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10 Downtown Honolulu Restaurants
Jan 28 , 2022 · 7 min read

Say aloha to some delicious dining experiences when you arrive in sunny Honolulu. From fine dining to cheap eats, international to traditional Hawaiian dishes, you can find a huge array of options for brunch, lunch and dinner in the downtown area of Hawaii. If only there was time to try all of the downtown Honolulu restaurants. Your meals will be sweet and savoury memories of your Hawaiian vacation with flavours that are sure to please. 

To make sure you make the most of every mealtime during your vacation, here are ten downtown Honolulu restaurants to check out while you are in town. Take your forks or chopsticks and have a seat let’s eat!

PAI Honolulu

PAI Honolulu

Prepare for a feast at PAI Honolulu with a choice of traditional international dishes. Owner and renowned chef Kevin Lee runs the kitchen with signature tapa dishes using fresh local produce and seafood. Innovative promotions like chef collaboration dinners and Chinese New Year dumpling kits keep diners coming back again and again. One look at their Instagram feed will have you drooling your way to make a reservation. 

We recommend going for the chef’s tasting menu with wine pairing or from the ala carte menu the Kusshi Oysters or slow-roasted Chermoula Salmon with wilted kale and chickpeas. Don’t leave your visit until the end of your trip because you might want to dine at PAI Honolulu more than once. 

Royal Kitchen

As expected, you will be treated like royalty and eat like a King at this charming restaurant that has been around since 1974. What a history and the Royal Kitchen boasts a reputation to match. With Asian and Hawaiian dishes like saimin, pork hash, manapua and filled baked buns, you are promised a feast. 

The addictive buns are the restaurant’s specialty with fillings including a hot dog, coconut, chicken curry, Portuguese sausage and potato. This restaurant is often featured in media publications and food blogs as a place not to be missed. 

Ma'ona Musubi

Our favourite lunch spot in Honolulu is Ma’ona Musubi, with a clever mix of classic Japanese and Hawaiian dishes to set the taste buds to heaven. The name translates to “fulfilling,” and that is one of the many positive and description words you can use after dining at a fancy restaurant.

The sandwich-style musubi and donburi rice bowls look as good as they taste. Plus, it is pretty healthy and affordable. If you need lunch on the run or want to have snacks to keep your going while sightseeing, you can get some takeaway too.

Lee Ho Fook Restaurant

Get your fill at this traditional Chinese noodle house which is one of the most popular hole-in-the-wall establishments in town. Locals often grab the fishball rice noodle soup, which visitors devour won tons and rice dishes. This always-busy restaurant is proof that affordable meals can also be great meals. 

They take classic dishes and add a modern twist with fresh Hawaiian ingredients. Don’t be surprised if you hear about this humble but popular Chinese restaurant again before you touch down in Hawaii. 

Fete

Fete

It’s trendy, tasty and has a great reputation to boot. At Fete, you can dine at the bar or grab a table for drinks and a meal to remember. The menu features dishes like Sweetland farm Waialua gouda or chicken liver mousse for starters. Then the Chaz burger with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, vine-ripened tomatoes, and roasted garlic aioli will fill you up. 

That’s if you can resist the Korean fried chicken. The mains are tempting and don’t even get us started on the desserts. One of the wonderful indulgences of being on vacation is eating great food and Fete is a place you can’t miss. It’s open every day except Sundays so don’t miss out.

Hukilau Honolulu

Hukilau Honolulu

In the Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel in downtown Honolulu, you can enter the lovely Hukilau Honolulu. Mouthwateringly delicious meals with wonderful presentations are served to diners who appreciate great food. 

Happy hour and live music draw in a hip crowd who often end the night with the Hawaiian Superman (a double cheese smash burger with laulau, mac salad, white onion and chilli pepper watah.) It is even more delicious than it sounds, as are all of the dishes available at Hukilau Honolulu. 

Marugame Udon

Marugame Udon

This udon noodle restaurant in the Hawaii Building is always busy with locals and tourists who flock for the best noodles in town. The chefs are always busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen, making Japanese soups, tempura and rice ball snacks, amongst other yummy dishes. 

We love the traditional ceramic dishes they use and apparently, customers are often asking where they can buy them. They also have branches in Texas and California with slightly different menus at each location, so you might be able to become a loyal fan. 

The Pig and the Lady

The Pig and the Lady

You can find every kind of cuisine in downtown Honolulu and if you are craving Vietnamese food, The Pig and the Lady has you covered. Modern Vietnamese dishes come out of the kitchen at an impressive pace and are eaten just as quickly. This Chinatown restaurant has another branch called Piggy Smalls at Ward Village on Ala Moana Blvd and is often at farmer’s markets and events around the city. 

Oysters, papaya salad, pho, fried fish curry and caramel braised pork belly and rice are all perfections. The price is affordable too so it could become your go-to lunch stop or new favourite dinner option. 

Kan Zaman

Kan Zaman

This stylish restaurant in Chinatown serves up Moroccan and Lebanese dishes proving you can find almost any kind of food in the city. Middle Eastern-style tiled floors and exotic decor set the scene for a dining experience made for fashion-forward travellers who like to have nice surroundings as much as delicious food. We heard from chef Emad, the lamb tajine is a fine creation. 

Indeed there is a menu full of Arabic and Mediterranean dishes prepared with fresh ingredients and much creative flair. While it is surprising to find Middle Eastern food in Chinatown in Hawaii, you will be so glad you did.

Livestock Tavern

Livestock Tavern

For downtown Honolulu restaurants, you can’t look past Livestock Tavern with a cozy atmosphere and excellent service. The modern menu offers hearty dishes like New England clam chowder, Hen of the Wood mushrooms and oxtail Mac and cheese. An impressive wine, beer, cider and spirit list means you might be there all afternoon or night. 

The welcoming staff is always happy if you want to stay for one more drink or maybe dessert before you hit the road. This warm hotel in Honolulu’s Chinatown Art District emphasizes simple comfort food and high-quality drinks. Get there early to make a great night of it.

The Chinatown in Honolulu is 140 years old, making it one of the oldest in America. There is a high concentration of excellent restaurants here and around the whole downtown area, meaning visitors are spoiled for choice. You can walk around the streets and be drawn in by the alluring aromas drifting out of the kitchens. 

Especially in Chinatown, which is always bustling with loud music, sounds and interesting sights, you will be tempted to stop for a meal or maybe a snack if it’s those hungry hours that fall between lunch and dinner.

Foodies always rave about Hawaiian restaurants, especially the stunning collection of dining options in Honolulu. You might become that person who posts food photos on their Instagram page by the end of your vacation and eating will be a highlight of your trip amongst the many other wonderful experiences you will have in Hawaii.

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