With culinary delights to match its delicious environment, the scenery isn’t the only thing that’s delicious in Wakiki. Seeing as the area has become a desirable destination for travellers both international and domestic, it’s not exactly surprising that a thriving food scene has grown to match both internal and outside interest. And, like many of the other attractions in the area, you won’t be forced to spend a ton of time en route to these destinations. Your Waikiki rental car makes travel time to these scrumptious spots short so you can tuck in.
If you want a bit of a twist on your normal sushi experience, you’d be wise to give poke a whirl. This island treat has been standard fare in Hawaii for a while, and it’s only in the past year or two that other cities around the world are starting to catch on. One taste and you’ll see why that is the case.
To get an idea of what poke is, start with a huge sushi roll that’s been deconstructed. You’ll get delicious cubes of raw fish that are seasoned by seasoned poke chefs. These morsels from the sea are then mixed in a bowl with sushi rice, vegetables, and other features that most likely will add a bit of a crunchy texture.
If you want to have a try, it’s hard to beat Ono Seafood, an unassuming poke spot near the far side of the Ala Wai Golf Course. What this place lacks in eye-catching aesthetics, it more than makes up for in its delicious poke bowls. If you come in your Waikiki hire car, just be prepared to keep your ride a few minutes’ walk away, as parking can be a bit tricky during busier hours.
Just a couple blocks up from Ono Seafood is Leonard’s Bakery, the place to turn for local delicacy malasadas. These pastries have a heavy Portuguese influence but have become the pride of Honolulu, with Leonard’s a local favourite for trying them. If you can’t make it to the brick and mortar location, feel free to seek out the Malasada Mobile. You’ll find this fun food truck outside the Waikele Shopping Center.
Waiola Shave IceCool down with a sweet treat from the famous Waiola Shave IceSource: Waiola Shave Ice
Another one for those looking for a bit of a treat, Waiola Shave Ice is a hidden gem that specialises in dishing up delicious shave (not“shaved”) ice. What you’ll get is miles away from a frozen coke or sno cone. Instead, you’ll receive a creamy, icy concoction that pairs wonderfully with any of the 40ish syrups made in-house. The owner of Waiola Shave Ice, Jerry Lee, created and patented his own ice shaving machine, so you know that he and his team are serious about what they do. And you won’t have to go far to get your hands on these refreshing cups of shave ice; the shop is in Waikiki!
Arancino at the Kahala
Italian might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tropical island fare in Hawaii. But don’t let that keep you away from Arancino at the Kahala. As with much of the food on the islands, there is a healthy dose of Asian influence in many of the dishes here. This leads to new spins on Italian food that you most likely haven’t experienced elsewhere. Save this for a celebration, as it’s a fancier place to sit down for a meal. Hop in your Waikiki hire car and take the short drive east; you won’t regret it.