The 10 Best Luau and Hawaiian Food Restaurants Across Oahu



No trip to the Hawaiian Islands is complete without attending a luau. Spend an evening hearing lively music, watching vibrant hula, eating kalua pig fresh from the imu–Hawaiian for “underground oven”–and for the adults, drinking flowing mai tais.  

In Hawaiian, paina, (pronouned pah-eena) means “a party with dinner.” It’s the traditional word for the more modern equivalent of what we know of today as a luau. Luau are a fun and still widely observed tradition for residents celebrating birthdays, graduations, weddings and more. For visitors, it’s a great way to learn about Polynesian culture and enjoy a delicious feast.

One of Oahu’s best luau is on the North Shore at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Tuck into a large buffet before watching the talented entertainers of the center perform traditional dances. 

If you’re on the west side, visit Paradise Cove for an evening luau with an ocean view, great food and good entertainment. Before the luau begins, enjoy traditionally inspired crafts and games.

For traditional Hawaiian food on the island, look no further than Helena’s Hawaiian Food, Highway Inn, Ono Hawaiian Foods, Yama’s Fish Market and Haili’s Hawaiian Food.    

Here are the 10 Best luau across Oahu, as well as the places serving authentic Hawaiian food.


Haili’s Hawaiian Food


For authentic Hawaiian food in a laid back, home style atmosphere, visit Haili's Hawaiian Food. The Kapahulu Avenue eatery has been in business since 1948 when Mother Haili started serving simple, traditional Hawaiian food at the Ward Farmers...  Read More


Yama's Fish Market


Yama's Fish Market is a small, fresh fish and Hawaiian food take out eatery tucked at the end of Young Street in Honolulu. What the space lacks in seating and decor it makes up for in friendly service and outstanding food. Yama's Fish Market is...  Read More




Ono Hawaiian Foods, on Kapahulu Avenue, just outside of Waikiki is appropriately named. As they say in Hawaii, the food is ono, or delicious! The small, unassuming restaurant is known for its authentically-made Hawaiian plates, featuring kalua...  Read More


Highway Inn


This Hawaiian food mainstay boasts two Oahu locations. The original Highway Inn opened in 1947 in in Waipahu on Oahu's Leeward side. The Toguchi family opened its second location in Kakaako in Honolulu in 2013. The family-run Highway Inn is...  Read More




For the best Hawaiian food, simply and honestly prepared, a must visit on Oahu is Helena's Hawaiian Food. The James Beard Foundation award-winning restaurant was started by Helen Chock in 1946 and is ran by her grandson Craig Katsuyoshi today....  Read More


Waikiki Starlight Luau- Hilton Hawaiian Village
Photo courtesy of Loren Javier


As the name suggests, the Waikiki Starlight Luau is a celebration under the stars. Located on the rooftop of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, this entertaining luau features hula, drumming and music of Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa, as well as...  Read More


The Royal Hawaiian Luau - Aha'aina


Each Monday evening, the manicured Ocean Lawn of the Royal Hawaiian, also known as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, becomes the grass stage of the Aha Aina luau. This Waikiki luau is a cultural celebration with an ocean view. Kick off your...  Read More


Germaine's Luau


Germaine's Luau, nestled on a beach in Kapolei, is an Oahu luau mainstay. The popular luau features an exotic buffet including poi, chicken long rice, lomi lomi salmon, taro rolls, haupia (a coconut milk–based dessert), pineapple, island fish...  Read More




If you want a luau with an ocean view, head to Oahu's west side for the Paradise Cove Luau. Located inside the Ko Olina Resort in Kapolei, this evening starts off with traditionally inspired crafts and games, such as lei making, Polynesian...  Read More




On the North Shore of Oahu sits the expansive, 42-acre Polynesian Cultural Center. The center features interactive villages showcasing the traditions of the island people of Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji and Tahiti. Each village is filled...  Read More


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Meet Tiffany Hill

Tiffany Hill has lived on Oahu’s Leeward and Windward sides, but today she calls Honolulu home. She is a writer whose work is regularly published in regional and national publications,...  More About Tiffany Hill

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