Where to Eat and Drink on O’ahu

It’s common knowledge – there’s no such thing as a bad Hawaiian vacation. The minute you step off the plane and that warm, sweet-smelling air hits your skin, the human happiness hormone increases. This island’s fruit is extra-sweet, the Mai Tai’s are strong and some of the most delicious discoveries are found roadside.

On a recent five-day trip to O’ahu, land of the biggest avocados and papayas you’ve ever seen, I discovered dozens of flavours that you simply must try and a handful of fun activities to fill your days.

A few spots I hear are great (but didn't get a chance to visit): Manifest (cocktails), 
Koko Head Cafe (brunch), Via Gelato, Otto Cake (cheesecake), Morimoto (sushi), Fresh Catch 
(seafood), Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, Romy’s Kahuku Prawns (food truck), Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp 
(food truck), Ted's Bakery, The Curb (coffee).

Thanks to Oahu Visitors Bureau for hosting such a wonderful trip!

The Modern Honolulu

1775 Ala Moana Blvd | 808-943-5800 $$$ | Resort Hotel

@modernhonolulu | Visit website

The Modern is a style-maven's dream resort. From the surf board lobby decor, to the monochromatic coffee bar and study (hidden beyond a revolving bookshelf) to the giant white pillows neatly aligned on every couch on the property, this hotel offers design-surprises around every corner. The breakfast menu delights with an avocado toast that rivals the best I've had, served with feta and radish on Pumpernickel rye. Other options include a green smoothie with kale, organic steel-cut oats and banana macadamia nut waffles. Morimoto is another dining option on property, featuring creative sushi from the Iron Chef himself who is focused on using ingredients from the island. Feel like partying? You've got a handful of tropical bars to choose from -- and the drinks here are strong.

Livestock Tavern

49 N Hotel St | 808-537-2577 $$ | Seasonal American

| Visit website

If there's one spot you must get to for cocktails in Honolulu, this is it. Located in the eclectic Chinatown Art district, Livestock creates unique, boldly-flavoured drinks that don't just sound good on paper. Execution is flawless, spirits are hand-crated and every syrup is made in house. Try the pumpkin cocktail with maple syrup, a whole egg and lemon -- it's creamy, yet bright-flavoured thanks to citrus and positively exquisite. Livestock's drink and American comfort food menus change with the seasons and they're open for lunch and dinner.

Brue Bar

675 Auahi St | $$ | Espresso Bar

@brue_bar | Visit website

Quite possible O'ahu's most cutting-edge coffee destination with four locations on-island. Get to the Paiko location (675 Auahi St) and sip hand-crafted espresso beverages (made with beans from top international roasters) while attending a tropical floral crown-making workshop often hosted by inspiring founder Tamara Rigney herself. This is most certainly the easiest way to transform yourself into a Hawai'an goddess! Blooms are sourced locally and this girlie activity is perfect for a pre-party (grab the white wine), a birthday celebration or a friend bonding session. You won't want to take your crown off! A post-workshop photo shoot is a must. And lengthen your crown's shelf life by popping it in the fridge or setting it in water. Base price of $350 includes 7 guests; add additional guests for $48. Minimum 6 guests; maximum 15 guests.

Heavenly Island Lifestyle

342 Seaside Ave | 808-923-1100 $$ | Organic Cafe

| Visit website

A brand new, all-natural health food restaurant featuring local ingredients, conveniently located in the heart of Honolulu. Heavenly serves local seafood (only when fresh) and often-organic meats alongside their vibrant, plant-forward menu. Choose from acai bowls, smoothies & juices, egg dishes, noodles and lots more. Pictured: pitaya bowl.

Morning Glass Coffee

2955 E Manoa Rd | 808-673-0065 $$ | Cafe

@morningglassc | Visit website

Heading to Mānoa Falls for a hike? (If you are, I recommend getting there early to avoid crowds of tourists.) Pit-stop at this beachy, open-air cafe serving creamy almond milk lattes and scratch-made baking (try an Earl Grey scone). Each cup of coffee is freshly ground to order and a variety of beans from top roasters are brewed. "Hawaiian coffee of the day" is also available so you can experience the local roasting. Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes, Breakfast Burritos and Oatmeal Brûlée are also on offer. And keep your eyes peeled for Hawaii Five-0 stars who seem to frequent this humble spot.

Mud Hen Water

3452 Waialae Ave | 808-737-6000 $$$ | Hawaiian

@mudhenwater | Visit website

Easily one of the coolest eateries on the island (design and food-wise) from local chef Ed Kenney who features modern Hawaiian cuisine with an ode to older flavours. Set in an up and coming, off-the-beaten-path neighbourhood, this is where locals go for a meal on the town. Try new flavours like koena hummus, baked mai'a maoli (heirloom banana) and I'a lawalu (opah buried in coals) in the rustic dining room or on the twinkle-light lit patio.

The Pig and The Lady

83 N King st | 808-585-8255 $$ | Asian Fusion

@pigandthelady | Visit website

This food truck-turned-bumpin-brick-and-mortar appears to be the locals' favourite. After seeing huge success at the KCC Farmers Market (where you'll find them to this day), this family-run operation opened a restaurant focused on Vietnamese fusion. Be warned: their dishes are Triple-D worthy. The cocktails are equally outrageous with ingredients like sriracha ice cubes, avocado-infused mezcal and condensed milk.


62 N Hotel St | 808-566-6768 $$ | French Latin

| Visit website

A casual Latin-French restaurant bar to include in your Friday night cocktail crawl...and an easy spot to stand around with friends or meet bar-dwelling locals. Try the "N. Hotel" with gin, cucumber, sage, coriander, lemon and ginger beer.

KCC Farmers Market

4303 Diamond Head Rd | $$ | Farmers Market

| Visit website

If there's one thing you do on O'ahu, let it be a visit to the KCC Farmers Market, Hawai'i's largest market, located on the Kapiolani Community College Campus in parking lot C. Your senses will be overwhelmed! The sights, the smells and even the sounds (live music adds to the fun vibe). Sorbet-stuffed tropical fruit and produce shopping is a must (plan for a beach or hike picnic?). The eggplant-sized avocados are particularly impressive (just make sure you buy a ripe one so you can eat it before you fly home and aren't forced to ditch it at customs!). The market is open from 7:30am-11:00am and you can follow @HNLFarmers on Twitter for market updates, specials & pics.

The Beet Box Cafe

66-443 Kamehameha Hwy | 808-637-3000 $$ | Organic Vegetarian

@thebeetboxcafe | Visit website

Breakfast, lunch and dinner heaven for any plant lover. Beet Box offers a plethora of colourful smoothies, bowls, juices, healthy desserts and more. Their baking is sweetened with maple syrup, bowls are big, colourful and filling and there are vegetarian (non-vegan) options for your egg-loving friends. You'll go crazy for this sweet spot!

The Local Hawaii

131 Hekili St | $$ | Shave Ice

| Visit website

If there's one sweet treat you must try in Hawaii (other than the fruit), it's the shave ice. You'll find it on most corners, but not all syrup-coated ice cups are created equal. Head to The Local for a version made with OnoPops organic syrup, OnoPops ice cream on the bottom and a drizzle of dulce de leche on top. While there, shop at the adjoining boutique for stylish souvenirs, like locally made candles, camping mugs and graphic tees. Looking for more top shave ice spots to try? Get to Barack Obama's favourite shop, "Island Snow".


56-565 Kamehameha Hwy | 808-561-5151 $$ | Vegan & Gluten Free Cafe

| Visit website

A dream hole-in-the-wall for allergen-prone diners. LaniLove, discreetly located at the side of a building, specializes in vegan, gluten-free and 95% organic food. Order sloppy sandwiches (on sweet potato buns, pictured), pizza, birthday cakes, muffins, waffles and even bread. Other than two chairs out front, there's no seating area, so take your meal to go or be prepared to stand.