Discovering the Treasures: Oahu’s Windward Side
(Sponsored) Once you drive through the lush ridges of the Koolau mountains, escaping the crowds and hustle of Honolulu, relaxation takes over. From Waimanalo to Kahaluu, Windward Oahu’s unique local businesses, scenic beauty, and friendly faces bring kamaaina and visitors alike to this low-key paradise.
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The Eastside entices foodies from all over the island with its mosaic of eateries. Come delight your palate and taste what’s cooking this side of the Koolau.
PHOTOS: DAVID CROXFORD AND ODEELO DAYONDON
Early risers flock to the Windward side for a hot cup of Kona coffee and a stack of Cinnamon’s famous pancakes. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere and creative menu items, this bustling Kailua restaurant has been dishing up some of the best breakfast in the state for 29 years. Owner and Kailua resident Puna Nam says his secret is to “Have fun and surround yourself with good people,” and his emphasis on fun really shows. Perfecting and reinventing classics, like eggs Benedict and buttermilk pancakes, is Cinnamon’s specialty. Playful dishes like red velvet pancakes with white chocolate sauce, guava chiffon pancakes, freshly pressed ginger ale, and crab-cake eggs Benedict with house-made hollandaise sauce are just a few of the culinary creations cooked up by Cinnamon’s innovative chefs. “We love what we do,” says Nam. “It has been and will continue to be our good fortune to be part of the greatest group of employees and guests in the world.”
A Hawaiian-style twist on a French favorite has folks lining up for lunch to grab one of Rosario “Kakay” and Chris Tarvyd’s homemade crepes from Crepes No Ka Oi. “Initially, we decided to open up shop in Kailua so we’d be able to walk to work; it was a wonderful decision in so many ways,” explains Chris. The Tarvyds have acquired quite a following with their sweet and savory crepe creations. The customer favorite, the Ultimate Breakfast Crepe or UBC, is stuffed with a slow-cooked medley of potatoes, bacon, onions and rosemary, and topped off with cheddar cheese, a poached egg and a side of fresh hollandaise sauce. The creative couple says they are expanding their menu at a soon-to-open new location to host locavore specials featuring fresh local ingredients.
Another iconic Windward Oahu institution is Buzz’s Original Steakhouse. Relax, eat well, and enjoy stunning views of the Mokulua Islands at this local Lanikai hotspot. Buzz’s fresh seafood, mouthwatering steaks, and killer pupu have kept this beachside bistro a homegrown favorite since 1962. General Manager Mani Schneider cites the retro-chic décor as the vehicle that takes diners on a trip down memory lane to the “good ‘ole days of Hawaii.” But don’t let its vintage looks fool you, the eatery puts out elegant and modern dishes with the freshest local ingredients. Schneider says her number one goal is to create a memorable and flavor-filled dining experience for every patron, every time. “We may seem busy, but we care about our customer,” she says.
East Coast meets Oahu’s Eastside at Bob’s Pizzeria, where diners can grab a generous slice of Boston-style pizza pie. Robert “Bob” Festa has been serving up oversized pies with fresh ingredients, fresh dough made on the premises, and homemade sauce at this Kailua hotspot for the past seven years. “I love providing the visitors and residents of Kailua with a quality product, a good price and a friendly atmosphere,” says the Boston-native. Clearly, his patrons appreciate his hard work; Handmade thank-you cards and letters from past patrons grateful for the flavorful meal paper the pizzeria’s walls and urge you not to miss out on the free entertainment—Festa’s daily magic tricks.
If you’re in the mood for bold, festive flavors, check out Kailua’s favorite taco spot at Maui Tacos. This casual dine-in taco shack boasts a bounty of fresh menu options and south-of-the-border zest for your before or after-beach cravings. Fish tacos, Hawaiian BBQ pork tortas and the mango salad are a few of Maui Tacos’s beloved dishes.