10 Best restaurants for outdoor dining in Honolulu offer sun, starts, moons and ocean
By Jade Eckardt
Big Island, Honolulu, and Kauai Local Expert
On the beach, under the moon, on a pier, or during sunset, those are the outdoor dining options you have on the gorgeous island of Oahu. Yet there is still more. With varied surroundings and terrain Honolulu and the other areas on the island offer a multitude of outdoor dining experiences, from restaurants on the beach to one's outside in the heart of Waikiki. 10 Best is here to guide you to the best of them so you can find something under the sky to fit your needs.
If your looking to dress up and hit the city yet dine outdoors, make a reservation at Roy's Bar and Grill in Waikiki and dine under the light of tiki torches and the stars. On the other side of the island is the Heeia Pier General Store & Deli, offering gourmet local food outdoors on the pier overlooking the east side bay.
For an exquisite upscale and ocean front experience under the sun or moon, make reservations at the fine dining restaurant La Mer, located inside the Halekulani Hotel. Orchids in Honolulu is an outdoor dining staple, offering one of the best brunch menus in the city as well as a lovely dinner menu. And for a truly traditional and outdoor dining experience, make sure to spend at night at the Paradise Cove Luau.
The options are vast, so 10 Best is here to guide you to the top 10 outdoor places to dine on Oahu.
10 Heeia Pier General Store and Deli
The Heeia Pier General Store and Deli is a classic Kaneohe eatery enjoyed by dedicated locals for three decades as it served up local classic like plate lunches and loco mocos (beef patty, egg and gravy over rice). But recently top chef Mark Noguchi took over the classic eatery and put a modern sustainable and healthier take on the local comfort food. All of the beef is from the Big Island and grass fed, the fish is caught nearby, and other vegetables are all grown locally - a locovore's dream. Located ocean front on the pier, diners can enjoy casual - but really good breakfast and lunch right on the water. (1 808.235.2192)
Boasting lovely views of Diamond Head and an abundance of signature flowers, this celebrated restaurant does everything right. With an expansive opening to the ocean and a white sand beach, Orchids offers an exquisite outdoor dining experience in Honolulu. Breakfast each day is an event, whether you opt for a Continental, American, or Japanese morning meal. Sunday brunch, however, is an absolute extravaganza known the island over. Its legion of stations features breakfast favorites and adds in pastries, fruit, hot entrees, soups, salads, fresh fish, and desserts aplenty. Live music adds another layer of sensation, and the entire affair is not-to-be-missed. (808-923-2311)
8 Jameson's by the Sea
A North Shore mainstay, Jameson's ably accommodates visitors and local folks with its array of seafood dishes and its waterside location. The outdoor porch offers an expansive, panoramic view of the ocean, surfing, waves and the canoe clubs that paddle around the beach. Downstairs, a casual ambiance prevails, thanks to the restaurant's lunchtime fare and comfortable deck. The specialty here is sandwiches, salads, and soups. Upstairs, dinner is served in fancier digs. Steaks and other dishes are available, but you'd do well to indulge in fresh seafood, whether it be sauteed mahi mahi, poached opakapaka, or shrimp prepared a number of ways. (808-637-6272)
7 Off the Hook
Relax true local style in a fisherman's style beach side shack that serves as a bar and lounge called Off the Hook at the extravagant Aulani Resort. Here you'll find a wide array of tropical drinks, and Hawaiian and Pacific inspired appetizers. Open till 12 a.m. each night, Off the Hook offers hotel guests as well as those from around the island a place to socialize, unwind, and take in the sounds of the ocean breezes and waves. There isn't much nightlife out in Kapolei, but Off the Hook provides an island style locale to spend time watching the sunset and enjoy the outdoors well into the night. ((714) 520-7001)
6 Haleiwa Joe's
Take in the North Shore's relaxed lifestyle at this fantastic eatery. Kick back on the lanai, take in the incredible island scenery, and revel in the moment. While you do, make sure to sample terrific seafood and steak entrees. Prime rib is always popular, and coconut shrimp maintain a faithful following as well. You'll also find grilled fish, fresh soups and salads, and tempting desserts. In the bar, a wonderful selection of appetizers makes for great nibbling. The open air lanai overlooks the Haleiwa Harbor and the boats that make a home in it. Famous Ali`i Beach Park where world class surfing takes place is also nearby. (808-637-8005, 831-479-7564)
5 Mocha Java Café
At this fantastic caf�, you can either step in for a smoothie or a full-bodied cup or coffee, or you can stay awhile and have a light meal as well. Cr�pes are a specialty, both savory and sweet, and you can also pick up an omelet, salad, sandwich, or stir-fried dish. Cakes and cookies make an appearance as well, as do some great vegetarian options, including vegan, low-fat, and tofu-based fare. Consider Mocha Java a stop-off while you run errands, or make it a destination for a satisfying, tasty meal. the outdoor tables are on the side walk and offer a peak at passersby exploring the downtown area. (808-591-9023)
4 Paradise Cove Luau
A seaside location capitalizes on incredible sunsets at this established luau. This luau offers an outdoor experience in several ways, dining by moonlight, dancing on the beach, and learning fishing methods in the water. When guests arrive, they're treated to a display of crafts and games on the grounds and are then invited to watch traditional ceremonies. Following is the unveiling of the pig and a delectable buffet with all sorts of appetizing fare, including native island dishes. Finally, performances of song and dance add a festive note and provide a rounded experience of Hawaiian culture. A shuttle to the locale is included. (808-842-5911, 800-775-2683)
3 Hau Tree Lanai
Dining beneath a graceful, arching hau tree by the water, could there be any more gracious setting? This outdoor venue delights diners with its idyllic ambiance and then confirms the pleasure with delicious cuisine. Dinner, especially at sunset, is sublime, and fresh fish is de rigueur. Grilled, steamed, or blackened, its delicate flavor matches the setting; you'll also find shrimp and crabcakes to sample. Other enticing options include an amazing rack of lamb and wonderful vegetarian dishes. Overlooking the white sand beaches of Waikiki with surfers and Diamond Head in view, the tables here will lend some of the most romantic atmosphere on the island. (808-921-7066)
Under the masterful tutelage of chef Roy Yamaguchi, who skillfully fuses European and Asian cuisines, this establishment has earned a reputation for lively ambiance, attentive service, and incredible food. A devotion to impeccably fresh ingredients and a penchant for artistic presentation characterizes the menu, whose temptations include an array of Pacific rim dishes with enough options to make any vegetarian happy. There's also steak, lamb, pasta, pork, and duck. Nightly specials make an appearance too, and the signature chocolate souffle is absolutely sinful. The Waikiki location offers outdoor tables lit by flaming tiki torches at night and offering a window into the tropical city. (808-396-7697)
1 Duke's Canoe Club
In tribute to Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii's renowned swimmer, surfer, and Olympic athlete, this casual restaurant offers patrons a wealth of island culture. Memorabilia, live Hawaiian music, and fresh local seafood are among the attractions that have folks returning again and again. Food is served all day, and lunchtime brings fresh fish, steaks, burgers, pizza, and sandwiches. A midday buffet features kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, just-caught fish, and a salad bar. The hula pie, a house special, is not-to-be-missed. This is not only a dinner hotspot, but is also a nightlife go-to place for locals and visitors alike, who want to dance or dine the night away on the beach. (808-922-2268)
About Jade Eckardt
Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and exploring the island. A regular visitor to Kauai, Jade recently authored a full-length Kauai guide book. She is a writer and photographer, whose work has been published in numerous regional and national magazines. When she's not writing, Jade enjoys a good beer, a good surf, and time in her garden with her son.
Read more about Jade Eckardt here.
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