Cozy wooden booths line the dining room at this local favorite � perfect for a romantic dinner. Subdued lighting, elegant table settings, and understated, graceful decor set the scene for a fantastic meal. Portions are large and satisfying, so you might want to forgo the appetizer and head straight for a luscious, dry-aged, prime cut of beef. Filet mignon, New York strip, steak au poivre, and the house specialty � a 22 oz. bone-in rib-eye � are all tender and flavorful. A decent selection of seafood, including Caribbean lobster tail, adds depth to the menu.
Local Expert tip: Grab an outdoor table to watch the sunset.
Not far from Kailua Beach on Oahu's windward side, this venerable institution captures the spirit of Hawaii as it existed in years past. Rustic and comfortable, Buzz's also boasts walls full of photographs, which add a note of personality. The menu is relatively uncomplicated and more than capably done. At lunch, folks come in for juicy burgers, salads, and other light fare, while dinner is a touch more refined, with steaks, lobster, and fresh fish getting most of the attention. The bar serves refreshing drinks; the ambience just happens.
Local Expert tip: The calamari steak is a must try dish.
Me's BBQ is a combo of Hawaiia, Korean, and barbecue dishes. Portions are known to be huge here, with one plate often being enough for two people. Located centrally in Waikiki, Me's is a simple and to the point joint, and the owner takes the orders and is great at suggesting side dishes. Seating is outdoors or you can take your order on the go. Huge plates are available for under $10 (usually), and breakfast plates can be enjoyed for only $4.
Local Expert tip: Closed on Sunday.
Located in Oahu's countryside of Waimanalo on the east side of the island, Keneke's offers what the name says - plate lunch and BBQ. Keneke's is quite an interesting place, as it is very "local style." It's a quaint and simple eatery. You walk up to the window and order and wait for the meal which is served on disposable plates. You can take it to go or enjoy it in the eating area. This is where it gets interesting, it's a cement area with picnic tables surrounded in religious writings from the Bible. The food is always great, both the local and Hawaiian food as well as the barbecue, but portions can be on the smaller side. Give it a shot on the east side.
Local Expert tip: Go for the pulled pork sandwich.
Uncle Bobo's is a true local style and local favorite barbecue joint on the east side of Oahu. While they have classic barbecue dishes like amazing spare ribs, they also offer Asian and Pacific themed foods such as Thai beef and chicken stir fry with peanut sauce. What's great about Bobo's is that they not only have the road side restaurant, but they also offer catering for just about any event you could be having. They offer the "smokehouse special" with a classic array of BBQ dishes such as barbecued beef brisket, and pork shoulder, served over redneck rice and with a dinner roll. It also includes homemade BBQ sauce, coleslaw, ranch style beans, and local fresh corn, and watermelon and pineapple for a complete meal.
Local Expert tip: Try the redneck rice.
Gina's B-B-Q has been around since 1991, serving happy and hungry locals and visitors for about three decades. Owned and run by two sisters (one named Gina, naturally), Gina's offers up that unique local combo of Korean food, and classic and Asian fusion barbecue. The food is very affordable, on average about $8 to $10 a plate. It comes in the classic local style of plate lunch, with options of plenty of meat, noodles, vegetables and soups.
Local Expert tip: Go for the kalbi B-B-Q.
Pearl's Korean Barbecue blends Asian fusion, local food and barbecue in one quaint eatery in the beautiful Manoa Valley outside of Honolulu. With a hot buffet style offering of various dishes, Pearl's serves up what are usually quite large plates of food - often times one plate is enough for a couple to share. You get to choose main/meat portions along with rice, noodles, or veggie side dishes. The restaurant is sort of fast food style, with plastic lit up menus on the wall and everything made in heaps, but it's made daily. Everything is served on disposable dishes, but that's Hawaiian "plate lunch" style.
Local Expert tip: Try the barbecue chicken.
Pub, restaurant, or dive bar, whatever you may call it, Kemo`o Pub is one of those long standing joints where people can go for reliable and good bar food, friendly service, and a great selection of beers. Although each day the pub is open for restaurant and bar service, the bar scene usually goes late into the night. In addition, live music and themed events often happen here too. They even have a mechanical bull sometimes. Kemo`o is located directly across from Schofield Barracks, an Army base, so it's a convenient stop for those staying on the base and it's very close to the North Shore too. Since it's located in Wahiawa, it's actually a rather short drive from Honolulu or the North Shore. You can find all kinds of food here from breakfast, to burgers to steak, but most importantly you'll find reliable nightlife here. There's usually a mi of locals, surfers, military and visitors.
Local Expert tip: Check the website or call for events.