• Jay Hodge

7 Must Eat Places - Oahu, Hawaii

Updated: Mar 23, 2019


Food. When you travel to any location filled with rich culture, one of the main ways to experience that richness first hand is by trying the local cuisine. Experiencing how different traditional dishes taste and learning how they came about can be a cool experience in itself. Hawaii was no different. The following locations that we've listed were good spots worth a stop while on Oahu island. Enjoy!

1.Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Giovanni's garlic shrimp plate was a very distinct experience. The shrimp was served with shell on and A LOT of garlic. If you are not a fan of garlic, this plate is not for you. The shrimp are sautéed with fresh garlic and then served over a mound of rice. The garlic and the shrimp mixes together to make a small amount of garlic sauce to mix with the rice. Our order came with a dozen of jumbo shrimp. The taste of the shrimp were pretty good, but, anymore than a couple of shrimp becomes unbearable by the strong flavor of the garlic. All in all, this is still a good spot to try the shrimp and judge for yourself.


Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in Haleiwa


Giovanni's Garlic Shrimp and white rice

2. Papa Ole's

The garlic chicken plate from Papa Ole's is AMAZING. The plate comes with garlic sauce covered chicken, macaroni salad and white rice. The chicken is well seasoned, flavorful and was a great bargain price at roughly $10.00, compared to lesser quality food options twice that much on Waikiki Beach main strip. If we ever return to Oahu, this spot is surely on the short to-do list.


Papa Ole's Garlic Chicken, macaroni salad and white rice

3. Leonard's Bakery

A local favorite, Leonard's custard filled pastry, also known as a malasada, is a good treat to try when on the island. Somewhat similar to a sugar coated donut, the taste is best when warm and straight from the kitchen. Although, beware; parking at the Honolulu location is very limited and lines can be rather long. But, although long, it is worth the wait to try this custard filled pillow!


Custard filled Malasada from Leonard's Bakery

4. Matsumoto Shaved Ice

Matsumoto was a good refreshment treat in the town of Haleiwa. We were informed of Matsumoto's great tasting shaved ice options and were told to try it with either vanilla ice cream or condensed milk. Once on location, the thought of shaved ice with flavored syrup and milky products sounded and looked even more off putting. But, the long line peaked our interest and lured us in. With over 30+ syrup flavors to choose from, and countless different combinations. Be sure to take a quick look over the menu posted in the window to choose your option ahead of time to cut down on the decision time. The small cup is actually a large portion size and was more than fulfilling for us. The price at the time of travel was $3.00 per cup.


Matsumoto shaved ice - Haleiwa


Matsumoto shaved ice with condensed milk

5. Dole Plantation


Hmm. The Dole whip, what can I say about the Dole Whip? Well, the flavor was good. The whip is very sweet and you can taste the freshness of the pineapples in each spoonful, but, we were not blown away and amazed. Although pineapple whip is commonly used, the consistency is simply a sorbet swirl. You may have a different experience, but, the mystery of what the taste would be like is what ultimately got us to try it. I think it's still worth the trip to see the plantation and to taste the whip while there.

Pineapple Dole Whip


6. Rise and Shine Café


Rise and Shine cafe was really good. This is a good breakfast spot to add to your list. I am a breakfast connoisseur. Ok, a little too far, but I love my breakfast. The serving sizes were enormous... especially the banana coconut pancake with coconut syrup (yes, coconut syrup!). The food has good flavor and presents that home cooked meal feel. They also had corned beef hash, which is one of the main reasons we stopped in. As Whitney can tell you, I'm kind of a corned beef hash junkie. Growing up in New York, I tasted some good hash, so I'm very critical when I come across restaurants claiming to have good, made from scratch corned beef hash. Without a doubt, this place delivered! I think I got a little too excited about the goodness of the corned beef hash (you can see the excitement on my face below), but, who doesn't love food, right? In addition to the hash, this spot also had some good loaded fried rice. When we return to Oahu, we will definitely make another stop in to enjoy the food. I have to get my fix in.


Enjoying some hearty breakfast


7. Maui Mike's Fire-roasted Chicken

A legit representation of a hole in the wall establishment, this place is small inside. Although small, the ambiance is still somewhat welcoming. The environment is playful and has an old nostalgic feel. Ok, back to the chicken. Maui Mike's has a limited menu, as the name would suggest, but, the fire roasted chicken was well cooked, juicy and savory. There's not much more to say. The flavor was pretty good and on point. We really enjoyed it and wouldn't mind heading over there again to grab another dish, if ever on Oahu island again.


Fire Roasted Chicken


The ENORMOUS menu of options at Maui Mike's



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