Recommendations – Waikiki and Oahu
There are many wonderful places to eat, visit, and enjoy on Oahu. I am naming a few that I thought were outstanding. Observation - there is so much competition in the restaurant business that only the best survive. Thus, you will find excellent food depending on your tastes at almost any restaurant especially in the resort areas.
Restaurants: Again so many from which to choose. I am recommending three plus a world-class shaved ice. As mentioned earlier, it is hard to go wrong at any restaurant on the Island.
Haleiwa Joe's at Haiku Gardens (in Kaneohe): A wonderful, romantic dining experience on the other side of the Island. The restaurant overlooks an exquisite garden. The food and service - magnificent - the coconut shrimp appetizer a must. You WILL ENJOY! In Feb. 04, we ate at the sister restaurant Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill in Haleiwa. It was just as good.
Matsumoto Grocery Store: Some argue - the best shaved ice in the World is sold here. Expect a line, especially if the day is sunny. Yes, the wait is worth it. Yes, it is on the other side from Waikiki in Haileiwa.
Cholo's Home style Mexican (in Haileiwa): Mexican in Hawaii? Frankly, I was surprised to find such an outstanding Mexican restaurant. As you can see from the picture, it is not fancy but the food is authentic and delicious. My son Craig (hat) and his buddy Ryan enjoying their food. On a recent visit in Feb. 04, I discovered that the restaurant has been enlarged. The food is still very good.
Giovanni's Shrimp Wagon located next to the Kahuku Sugar Mill (Highway 83). Nothing fancy, very messy, and totally delicious! This little van is an institution. There are many imitators but only one Giovanni's. Writing your name on the old Volkswagon van is also a tradition. No matter what time you show, expect a line.
Recommendations '05

Activities – Again, there are too many to discuss. To see my recommendations from last year, click here. The free Hawaiian show offered each evening on Waikiki Beach is an excellent way to end the day. For spectacular views and to escape some of the crowds, be sure to visit the North Shore (via public bus or rental car).

Restaurants – So many to choose from - frankly, they do not stay in business long if they don't meet public needs. My newest recommendation is Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar located on third floor of the Waikiki Beach Mariott. This is dining at its finest. The tempera fried ice cream was a perfect end to a perfect meal. For more info, click here.

Recommendations '07

The two new restaurants I am recommending are well-known in Hawaii and among dining gourmets, but I paid my first visits to them. The first is a small chain but never-the-less provides fine service and delectable food, Roy's. Chef and owner Roy Yamaguchi invented what he refers to as “Hawaiian Fusion© Cuisine” — a tempting combination of exotic flavors and spices mixed with the freshest of local ingredients, always with an emphasis on seafood. A visit to one of his restaurants on any of the islands will provide you with a delightful experience. Be sure to try a chocolate soufflé. For more information.

The second is Alan Wong’s Restaurant (808-949-2526) on King Street in Honolulu, named as “Hawaii's Best 2007 for Fine Dining." I will simply state that the food (10/10), service (10/10), and experience (10/10) ranked as one of my top five dining experiences in life, if not the top one. Be ready to spend, but every cent is worth it! For more information

Recommendations '08 (2 trips)


To Do: When I speak with individuals who have traveled to Hawaii, they talk about how glad they were to "get out" of Honolulu and go to one of the other islands. For me, I thoroughly enjoy Waikiki and Honolulu, always spending a day or two there before moving on. (I use the first night there to help catch up with some of the jet lag.) Quality restaurants and lodging abound in a concentration found in only a few other U.S. cities. The city is also filled with a fascinating history. One way to learn more about it and observe the sites is to take the Waikiki Trolley. It picks up at most of the hotels and provides an overview tour of the city. There are on and off privileges that permit you to stay as long as you want at the stops. Yes, there are some of the inevitable tourist shopping stops, but you can ignore or enjoy, depending on your mood. This time I concentrated on several stops that I had bypassed before. Foster Botanical Garden is a tranquil respite in the center of the city. Gorgeous! The Buddhist temple at the entrance is worth a respectful visit. Last month, I offered the poem Hey Joe that described our Chinatown experience. Be sure to stop and meander among the shops and restaurants. The Arizona Memorial and the Mighty Mo are also definite stops for first-timers. Finally, be sure to rent a car or take public transportation to the interior and the North Shore of Oahu. The scenes will equal or exceed any you will find on the other islands. During the winter months, you can spend hours watching the surfers on Pipeline. Though I have visited the Valley of the Temples (7-200 Kahekili Highway) over a dozen times, I still enjoy stopping for some quiet time and remain in awe of the overall setting. There are worship places for each major religion. However, the most architecturally memorable is the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple, a replica of a 900-year-old temple in Uji, Japan.


Food: When traveling the North Shore area, stop at one of the many shrimp wagons. Prepare to get your fingers messy as you devour the seasoned shrimp. On a hot or rainy day, enjoy world famous Matsumoto's shaved ice located in the small village of Haleiwa on the North Shore.

1) Leonard's Bakery at 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, Oahu is a decadent stop for doughnuts or even better, malasadas. Be sure to grab a number of napkins as the delectable filling oozes out with your first bite. 2) Hau Tree Lanai Beachfront Restuarant in the the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel on a quiet section of Waikiki Beach is a magnificent location for an evening of romantic dining. The view, as seen on the right, is incredible, especially as the sun disappears into the Pacific. Food: 9-9.5/10; Service: 10/10; View: 11/10.

Waikiki Trolley
Foster Botanical Garden
Coe at the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple
Signing name on one of the shrimp wagons

Recommendations '09 - '15 (Checked out 2014 - all the above still valid.)

Bishop Museum: This museum located in Honolulu is the premier place to learn about the Hawaiian people and their culture. This restored building along with accompanying planetarium and other facilities is a wonderful place to spend all or part of a day. The history of Hawaii is revealed as you walk the main building. First the Polynesians arrived, followed centuries later by Captain Cook, next the whalers, and then missionaries. Eventually, the sugar cane barons arrived and usurped power from the Hawaiian kings and queens. Hawaii became a state in 1959.

To view my video, go to this YouTube link.


Leonard's Bakery: Again, I encourage you to stop here. People from all over the world stop to try the malasadas, considered some of the best in the world. There is always a line but well worth the wait. I have had the cab stop there on the way to the airport just to enjoy one more time. A MUST stop in Honolulu. Be sure to grab several napkins as they are a messy, decadent eat.

Restaurant: MAC 24/7 in the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel: Though this restaurant is not your typical Waikiki food establishment , I recommend it for its well-prepared food under its new executive chef. It is famous for its award winning pancakes (Be sure to order the small portion.) But don't think of the restaurant as only a place for breakfast. Lunches and dinners are also delicious. It advertises itself as the place for comfort food. We ate there numerous times this round and do not hesitate to recommend. I will warn you though that service can be rather slow. For about seventh time we stayed at this Hilton. I have always found the hotel staff to be extremely helpful.

Honolulu Zoo: Located at one end of Waikiki we decided to visit on a whim, having discussed so numerous times on previous visits. The zoo covers 42 acres and is home to 905 different animals. We had a great time! If you are traveling with children, it is a must place to visit. Surprisingly, one of the best lunches we had was at its small outdoor food stand (nice picnic area). I had a delicious ono sandwich accompanied with fresh fruit.

Recommendations 2016

On Oahu there are so many choices from which to choose including many beaches, the world class Honolulu Art Museum, the aquarium, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. (Composite pictures appear below.)

Lunch Hau Tree



There are over 2,000 restaurants in the Waikiki area. Two that we enjoyed are Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant (pictured right) at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. This the second time this restaurant appeared on my list. It is also considered one of the most romantic due to the spectacular sunset views. Bills in Waikiki is a new discovery and what a taste treat it was. I gave it five stars on Trip Advisor. Click here to read my review.






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