When it comes to authentic Hawaiian food, you don’t have to fly across the Pacific Ocean to get your fix. There are many great restaurants throughout the United States that serve tasty, island-inspired dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Lau Lau pork, spam musubi, or a colorful tropical dessert, these are 11 of the best Hawaiian food restaurants that will instantly transport your taste buds back to the islands.
Best Hawaiian Restaurants
1. Back Home in Lahaina
This Hawaiian eatery in the Los Angeles area is one of the few places where you can order a plate of authentic Lau Lau: slow-cooked pork with butterfish wrapped in taro and ti leaves. They also serve tasty island breakfast dishes like Portuguese sausage and eggs. Tasty sides include macaroni salad, lomi lomi salmon, and spam. They offer a special where kids eat free on Wednesdays, and they host live music on the weekends, featuring Hawaiian performers like Manny Legod and Kolohe.
Address: 519 E Carson Street, Carson, CA
2. Roy’s Restaurant
Roy’s is a well-known chain of upscale restaurants that serve Asian fusion dishes throughout the United States, including their Las Vegas location restaurant situated just a mile off the popular Strip. The original Roy’s was established in Honolulu in 1988 by Roy Yamaguchi, who blended classic techniques with unique Pacific Rim flavors to create one-of-a-kind dishes. Culinary concoctions include Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi, Blackened Island Ahi, and their famous Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
Address: 620 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89119
3. Duke’s Restaurant
Duke’s Restaurants are inspired by native Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, and all six locations are in Hawaii and California on exceptional waterfront sites. The menu features a blend of Pacific-inspired flavors with dishes like the Maui Onion Soup, Tahitian Shrimp, Crab & Macnut Wontons, and the Duke’s Classic Burger. Be sure to save room for their legendary Kimo’s Original Hula Pie, which is made with macadamia nut ice cream, chocolate cookie crust, fudge and whipped cream. Tip: If you visit Duke’s in Malibu, you might run into Kathy Kohner Zuckerman – the inspiration for the “Gidget” novel, movie and TV series – who works as their Ambassador of Aloha.
Address: 21150 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA
4. Aloha Eats
This restaurant is based in Chicago and has been serving authentic Hawaiian plates since 2004 and was named one of the top 20 cheap eats in Lincoln Park. The newest addition to their menu is their SPAM Musubi – a block of densely packed sticky rice topped with a bit of teri sauce and a breaded slice of SPAM, wrapped in a belt of dried seaweed. Note: The restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Address: 2534 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL
More than just a restaurant, Mai-Kai is also an entertainment venue that authentically recreates a Polynesian Village complete with tiki torches, a thatch roof, and a wooden plank bridge entrance. The South Florida restaurant in Fort Lauderdale is also home to the Polynesian Islander Revue, which brings the essence of Polynesia alive through songs, dances, musicians and brightly-colored costumes. Cool off with a refreshing tropical drink like the Samoan Grog (a blend of run and tangy juices), which includes fun, non-alcoholic options for the kids like the Chocolate Typhoon and Island Queen Colada.
Address: 3599 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL
6. Alan Wong’s
Located in an upscale third floor space in Honolulu, this Asian-fusion restaurant was founded by famed chef Alan Wong in 1995. Chef Wong is one of the originators of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and offers six-and-seven-course tasting menus that feature uniquely flavored dishes like a chopped ahi sashimi and avocado salsa stack, and twice-cooked short rib braised with soy sauce.
Address: 1857 S. King Street, #208, Honolulu, HI
This Brooklyn-based restaurant serves authentic Hawaiian dishes and cocktails in an island décor-inspired setting that feels miles away from New York City. Some of their recommended menu items include the fresh poke, Shoyu chicken served with macaroni salad, and breakfast favorites like Taro Pancakes, Guava Waffles, and the Loco Moco – a teriyaki burger under sunny-side egg served on a bed of rice topped with brown gravy. Their menu also features an impressive list of Hawaiian juices, including Lilikoi, Pineapple Orange, and Strawberry Guava.
Address: 84 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn, New York
8. Mokis Hawaiian Grill
This casual counter-serve spot is family-owned and located in Stonebridge Plaza in Mesa, Arizona. The restaurant serves Hawaiian plate lunch combos, in addition to sweet island treats like shaved ice and tropical ice cream. Try the Manapua (steamed bun filled with pork), the coconut and mango smoothie, and Grandma’s Macadamia Chocolate Cake topped with whipped cream and toffee. They also have a second location in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Address: 3614 E. Southern Avenue #101, Mesa, AZ
9. Trader Vic’s
Home to the original Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s began in 1934 and was transformed into a tiki-inspired tropical retreat decorated with Polynesian artifacts that served island-style cuisine. The restaurant grew into a chain with locations all across the globe, from Atlanta to Dubai. The menu features an ever-evolving menu with global dishes like Crab Rangoon and dim sum. Fun fact: Trader Vic’s has a full-time team of anthropology experts who search the globe to collect hand-crafted and unique pieces like life-sized outriggers and New Guinean artifacts, which are put on display in each location.
Address: Hilton Atlanta, 255 Courtland Street, Atlanta, GA
10. Hula Mamas
This cute and colorful restaurant is just a few minutes away from George Bush International Airport and is home to the famous year-round Houston Luau Dinner and Show for all ages. Held in their Polynesian-themed dinner showroom that seats over 150 guests, the entertainment features hula dancers, male warriors, and fire knife dancers. They also have a sushi menu and serve island-themed drinks like Blue Hawaii and Mai-Tais in the Hukilau Lounge, which offers happy hour daily from 4 to 7 pm.
Address: 19333 US-59 #285, Humble, TX
11. King’s Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant
Opened in 1988, this full-service bakery and restaurant is rooted in the King’s Hawaiian tradition that stems all the way back to 1950, when founder Robert Taira opened his first bakery in Hilo, Hawaii. Its signature unique Portuguese sweet bread became famously known as King’s Hawaiian Bread, and is featured in many of the dishes, including the King’s Hawaiian French Toast, Oahu Burger, and the BBQ Kalua Pork Sandwich. Afterwards, stop in the bakery to browse their large selection of assorted sweets, including the Haupia (coconut pudding) and Guava Chiffon Cake.
Address: 2808 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.