We're asking every Waikiki local business what their favorite local businesses are, and then going to those local businesses and asking them the same question. So far...
Star Beach Boys (one of Waikiki’s original beach boy companies), said we should check out adventures_ofjess on Instagram for affordable drone photos & videos at Waikiki Beach, Maguro Spot for fresh fish and poke, Kai Coffee for great coffee & because they’re a strong supporter of the local community, and also Moku Surf Shop which is nearly next door to Star Beach Boys.
Moku Surf Shop said to check out Shorefyre (next door) for fresh local breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also Deck Restaurant at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, which is a rooftop restaurant & bar with a great happy hour, pool, and an amazing view of Diamond Head Crater and also the beach.
Shorefyre said to check out Island Vintage Coffee for a nice açai bowl, Tropics Ale House for good drinks, especially on Sundays, and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse for a good cheap happy hour with large portions (try the steak or hamburger sliders, or the steak + two sides + cheesecake for $35ish, it’s enough for two).
Deck Restaurant at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel recommended Local I’a “Community Supported Fishery” for the freshest fish on the island that’s also sustainably fished. If you’d like to try their fresh fish, head down to Mahina & Sun’s at the Surf Jack Hotel & Swim Club.
Queen Kapiolani Hotel valet said to check out Pioneer Saloon for “excellent & unique food,” da Cove Health Bar and Cafe for the “açai bowl paiai,” Ono Seafood for the “spicy ahi & miso ahi combo,” the Highway Innfor the “kalua pig combo with side of squid lu'au,” and Ahi Assassins for “smoked marlin dip.” And if you’re headed to the West side of Oahu, then you have to check out Hanara’s and Shiro’s for their local saimin, and Rocky’s for local style breakfast.
Kevo's North Shore Beach Bus said Kai Coffee for great coffee across from Waikiki Beach's Duke's Statue, Zippy’s for good chilli, chicken, loco mocos, and their Zip Pac which comes with 1 pc teriyaki-marinated beef, Spam, breaded fish, and fried chicken on a bed of rice, and Rainbow Drive-in for their plate lunches, especially the mixed plate. Bring an appetite. Also check out South Shore Grill for delicious fish tacos.
If you need SIMS or anything mobile related, find Larry at Hoku Wireless.
Sidekick Sitters (baby sitters) said Bogarts Cafe because EVERYTHING on their menu is AMAZING, especially their Crab and Avocado Omlette made with real crab, fluffy eggs and seasoned potatoes! da Cove Health Bar and Cafe for the best acai bowls. Their “da Hawaiian” acai bowl is so unique because they add pa’i’ai! Pa’i’ai is undiluted poi, a cultural topping made from taro! Along with pa’i’ai you can expect real acai, fresh strawberries & bananas, granola, amazing honey and bee pollen! You will not find a better acai bowl in all of Hawai’i!
Cafe Kaila for a terrific breakfast (10-15 min drive from Waikiki.) Don't be surprised if you have to wait a bit, but it's worth it. They'll have your pretty IG photo breakfasts.
Highway Inn for quality Hawaiian food. Try their Kalua Pig and cabbage, a side order of raw onion to soak in chili pepper water. And if you’re feeling adventurous, order a side of squid luau.
Great dinner at Uncle Bo’s Pupu Bar and Grill. Try their Dynamite shrimp, Boca Rota FOR SURE, Thai Style Clams, Crab Cake, Never Ever Garlic Ribeye, and their warm fudge brownie ala mode! (the photo atop this page is the Boca Rota.)
Diamond Head Market & Grill also has really good blueberry cream cheese scones, and their breakfast (fried rice) is some of the best. For dinner try their salmon plate!
Check out Oahu Premier Picnics to celebrate friendship, family, and love with their intimate pop up picnics. They said Pipeline Bakery in Kaimuki (ten minutes from Waikiki) has amazing malasadas and baked goods. They are centrally located within walking distance to all the great small businesses in the area. They are also supporters of Native Hawaiian causes and have excellent customer service.
One of my favorite kanaka photographers to work with on our picnics is on IG @mike_leanio_photography. He's filmed a whole YouTube Channel called the Kia'i Conversations. He takes beautiful scenic photos and gets great drone shots.
Oahu Premier Picnics ...I'm also dying to try to lobster rolls from Jolene's Market in Chinatown, but I'm too busy eating their birra tacos every week. Their grape slushy with vodka is fun too, and they have an awesome tip policy for dine-in guests that supports the service staff during COVID.
For North Shore adventures, if you're into hiking on private land with no crowds, check out North Shore Eco Tours. They do off-roading adventures into exclusive North Shore land with streams, hills, and fruit trees (like strawberry guava!). You can also drive your own Kawasaki MULE! Ask for Tour Guide Ryan & say hi to Keola, who's a hula instructor AND Hawaiian studies professor at University of Hawaii.
What are your local favorites?