I am planning a trip to Hawaii this spring and looking for some good Hawaiian food. Where is the best place to eat Hawaiian Cuisine in Waikiki Beach?
I will see if our resident Honolulu foodie might be able to give you some help. Also, if you take a look at the "Blog" threads you will find numerous food blogs that he has created, yuummmy.
Oh kharada46 might you be able to help with the food search?
30marine, jmanrunner is right! Rainbow Drive-In is a great place for plate lunches. But if you're looking for Hawaiian food, it's hard to beat The Ono Hawaiian Foods. Their combo plate is a ton of food, but hits many of the classics: lau lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in ti leaves), kalua pork (sort of like pulled pork), pipikaula (spiced Hawaiian beef jerky), lomi lomi salmon (tomato, onion, green onion, and salted salmon), choice of poi or rice, and haupia (coconut pudding). It's right outside of Waikiki on Kapahulu Ave, though a little farther away than Ono Hawaiian.
My personal favorite plate lunch place is Honolulu Eats - Heights Drive Inn (in Aiea near Pearl Harbor) and their amazing Chicken Special plate, which is fried saimin (noodles), grilled teriyaki chicken thighs, macaroni salad, and rice. I think the rice and mac salad are excessive, but it meets all the criteria of your classic plate lunch... two scoops rice, scoop mac salad and a protein.
If you want a little different, there are more upscale options too now like Nico's Pier 38 (a few minutes from the airport). During dinner they have a more traditional service, but during lunch, it's "gourmet plate lunches." My favorite is the Furikake Seared Ahi with a piece of frurikake coated ahi cooked to order plus your choice of white or brown rice, and choice of Nalo greens or mac salad.
The Waikiki Beach Marriott has some really great restaurants in it too! They're among the best:
30marine, if there's a certain type of dining experience you'd like to experience, please let me know and I'd be happy to make some recommendations for you! Of course we've already discussed "plate lunches," which are everyday, greasy spoon type fare, and traditional Hawaiian food. But, there's also Hawaii Regional Cuisine, which is a melding of many different cuisines with an emphasis on local ingredients. This type of cuisine can be found at places such as alan wongs and Chef Mavro. Alan Wong's Poki Pines: ahi poke balls in crispy wonton, avocado, wasabi sauce
For just plain old local food, another great option would be Side Street Inn, either the original location near the Ala Moana Shopping Center (divey) or the newer location on Kapahulu Ave, which is more sports bar meets restaurants. I love the Chinese Chicken Salad, the local style fried rice and the fried chicken here. Local style fried rice:
I love Sansei at the Waikiki Beach Marriott, but another nearby option that's great is Wada in a little strip mall next to a laundromat on Kapahulu Ave. They have a fantastic happy hour menu that makes eating great Japanese food affordable. Shio Poke
ks77 is right about Azure too. It's a wonderful location for something on the higher end. But I do have some concerns since their head chef left. Ocean Risotto
Azure's head chef moved to Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, cooking up Japanese fusion with local influences like this Truffle Yaki Scallops
Don't forget to also get some shave ice when on island! My favorite is Ululani on Maui, but the next best thing is Uncle Clay's in East Oahu. Lilikoi & Strawberry with mochi balls
Closer to you, Lemona Hawaii right in the back of the Courtyard Waikiki is good too!
I've got one more generalized tip for you 30marine:
My wife and I had a nice dinner at Azure. The food was excellent.