1. Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
This is the first place we ate at when we arrived. We arrived in Oahu starving because our last meal was breakfast with just a small snack prior to our departure from Maui. So right after check-in, we dropped off our stuff in our hotel and headed out.
It was very hot and humid so we decided to save ramen for another day which is what we originally had planned on.
As we were walking along Waikiki Beach walk, we stumbled upon Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin and remembered that we wanted to try this place last time we were in Waikiki two years ago.
Like most popular places in Waikiki, there was a bit of a wait when we arrived around 5pm; around 20 minutes for a table for three. We ended up sitting at the bar area and I’m so glad we got seated there! From here, we had a view of the chef’s making magic!
Trust me when I say this is not your average katsu. It is authentic Tonkatsu and is a Tokyo Ginza-based specialty.
The breading is so crispy with the perfect crunch on the outside and so moist and juicy on the inside.
Each bite I took made me so happy.
I ordered the chicken katsu and my husband got the pork loin. Both were served with rice and a simple cabbage salad with sesame dressing.
The sauce for the katsu is in a jar at each table and you combine this with sesame seeds that you crush yourself with a mortar and pestle.
I mean, how cute is this?!
The portions are pretty hearty so come here if you are hungry and want a satisfying meal. You will not be disappointed.
2. Marukame Udon
Murakame Udon is a place you must visit if you are in Oahu. It is cafeteria style so grab a tray and be ready to place your order as the line goes pretty quickly. It can get very crowded but people tend to eat fast here so hopefully you will find a place to sit.
There is a reason this place is so popular. It’s delicious and inexpensive. Even in the hot weather, you will find a line out the door. They open at 7am so this is what we had for breakfast at 9am!
Now this is my version of “breakfast of champions”.
The udon noodles are made fresh right before your eyes.
The side dishes such as shrimp and vegetable tempura, chicken wings, and spam masubi’s are made fresh too.
The best part of our whole meal…the price! You can get a basic udon noodle soup for $4.
Our entire meal cost us a little over $20. You can’t beat that!
3. Pau Hana Market Waikiki (Food Trucks)
There was a good selection of food trucks with different variety of foods from ramen to burgers. It’s walking distance from the Trump Hotel, Embassy Suites and Outrigger Reef.
There is a fair amount of picnic tables for you to sit and eat and a good option if you want a quick, casual bite to eat. Or you can take your food to go and head to the beach!
We ordered ramen from Kamitoku Ramen Lunch Wagon and beef samurai grill rice from Samurai Grill Hawaii. I was a bit disappointed in the beef samurai grill rice because the portion was small for $13.85.
4. Eggs n Things
DO NOT COME HERE HUNGRY! I repeat, do not come here hungry! In fact, maybe have a small snack before coming.
Our party of 7 waited well over an hour for our table at 9am on a weekday. It was hot and we were all hungry. Good thing I had coffee to tie me over but it felt like the longest wait ever.
The breakfast at Eggs n Things was good. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was good. We got some pancakes, omelets, corn beef hash and waffles. The macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup was popular but a little too sweet for me. It’s conveniently located near the Trump hotel and Outrigger Reef which were the hotels our families stayed at. It was a short walk to the shops afterwards to burn off some of the calories we ate.
5. BLT Steak
BLT Steak is located at the Trump International Hotel. This restaurant is classy, upscale and lively.
We came here to attend a wedding reception but this would be a great place for a special occasion, date night or even just drinks at the bar. We were seated in the private room in the back that connects to the outdoor patio. Our party was about 25 people and we were seated comfortably in a long table.
The steak was served medium rare and it was very flavorful. Their salmon was also really good. It was cooked perfectly and the texture was like butter!
The sides that came with the meal were mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and creamed spinach. Our salads were wedge salad with crumbled bacon and beet salad. I forgot to take pictures of the salads because hunger set it at that point but they were both really pretty!
Their cocktails were strong that night and they have an extensive wine list typical of a steak restaurant.
I was so very full but I am not one to say no to dessert!
I really have to commend the wait staff on the service. They were all super attentive and accommodating to everyones needs.
6. Cheesecake Factory
I know what you’re thinking. You were in Hawaii and you ate at the Cheesecake Factory? I know. But we were with other people who don’t have a Cheesecake Factory restaurant where they’re from so it was a treat for them.
Despite that, The Cheesecake Factory is actually one of the few chain restaurants that I really like.
Since we were in Hawaiii, I ordered the Ahi Tuna salad and it was surprisingly really good! Very fresh and light and made me feel better about all the steak I had the night before.
Rowell ordered the Pasta Carbonara which is his favorite thing to order at The Cheesecake Factory.
Yum, doesn’t this look good?
7. Uncle Tetsu
I was so happy when I found out that Uncle Tetsu opened up a location inside the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center food court. I’ve heard about this place from my Canadian friends who rave about how good it is so I couldn’t wait to try it out. We currently don’t have a location in the Bay Area.
Let me first say that this is not your average American cheesecake. It has more of a sponge cake consistency, is very light and airy and has a hint of sweetness to it that’s not too overwhelming. That’s what makes this cheesecake so dangerous because I could literally eat the whole thing in 2.5 seconds. It is so good!
I tried the original flavor and it cost about $8. Well worth it in my opinion.
Like all things Japanese, it is packaged so neat and perfectly in this cute little red box.
We came here after our huge meal at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin. It’s the perfect dessert when you don’t want anything too heavy after a big meal. (Unless you eat the whole thing.)
- Morio’s Sushi Bistro
Morio’s Susi Bistro is the best deal in the quality of the sushi you will find in Waikiki.
I will make this short and sweet:
- Make reservations at least a month out
- BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) – There’s a liquor store conveniently around the corner
- Very small restaurant
- Sit at the sushi bar
- Make friends with your neighbors
- Take sake shots with Chef Morio
- Enjoy the freshest sushi in Waikiki
No pictures were taken because we just wanted to enjoy our experience. (Let’s be honest, we just devoured our food and completely neglected to take any pictures!)
- Ramen Nakamura
Two words: Oxtail Ramen. The meat on the oxtail is literally falling off the bone and the broth is so flavorful. The noodles are a perfect consistency and just the right amount of bite to it. I’m salivating just thinking about it! This place is very small and seats about 20-25 people (if that) so there will probably be a line when you arrive. The line goes pretty quickly as people tend to “inhale and bail”.
Bring cash as it is cash only.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ is a restaurant where you are the chef!
You grill your own meats and vegetables right at your table and its a great place to socialize with family and friends. It has a very energetic atmosphere and you can find many tables enjoying sake and beer with their meals. It is vibrant and loud and several groups were celebrating birthdays the day we went.
We enjoyed everything we ate here. We came during happy hour and ordered a number of different dishes which came out to $41. A great deal for the quality and amount of food we ordered.