locals foodie tips in Oahu


a local beach in Haleiwa, on Oahu’s North Shore

The joy of staying with friends on holiday is that you get an experience which is as close to local as possible. We’ve been visiting Oahu for many years and in all that time we have stayed on the windward side on the east of the island, about half an hour away from Honolulu and less touristy. Yet over the years our favourite places have started to be more popular and now, to us, they don’t feel special anymore… I know, how selfish of me!!! Yet over the last few weeks we’ve managed to find some spots that are still off the beaten track. The great thing about Hawaii is that all beaches are for public use, apart from Government owned ie those by the U.S forces. There are beach parks dotted everywhere and you only need to walk a short way further along the beach to find the quieter spots although without the facilities including life guards local knowledge re water safety is requisite.

We also had some great recommended meals out, here are our friends tips.

Mud Hen Water 3452 Wai’alae Avenue, Honolulu: This is modern Hawaiian food by local chef Ed Kenney;  we ate the Opah [moon fish] that had been wrapped in banana leaf with local vegetables and buried under hot coals – fantastic. Recommended by Vincent


Kalapawai Market  306 S Kalaheo Ave, Kailua, A short walk from the soft white sand of Kailua beach Kalapawai is so laid back. Help yourself to the daily coffees, around 6-8 choices, from Kona or Vanilla Macademia or Hazelnut or Coconut and the super large muffins or local banana bread. There’s a small kitchen selling breakfast and lunches and there’s a couple of rows of grocery goods and tasteful holiday trinkets. Recommended a long time ago by Bud 


Ai Love Nalo 41-1025 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo: A vegan restaurant in a super local area that sources ingredients from local farmers. It’s more than a restaurant its a whole wellness centre with a great ethos. Recommended by Laura


Merriman’s, 1108 Auahi Street, Honolulu. Known across all the islands Merrimans in Honolulu is the newest addition. It’s a proper dining experience and the prices can be high but there are small plates at smaller prices and Happy Hour offers at the bar, and with live music every night you can listen to a slack key master included in the price of a meal and you can’t argue with that when the musician is Jeff Peterson


Koko Marina Pub 7192 Kalaniana’ole Highway, Honolulu. The second home of the Kona Brewing Company [the first being on the Big Island, Hawaii]. The 48 beers on tap are great and even better during Happy Hour, which starts at 3pm, my current favourite is Lemongrass Lu’au, a blonde ale with lemongrass and ginger tones. Sit at the bar with a beer and a plate of pupus [poo poos] – Hawaiian snacks. Not sure who recommended this first but Him Indoors would highly recommend to anyone!!


Island Brew 377 Keahole St, Hawaii Kai. Its the location more than anything, you can sit shaded under umbrellas whilst looking out over water and sipping iced coffee. Maybe a bit pricier than other coffee places but its all about location location location. Recommended by Joyce.


Foodland 1450 Ala Moana Blvd Honolulu Yes Foodland! if you go to the one in the Ala Moana Centre [shopping mall] in the middle they have a u shaped bar that serves beers, wines and plates of cheese and charcuterie from the deli. You can also collect a selection of salads or hot food and bring it back to eat at the bar. Recommended by Marion


Shave Ice you can find shave ice all over Oahu, if you are at the North Shore then the queues at Matsumoto’s are very long but make sure you get condensed milk on the top, you will never want it any other way again. One of the best shave ices is Island Snow and the one in Kailua is a stand in a clothing store [600 Kailua Rd, Kailua] – one of Obama’s favourite spots, so lets just say that this was recommended by the Obama family.

Back on the Cornish cliffs for the next post.




About Ruth

I am an actor and theatre maker, I moved down to the SW of England 19 years ago with my partner and son. Five years ago we bought a chalet on the Rame Peninsula and are fully embracing life of the cliff.
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