Oahu: Off Beaten Guide Away from Tourists.
Koko Head Stairs: they are not really stairs. It is straight up the mountain. Go at 5:30am to avoid the tourist. Teenagers okay. Not for safe for elderly and young kids.
Waikiki Run around Diamond Head
Hikes: Most of the hikes outside of the tourist areas like Koko Head, Diamond Head are steep wet, and usually and can be dangerous. BRING WATER on all hikes. Dehydration can happen anytime.
Aiea Loop Trail: Kid Friendly
Kuliouou Ridge Hike: See the view from above. You can see everything from Kailua to Downtown Waikiki. Not for kids. Teenagers okay.
Ka’au Crater: Scale the side of the waterfall. I learned afterward that some tourists had to be helicopter evaded out according to a friend who lives off this hike. Not for kids.
Makapu Light House Trail: Paved Trail Uphill. Be aware of break-ins. Kid safe.
Wa’ahila Ridge Trail – Oahu Hike
I went this time. This is pretty technical. The view of Manoa Valley. Don’t go when it is raining unless you want to take a mud shower.
Warning: most hikes on ridges are muddy and slippery during the wet season. During the dry season, make sure you bring plenty of water because dehydration is a real issue.
Pill Box Hike – Kailua
Safe for kids. Nice view of the Mokes, the islands off shore.
Food = Grinds as the local call it.:
Music: Blue Note: https://www.bluenotehawaii.com
Waikiki:https://www.halekulani.commoana surf rider
Kai Mana is pretty safe for kids and open water swim. Occasional monk seals come here. https://goo.gl/maps/aPehsuuVQX1Z5Sme8
Kailua Beach is always a hit. Marcus Mariotta of the Las Vegas Raiders was seen working out here.https://goo.gl/maps/Mns3a7kwbLFqrHiQ7
Sandys is windy and the waves can hurt people if people are not careful. Great tidepool for kids.
Electric Beach on the West Side is also nice
Kids (Keiki) Friendly places to go.
Gyotaku: Family friendly local Japanese Food.
Kids Eat Free: https://gyotakuhawaii.com/menu-keiki_menu/
Monday & Tuesday nights: For each adult who buys a complete meal at the regular price, one child 10 years of age or under may order one item from our Keiki Menu free!
Koko Head Cafe: Top Chef Lee Ann Marie Wong’s Place https://www.yelp.com/biz/koko-head-cafe-honolulu. Definitely one of my favorites. It used to be my must-go place. I stopped going here since it is full all the time and I have pretty much had everything on the menu.(Moved to new location as of of 3/19/2022 – Formerly 12th Ave Grill) http://kokoheadcafe.com I now opt for:
Kaimuki Superette since it is no more for the locals and fewer tourists.
et Al: This is nice fusion breakfast. Nice place to sit and dine. Nuvo Bistro look and feel.
Mitch’s Fish Market: If you are just coming from the airport. This place is amazing. Nothing fancy but unbelievable sushi. Service is bad as of 3/18/2022.
Sushi Izakaya Gaku : Somes this place is a 3 month wait. Japanese tourists hang out here.
Omakase – @sushi inside Ohana Market Place or Sushi Murayama are both awesome. Both do A5 Waygu musubi. Enough said.
Okonomiyakihttps://www.yelp.com/biz/okonomiyaki-chibo-restaurant-honolulu-2?osq=Okonomiyaki I haven’t been here for over 5 years. It was amazing since they make it right then and there for you.
Tane – Vegan Sushi. This is the same menu as ShiZen in SF’s Mission District. I have grown not to like vegan sushi since it started to taste all the same to me. However, my wife still likes it.
Vegan: Juicy Brew. My friend, Jenny founded this place. It is pretty amazing.
Farm to Table:https://www.yelp.com/biz/merrimans-honolulu-4
- Via Gelato: https://www.yelp.com/biz/via-gelato-honolulu-5
- Pipeline Bakery:
- Black Sheep Desert Inside H-Mart by SALT (My wife likes it. I think it is too sweet.)
8 1/2 Deserts https://www.yelp.com/biz/8-1-2-desserts-kaneohe
- Foodland Market,
- Young’s Fish Market
- Yama’s Fish Market
- Tamura’s : https://www.tamurasfinewine.com/ (This is Bomb)
- Taneoka’s fish Market: Family connection
- Ahi Asassins: when they open back up. (Closed Temporarily)
Spam Musubi: Musubi Cafe IYASUME
- Pipeline Bakery for Malasada’s and Cake Bombs – for Leonards.
- The Bread Shop for Yummy Croissants.
- Le Tour for Vietnamese/ French/Japanese Fusion Bakers. Try the Crescent Bread!!
- Liliha Bakery at A la Moana: Coco Puffs
- Kamehama Bakery: Poi Donut
- Coffee: Curbed – Kaimuki, Bean About Town – Kaimuki, Coffee Talk – Kaimuki
Chinese and Viet: Most Chinese and Vietnamese Places Suck if you are expecting it to takes and look like Vancouver, LA or Bay Area. However if you must:
- Dew Drop Inn https://www.yelp.com/biz/dew-drop-inn-honolulu
- The Pig and The Lady – KCC Farmers Market and Chinatown
North Shore:Shrimp Trucks.. Haleiwa.
Beer: Local Brewhttps://www.yelp.com/biz/off-the-wall-craft-beer-and-wine-honolulu
Romantic + Tasting Menu
Miro Kaimuki: If you are feeling fancy, then I recommend Chris Kajoka’s place Miro. His former restaurant was Senia which was amazing. For Brunch, they had a Shakshuka and Deep Fried Duck Confit and Waffles as if you didn’t need any more fat. Below are pictures from my anniversairy dinner.
M by Jeremy Shigekane: My favorite Vegan tasting: (CLOSED) 3/18/2022 Update
I tried their vegan tasting menu, and it was phenomenal. Here are some pictures below.
Noods: For Bay Area folks this is comparable to the places on Castro Street or a place in J-town in Mountain View. It is not on the same level as Ramen Nagi or Orenshi.
Avoid: https://www.junpuuramen.com/ The place is not anything close to Ramen Nagi, Orenshi, Santa Ramen or Ramen Dojo. Even Dohatsuzen in Palo Alto is better. In short, this place is overprice and sucks.
Shabu Shabu: Atsuka Nabe is really great. My cousin in-law from Japan says it is really good. I agree.
Thai: Wat Thai Temple – Pearl City – One or two Sunday they have a lunch at the Thai Temple. Best Thai food you will get. Street food style. None of this different level of spice. Only one. You don’t need to bring your own MSG. It is in it already.
Mediterranean – Istanbul… If you have a craving, this is the only place to go. All the other restaurants are not good.
1938 Indochine: Good by Hawaii standards. Meaning it is not Vung Tau or Nga Trang in San Jose. If you go there with that expectation, then you will be disappointed. It is a lively ambiance. It has a speakeasy as well.
8 Fat Fat 8 for 8 Fat Fat Chicken
Aiea Bowl for Ox Tail Soup. This place featured Diner, Dives, and Drive Inns with Guy Fieri.
Dinner: Zippy’s. If Denny’s has an Asian Cousin. This is it.
Papa Cristos: Hole in the Wall Shwerma Place:
Save it for the mainland. However, if you have a craving…
- Italian – Brick Fire Tavern for Neapolitan Pizza. It is pretty good. Just don’t look for fresh burrata or anything you expect in the mainland.
- Indian – If you insist, go to Maharani…
- Greek – No Suggestions. Leo’s Taverna — really bad
- Fallafel- Shaloha nope. tasteless fallafel
- Mexican – Supposedly there is a good food car place
- French – Nope
- Vietnamese – If you must… https://www.phooldsaigon.com This place is the close you will get to Westminster and San Jose. It even has Che’ which I was shocked to find. Legit
- Bay View – Par 3 Kaneohe – Muddy and wet during winter months.
- Hawaii Kai Par 3
- Ala Moana – High End: LV, Chanel, Gucci + Local Stores like T&C, Local Motion, HIC.
- Kahala Mall – Local
- International Market Place – Waikiki
- Royal Hawaii – Waikiki –
Best Places for Hawaiian Shirts: Tori Richards, Reyn Spooner, and Manaloa
Local Owned Surf Clothing Stores: T&C Surf, HIC,