In addition to the individual restaurant reviews I’ve posted (and will continue to post), I also wanted to include more blurbs about some of the other places we dined at during our week on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Cheeseburger in Paradise-Waikiki Beach
We passed by here when walking from our hotel to the Westin Moana Surfrider for afternoon tea and D said he’d like to try it for dinner, so we did. I suggested carry out since I wanted to maximize our room’s balcony that offered just about the most incredible view ever. Carry out left something to be desired as you had to order from the bar and the bartender definitely seemed to give preference and overall attention to the drinkers. It took a while to place our order but the food was definitely good. We split an order of the Ono Onion Rings ($6.99) and both went with burgers. I selected the Royal All’i Cheeseburger ($12.99) which came topped with a fried egg and bacon, while D ordered the Black n Blue Cheeseburger ($11.99).
Ko Olina Hawaiian Bar-B-Que -Ko Olina
We dined here for a late lunch/early dinner before our sunset cruise. This is a small eatery located in a shopping center across from the Ko Olina hotels. It’s counter service and offered some of the best food we had all trip for dirt cheap prices.We both got plate lunches although they had two different sizes (the larger included an extra green salad). Plate lunches are made up of a scoop of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a main entree. Their origins date back to the time of the Hawaiian plantation era when eating a meal like this would have been fast and convenient. D ordered the Mochiko Chicken which is a garlicky marinade of rice flour, soy sauce, eggs, green onion, and cayenne pepper and then deep fried. I went with the chicken katsu which is basically pieces of deep fried chicken, Japanese style. I received an absurb amount and came nowhere near to finishing them. We had two large meals and drinks for under $20. For Hawaii this is the best deal you will ever find.
Pizza Corner-Ko Olina
We stopped here for lunch one day after returning from our morning visit to the USS Missouri. It’s a pizza joint, nothing fancy to it. We both got the lunch special x 2 (I’m not sure why I did two slices, it was more food than I could manage) but for $5 you got a slice of pizza and a large fountain drink. The pizza was good and I appreciated the fact that they had non-traditional flavors too (one of my pieces was Italian frittata). It’s located in the same shopping center as Ko Olina Hawaiian Bar-B-Que. Another plus is that they offered free delivery to the Ko Olina hotels so if you are staying at one of them, have a family, are looking for a cheap meal in, there you go.
Me BBQ-Waikiki Beach
If you’re not looking you may walk right by it, if you’re a food snob you may not want to even go in and yet my dinner from Me BBQ was one of the best I had all trip (it was also on our last night there, so very fitting I feel). It was recommended in my Lonely Planet Discover Honolulu, Waikiki, and Oahu guidebook and since they served Korean fare I knew I wanted to try it. It’s located on a side street, a couple of blocks from the beachfront Kalakaua Avenue, so while I don’t know if I’d want to be traversing the streets back there at night alone, for early evening it was perfectly fine. There isn’t really any space to sit inside but they do have some unflattering picnic tables outside. But just as with our cheeseburgers I wanted to get the food to go so we could once more enjoy our awesome balcony view. They have a mind boggling array of choices (everything ranging from Korean fare to Hawaiian staples to more “mainland” selections) but if you get a “meal” you get the choice of four sides (lots of food…very cheap). D went with the Chicken BBQ. I opted for a Korean favorite-kalbi, which is barbecued ribs. The last time I had them was when I was in Korea at a party hosted by the university where I was studying. For our sides between us we got kimchi (a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables and seasonings), potatoes, white rice, bean sprouts, and noodles. This was another $20 dinner for two…
All in all, the places I mentioned above were not five-star establishments and while some more good for what they were, others were just awesome. Although the island of Oahu may not be very big, it does have some incredible food options, so just do your research to maximize your dining time there.