From fancy restaurants to food trucks, there really is no shortage of fun and innovative ways to get a good meal in Hawaii. If you’re the type of person who likes to experience the full range of eateries and cuisines on the islands, we’ve got just the list for you. This article covers the gamut of all the ethnic cuisines and eateries you can try on your next visit to the Hawaiian Islands. You might not expect to find your favorite Korean or Japanese restaurant here, but one look at their menu might have you reconsidering your preconceptions.
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2740 E. Manoa Rd. | Manoa/ sergskitchen.com
Serg’s Mexican Kitchen is one restaurant that offers it all. From buffet catering to corporate parties to food truck services, if you’re looking for excellent Mexican food in Hawaii, this is the eatery to contact.
Originally from Mexico City, Chef Sergio Arellano brings the authentic and unique flavors of Mexican cuisine to the Hawaiian Islands. Meals here are made from fresh ingredients and essential spices and prepared from scratch.
Be sure to order the flautas, Serg’s house specialty. A popular Mexican dish, flautas offer a delicious mix of meat and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla and lightly fried. At Serg’s, you can choose between shredded beef or chicken, pork carnitas, al pastor, or sauteed veggies, offering a rich variety.
Of course, there are plenty of other options. Diners love Serg’s enchiladas, carne asada fries, and the carne asada plate — all house specialties. There are also several taco dishes, including birria tacos, Mexican City style tacos, and fish tacos. Like salads? At Serg’s, you can dine on taco salads, ceviche salad with homemade cilantro dressing, and fajita salads with your choice of grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp. Vegan options are also available, showing Serg’s has you covered from every angle.
“One of the best Mexican foods. I was so impressed the authenticity. Every time I tried different dishes, always excellent, never disappointment from them.” — Yelp Review
2310 Kuhio Ave. Ste 124 | Waikiki/ marugameudon.com
Located in Kuhio Banyan Hotel, Marugame Udon offers something for every Japanese food enthusiast. As the name indicates, Marugame specializes in Japanese udon noodle dishes, with its curry udon and niku (meat) udon being particular favorites. Udon can be served both cold and hot, offering choices to please every palate.
If you enjoy tempura — batter fried fish, shellfish, or vegetables — Marugame provides some exceptional options. You can sample chicken, shrimp, squid, and even sweet potato tempura, giving you an endless array of flavors to please your tastebuds. Then there are the teriyaki bowls (beef and chicken), and savory salads. Don’t forget to match your main course with special drinks, including the Matcha Latte or Bubble Gum Green Tea and Ginger Berry Oolong (made special for Marugame Udon).
“Don’t let the line deter you. It may seem like you’ll wait for an hour in a line of 50 people, but their processes are quick and efficient without sacrificing on food quality at all.” — Yelp Review
661 Keeaumoku St. | Honolulu/ mimisperuviancuisine.com
Peruvian cuisine may not be something you expect to try in Hawaii, but to people who visit Keeaumoku Plaza, Mimi’s Peruvian Cuisine offers something special they can’t find anywhere else. A family-owned restaurant, Mimi’s offers authentic dishes from Peru like the Lomo Saltado Beef with red onions and cilantro and Arroz con Mariscos, seasoned seafood rice cooked in white wine.
Being located in Hawaii comes with some advantages for Mimi’s seafood dishes, particularly if you order the Ceviche Mahi-Mahi (with traditional leche de tigre) and their deep-fried Ceviche de Barrio. Don’t forget to include some Yucca Frita (steamed and fried cassava root with Huancaina sauce) with your appetizer selections and try a traditional Peruvian gumbo in their Chupe de Camarones. With so many dining options, it’s hard to settle on a favorite dish, making return visits a must.
“I’m a big foodie and love to try new cuisine. Loved Mimi’s. Staff was super kind and made us feel comfortable. Food was really good and came in huge portions. They give you plantain chips with some green sauce while you wait for the food. Can’t get enough of that green sauce.” — Yelp Review
226 Lewers St. Ste L106 | Waikiki/ ilovepokebar.com
Okay, let’s be honest — you can’t visit Hawaii without trying its spectacular poke bowls. While poke (or diced and marinated fish) is now available across the United States, there’s something special about enjoying poke in Hawaii, where the seafood is naturally very fresh.
And at Poke Bar, you won’t just enjoy great fish. You’ll enjoy great fish prepared in a variety of innovative ways, from the spicy mayo bowl to the fresh ahi bowl (always a favorite). You can also order some fresh crab salad, octopus, or garlic shrimp. Seasoning runs a very wide gamut as you can include salmon, baby scallops, tofu, cilantro, cucumber, kale, and six different sauces to your meal.
To top it off, Poke Bar is located at the Waikiki Beach Walk, allowing you to walk off your meal in the most gorgeous of settings. Great food, friendly people, and wonderful atmosphere — who could ask for anything more?
“Lots of smiles, good fresh seafood, and overall super tasty!” — Yelp Review
4211 Waialae Ave. Ste E-1 | Kahala/ thecounter.com
Burger lovers know that great burger places aren’t limited to popular fast food franchises. And at The Counter in Honolulu (located in the Kahala Mall), you’ll find tasty meal options like their Chipotle Turkey Burger and fried onion strings. Eat (relatively) light by ordering their mini burgers. Or go big with the New Impossible Burger or Bacon BBQ Burger. You’ll also find the Sprouted Veggie Burger quite delicious.
Unlike other burger restaurants, The Counter Honolulu makes sure to offer options for every dietary need and preference. Order vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options — or take full control by building your own customizable gourmet burger. When you’re here, you’ll be sure to enjoy food made from quality meats, inventive sauces, and awesome flavor.
“This place is still one of my favorite places to get a burger. Now that I finally brought my husband here to try it out, he can’t stop raving about it.” — Yelp Review
2239 S. King St. | Mo’ili’ili/ kimchee3.net
If you love home-style meat jun, you won’t be able to get enough of Kim Chee III. In fact, according to Kim Chee III’s website, founder Hee Joo Chun was the first person to prepare a dish called “meat jun” back at the Kim Chee II restaurant.
Today, Hee Joo’s daughter runs the business and makes sure diners continue enjoying new and classic favorites. Kim Chee III is particularly suitable for families as this restaurant offers family packs for take-out that are made for at least three people. Order a selection of Kalbi, BBQ chicken, meat jun, chicken katsu, fried mandoo, and zucchini tempura. Or focus on the barbeque by ordering a family pack consisting of BBQ chicken and beef, shrimp tempura, chicken katsu, fried mandoo, zucchini tempura, rice, vegetables, and kim chee.
You can also order individual lunch and dinner specials, soups, seafood dishes, and small portions for when you just want more of a snack. Diners know that when they want to try the best of Korea in Hawaii, Kim Chee III has what they need.
“Their signature meat jun is our favorite — marinated sliced beef, dipped in flour and egg batter, and pan fried until golden brown and served with its slightly spicy dipping sauce (note that meat jun is not a traditional Korean dish and is unique only to HI).” — Yelp Review