(does not includes Kailua)
BAKERIES, COFFEE, ICE CREAM, JUICE & TEA
●Kamehameha Bakery – 1284 Salani Street (Kalihi); 808-845-5831; facebook.com/kamehamehabakeryinc; long-running, no-frills operation known for specialty poi-glazed donuts (poi is paste made from baked & pounded fermented taro root) & ensemadas (sweet, brioche-like bun dusted with powdered sugar); also try malasada (Portuguese doughnut); opens at 2 a.m. so get there early.
●Manifest – 32 North Hotel Street (Downtown); 808-523-7575; manifesthawaii.com; glass-ceilinged, exposed brick, loft space; bar by night, coffee-shop by day.
●Otto Cake – 1127 12th Avenue (Kaimukī); 808-834-6886; ottocake.com; punk-rock bakery; try cheesecake; also good are brownies & milkshakes.
●Shimazu Store – 330 North School Street (Kalihi); 808-371-8899; facebook.com/Shimazu-Store-Official-Shave-ice-halo-halo-popcorn-t-shirts-235456323206641/info/?tab=overview; notable for shave ice but general dessert stop.
●Waiola Shave Ice & Dessert Store – 2135 Waiola Street (Mo’ili’ili); 808-949-2269; waiolashaveice.com; try rainbow-condensed milk shave ice.
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Dragon Upstairs – 1038 Nuuanu Avenue (Chinatown, upstairs from Hank’s Cafe Honolulu); 808-526-1411; thedragonupstairs.com; live, Japanese-infused jazz in former tattoo parlor (hence dragon mural); classic cocktails along with loungy jazz performances most weeknights.
●Duke’s Restaurant & Barefoot Bar – 2335 Kalakaua Avenue (Waikīkī, at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort); 808-922-2268; dukeswaikiki.com; live, Hawaiian music; casual.
●Halekulani’s House Without Key – 2199 Kalia Road (Waikīkī, at Halekulani Hotel); 808-923-2311; halekulani.com/dining/house-without-a-key; 1940s-postcard-like setting (century old, backlit kiawe tree); “heroic” mai tais; great views; hula dancing.
●Hank’s Cafe Honolulu – 1038 Nuuanu Avenue (Chinatown); 808-526-1410; hankscafehawaii.com; relaxed, no-frills bar offering drinks & live musicians in casual setting with art-covered walls.
●Kona Brewing Co. – 7192 Kalanianaole Highway (Hawaii Kai, at Koko Marina Center); 808-396-5662; konabrewingco.com/ourpubs; local lagers.
●Manifest – 32 North Hotel Street (Downtown); 808-523-7575; manifesthawaii.com; glass-ceilinged, exposed brick, loft space.
●La Mariana Sailing Club – 50 Sand Island Access Road (Keehi Lagoon, hidden in industrial park); 808-848-2800; lamarianasailingclub.com; for tiki bar time warp, complete with rum punches; go on Thursday evenings when legendary blind pianist Ron Miyashiro takes stage.
●Sunrise Pool Bar – 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard (at Modern Hotel); 808-943-5800; themodernhonolulu.com; best view.
●Ehukai Waimea (North Shore); home of Banzai Pipeline.
●Sandy Beach – Hawaiʻi Kai (Honolulu’s southside, between Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Park on west & Makapuʻu Point on east); among Obama’s favorite beaches; make sure to see Hanauma Bay, Oahu’s best snorkeling.
●Sunset – Pūpūkea (North Shore).
●Waimea Bay – Kawailoa (North Shore).
●Horseshoe Reef – South Shore; whitetips snooze under ledges here.
●Mānoa – near Waikīkī; giant World War II aircraft-carrying submarine.
●Puako Cleaning Station – Kohala Coast; watch turtles getting cleaned by damsels, wrasses, and yellow tangs.
●San Pedro – mile off shore from Diamond Head crater.
●Sea Tiger – off Waikīkī.
●Ulua Cave – Kaena Point; home to Spanish Dancer nudibranches and their egg sacks, as well as supremely camouflaged frogfish.
●YO-257 – South Shore.
●Halekulani – 2199 Kalia Road (Waikīkī); 808-923-2311 or 800-367-2343; halekulani.com; oceanfront luxury hotel located on Waikiki Beachfront; 453 rooms in 5 buildings on 5 acres; attention to detail & impeccable service wrap you in privilege (private registration in guest room, complimentary tickets to Honolulu Museum of Art); spacious guest rooms, artfully appointed in marble & wood, have ocean views & extra large lanai; fine dining options at Orchids (popular Sunday brunch) & La Mer, as well as bars (Belle Epoque Bar LʻAperitif & live jazz at Lewerʻs Lounge); Spa Halekulani; freshwater, heated pool has orchid design created from more than 1½M glass mosaic tiles; small & intimate Gray's Beach fronts hotel just beyond pool.
●Hotel Renew – 129 Paoakalani Avenue (Waikīkī); 808-687-7700 or 844-485-7639; hotelrenew.com; modern, inexpensive & quietly sophisticated, 72-room boutique; Japanese-influenced & New Age, but without attitude or pretension; friendly staff; no spa, fitness room or pool.
●Kahala Hotel & Resort – 5000 Kahala Avenue (Kahala, 6 minutes from Waialae Beach Par); 808-739-8888 or 800-367-2525; kahalaresort.com; minutes from Waikiki but far enough for privacy; Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned here in 1964; rooms feature teak parquet floors, mahogany furnishings & grass-cloth covered walls; deep-soaking tubs & private balconies or patios; Kahala Spa; 800' white sand beach; grounds encompass 26K'-square lagoon where guests can swim with bottlenose dolphins.
●Modern Hotel – 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard (Waikīkī); 808-943-5800 or 855-970-4161; themodernhonolulu.com; best room is 911 (Ocean Front Suite on eastern, sea-facing corner), with 2 balconies (1 above pool, another looking out to sea); marina-facing Sunrise Pool is surrounded by teak decking & sunloungers, with giant squashy day-beds in tropical garden with picnic tables & cocktail bar, while oceanfront Sunset Pool is lantern-lit, adults-only plunge with adjacent cocktail bar.
●Outrigger Reef on Beach – 2169 Kalia Road (Waikīkī); 808-923-3111 or 866-956-4262; outriggerreef-onthebeach.com; multimillion-dollar renovations have drastically updated this beachfront property: expanded guest rooms, larger and more contemporary bathrooms & new signature restaurant (poolside Kani Ka Pila Grille); worthwhile to go for ocean view or oceanfront accommodation in Ocean Tower (other rooms have less enchanting views); hotel announces $100M revitalization project to create 34K'-square open recreation space including enhanced swimming pools, landscaped lounging areas & open-air dining options (construction starts in 2017, with project expected to be completed in 2019).
●Royal Hawaiian – 2259 Kalakaua Avenue (Waikīkī); 808-923-7311 or 800-831-5541; royal-hawaiian.com; legendary “Pink Palace of Pacific”; 2009 $85M face-lift; on 14 acres; 2nd-oldest hotel in Waikiki behind (Moana Surfrider), now outfitted with modern comfort amid historic elegance; modern tower added, but aim for architectural detailing & romance of historic wing, with canopy beds, Queen Anne–style desks & color motifs that range from soft mauve to soothing sea foam (if you want lanai for sunset viewing, though, rooms in oceanfront tower are best bet); garden view rooms are largest in historic wing & less expensive.
●AGU Ramen – 925 Isenberg Street (Mo’ili’ili); 808-492-1637; aguramen.com; petite Japanese eatery specializing in bowls of jidori broth with housemate noodles or tonkotsu.
●Chai’s Island Bistro – 1 Aloha Tower Drive (Kaka’ako); 808-585-0011; chaisislandbistro.com; Chef Chai Chaowasaree’s famous Pac Rim fare served while “who’s who of Hawaiian musicians” perform live at this Aloha Tower Marketplace mecca; indoor/outdoor seating; prix fixe option; expensive & loud.
●Chef Mavro – 1969 South King Street (Mo’ili’ili); 808-944-4714; chefmavro.com; Hawaii’s gastronomic temple; Hawaii Regional–French meals served in nondescript building where chef’s wife greets you at door; plan to take your time – pricey set menu (à la carte available upon request).
●Hasr Bistro – 31 North Pauahi Street (Chinatown); 808-533-4277; hasrbistro.com; French- & Italian-inspired cuisine; comforting American & Euro-inspired menu pairs with boutique wine list; patio seating & full schedule live music.
●Hau Tree Lanai – 2863 Kalakaua Avenue (at New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, on Sans Souci Beach next to Kapiolani Park, 2.1 miles from Diamond Head crater); 808-921-7066; kaimana.com/hautreelanai.htm; in this otherwise somewhat tatty hotel is wonderful find: Hau Tree Lanai restaurant on beach; viselike has tree is ideal for sitting under & one that spreads itself over this beachside courtyard once shaded Robert Louis Stevenson as he mused & wrote about Hawaii; great beach view at this romantic known for rich, classic eggs Benedict for breakfast, papaya chicken salad at lunch & workmanlike fresh catch of day or steak at dinner.
●Koko Head Cafe – 1145 12th Avenue (Kaimuki); 808-732-8920; kokoheadcafe.com; comfort food, brunch-only spot; worth 10-minute Uber ride to check out Top Chef Season 1 finalist Chef Lee Ann Wong’s signature restaurant; gluten-free options.
●Lucky Belly – 50 North Hotel Street (Chinatown); 808-531-1888; luckybelly.com; earthy-industrial, sleek interior; delicious Ramen with, for example, smoky pork belly & gingery, rich broth; also, salads & modern twists on Asian sides like dumplings & steamed buns.
●Mana Bu’s – 1618 South King Street (Mo’ili’ili); 808-358-0287; hawaiimusubi.com; best source for musubi (in Japanese, onigiri, rice ball topped or filled with various flavors & foods; in Hawaii, Spam is popular filling.
●La Mariana Sailing Club – 50 Sand Island Access Road (Keehi Lagoon, hidden in industrial park); 808-848-2800; lamarianasailingclub.com; for tiki bar time warp, complete with coconut shrimp; go on Thursday evenings when legendary blind pianist Ron Miyashiro takes stage.
●Morimoto Waikiki – 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard (Waikīkī, at Modern Hotel); 808-943-5900; morimotowaikiki.com; run by former Iron Chef star; shares pool & lounge area; sleek, high concept restaurant offering water views, indoor-outdoor dining, fire pit, sushi bar, and bar; excellent food with emphasis on raw dishes.
●MW Restaurant – 1538 Kapiolani Boulevard (Ala Moana); 808-955-6505; mwrestaurant.com; seafood with Asian inflection (try mochi-encrusted opakapaka); serves modern variation on shave ice for dessert.
●Pavilion Cafe – 900 South Beretania Street (Downtown, at Contemporary Museum & Honolulu Academy of Arts); 808-532-8734; honolulumuseum.org/394-museum_cafe; Mediterranean food next to waterfall & Jun Kaneko sculptures.
●Pig & Lady – 83 North King Street (Chinatown); 808-585-8255; thepigandthelady.com; Vietnamese food; excellent & worth special trip.
●Prima – 108 Hekili Street (Kailua); 808-888-8933; primahawaii.com; American-Hawaiian-Italian; when you pull up to this highly regarded restaurant in sprawling suburban strip mall, bizarrely sandwiched in plaza between Foodland grocery store & Baskin-Robbins; but doubts disappear upon viewing restaurant’s pizza oven (Stefano Ferrara made by hand, brick by brick, in Naples by 3rd-generation oven builder); menu divided into “Pizza” & “Not Pizza” categories; best pizza is pork belly (main ingredient brined for 3 days, then braised & loaded on pizza with garlic oil, rosemary, mozzarella, Parmesan & radicchio); “Not Pizza” highlights include penne di cream (prosciutto, mushrooms and truffle oil) maitake mushroom-cauliflower purée appetizer.
●Rainbow Drive-In – 3308 Kanaina Avenue (Kaimuki); 808-737-0177; rainbowdrivein.com; try “ono grindz”; Obama eats here; “mix plate” (BBQ beef, chicken & mahi mahi).
●Saigon – 164 North King Street (Chinatown); 808-599-1866; Vietnamese food.
●Sushi Sasabune – 1417 South King Street (Makiki); 808-9473800; sasabunehawaii.com; among top restaurants in Honolulu; perfectly prepared, fresh sushi; spartan Japanese favorite is must-visit for purists; expensive.
●Town Restaurant – 3435 Waianae Avenue (Kaimuki); 808-735-5900; townkaimuki.com; motto is “local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always”; neighborhood spot where people can drop in any time & eat well; can sit outside with dog owners & eat breakfast of gently poached eggs served with braised greens, raisins, pine nuts & pancetta over golden fried polenta slab or famous burger with shoestring-style french fries for lunch; stop by for dinner of pillow soft gnocchi (only 12 orders per night) & slow-cooked pork shoulder; favorite time to visit is late afternoon to sit at bar, have beer, fries & house-made grapefruit-Campari sorbet; wine list exudes character (small, boutique vineyards are featured with many options available by glass), fresh local fruit & grapes in sangria & lavender from chef’s garden.
●Vintage Cave – 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard (Ala Moana); 808-441-1744; vintagecave.com; restaurant in wine cave-museum (castle-like); actually very good & worth special trip.
●Obama Tour – 955 Waimanu Street (Kaka’ako); 808-690-9050; discoverhawaiitours.com or hawaiiobamatour.com; takes you past his childhood homes a& family cemeteries, etc.
●Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts – 517 Kapahulu Avenue (Kaimuki); 808-734-7628; alohashirts.com; Hawaiana; tiki-god mugs, hula girl lamps, battered ukuleles & vintage shirts.
●Blank Canvas – 1145 Bethel Street (Chinatown); 808-780-4720; facebook.com/blankcanvashi; accessories & men’s clothing.
●Contemporary Museum & Honolulu Academy of Arts – 900 South Beretania Street (Downtown); 808-532-8700; honoluluacademy.org; boutique-gift shop is among island’s better shopping venues for gifts & souvenirs.
●Fighting Eel – 1133 Bethel Street (Downtown); 808-738-9300; fightingeel.com; clothing.
●Fighting Eel – 629 Kailua Road (Kailua); 808-738-9301; fightingeel.com; clothing.
●Fighting Eel – 2233 Kalakaua Avenue (Waikīkī, at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center); 808-738-9295; fightingeel.com; clothing.
●Fighting Eel – 4211 Waianae Avenue (Kahala, at Kahala Mall); 808-738-4912; fightingeel.com; clothing.
●Hawaii Fish Co. – 1149 Bethel Street (Chinatown); 808-725-7551; hawaiifishco.com; best fish supplier on island.
●Homecoming – 12 South King Street (Downtown); 808-536-6000; shophomecominghonolulu.com; women’s clothing.
●Kapiolani Community College Farmers’ Market – 4303 Diamond Head Road (Kaimuki); 808-848-2074; hfbf.org/markets/markets/kcc; worth trip for breakfast; locavore, foodie destination; Tuesdays & Saturdays.
●La Muse – 1156 Nuuanu Avenue (Chinatown); 808-536-0818; lamusehawaiicom; sophisticated island items.
●Tin Can Mailman – 1026 Nuuanu Avenue (Downtown); 808-524-3009; tincanmailman.net; vintage Hawaiiana, including mid-century Bakelite bracelets and rare books and documents.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum – 1525 Bernice Street (Kalihi); 808-847-3511; bishopmuseum.org; ethnic Hawaiian museum; world’s largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts & natural history specimens.
●Chinatown 1st Fridays – 808-739-9797; firstfridayhawaii.com; monthly gallery walk.
●Contemporary Museum & Honolulu Academy of Arts – 900 South Beretania Street (Downtown); 808-532-8700; honoluluacademy.org; make sure to take Shangri-La tour, Doris Day’s one-time private estate now Islamic museum.
●Diamond Head Crater (Le’ahi) – off Diamond Head Road (between Makapu’u Avenue & 18th Avenue); 808-587-0300; hawaiistateparks.org; near Waikiki’s eastern edge; encompasses over 475 acres, including crater’s interior & outer slopes; .8 mile trail to summit is steep & strenuous, gaining 560'; many switchbacks traversing up steep slope, through lighted 225' tunnel to enter Fire Control Station, built on summit; at summit, bunkers & huge navigational lighthouse; postcard shoreline view from Koko Head to Wai’anae (during winter, may include passing humpback whales); on Saturdays, across street from crater, Kapiolani Community College Farmers’ Market makes convenient pit-stop.
●Foster Botanical Garden – 180 North Vineyard Boulevard (Chinatown); 808-522-7060; honolulu.gov/cms-dpr-menu/site-dpr-sitearticles/568-foster-botanical-garden.html; 1 of 3 botanical gardens located on North Vineyard Boulevard; in highly urban area with strip malls, schools & both Buddhist & Methodist religious facilities nearby; oldest botanical garden in Hawaii & listed on National Register of Historic Places; in 1853, Queen Kalama leased 4.6 acres to William Hillebrand, German physician & botanist who built home & planted trees on site; during his stay, he introduced numerous plants to Hawaii, as well as deer & mynah birds; in 1884 property sold to Thomas R. Foster & wife, who continued to develop garden; widow bequeathed land & home to city & county of Honolulu; famous orchid collection; garden consists of Upper Terrace (oldest part), Middle Terraces (palms, aroids, heliconias & gingers), Economic Garden (herbs, spices, dyes & poisons), Prehistoric Glen (primitive plants planted in 1965), Lyon Orchid Garden & Hybrid Orchid Display; also contains exceptional trees, including Sacred Fig that is clone descendant of Bodhi tree that Buddha sat under for inspiration.
●Hālona Blowhole – 8699 State Highway 72 (East Oahu); roadsideamerica.com/story/18020; where Obama scattered his mom’s ashes.
●Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden – 45-680 Luluku Road (Kaneohe); 808-233-7323; honolulu.gov/cms-dpr-menu/site-dpr-sitearticles/569-ho`omaluhia-botanical-garden.html; garden established in 1982; designed & built by US Army Corps of Engineers for flood protection; rainforest garden, with plantings from major tropical regions around world, grouped into distinct collections that focus on Africa, Hawaii, India & Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Melanesia, Philippines, Polynesia, & tropical New World; special emphasis placed on conserving plants native to Hawaii & Polynesia, as well as arecaceae, aroids, and heliconias; includes lake (32 acres) & walking trails.
●James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge – 56-795 Kamehameha Highway (Haleiwa); 808-637-6330; fws.gov/refuge/james_campbell/; critical habitat for Hawaii’s 4 endangered waterbirds, ’alas kea (Hawaiian coot), koloa mail (Hawaiian duck), ʻalae ʻula (Hawaiian gallinule) & āeʻo (Hawaiian stilt), as well as many migratory seabirds, endangered & native plant species & endangered Hawaiian monk seal & green sea turtle.
●Kamehamea Highway – scenic drive along north shore.
●Kapiolani Medical Center – 1319 Punahou Street (Maliki); 808-983-6000; kapiolani.org; where Obama was born.
●Kapiolani Park – Kalakaua Avenue & Monserrat Avenue (Kapiolani Park); 808-971-2510; 300 acres at Diamond Head’s foot; largest & oldest public park in Hawaiʻi; named after Queen Kapiʻolani, queen consort of King David Kalākaua; home to Waikiki Shell & Honolulu Zoo.
●Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden – 123 North Kuakini Street (Downtown); 808-522-7066; honolulu.gov/cms-dpr-menu/site-dpr-sitearticles/6411-new-liliuokalani-botanical-garden.html; given to city & county by Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻiʻs last reigning monarch; contains Nuʻuanu Stream & Waikahalulu waterfall; under development to feature native Hawaiian plants exclusively.
●Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail – Kalanlanaole Highway (at Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline); 808-587-0300 (State Parks main number); lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=141; 2 mile, 500’ ascent trail culminating at lighthouse; worth special trip.
●National Memorial Cemetery of Pacific – 2177 Puowaina Drive (Downtown, Punchbowl); 808-532-3720; cem.va.gov; where Obama’s grandfather is buried.
●Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout – Nuuanu Pali Drive (5-mile drive northeast of Downtown); gohawaii.com/en/oahu/regions-neighborhoods/windward-oahu/nuuanu-pali-lookout/; spectacular (windy) lookout.
●Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument – 600 miles northwest of Honolulu (main office, 6600 Kalaniana’ole Highway, #300, Honolulu; Hilo office, 308 Kamehameha Avenue, #203); 808-397-2660 (Honolulu) or 808-933-8180 (Hilo); papahanaumokuakea.gov; site of Captain George Pollard, Jr.’s 2nd sunk ship (1st – whaling ship, Two Brothers – rammed by sperm whale & sunk, inspiring Moby Dick).
●Polynesian Cultural Center – 55-370 Kamehameha Highway (Laie); 808-293-3333; polynesia.com; Polynesian-themed theme park & living museum.
●USS Arizona Memorial – 1 Arizona Memorial Place (Pearl Harbor); 808-422-0561; nps.gov.vair or ussarizona.org; located at Pearl Harbor, marks resting place of 1,102 of 1,177 sailors & Marines killed during Japanese surprise attack on 7 December 1941; commemorates events of that day; built in 1962, visited by more than 2M people annually; accessible only by boat.
●Waimea Falls Park – 59-864 Kamehameha Highway (Haleiwa, North Shore Waimea); 808-638-7766 or 808-638-8511; best-of-oahu.com/waimea-falls-park.html
; swim in pool below 45 foot waterfall; less strenuous Ala Ki hike takes you through forest (exotic and native plants), up switchbacks, to Kalahee Ridge top.
Thanks Rebecca, definitely looking forward to visiting Hawaii and checking out your recommendations!ReplyDelete