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10 Best Honolulu Restaurants for Curry, Pho and So Much Mo'



Hawaii is a cultural melting pot, and that's reflected in the diversity of cuisines offered in restaurants throughout the islands. Asian food is particularly available in Honolulu and hungry travelers can go on a culinary journey through Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam and more. Whether in search of sushi on the North Shore or Thai food on the West Side, menus offering delicious Asian dishes can be found island wide. 

Those in the mood to dress up and enjoy a night out on the town with amazing sushi, great drinks, and modern decor, are best suited to make reservations at Nobu Waikiki or Morimoto Waikiki. Both of these eateries offer a blend of inventive Japanese menus with a lively and sleek atmosphere.

Visitors in search of delicious food in a more laid back and casual atmosphere have Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese options. Waipahu's Thai Kitchen is a true hidden gem, offering delicious traditional Thai food with friendly service by the family who runs it. To please a palate craving Japanese food, Irifune in Waikiki serves everything but sushi - katsus, curries, ahi tar tar, and noodles. Meanwhile Hale Vietnam is the go-to place for a bowl of warm and soothing pho in the heart of Waikiki.

From the North Shore to the streets of Waikiki, Oahu offers delicious and traditional Asian food all around the island.


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Opal Thai


After spending years serving up great Thai food out of a lunch wagon in Haleiwa, Opal Thai moved into a restaurant just down the street and has now opened its doors, much to local's excitement. This family run eatery has stuck around thanks to the fresh ingredients used for the amazing dishes on the menu. The venue is small, and it's not uncommon to find a line out the door, especially on weekends, so calling ahead of time for a dinner reservation is a good idea. The restaurant is BYOB (bring your own beer) so pick up beer or wine next door at Long's to bring in.

Recommended for Asian because: Opal Thai serves the best traditional Thai food on the North Shore.

Jade's expert tip: Ask your server for the owner's recommendation for the night.

Read more about Opal Thai →


Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar
Photo courtesy of sansei


Traditional Japanese entrees and some of the freshest sushi around are on offer at this resort mainstay. Let superb ocean views soothe you as you indulge in dishes like Asian shrimp cakes and Japanese calamari salad. Inventive sushi rolls include the Sansei Special, a combination of spicy crab, cilantro, fresh cucumber, avocado, and sweet Thai chili sauce. Menu samplers are a great way to span the culinary offerings in a single evening and are available in a wide price range. Sansei has been luring a loyal following of both locals and visitors back for years, thanks to their fresh local seafood.

Recommended for Asian because: Traditional Japanese food made up of locally caught seafood is prepared in the finest way possible.

Jade's expert tip: Try the panko crusted ahi sushi role.

Read more about Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar →




A bit out of the way from Honolulu's main drag, this Vietnamese favorite doesn't lack for business. Rather, patrons seek it out for vegetable-laden dishes, which are both flavorful and good for you. Pho soup also has a siren's call that can be satiated only by an interlude of slurping noodles and herb-tinged broth. A great variety of other dishes also makes for prime mealtime fare, including seafood, curries, and filled pastries. After a meal go right next door to a popular gelato shop to cool off on a hot day or balmy night. Enjoy the lively atmosphere when you're there.

Recommended for Asian because: Hale Vietnam is renowned by locals for their delicious and traditional pho.

Jade's expert tip: Go for the pho.

Read more about Hale Vietnam →


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The Nobu mystique is alive and well at this Honolulu outpost, which counts Robert De Niro among its owners. Even without a celebrity connection, the restaurant would be a culinary destination, courtesy of chef Nobu Matsuhisa's spectacular food and the place's careful service. Sushi and sak� get lots of attention, but so, too, do tobanyaki and tempura selections. Omakase dinners are popular as well, especially when you want to splurge. Quality does come at a price, so be forewarned, but it's hard to bypass Nobu when you crave excellent Japanese fare. The ambiance is a balance between dark and mysterious, and crisp and refreshing.

Recommended for Asian because: Nobu is respected nationwide, and the Waikiki restaurant is known for it's fresh fish and sleek and modern atmosphere.

Jade's expert tip: Make reservations.

Read more about Nobu Waikiki →




Yanagi's been around for decades and is a favorite destination of celebs, so it's frequently crowded, especially at dinner. That's hardly a surprise when you consider its impeccable food and convivial atmosphere. Sushi is outstanding, and the chefs take great pride in their skills. Table service is also available, and folks take advantage of cooked dishes, like shabu shabu, tempura, and teriyaki items. Great sakes and late-night hours add to the appeal, and lunch is a more affordable option that offers fewer crowds. They offer free valet parking and are open till 2 a.m., making it a great dinner spot or a good awesome for late night noshing and drinks.

Recommended for Asian because: Yanagi Sushi is a very traditional, yet casual, Japanese restaurant serving some of the best food on the island.

Jade's expert tip: Make reservations for a private room with shoji doors.

Read more about Yanagi Sushi →


Banzai Sushi Bar
Photo courtesy of Tristan Kenney


Sushi, sushi, and more sushi - all made from locally caught fresh fish and seafood can be found at the North Shore's Banzai Sushi Bar. And yes, there's definitely a full bar boasting a varies amount of beers, wine and specialty cocktails. Live music happens throughout the week and it's best to check beforehand what's going on that night. In addition to the delicious menu and casual Hawaiian ambiance, Banzai Sushi is also a hot spot for nightlife. From a mellow bar scene to wild dance parties boasting unique and fun themes, Banzai Sushi is an all around fun place.

Recommended for Asian because: Banzai Sushi Bar is the go-to place on the North Shore for great sushi, cocktails, and a lively atmosphere.

Jade's expert tip: Happy hour is 5 to 6 p.m. daily and they don't take reservations on Friday and Saturday.

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Really great Thai food can be enjoyed here, with Laotian options too. The owner is from Thailand and her, her mother, and some other elderly Thai women do all the cooking and it's awesome! The decor is very, well, plain. But it's clean and homey. Service is very friendly, the husband and wife team are happy to chat with customers and have a friendship with most of the regular customers. The food is all very good. From the green papaya salad (sound odd? It's so good) to the spicy crispy chicken to the yellow curry and so much more, you'll be satisfied and full. It's BYOB, so you can bring some wine or pick up a beer at the gas station in front. It's located in a very modest small shopping center in a very modest town. Parking is usually ample. Vegetarians will find plenty of options here.

Recommended for Asian because: Thai Kitchen is a hidden gem serving traditional Thai food with friendly service.

Jade's expert tip: Order a few dishes and share with everyone so each person in the party gets a serving of everything.

Read more about Thai Kitchen →


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Meet 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...  More About Jade

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