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Hawaii Restaurants

22° North
Kilohana Plantation
3-2087 Kaumualii Highway
Lihue , Hawaii
Tel: 808 245 9593

The old Gaylord's restaurant at the Kilohana Plantation is no more, but the beautiful patio-style space with an open-air courtyard has been reborn as 22° North. Fresh produce grown on-property (take the Kilohana Train Tour and you'll see the fields) complements local fish, eggs, and meats in whimsical lunch plates like the 22° North "sammy" (house-cured meats, pickled vegetables, fried egg, mayo, lettuce, and tomato) and dinner entrées like beef short rib ravioli or crispy line-caught barracuda. The new taste good/feel good menu hasn't alienated the Kauai ladies-who-lunch crowd or families seeking Sunday brunch. But the simple, hearty, almost Southern-style comfort food is also attracting a younger crowd of eco foodies who come for date-night sparks inspired by fresh-fruit cocktails and meals lit by flickering tiki torches.—Cathay Che

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11:00 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 9:00 pm, Sundays 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Alan Wong's
1857 S. King Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 949 2526

This James Beard Award–winning chef (who you might have seen on the season finale of the 2006 Top Chef) doesn't rest on his laurels. His dining room may be modest, but his flavors explode. As the locals say, when food is this delicious, it is "broke da mouth" good. Try his five-course tasting menu ($75 per person), or opt for à la carte originals such as Hot California Rolls (baked lobster mousse with crab-avocado stuffing) and the keawe-wood-grilled mahimahi with spicy wasabi sauce.

Big Island Candies
585 Hinano Street
Hilo , Hawaii
Tel: 800 935 5510 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 935 8890

Everything is just right in this happy place—the production area is clean and pristine, the goods are beautifully packaged, and most important, the high-quality candies, cookies, coffee, brownies, nuts, etc. (some even sugar-free!), are delicious. Their confections are much imitated but not sold anywhere outside of the factory and the official Web site.

Open daily 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Blue Ginger Café
409 Seventh Street
Lanai City , Hawaii
Tel: 808 565 6363

Homemade pastries, fresh mahimahi sandwiches, grilled pork chops, and ensemada (a fresh twirled bread brushed with butter and dipped in sugar) keep this little café jumping from morning till night. It's an excellent—and cheap—alternative to Lanai's expensive hotel restaurants.

Chef Mavro
1969 S. King Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 944 4714

One of Oahu's top restaurants is the domain of chef George Mavrothalassitis (who thankfully used his nickname). Set in a residential neighborhood of Honolulu, it attracts a nice mix of local couples, dedicated foodies, and in-the-know tourists ready to have the best meal of their trip. Set menus of three and four courses and an 11-course tasting menu are offered with optional wine pairings. The marbled tako, for example—finely sliced octopus with ponzu sauce, salmon roe, and green-papaya salad—finds its perfect foil in a glass of 2004 Leasingham Riesling. Specialties such as cursinade (sea urchin bouillabaisse) reflect Mavro's roots in Marseille, as well as his love for his adopted home, where he moved in 1988.

Dinner only. Closed Mondays.

D.K. Steakhouse
Waikiki Beach Marriott
2552 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 931 6280

Dry-aged steaks cooked to perfection, plus a view overlooking Waikiki Beach, have made this place a major hit since it opened in the fall of 2004. D.K. Kodama is one of Hawaii's most ambitious chef-entrepreneurs; in addition to this steak house at the Waikiki Beach Marriott, he owns the islandwide chain of Sansei sushi bars and the conjoined Honolulu hot spots Vino and Hiroshi Eurasian Tapas. Kodama may have a lot of pots boiling, but what's cooking is undeniably good. D.K. Steakhouse's double-broiled, butterflied filet mignon, for example, served with shiitake mushroom demi-glace and a side of asparagus Milanese, is satisfying to both the local and tourist palate. There's also a special menu of dessert martinis, including the well-named "Bomb" (Godiva white chocolate, Baileys, and Kahlúa). The portions are big here, so unless you've hiked Diamond Head or surfed Pipeline all day, consider sharing.

Dinner only.

Daniel Thiebaut
65–1259 Kawaihae Road
Waimea , Hawaii
Tel: 808 887 2200

Formerly a general store and feeding stop for local ranch families, this unlikely venue is one of Waimea's top tables (the other is Merriman's). Just as chef Daniel Thiebaut renovated this country house with antique furniture and Sig Zane tropical prints, a decade of island life has transformed the chef—Thiebaut's heavily Asian-flavored dishes belie his French roots only in structure and presentation. He might wok-fry sea scallops then sauce them in a warm coconut crab dressing; or spice up bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin and herb spaetzle with a Thai curry. The heartiness of the menu pairs well with the area's crisp, often wet, days and misty nights, and it's worth the drive to sample it—even if you're staying an hour away in Kailua-Kona.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11:30 am to 9 pm, Sundays 10 am to 9 pm.

Dining Room
Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Lodge at Koele
1 Keomoku Highway
Lanai City , Hawaii
Tel: 808 565 4580

The Dining Room at the Lodge at Koele is imbued with the ambience of a holiday dinner party almost every night: Flames blaze in giant stone fireplaces, and a pianist/vocalist zings between mellow jazz standards and contemporary Hawaiian faves. The menu reflects what's freshest and the chef's whims; wine pairings are suggested upon request. Playing off the theme of rustic luxury and the local passion for hunting, a venison preparation is always on the menu (perhaps a seared macadamia-crusted local venison loin over pureed parsnips and sliced brussels sprouts), along with traditional—often heavy—European fare (such as seared quail breast and quail leg confit over artichoke puree in an orange balsamic sauce). You'll likely be dazzled by the level of service; the waiters here are seemingly selected to handle the most discriminating guests.

Open Daily, dinner only.

Duke's Waikiki
2335 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 922 2268

You might scoff at the idea of a surfing-themed restaurant, but Duke's (named after Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku) is actually one of the best bets in town. The food is tasty and fuss-free: macadamia-and-crab wontons, hulihuli (BBQ) chicken, grilled fresh fish, chocolate-and-macadamia "hula pie" for dessert. But the scene is more important here, anyway—beach girls and boys, happy families, daily live music, and the backdrop of Waikiki Beach, with palm trees swaying in the balmy breeze.

Haliimaile General Store
900 Haliimaile Road
Makawao , Hawaii
Tel: 808 572 2666

This is the showplace of Hawaiian regional cuisine chef Beverly Gannon—an old general store located up-country in Makawao, converted into a picturesque restaurant serving the freshest, most delightful meals (lunch, dinner, and cocktails). Be aware that "fresh" doesn't necessarily mean spa cuisine—in fact, Gannon has a penchant for dishes dripping with melted Brie. The desserts (especially the pineapple upside-down cake) are highly recommended, and children are more than welcome—there's a special menu for kids (keiki in Hawaiian).

Open daily 5:30 to 9:30 pm and Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 2:30 pm.

Hamura Saimin
2956 Kress Street
Lihue , Hawaii
Tel: 808 245 3271

The first thing you will notice about this hole-in-the-wall lunch shop, honored in 2006 by the James Beard Foundation in the America's Classics category, is that it looks like it was designed only for people of short stature. The Menehune-size (Menehune are Hawaii's little people) S-shaped counter seats about two dozen people when the place is packed, which it is most of the time. The much-buzzed-about saimin (homemade ramen noodles served with chives, egg, and fish cake in a homemade soy-based broth) comes fast and cheap (the basic bowl starts at $6). Adding an order of beef or shrimp skewers makes it a more filling meal. Just be prepared for the hunt to find it on Lihue's backstreets, and for very limited parking once you do.—Cathay Che

Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.

Hanapepe Café
3830 Hanapepe Road
Hanapepe , Hawaii
Tel: 808 335 5011

This humble hole-in-the-wall in Hanapepe, a little plantation town just west of glitzy Poipu Beach, promotes a purposefully healthy take on food—which is refreshing in an area where steaks, burgers, and fried seafood are the norm. The signature dish is the local catch, grilled and served with steamed rice and fresh, Hawaii-grown greens. Breakfast orders (muffins, scones, fruit plates, etc.) are mostly to go, but this place gets packed at lunchtime. It only opens for dinner on Fridays (when there's also live Hawaiian slack-key guitar music). It's difficult to find budget-friendly food on the south shore, and even harder to find vegetarian options, so this has been a welcome addition to the scene.

Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner only on Fridays. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.

Hilo Bay Café
315 Makaala Street
Hilo , Hawaii
Tel: 808 935 4939

This is Hawaii regional cuisine at its most accessible, familiar enough to appeal to locals (the vast majority of diners at Hilo restaurants), and yet inspiring enough for visitors. So, what's an ambitious restaurant doing in a hideous mini-mall? When owner Kim Snuggerud opened it in 2003, she wanted it near her health food store, Island Naturals. Self-taught chef Joshua Kettner's blackened ahi Caesar salad, slow-cooked pork ribs, and molten chocolate "lava" cake keep patrons in shorts and flip-flops happy. So do the reasonable prices.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 9 pm, Sundays 5 to 9 pm.

Hilo Farmer's Market
Corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue
Hilo , Hawaii
Tel: 808 933 1000

This bustling little scene of local vendors is a great place to stop and get cheap, tasty snacks such as tamales, Vietnamese spring rolls, bento boxes, and fresh juices. The best days to visit are Wednesdays and Saturdays, when about 250 stalls are open for business; a handful of vendors set up shop on other days as well. Things get pretty picked over by noon, even though some sellers stay as late as 4 pm.

Open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and occasional weekdays from 6 am to 4 pm.

Hiroshi Eurasian Tapas
500 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 533 4476

As the name implies, the draw here is small plates meant to be shared. Chef Hiroshi Fukui's menu has lots of sample-worthy creations, such as filet mignon topped with foie gras ponzu sauce, pan-roasted shrimp with roasted-garlic aioli foam, and panko-crusted ahi with yellow-mustard foam (warning: the meal can get pricey very quickly). Many of the inventive cocktails also benefit from Fukui's penchant for foams; the Sex and the City, for example, is a concoction of vodka and triple sec with lemongrass foam. The restaurant shares its green-walled, green-upholstered space with a lively wine bar, Vino.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay
1 Manele Bay Road
Lanai , Hawaii
Tel: 808 565 2296

Although the over-the-top decor (handblown Italian crystal chandeliers, Chinese-style antiques, and a glass ceiling) has been toned down, Manele Bay's Ihilani restaurant is a bit fussy for a beach resort where most of the guests are wearing designer flip-flops. The chefs combine local produce with fine ingredients from around the world (it's no small feat to get white truffles to Lanai!) in contemporary Italian cuisine. For something light, the chefs might candy grapefruit, roast beets, toss them both with goat cheese, and top the salad with a dollop of Maui onion mousselline, or roast lobster in white vermouth and garnish it with vegetable ribbons. On the more decadent side, they'll prepare a hearty portion of oregano-rubbed milk-fed veal. As the high prices reflect, it's always a memorable venue for a special-occasion dinner, especially given the undeniably romantic ocean views.

Dinner only; closed Sundays and Mondays.

Java on the Rock
75–5828 Kahakai Road
Kailua-Kona , Hawaii
Tel: 808 329 9262

Alii Drive is pretty insufferable, especially at night when hordes of spring breakers are on the prowl. That's why it's best to experience Kona's oceanfront main drag in the morning. Java is pricey for what it serves—simple breakfast foods like bagels, eggs, and fruit salad—and the service is slow, but there are great views and an opportunity to imagine what a special spot this once was. The place turns into Huggo's on the Rock, a fine lunch and dinner option on the strip, after 11:30 am.

Open daily 6 to 11 am.

Jawz Tacos
1279 S. Kihei Road
Kihei , Hawaii
Tel: 808 874 8226

Jawz started as a roadside taco truck outside Makena State Park. You can still get killer fish tacos there (in fact, there are two trucks now—one inside the parking lot, and one along the road), but we recommend this air-conditioned sit-down version inside one of Kihei's mini-malls. It's a booming business that serves up fresh-catch tacos, salads, and burritos (especially good when smothered in sauces from the salsa bar) that you'll dream about when you get back home. The restaurant itself is bare-bones—a typical cheap and cheerful joint with surf movies playing in the background. But you get heaps of food for under $10, which is a real deal for Maui.

Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.

Jo-Jo's Anuenue
5 Pokole Road
Waimea , Hawaii

There are two shave ice (Hawaiian snow cone) places in Waimea called Jo-Jo's. And, oddly, the bright yellow Jo-Jo's Clubhouse on the main highway isn't the real thing (though it is the original location). For the legendary 60 flavors of this local delicacy and mind-boggling combos, including some with macadamia nut or coffee ice cream hidden inside, you have to turn off toward the ocean on the easy-to-miss Pokole Road to find Jo-Jo's Anuenue. To get the full, complicated backstory on the two locations, pick up a printed card that explains everything when you go to Jo-Jo's Anuenue (and you must go). But all you really need to know is that this is the best shave ice on Kauai.—Cathay Che

Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill
Kukuiula Village Shopping Center
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka Street
Poipu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 742 7117

Chef Jean Marie Josselin isn't as well known as some of the other founders of Hawaii regional cuisine, but his food is still entirely worth seeking out. Josselin took his talents to Las Vegas after bad business partnerships caused all three locations of his A Pacific Café chain to close in the early 2000s. But in 2010, he returned to Kauai to start over with this lively second-floor, open-air eatery in a Poipu mini mall. The stylish restaurant reflects the Spanish aspect of its name with spice-colored decor, delicious house-made sangria (red or white), and plates that are meant for sharing. But the flavors are 100 percent Hawaii: coffee-smoked pork tonkatsu with banana crispy bao and buttermilk BBQ dressing; blackened opah with a vegetable spring roll and basil papaya sauce; and sweet Kauai corn tortilla soup. The portions vary dramatically in size, so it's hard to know how many plates to order, but having an abundance of this fun, flavorful food is no bad thing.—Cathay Che

Open daily 5 to 10 pm.

Kakaako Kitchen
1200 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 596 7488

Set inside the Ward Center shopping mall, across the street from Starbucks and a giant movie-theater complex, Kakaako is a gentle reminder that you're still in Hawaii. This popular takeout place serves local-style fast food (there are a few tables if you want to sit down), with a menu that changes every six months. The hot entrées are hit-or-miss, but the Chinese pork char sui noodle salad and the sandwiches (try the seared ahi) are always reliable. So are the desserts, including coconut mochi and heavenly bread pudding.

Kauai Chocolate Company
Port Allen Marina Center
4341 Waialo Road
Eleele , Hawaii
Tel: 808 335 0448

One of the newer discoveries in Hawaiian agriculture is that cacao grows well on Kauai. The outcome is this mom-and-pop chocolate shop in Port Allen (where boat tours leave for the famous Na Pali Coast). Among the crave-worthy best sellers are Chocolate Opihi, a shell-shaped combination of shortbread, caramel, and macadamia nut covered in rich creamy chocolate, and Da Brick, a variation on fudge with more caramel and macadamia nuts. Simple treats, such as a dark chocolate–covered marshmallow on a stick, are good to eat while driving back to your hotel. The only drawback is that it's tough to transport these temperature-sensitive treats home with you to the mainland.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 5 pm.

Kona Inn Restaurant
75–5744 Alii Drive
Kona Inn Shopping Village
Kailua-Kona , Hawaii
Tel: 808 329 4455

All that's left of the historic hotel built in the early 1900s is this popular open-air oceanfront bar, grill, and restaurant. Adorned with old black-and-white photographs, this is the spot for a classic Hawaiian sunset with a mai tai in hand. The main restaurant has near-perfect macadamia nut–crusted mahimahi, so park yourself in a high-back wicker chair for a leisurely meal. The Café Grill, on the patio, is quicker and less expensive.

Open daily 11:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Lanai City Grille
Hotel Lanai
828 Lanai Avenue
Lanai City , Hawaii
Tel: 877 665 2624 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 565 7211

Surprisingly, visitors to Lanai are likely to find the best meal of their trip at this unpretentious restaurant instead of one of the gilded Four Seasons resorts. While not quite casual, the Grille (which replaced the longstanding Henry Clay's Rotisserie in September 2008) is bright and welcoming, with lots of blond wood, sunny yellow walls, and the smell of home cooking. Maui's famed chef Beverly Gannon oversees the menu of tasty, well-prepared staples such as filet mignon, macadamia nut–crusted mahi mahi, and ahi poke. Prices are moderate (entrées average $28), although depending on what bottle you pick from the full wine list, it could turn into a pricey evening. Call a few weeks in advance for reservations in high season, and beware the delicious "Lanai Tai" cocktails—two will send you off to dreamland before you know it.

Open Wednesdays through Sundays 5 to 9 pm.

Luquin's Mexican Restaurant
15–2942 Pahoa Village Road
Pahoa , Hawaii
Tel: 808 965 9990

Located in Pahoa town—a hippie strip about a 20-minute drive from Hilo—this popular hangout is still a little feral on the edges but wins people over every time. The standard West Coast–style Mexican dishes (fish tacos, burritos, enchiladas) and margaritas are good, but it's really the cantinalike festive scene that makes this place so unique. The chicken and beef usually come from the owners' farm.

Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.

Main Street Bistro
2051 Main Street
Wailuku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 244 6816

Adored by local foodies, the unpretentious fare here is made with Maui-grown ingredients and paired with unaffected environs (the key to the bathroom out back is tethered to a spatula). The lunch menu includes a Durham Ranch beef burger served on a Maui onion bun and a Caesar salad made with a full head of baby romaine lettuce from Kula. Ahi Cones—fresh tuna tartare with greens in an Asiago cheese cone, and macadamia nut-smoked beef brisket are favorites on the tapas menu that's available from 3 p.m. until closing time. There's also a small selection of wine, beer, and a full bar (but limited mixers).

Open Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 7 pm.

Mala Wailea
1307 Front Street
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 808 667 9394

Despite its somewhat esoteric—albeit oceanside—location behind the Safeway supermarket, Mala is the hippest casual eatery in Lahaina. Chef Mark Ellman (best known for the now-franchised Maui Tacos chain and the old Maui Avalon restaurant) has hit just the right note for health-conscious but laid-back island folks. His tapas-inspired eatery serves small plates of Asian/island-inspired comfort food to share. The high-minded menu sticks to organic ingredients whenever possible, and no preservatives or hydrogenated oils are used. Noble as these aims are, rest assured the menu is filled with easy, appealing choices, from flatbread pizzas and Kobe beef cheeseburgers to clams in black bean sauce and beet and Kula goat cheese salad—all of which makes Mala a very satisfying place to graze. There's also a second location, Mala Wailea, at the Wailea Beach Marriott.

Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 9:30 pm, Saturdays 9 am to 9:30 pm, Sundays 9 am to 9 pm.

Mana Foods
49 Baldwin Avenue
Paia , Hawaii
Tel: 808 579 8078

Quite possibly the best, most affordable health-food grocery store in the United States. Whether you feel like a breakfast burrito or a marinated tofu and avocado seaweed wrap or a slice of cake, nothing will set you back more than $6. The perfect place to stock up before the long drive to Hana. If you're staying nearby, you might want to stop in just to gawk at the beautiful yoga-toned hippies and surfers (and their offspring) populating the aisles.

Open daily 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.

Me's Bar-B-Que
151 Uluniu Avenue
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 926 9717

Follow the UPS drivers, hotel staffers, and off-duty strippers to this Waikiki hole in the wall—it's the perfect place for cheap, super-tasty comfort food. If you're hung over, come for breakfast: Two eggs, two scoops of rice, and some spicy Portuguese sausage will cure your pain for under $5. For lunch, try the house specialty, Kalbi beef short ribs with rice, or the hearty bibimbap rice bowl with beef and vegetables. Most people get takeout; the beach is only a five-minute walk away. But if you want to sit, there are a few outdoor patio tables where you can watch the workers of Waikiki speed by.

The Mediterranean Gourmet
Hanalei Colony Resort
5-7130 Kuhio Highway
Haena , Hawaii
Tel: 808 826 9875

Fresh hummus, tabouli, and baba ghanoush are a bit unexpected in the Hanalei Colony Resort's remote corner of Hawaii. Yet you won't be disappointed with the Mediterranean Gourmet's menu, which reflects Middle Eastern, Greek, and French influences and also includes perfectly executed standards such as Caesar salad and filet mignon. The venue, home to Charo's "hoochie coochie" dinner show in the 1980s and still owned by the Spanish bombshell, recalls the dive bar from Coyote Ugly (trading the bras strung up as decor for a belly dancer who wiggles between the tables on Friday nights). Yet somehow, even when you're perfectly sober, it works out to a lively and tasty (not to mention affordable) evening. Picking up a picnic lunch is a good idea, too, but skip the overpriced couple's dinner ($300 per couple, not including alcohol) unless you relish the idea of having chatty Imad Beydoun, the Lebanese chef, cook for you tableside.—Updated by Cathay Che

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 9 pm.

1384 Kuhio Highway
Kapaa , Hawaii
Tel: 808 821 2026

Wraps don't usually inspire passionate praise, but not all wraps contain seared tuna, nutty brown rice, cucumber slices, and pickled ginger doused in a heavenly wasabi cream sauce and offset with a splash of soy. This simple sidewalk café in Kapaa also serves tropical tacos, coconut curry, and basic salads and sandwiches. Whichever you choose, it'll be delicious, filling, and under $11; indeed, one serving can be shared or may suffice for both lunch and dinner.

Open 11 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. every day.

65–1227 Opelo Road
Waimea , Hawaii
Tel: 808 885 6822

It feels like a little place you've discovered, but many have already raved about Peter Merriman, one of 11 top chefs in the state who spearheaded the Hawaii regional cuisine phenomenon. The basic philosophy? Take the freshest local ingredients and prepare each dish to order. As that might imply, this is not a quick or cheap meal (dinner entrées are in the $20–$40 range). Merriman delivers a little bit of the familiar blended with local flavors (e.g., kalua pig and sweet onion quesadilla). His version of the "mixed plate," a taste of three signature dishes (ponzu mahimahi, fillet steak with hamakua mushrooms, and wok-charred ahi), is especially worthy. The restaurant also participates in "Behind the Scenes of Hawaii regional cuisine" farm tours, twice-monthly events hosted by the Hawaii Forest and Trail Service that each culminate in a four-course meal.

Open Mondays through Fridays 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 5:30 to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 5:30 to 9 pm.

MonkeyPod Kitchen
10 Wailea Gateway Plaza, B-201
Kihei , Hawaii
Tel: 808 891 2322

This casual, family-friendly restaurant in a convenient mini mall on the highway to Wailea prides itself on its fine selection of microbrews and hearty gastropub fare with good food values (buying from local farms/aiming for perfection in preparation). None of this is a surprise coming from chef and locavore hero Peter Merriman, who has his fine-dining namesake restaurant in Kapalua and sister restaurants on the Big Island and Kauai. For lunch, tuck into kiawe wood–smoked "Maui Gold" pizza with pineapple and kalua pork, or the Maui Cattle Burger on a house-baked bun with a side of homemade kimchi. For dinner, there's Merriman's wok-seared chile and pepper-crusted ahi or the grass-fed Maui peppercorn-rubbed sirloin served with roasted red bliss potatoes, best paired with one of the 36 microbrews on tap (the best selection of artisan beers on Maui).—Cathay Che

Morimoto Waikiki
Waikiki Edition
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 943 5900

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has arrived in Hawaii with his usual pomp and circumstance, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Waikiki Edition hotel. Sure, every restaurant in Hawaii serves fresh, fatty tuna, but only Morimoto takes his presentation to the level of fine art, as evidenced by the Rothko-inspired palette of his fish tartare trios. You can't go wrong ordering the multicourse Chef's Choice tasting menu, but if ordering à la carte, don't miss the classic Yellowtail Pastrami or Hawaii-only dishes such as pineapple tempura or the chef's Loco Moco, a beef burger on rice topped with a runny egg and special gravy. The main dining room, with coral from the Philippines suspended overhead in glass boxes, is a stunner, but there's also a more wallet-friendly deck with a fire pit (for those rare chilly 68-degree Hawaii nights) that serves some of Honolulu's sexiest and tastiest cocktails, maki, and appetizers (like Morimoto's signature Tuna Pizza).—Cathay Che

Open Sundays through Thursdays 6:30 to 10 am, 11 am to 12 pm, and 5 to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 6:30 to 10 am, 11 am to 12 pm, and 5 to 11 pm. The bar and sushi bar are open only during evening hours.

Nanea Restaurant & Bar
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
3838 Wyllie Road
Princeville , Hawaii
Tel: 808 827 8700

While the condos of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas are generic and too far from the ocean for us to recommend, the property's unpretentious restaurant, Nanea, is a Kauai standout. Diver scallops stuffed with crab, sesame-crusted mahimahi, and rack of lamb rubbed with locally grown coffee are just a few of the dishes you'll recall fondly after returning home. The menu of island fare also includes vegetarian options like agedashi tofu, and anyone with a sweet tooth should save room for one of the daily special desserts. There's both indoor and outdoor seating, and note that at this casual eatery, the only thing that's dressed up is the food.

Open daily 6:30 to 10:30 am and 5:30 to 9:30 pm; bar menu available 11 am to 11 pm.

Ocean Grill
Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay
1 Manele Bay Road
Lanai , Hawaii
Tel: 808 565 2092

Formerly the Beach Restaurant, this informal spot for lunch and dinner at Manele Bay was upgraded when the Four Seasons took over in late 2005. Open-air seating under sun umbrellas means you can stroll up from the beach or hop out of the pool to tuck into fresh seafood plucked from the ocean by local fishermen. The day's catch might include a seafood ceviche of scallops, shrimp, mango, lime, and jalapeño piled in a martini glass, or thick slices of grilled ahi tuna spiked with pickled Asian vegetables, laid daintily over watermelon salad and Furikake rice, and finished with a drizzling of sesame dressing. Of course, burgers, wraps, salads, smoothies, and tropical cocktails from the Pool Bar are also available for lunch. The Ocean Grill's prices, though still a bit steep ($14 for a club sandwich), seem reasonable in comparison with the resort's other options.

Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Turtle Bay Resort
57-091 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 293 0801

Where the rinky-dink beach concession stand of Turtle Bay Resort once stood, this sexy open-air restaurant now lets the waves practically lap at your table. Ola (Hawaiian for "life") has a menu that's unique to the North Shore: Its high-end cuisine is made with decidedly local, down-to-earth ingredients. Kahuku corn chowder, ahi and lobster poke (a marinated seafood salad), local greens with lilikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit), and smoked beef tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes are just a few of the delicious choices. Many dinner menu items come with a suggested wine pairing. Prices are a little high for the casual setting, but the ambience can't be beat—unless there's rain or stormy seas, in which case you should stay away. The zip-down fabric walls don't do much to cut the damp.

Pacific'o on the Beach
505 Front Street
Lahaina , Hawaii
Tel: 808 667 4341

This oceanfront restaurant is a far cry from the rowdy, tacky venues farther down on Front Street advertising a sunset view with dinner. Exclusive but relaxed, Pacific'o and its sister restaurant next door, I'o (home of the best luau on the island, the Feast at Lele), offer Pacific Rim cuisine: fresh fish, local meats, and produce whipped into flavorful Asian-influenced dishes (sisho spicy tuna or sesame-crusted lamb). Start with something from the special cocktail menu, and dine open-air on the lanai a few feet from the beach.

Pauwela Café
375 West Kuiaha Road
Haiku , Hawaii
Tel: 808 575 9242

While Paia is primarily a surfer town, Haiku, a few miles east on the Hana Highway, is the windsurfer hangout of choice. Down-to-earth Pauwela Café is fast, cheap, and healthy—if you stick to the vegetarian options (try the Haiku taro burger on a whole-wheat bun). Those on an early-morning path to indulgence opt for pain perdu (French bread baked in orange-vanilla custard and served with mixed fruit). The lunch menu consists of salads, burritos, and sandwiches such as Kalua turkey with roasted sweet green chilies. People-watching and cheap entrés make up for the nonexistent decor.

Open daily 6 am to 2 pm.

Pele's Other Garden
811 Houston Street
Lanai City , Hawaii
Tel: 808 565 9628

By day, it's a deli and sandwich shop; by night, cloth goes on the tables and casual Italian cuisine hits the plates. Go for the bruschetta—crispy and garlicky, it's topped by plenty of fresh tomato and basil—and one of Pele's substantial pastas (like bow ties with plump garlic shrimp or creamy three-cheese rainbow tortellini with freshly prepared Alfredo sauce). This is the only restaurant on Lanai outside of the hotels that has a liquor license, so you can sip on fruity concoctions, beer, or wine with your meal. The bright-yellow room is decorated with license plates. Now that they have one from every state in the union (and six foreign countries), they've started a collection of beer taps.

Closed Saturdays and Sundays.

The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong
Macy's, Third Floor
Ala Moana Shopping Center
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 945 6573

Affordable and very popular with the locals, the Pineapple Room is a great place to sample chef Alan Wong's accessible classics, such as crispy Asian slaw, Kalua pork (Hawaiian BBQ) BLT, and house-made North Shore Cattle Company meatloaf. The Pineapple room is located in the Ala Moana shopping center, on the third floor of Macy's, and while it's set with white tablecloths and staffed with attentive servers who know their food and wine, it maintains a more casual atmosphere than Wong's eponymous restaurant. If you want to try as many dishes as possible, order the five-course chef's menu, which changes daily.

Open Sundays 9 am to 3 pm, Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 8:30 pm, and Saturdays 8 am to 8:30 pm.

Poke Stop
94-050 Farrington Highway, E-4
Waipahu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 676 8100

Oahu-born chef Elmer Guzman is on a one-man mission to elevate poke—the local side dish of soy-marinated raw fish—to an art form. He blends the bold influences of his mentors—Alan Wong and Sam Choy in Hawaii and Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans—with his own creative ideas to come up with no less than 25 flavors of poke. Guzman's outpost is in Waipahu—totally out of the way unless you're staying at the Ihilani Resort & Spa—and resembles a fast food joint with counter service and cement tables and umbrellas outside. But it turns out top-notch food. Blackened fish, bento boxes, salads, sandwiches, and soups round out the menu, but most people stop in just for the poke. Like at an ice cream counter, you can try three flavors for free before you commit—the spicy, Big Easy–inspired Creamy Ahi is the most popular—and your order can be packed on ice if you want to eat it back at your hotel.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 8 am to 7 pm, Sundays 8 am to 5 pm.

Ala Moana Shopping Center
Ala Moana Boulevard, between Piikoi Street and Atkinson Drive
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 946 3355

The minimalist black, tan, and white decor makes Rokkaku the perfect backdrop for the Louis Vuitton-, Gucci-, and Chanel-clad customers who frequent the restaurant. (Conveniently, these boutiques are located on the same level of the Ala Moana Shopping Center.) Despite the surroundings and crowd, though, there's nothing trendy about the Japanese food: Rokkaku serves up traditional Kyoto-style cuisine. The upscale menu includes a few items that even some Hawaiian-born Japanese might not recognize, such as the house specialty, kamameshi (rice cooked in a small ceramic pot until it has a chewy golden crust, and served with an assortment of savory pickles). But more familiar dishes like sushi, sashimi, grilled butterfish, and Wagyu sirloin are also available here, along with a terrific list of premium sakes. Reservations are recommended.

Roy's Waikoloa Bar & Grill
250 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa , Hawaii
Tel: 808 886 4321

In the wake of Nobu and Morimoto, fresh seafood punched up with bold Asian flavors and plated in ornamental Japanese style can sound a bit commonplace, but chef Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiian fusion is ideal fare for a beach vacation. Yamaguchi's classic preparations include an exotic roll of snow crab, asparagus tempura, and avocado wrapped in seared Kobe; and a trio of hibachi-grilled salmon, blackened ahi, and misoyaki butterfish. Reservations are recommended, but you can show up at this casual, dark-wood, open-air venue in a Waikoloa mini-mall in shorts and flip-flops without a problem.

Open daily 5:30 to 10 pm.

Saturday Farmers' Market at Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 848 2074

This bustling Saturday-morning market (it starts at 7:30 and lasts until 11) sells an overwhelming array of locally grown produce and ready-to-eat foods. Come with an appetite, but pace yourself; the more you wander around, the more you'll want to try. You might start with a breakfast wrap of kalua pork (cooked in banana leaves), scrambled eggs, cheese, brown rice, and pineapple salsa in a taro tortilla. But save room for breads, cookies, fudge, chai tea, and exotic fruits.

Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 591 0253

More sports bar than restaurant, this humble spot has such terrific food that you might spot Alan Wong or Roy Yamaguchi hanging out here after-hours. You'll have to put up with the loudly blaring TVs (and even louder shouts and screams if a big football game is on), but the barbecued pork ribs, perfectly juicy pork chops, and garlic edamame are worth it. And with entrées costing about $12, you can't beat the prices with a stick.

3900 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
Tel: 808 879 2999

Even if you're not staying at the Four Seasons, it's de rigueur to visit the hotel's Hawaiian version of Spago, decorated with bright wallpaper murals of pink and orange sea anemones. The hotel does have a newer restaurant, Duo, which serves fantastic steaks, but Spago has a better location and view for sunset drinks. The food is Californian (with a Pacific Rim emphasis on fresh fish and local produce) and pricey, and there's a lot of rubbernecking going on—a hazard of places where the beautiful people congregate. Try to get a table out on the deck for sunset. After dinner, take a stroll on the beach; you can walk the paved beachfront path all the way to the Grand Wailea Resort next door and back.

Open daily 5:30 to 9:30 pm.

Tex's Drive-In
45–690 Highway 19/Pakalana Street
Honokaa , Hawaii
Tel: 808 775 0598

It was a tiny shack that put the little town of Honokaa on the map with its irresistible malassadas (fried dough balls rolled in sugar). Now it's a factory and full-on tourist trap complete with a visitors center and garden center, but the supersize malassadas (you now have the option of enhancements like Bavarian cream or guava jam on the inside) are still worth their weight in gold. One word for the rest of the menu: Don't. It's an ideal place to stop when driving along the Hamakua Coast from one side of the island to the other.

Open daily 6:30 am to 8 pm.

Two Ladies Kitchen
274 Kilauea Avenue
Hilo , Hawaii
Tel: 808 961 4766

Hilo native Nora Uchida and her family apply themselves to making Japanese dessert pastries, and making them very well. Mochi (soft pounded-rice balls) and manju (flaky pastry balls) are traditionally filled with sweet red or white beans. But here, mochi are also stuffed with white chocolate, passion fruit, peanut butter, and even whole fresh strawberries. Manju come in fewer varieties, but the purple sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon is not to be missed. They last a good three days without refrigeration (except for those filled with fresh strawberry), so the colorful confections make great gifts to tote home.

Open Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm.

Waiola Store
2135 Waiola Street
Honolulu , Hawaii
Tel: 808 949 2269

Shave ice—the local treat of monster-size snow cones drenched in fruit syrup—makes the perfect refresher after a day at the beach. These days, Waiola, with its 45 flavors, has elbowed out Matsumoto's on the North Shore as Oahu's number-one shave-ice spot. You can add ice cream and other toppings to your cone—and even the most gourmet combo (say, shave ice with coconut and strawberry syrups, condensed cream, and li hing mui, or salted plum powder) will still cost you less than a Frappuccino. There's a second location at 525 Kapahulu Avenue (808-735-8886).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.