since 1951, Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice sits in the perfect location along Oahu’s beautiful North Shore.. The warm weather, big waves, and small town feel bring people from across the globe to this quaint store to purchase shave ice cascading with Matsumoto’s homemade syrup. This family owned business offers 37 syrup flavors to choose from.
Which of these restaurants in Hawaii will you try on your next trip? Do you have a favorite that I missed? Let me know in the comments!