10 Best Restaurants for Take Out Food in Honolulu
By Jade Eckardt
Big Island, Honolulu, and Kauai Local Expert
The Hawaiian Islands are the ideal place to eat take out food. Why? There's so much natural beauty and gorgeous beaches to enjoy food, that take out on the beach can be better than an oceanfront high end eatery. There are a ton of awesome restaurants in Honolulu, and most allow take out to be taken nearby and enjoyed on a beach, in a park, or under a tree in the grass. Maximize your time experiencing Hawaii's beauty, and enjoy great food to go.
With two locations, one in Honolulu and one in Kapolei, Down to Earth Natural Foods is a local favorite for healthy food on the go. Offering salads, entrees, fresh juices and smoothies, the food is perfect to take down the street to Ala Moana Beach Park or Queen's in Waikiki. Sit by the ocean and watch surfers catch waves while enjoying your meal.
Also in the heart of Honolulu is Bogart's Cafe. Offering a huge menu of great food, Bogart's is a true hole-in-the-wall famous for their breakfast bagel sandwich. Coffees and smoothies are also on the menu.
Healthy delicious food to go is easy to find on the lush east side where Heeia Pier & General Store serves fresh local fish on a dock, right on the water. Putting a gourmet twist on traditional local foods, this casual eatery has become a renowned place to dine.
Utilize Honolulu's best to go food for oceanfront meals and romantic dinners alone.
10 Ba-Le French Sandwich & Bakery
Chain though it may be, Ba-Le is head and shoulders above typical sandwich shops. Known for its French-bread concoctions, the eatery fills tasty rolls with all sorts of yummy ingredients, including pork, tofu, vegetables, chicken satay, and p�t�. Thanks to an Asian culinary heritage, the place also makes available such condiments as pickled vegetables and tangy sauces. Hot, fragrant pho soup can also be had, along with spring rolls, desserts, and coffee drinks. Locations exist all over Honolulu and central Oahu. While enjoying their gourmet savory sandwiches, don't ignore the dessert breads such as chocolate cherry and walnut cranberry that are good enough to enjoy as dessert toasted with butter. (808-591-0935, 808-847-2299)
9 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. Call in before ordering if you'd like to just run in and pick it up. (808-591-9023)
8 Kua'Aina Sandwich
At Kua 'Aina, you'll find what are arguably the island's best burgers. Fresh-made and grilled to your specifications, the meaty treats are juicy and incomparable. You can order one of their variations (with avocado, pineapple, bacon, etc.) or dine the traditional way (with lettuce, tomato, and their slice of carrot). Don't forget to add a side of legendary shoestring fries, and if you come at lunchtime, be prepared to wait. Deli sandwiches and fresh fish are also available. The original Kua 'Aina is at 66-214 Kamehameha Highway in Hale'iwa (808-637-6067) and there's also a thriving location in town in at Ward Warehouse. (808-591-9133)
7 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)
6 Helena's Hawaiian Food
Honest, authentic, simply-prepared Hawaiian food is what you'll discover at this fine eatery, a throwback to former days. It boasts island cuisine par excellence, created with love and prepared in the old way. Such attention isn't lost on eager diners, who clamor for kalua pig, pipikaula shortribs, poke (raw seafood salad), and fried fish. There's no designer decor, but no one cares when they dig into these comfort foods, which come � la carte or as part of a set menu. Eat your fill, and revel in the experience. Just don't forget to finish up with a dish of silky haupia (coconut pudding). (808-845-8044)
5 Andy's Sandwiches & Smoothies
A terrific alternative to fast food and a favorite with locals, Andy's has built its reputation on affordable, healthy fare. Since 1977, the casual place has served up vegetarian-oriented food that's not only good for the body but tastes great too. The selection of sandwiches features fresh ingredients, and everything is prepared in-house, as are the smoothies, crammed with lush fruit and natural juices. Breakfast also incorporates island produce, in waffles, muffins, and more. Hot or cold, you're certain to find something delectable at Andy's. And if you're determined to have protein that's not soy-based, they also offer turkey, roast beef, and chicken. (808-988-6161)
4 Surfer, the Bar
Surfer, the Bar is Turtle Bay Resorts new endeavor into into a farm to table restaurants that also offers nighttime entertainment. Opening at 6 p.m. daily, Surfer is part bar, part restaurant and part night club. Great happy hour cocktails are offers along with the full bar and classic Hawaiian cocktails such as the lava flow and the mai tai - their strongest drink. Live music is offered on a regular basis and karaoke happens every Sunday night. Other forms of entertainment like "Talk Story" on Wednesdays offer guests an inside look at the life of people in the surf industry via live interview. Call ahead of time or check thke website for nightly happenings. (8082936000)
3 Down to Earth All Vegetarian Organic & Natural
Hawaii's only all vegetarian natural food store has three locations around the island of Oahu. In addition to a thorough array of grocery shopping, each Down to Earth has a well thought out salad bar as well as a hot food bar open from early morning to late at night. While the salad bar selections remain the same throughout the day, the hot food bar changes from breakfast foods to dishes fit for lunch and dinner. The food here is always healthy, much of it is organic, and it's a really satisfying meal that you can enjoy inside or outdoors at tables, or take it to go. ((808) 675-2300)
2 Bogart's Cafe
Bogart's is one of those hole-in-the-wall places that is a tried and true reliable joint for locals in search of that perfect breakfast. Whether taken to eat on the go or eaten at one of their small sidewalk or indoor tables, Bogart's is a not to miss place for anyone vising Honolulu. The tiny cafe has an extensive hand written menu on the wall, and although it's quite varied and long, everything is really good. The coffees are also great and they have every type of espresso you could want. A real hit is the breakfast bagel sandwich, can't go wrong with that. (Honolulu, HI 96815)
1 Pupukea Grill
Pupukea Grill is a favorite for lunch spot for regular pro surfers, locals, and visitors (check out the array of signed surf photos under the tent). Farm fresh island produce and local fish help to inspire a seasonal menu that caters to both locals and visitors alike. This is not your usual lunch wagon. Although plate lunches are served, the rest of the menu consists of non- traditional lunch wagon fare such as panini, freshly made quesadilla, fish taco, signature fish bowls and shaved ice. The most popular item is our fish bowl which is served with freshly made pico de gallo, sour cream, and lime over brown rice. Combining "Okazu", Japanese, Mexican and local style cooking techniques and ingredients have allowed them to create a unique niche on the North Shore. ((808) 779-7943)
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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