Oahu

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ShermansTravel experts know where to find the best meal in town at the best price. Our restaurant reviews sift through the mountains of menus to highlight neighborhood gastronomic institutions and up-and-coming foodie hotspots – not to mention where to go for affordable, dependable fare complemented by a charming atmosphere.

Top Restaurants in Oahu

Alan Wong's Restaurant

One of the founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, the farm-to-table revolution that encouraged local farmers to grow high-quality produce, Wong invents riffs on the comfort foods of the many cultures informing Hawaii's melting pot cuisine. Poke, Hawaii's version of ceviche, shows up as Poki-Pines (spiky flash-fried wontons), while loco moco (a local hamburger, rice, and egg dish) is reinterpreted as unagi meat loaf, topped with a quail egg and flavored by kabayaki sauce. President Obama chose Wong as chef for his administration's debut congressional picnic. Try to find a higher level of approval.

1857 South King Street #208, HI, 808-949-2526, www.alanwongs.com
Tags: seafood | expensive | smart splurge | smart luxury winner | hawaiian

Chai's Island Bistro

A tasty Pacific Rim-fusion restaurant that showcases a daily turntable of top Hawaiian musicians along with a menu featuring a unique combination of tropical fare with European flare: fresh fish features (like grilled Mahi-Mahi with Thai Red Curry sauce) are pitted against stuffed quail, escargot, and frog legs - all cooked in the open-tiled kitchen under the hungry eyes of guests.

Aloha Tower Marketplace, 1 Aloha Tower Dr., HI, 808-585-0011, www.chaisislandbistro.com
Tags: moderate | great value | polynesian

Chef Mavro

A 2003 James Beard winner, Chef George Mavrothalassitis put Oahu on the international dining map thanks to his innovative takes on island specialties, commitment to seasonality, and passion for pairing food and wine. Expect his Provençal influences and dead-on palate to shine through every dish.

1969 S. King St., HI, 808-944-4714, www.chefmavro.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef

Diamond Head Market and Grill

For one of the best grilled ahi sandwiches around, drive around the base of Diamond Head, order from the window of this casual restaurant, and bite into it at a nearby picnic table. Homemade ice cream, pies, cheese selection, wines, and other picnic fare make it a great stop for any outing.

3158 Monsarrat Ave., HI, 808-732-0077, www.diamondheadmarket.com
Tags: family | budget | great value | market

Doraku

Created by Kevin Aoki, son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, Doraku adds an exotic touch to well-prepared Pan Asian favorites and turns out plate after gorgeous plate of jewel-like sushi. Artisanal sakes, many of which aren't available anywhere else in the U.S., are expertly paired by one of the state's few sake sommeliers.

2233 Kalakaua Ave., HI, 808-922-3323, www.dorakusushi.com
Tags: moderate | sushi

Giovanni’s White Shrimp Truck

Not quite white from the layers of affectionate graffiti scribbled across its hull over the years, it's still an essential North Shore stop in Kahuku for grilled, fresh-from-the-sea shrimp served with rice.

Mobile -- Numerous Locations, HI,
Tags: seafood | local favorite

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Since 1946, Helen Kwock Chock has been serving hungry Hawaiians a menu featuring the likes of tripe stew, luau squid, and fried butterfish that, in 2000, snagged the petite chef a James Beard Award. Menu items (combination and ala-carte) are all priced from $1-$18. Open Tuesdays through Fridays only.

2009 SMART LUXURY WINNER

Unassuming Helena's Hawaiian Food, on Oahu, serves outstanding local fare that's garnered plaudits from the James Beard Foundation. See more Smart Luxury Award winners

1240 North School St., 808.845.8044, www.helenashawaiianfood.com
Tags: seafood | smart luxury winner | great value | local favorite

Hula Grill

Nab a porchside seat at this oceanfront restaurant for some of the best sightlines of Waikiki without getting sand in your shoes. Breakfasts of banana-and-macadamia-nut pancakes and dinners of ribs or grilled ono with pineapple salsa have made it a local favorite.

2335 Kalakaua Ave., HI, 808-923-4852, www.hulagrillwaikiki.com
Tags: family | moderate | editor pick | local favorite | signature cocktails

Indigo

This downtown Honolulu hotspot serves eclectic Eurasian fare - think goat cheese wontons with four-fruit sauce and sweet-and-sour baby back ribs with ginger soy sauce - and pairs it with a fun cocktail menu.

1121 Nu’uanu, HI, 808-521-2900, www.indigo-hawaii.com
Tags: moderate | global fusion

La Mer

At the Halekulani hotel, locals and tourists alike splurge on chef Yves Garnier's French specialties made with fresh island ingredients. Dinner begins with a glass of champagne, a fitting way to start an evening to be filled with some of the most elegant food on Oahu: where else can you find foie gras prepared two ways on the same menu, or fresh truffles simply adorned so their earthy flavor can be appreciated?

2199 Kalia Rd., HI, 808-923-2311, www.halekulani.com
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | french

Legends Seafood House

Dim Sum at the boisterous Legends Seafood House in Chinatown is an after-church tradition for many local families - follow their lead and try to nab a seat near the kitchen so you can have first pick of plump and slightly sticky shrimp dumplings, tender pork buns, and comforting cheong fun, the toothsome rice noodle rolls that arrive piping hot and blanketed with sweet soy sauce.

100 Beretania St., HI, 808-532-1868
Tags: budget | seafood | great value

Mei Sum

There's a good chance you'll dine with students from the Buddhist school down the block at this tiny, quiet Dim Sum restaurant where there's no need to wait for the cart - if the restaurant isn't crowded, you're welcome to inspect the day's offerings yourself.

65 N Pauahi St., HI, 808-531-3268
Tags: budget | local favorite | dim sum

Opal Thai food

Some of Oahu's best food is served out of mobile lunchwagons and while many visitors focus on sampling the highly publicized shrimp trucks, they unfortunately overlook the island's most delicious Thai cuisine. Opal Thai, located in a circle of lunchwagons across from a McDonald's in Haleiwa, is a favorite among locals for its fresh tofu rolls, fiery papaya salad, rich curries and innovative noodle dishes—try the garlicky noodles or the drunken noodles. Sitting under a tree on the picnic bench with a cold Thai iced tea is truly a pleasure after a hot morning at the beach.

Lunchwagon lot across from McDonald's in Haleiwa, 66-460 Kamehameha Hwy., 808-381-8091
Tags: budget | thai | great value | takeout

Romy's Shrimp and Prawn Shack

There are dozens of shrimp shacks on the North Shore, but there's always a line at bright-red Romy's because it's the only shack that raises its own shrimp. Place your order for shrimp or gigantic prawns (locals eat them drenched in garlic butter) and in a few minutes you'll be called to pick up the piping-hot crustaceans at the window.

56781 Kamehameha Hwy., HI, 808-232-2202, www.romyskahukuprawns.org
Tags: budget | seafood

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