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Where To Eat In Waikiki, From Icon To Icon

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Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are my three favourite meals.

In a place like Waikiki on Oahu one of the hardest questions you may have to answer each day is where to eat? What’s worse is that you have to ask this question three times a day at least, a forth if you are doing a separate happy hour.The answer to my where to eat in Waikiki for me was simple, I wanted tried and true tourist favourites that were easy walking distance from my hotels. Fortunately this daily question was easy to answer because the restaurants that fit the bill were everywhere. I choose a few and I can’t wait to share my 30 Days In Hawaii gluttony tour of Waikiki with you. Let the Mai Tai’s and culinary adventures begin.

Wailana Coffee House

Dining Out For Life

First up let’s start with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. For my first breakkie in Waikiki I’m choosing a diner that has been around for over 30 years, Wailana Coffee House. Don’t go expecting fine china and white lines this is a Diner and there is usually a line up out the door. It’s open 24 hours a day but for me 9am is just about right for breakfast. I saddled on up to the bar and sat beside a lovely couple from Penticton that snowbird every year to Hawaii. We talked Okanagan Wines and tropical Hawaiian breezes, awesome. I don’t think I can go anywhere and not run into a Canadian or someone who hasn’t been to Vancouver. I’m craving a hearty meal so I order a cup of coffee and the Corned Beef Hash with a side of Hashbrowns, eggs poached soft please. I’m not sure if you can see in the bottom pick but the fruit that comes with my order is butter fried banana! BUTTER FRIED BANANA! Tasty but not super healthy, lol. All in all I rate this breakfast 2 sunny side up eggs Smile

inside the Wailana Coffee House

Sitting at the bar at Wailana Coffee House

Corned Beef and hasbrowns

Sticking with breakfast and even throwing in a dinner and a happy hour I tried out Hula Grill which is located on the beach inside the Outrigger Waikiki On The Beach. With views of the surf and sand plus a tasty menu this was the spot I ate at the most during my time in Waikiki. Two breakfast, pupus with a new friend from Melbourne Australia who happens to have been a co worker of one of my friends back in Vancouver (small world) and one dinner with an old event colleague I ran into. Hula Grill became my own personal dining room so to speak. For breakfast I had the breakfast burrito one morning and an omelette stuffed with 3 kinds of meat and cheese another morning

View from Hula Grill Waikiki

Egg Burrito at Hula Grill

Hawaiian omlette stuffed with portugese sausage, ham and cheese

For pupus you have to try the Crab Stuffed wontons. We tried them at the suggestion of our waiter and they were yummy! I was so hungry when my dinner arrived that believe it or not I forgot  to take a photo! Trust me the Steak Diane was delicious and well worth ordering. I think I had too many cocktails Smile

New friend Greg from Melbourne

Crab stuffed Wontons at Hula Grill

Located next door from Hula Grill at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach is the iconic Duke’s restaurant. For Duke’s be prepared to wait and make sure all your party is on site before asking for your table, this place is hopping and you won’t be seated until everyone is there. I was lucky enough to get a table for lunch on my last day in Oahu. I should have planned better and made a reservation the day or two before I wanted to eat there for dinner, now I know and next time I’ll be prepared. Lunch was fantastic though, I had the Fire Grilled Shrimp Salad to start, the Fish Tacos as my main and because I just had to the famous Hula Pie. If I had finished it I swear I would have gained enough weight to put some waves in my Hula dance Smile Don’t come to Duke’s if you want a quiet place to eat and read a book, Duke’s is a party joint with great food.


Fire Grilled Shrimp Salad

Fish Tacos

Hula Pie

Last but not least and technically the first meal I enjoyed after I checked into the Hyatt Regency Waikiki is at Japengo. Being that I am from Vancouver I don’t often chose Japanese food when I travel because it is so good and inexpensive back home. However I made an exception my first night arriving in Waikiki after checking in at the Hyatt. I was tired, hungry and to be honest lazy about making any decisions. WOW am I glad I did. Japengo is out of this world amazing!!! House Made Pork Gyoza that explode with flavour in my mouth. Honey Macadamia Crusted Shrimp that are sweet, sweet, sweet. Last but not least Scallop Butteryaki that literally melted as it entered my mouth. Nom nom nom.

House Made Pork Gyoza

Honey Macadamia Crusted Shrimp

Scallop Butteryaki

How can you go wrong with any of these choices? You can’t. Of course there are hundreds of other restaurants you could try but why. These are Marc Smith and 30 Days In Hawaii approved! Aloha and Mahalo. I’m going to have scallop butteryaki dreams tonight…

Thank you to my friends at the Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau for helping make this adventure possible. If you want to have your own Hawaiian adventure there is no better place to start than Go Hawaii, after you read this blog series though first.

eating some macadamia crusted shrimp


Dining Out For Life

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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