Aloha Hawaii Hounds, my partner and I will be visiting the last week of March/first week April. Our plan is to spend three days in Waikiki (hotel) and then a week in Hawaii (Kapoho apartment with kitchen facilities). I've been scouring the boards here (mahalo all for the excellent suggestions!) and the internet in general for chowing tips, but haven't come up with much for Pahoa, which seems to be the closest town to where we will be staying. I am also overwhelmed by the abundance of choices in Honolulu!
By way of background, we won't have a car in Oahu but will have one for the Big Island. We also aren't really looking for fine dining experiences on this trip -- just good, basic food that won't cost an arm and a leg -- and are just as happy to get suggestions for grocery stores/markets as we are for restaurants. Any cuisine will work for us (except for the real heavy, deep-fried stuff); Asian cuisines are always good.
Just so you have a sense of what we're thinking, here's what I've come up with so far:
Pahoa and environs(?)
-- Ning's Thai
-- Paolo's Bistro
-- Farmers Markets at Pahoa, Kalapana (SPACE), Kea‘au Village, and Maku‘u (the "hawaiihomegrown.net" site is fantastic!)
We plan to spend a couple of days at the Volcanoes Park, so for Volcano:
-- Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant
-- Thai Thai Restaurant
-- Kiawe Kitchen (I found some comments that this might be closing?)
Also, we hope to do some hiking north of Hilo, which was the most promising in terms of choices so far, but also farther than we want to drive every night.
-- Ken’s House of Pancakes
-- Cafe 100
-- Hilo Bay Café
-- Cafe Pesto
-- Hilo Lunch Shop
Just in case you're not tired by now, I'd also love a reality check for our Waikiki and Oahu choices. Again, we decided to give the high-end places a miss this time around and focused on more casual dining.
For breakfast, Wailana Coffee Shop, Duke’s (Egg n Things was in the running for a while but was knocked off the list by reports of long waits and high prices ...)
For lunch, Diamond Head Market & Grill, Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Co.
For dinner, we will definitely try to make it to Ono Hawaiian for one night.
For the other two nights, Morio's, Irifune, Kaiwa, Hiroshi, Matsugen or Sansei. I am tending to favor the places that have the happy hour deals but couldn't tell if it would be impossible to get in mid-week, so any insight into lines for the happy hours would be much appreciated. Also, a couple of reports said that the Waikiki Sansei was going downhill -- should we strike it off the list?
Other than that, we plan to bumble around the food courts in the International Marketplace, Ala Moana shopping center and Ward Centers while in town, tracking down some interesting reports of poke.
We've also contemplated trying to see if we can explore a bit more of the island by bus, so I have an extensive list of places in Haleiwa such as the shrimp trucks, LuiBuenos and Opal Thai.
Many thanks in advance for your comments.
563 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
308 Kamehameha Ave # 101, Hilo, HI
Hilo Lunch Shop
421 Kalanikoa St, Hilo, HI 96720
Thai Thai Restaurant
19-4084 Volcano Rd, Volcano, HI 96785
333 Pahoa Rd, Pahoa, HI 96778
Hilo Bay Cafe
315 E Makaala St Ste 109, Hilo, HI 96720
19-4005 Haunani Rd., Volcano, HI 96785
12-5032 Pahoa Kalapana Rd, Pahoa, HI 96778
226 Lewers St Ste 215, Honolulu, HI 96815
969 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant
19-3948 Old Volcano Rd., Volcano, HI 96785