Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See our Advertising Policy
One of the great things about traveling the world is the opportunity to taste some amazing culinary delights. Enjoying dishes prepared by award-winning chefs while overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches (or Volcano, see below) will be your most talked about memories for years.
Finding the best restaurants in Hawaii can be tricky, especially if you are not familiar with all the options. Below is my personal list for the best spots on every major island, Maui, Kaua’i, Big Island, and Oahu.
Whatever occasion you’re planning, no occasion needed, Hawaii has a wide range of excellent restaurants catering to a wide range of tastes and budgets. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.
Enough chit chat, let’s dig in.
The most prestigious French restaurant in Hawaii, has been bestowed Five Stars by the Forbes Travel Guide. Located in the award winning Halekulani Hotel with oceanfront views. It is also classified as a AAA Five-Diamond Restaurant for successive years. Tropical and local delicacies inspire the menu while maintaining an old world flair for the most discerning diner. Every meal and dish is uniquely prepared, and you’ll see everything from decadent fish and meat dishes to foie grass and caviar.
Mud Hen Water – O’ahu
Mud Hen Water, nestled in the heart of Honolulu, presents a fusion of traditional Hawaiian cuisine with a contemporary twist. The restaurant is renowned for its relaxed and inviting atmosphere, characterized by wooden tables and warm, ambient lighting, creating a cozy and home-like setting.
The menu at Mud Hen Water is a culinary adventure, blending local Hawaiian flavors with innovative creations. A standout dish is the beet poke, a vegetarian version of the Hawaiian classic poke bowl, offering a delightful and colorful alternative to the traditional fish-based recipe. The staff are known for their friendly and helpful service, always ready to offer recommendations or explain the dishes in detail.
For anyone planning to visit Mud Hen Water, a helpful tip would be to arrive early or book a reservation, as the restaurant is quite popular and can get busy, particularly during dinner. Mud Hen Water is one of several establishments by Chef Ed Kenney, who emphasizes local and sustainable ingredients in his cooking.
Sushi Sho – O’ahu
Do you see the photo above? That’s it, that is the whole restaurant and that is why many consider this place to have the best sushi outside of Tokyo.
Sushi Sho at the Ritz Carlton Waikiki is a remarkable culinary destination, especially for those who appreciate the art of Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is celebrated for offering an exquisite sushi experience, combining traditional techniques with a modern flair. It’s set in an elegant and intimate space within the luxurious Ritz Carlton, providing an upscale and serene dining atmosphere.
The menu at Sushi Sho is a testament to the skill and creativity of its sushi chefs. It features a wide array of sushi and sashimi, meticulously prepared with the freshest ingredients. One of the highlights is the omakase experience, where the chef presents a series of dishes based on what’s freshest and in season. This approach ensures a unique and memorable dining experience each time.
Children under 13 not allowed.
From popup to farmers market and then to a nationally recognized brick and mortar location, one new restaurant not to miss. The “Trough” tasting menu is dessert only and will set you back a bit, in your seat. Be sure to try the signature Pho soup dish and tripe chicharrones. This is definitely a place to bring friends and family with many of the dishes labeled as “shared” and the overall family style feel. You can still find them at several farmers markets throughout the week, just look for the long lines.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food – O’ahu
Helena’s is for the true foodie who wants to try genuine, homestyle local food and flavors. Sit down at this iconic restaurant and order what the locals order, you will not be disappointed. If you are looking for oceanfront views and fine china, move on. This Honolulu eating place is famous for its squid luau. It’s a traditional Hawaiian dish, which is made from butter, calamari, coconut milk, and luau leaves. Get everything you would get at a luau without any distractions, if you want a truly authentic eating experience in Hawaii, this should be your first stop.
- Helena’s Hawaiian Food Website
- Map & Directions
- Make A Reservation? No such thing, come early or be patient in line.
- Phone number – (808) 845-8044
Mariposa – O’ahu
A favorite for business lunch and a spot not many know that has amazing views over Ala Moana Beach Park. Although it is inside Nieman Marcus the pricing is on par with other restaurants of similar quality. There are lots of great spots to each in the Ala Moana Shopping Center but this is the only one I recommend as a destination.
Service is quick as expected for a popular business lunch spot but don’t be afraid to take your time and enjoy the views.
MW Restaurant – O’ahu
This is truly one of the best restaurants of Honolulu, highlighting unique Pacific Rim menus by partners in real life, Pastry Chef Michelle Kerr-Ueoka and Chef Wade Ueoka. Eating the mochi-crusted Kona Kanpachi should be high on your list for dinner. The lovely and unique fish preparation is what made Wade famous and put this place on the map.
The Original Roy’s in Hawaii Kai – O’ahu
Roy Yamaguchi is one of the orginal Hawaiian chefs in charge of placing Hawaiian fusion cuisine on the worldwide culinary map. When you visit this restaurant, you will relish fresh Hawaiian fare in a modern setting with fabulous sceneries of Maunalua Bay. We suggest that you order the Misoyaki butterfish or short rib as entrees.
Hau Tree – O’ahu
Hau Tree’s menu showcases a delightful array of dishes that I had the chance to enjoy with family and friends on several occasions. With a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients the restaurant is particularly famous for its brunch offerings. Their lunch and dinner menus also offer an enticing selection of dishes, ranging from light salads to hearty entrees, all prepared with a nod to Hawaiian flavors.
A notable aspect of dining at Hau Tree is the opportunity to enjoy their signature cocktails and a range of refreshing beverages, perfect for sipping while taking in the gorgeous ocean views. Kaimana Beach is directly in front of this restaurant and offers some of the most breathtaking sunset views on Oahu.
The restaurant’s atmosphere, combined with its culinary offerings, makes it an ideal spot for both romantic dinners and casual gatherings.
These picks will set you up for a great experience on O’ahu and if you check out my full list of favorite restaurants on O’ahu you will see I have many more to share with you.
Did you know that Mama’s Fish House is one of the highest-rated restaurants in all of Hawaii?
Mama’s Fish House offers a unique dining experience that combines fine dining with Hawaiian style, charm, and history. It’s recommended to make reservations for lunch as dinner reservations are not available. Though considered a splurge due to its higher price range, the restaurant’s exceptional service, interesting and delicious menu, and enchanting open-air ambiance with beautiful decor make it a worthwhile experience. Located between Paia and Ho’okipa Beach, it boasts a stunning beachfront setting.
The menu features a delightful mix of Pacific Rim, Hawaiian, and American cuisine. The staff is notably friendly, enhancing the overall dining experience. A highlight is their signature dessert, the Polynesian Black Pearl, known for its impressive presentation.
You might even choose to stay the night, that’s right, Mama’s Fish House is also an Inn! Mama’s Fish House is an ideal option for celebrations and romantic dinners.
Monkeypod Kitchen – Maui
The menu at Monkeypod Kitchen is a celebration of Hawaii’s diverse culinary landscape. It includes a range of dishes from wood-fired pizzas with unique, local toppings to fresh island fish and creative appetizers. A standout feature is their use of locally sourced ingredients, which not only supports Hawaiian farmers and producers but also ensures the freshness and quality of the dishes.
A must-try at Monkeypod Kitchen is their famous Mai Tai, topped with a honey-lilikoi foam that adds a unique tropical twist to the classic cocktail. Another highlight is their dessert menu, which often features homemade pies with seasonal ingredients.
Merriman’s Outdoor Oceanfront Grill at Kapalua – Maui
Merriman owned restaurants have come up on this list earlier and its no surprise that another one has popped up. Chef Peter Merriman always puts his heart and soul into creating an amazing dining experience. This location is renowned for its ocean front views and farm to table experience. Enjoy a picture perfect sunset over Kapalua Bay or bubbly during brunch, you cant miss.
Diners at the Kō Maui are guaranteed something unique with the creative cross-cultural cuisine on offer. Located within the elegant Fairmont Kea Lani it pairs perfectly with resort. You could not find a more thrilling menu of pan European and Asian cuisine. They integrate influences from Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. The highly sought after chef Tylun Pang got his inspiration from the sugarcane plantation period. You can indulge in a wide variety of dishes here from chapchae noodles to lumpia. All those favorite family dishes are served up with a unique twist.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar – Kapalua, Maui
This restaurant offers exactly what you are craving, from fresh seafood, grilled fresh catch of the day and a wide spectrum of poultry and beef menus. Third-generation Japanese American Chef D.K. Kodama runs the restaurant with traditional cooking style. The original location was opened in 1996 at the Kapalua Resort. Today, you will find four different Sansei restaurants on three other islands. This amazing fish house is famous for its modern Hawaiian spin on Japanese cuisine and its vibrant ambiance. When you visit, make sure you check out the Award Winners section on their menu.
Maui’s Chef Table by The Mill House – Maui
This restaurant in Hawaii feels and looks like no other place in the country. It offers a country estate feel and a fine-dining menu combining continental luxury along with sustainable and local Hawaiian ingredients. It’s worth mentioning that most ingredients are locally sourced from over 100 fishers and farmers. You will find a sophisticated Old Hawaii-style property that is set in the middle of the Maui countryside. Some of the highly popular menu items includes, fresh Onaga, Molokai Venison, and Big Island Lamb. This is a set menu restaurant and if you have children under 11 you need to call ahead.
Spago at Four Seasons – Maui
A Chef Wolfgang Puck restaurant located within the Four Season Maui at Wailea resort is a perfect place to enjoy the culinary delights of Maui in a pleasant, modern setting. Take note that this best restaurant earned a AAA four-diamond and Mobil four-star rating. A farm to table establishment with amazing sunsets and neighbor island views from the lanai.
Nick’s Fish Market at The Fairmont Kea Lani – Maui
Nick’s Fish Market serves a wide variety of Mediterranean style dishes with a Hawaiian influence, employing the fresh taste of both coastal cultures. Located within the Fairmont Kea Lani resort amongst a lush tropical setting. If you want to take advantage of the happy hour be sure to go early, it is quite popular and there can be waits.
Duo Steak & Seafood at Four Seasons – Maui
This restaurant, located at the Four Seasons Wailea, boasts a stunning poolside setting that overlooks the Pacific ocean. A “true” high end steak and seafood restaurant, be sure to try the bone in ribeye. The Duo is a perfect place to enjoy an elegant atmosphere and a romantic setting. Take advantage of the private dining room for small events, parties, or after meeting get together.
Here is my full list of favorite restaurants on Maui that food lovers will appreciate, local chefs and ocean views are a winning combination.
‘Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge – Big Island
Located in the Award Winning (Forbes 5 Star, AAA 5 Diamond Rated) Four Seasons Resort – Hualalai. Their modern Hawaiian cuisine is paired perfectly with this amazing destination on the Big Island. It is under the management of Executive Chef Chris Bateman. The fine-dining restaurant aims to become artisanal, seasonal, and regional by sourcing seventy-five percent of its menu from various local fishers and farms. Their farm to table specialties include Big Island wild boar, fresh sushi and seafood, as well as the roasted Kekala beet salad with smoked Puna goat cheese.
Huggo’s – Big Island
Oceanfront, sunset views for days, tiki drinks, and great food, what more can you ask for. Opened in 1969 it was initially a meeting place for local fishermen, eventually, it transformed into the most sought-after restaurant n the Big Island for fresh seafood. The signature teriyaki steak is their best seller and over-the-top tiki drinks are so much fun.
The Rim at Volcano House – Big Island
This upscale restaurant in Hawaii is the only dining option in the region with a majestic and jaw-dropping view of a volcano! How amazing is that? The food here is locally sourced seafood and gets 4 out of 5 stars on Google. Can you think of another restaurant that allows you to see the majestic glow of the caldera from your table! One tip you need to take note of when eating here. Make sure you make a reservation for dinner around sunset. Located within the Volcano House hotel.
Avalon Gastropub – Kaua’i
Opened in 2018, this is the first-ever gastropub in Kauai, the brainchild of Ali and Gabe Avalon. The staff here is fantastic and they are eager to go above and beyond in satisfying their guess.. Avalon is also expanding the cocktail game in the region with handcrafted cocktails that are mouth-watering and unique. You will not find a cocktail lounge like this one anywhere on the island.
Beach House – Kaua’i
The Beach House boasts views from all sides that are spectacular, not to mention that the food is incredibly fantastic. Peter Merriman owns this location along with several other award winning restaurants in Hawaii.
The quality at this location is credit to Chef Marshall Blanchard, who converts seafood-inflected comfort food, into the ideal volume of fancy. Did you know that the Beach House hosts different events as well, such as live music and weddings?
One of the best Kaua’i restaurants is situated at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort, a Marriott Bonvoy Hotel . Did you know that it’s the sister restaurant to Keoki’s Paradise? You will notice that the menu here is quite unique with several local flavors. The main level of Duke’s is a barefoot beachfront where children are welcome and live music is played. You can eat upstairs where the main dining room is located. The food here is delicious and fresh, not to mention that the setting is tropical making it perfect for vacation meals.
Keoki’s Paradise – Kaua’i
Will you be looking for a restaurant on Kaua’i with a tropical vibe? Then Keoki’s Paradise is where you should be heading with it garden landscaping and fresh local cuisine. Make sure you leave room for one of the fan favorite dishes Hula Pie, we suggest you split it, if you must.
Which of these restaurants in Hawaii do you plan to visit soon? Know of one we should add? Let us know in the comments below.