Things We Love: Exploring Windward O‘ahu
(Sponsored) Just a stone’s throw from the bustle of Honolulu, Windward O‘ahu packs all the perks of paradise in the quaintness of small-town living. From low-key surf towns to lush back-valley communities, people journey from all over to experience and taste what O‘ahu’s east side is all about.
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A Foodie Favorite
Kailua and Kāne‘ohe play host to a bevy of unique and iconic restaurants to satisfy all tastes.
Photos: David Croxford and Odeelo Dayondon
Food lovers from all over the island make the journey over the Pali to explore the culinary scene of Windward O‘ahu’s many exceptional eateries. Kailua and Kāne‘ohe play host to a bevy of unique restaurants to satisfy all tastes.
Many of these east side eateries are community staples. For the past 30 years, Cinnamon’s has been the place to go for a hot cup of Kona coffee and a stack of its famous pancakes—featuring flavors such as guava chiffon, carrot cake, red velvet and gingerbread. Perfecting and reinventing classics is Cinnamon’s specialty. Playful dishes like crab-cake eggs Benedict with house-made hollandaise sauce, macadamia-nut cinnamon rolls, Portuguese sweetbread French toast and its signature Loco Moco are just a few of the innovative creations cooked up at this family-friendly restaurant. Owner and east side resident Puna Nam says the secret to its longevity and success, aside from its tasty and creative menu items, is Cinnamon’s warm and welcoming atmosphere. “We treat our staff and our guests as ‘ohana, with the true aloha spirit of making every effort to ensure their satisfaction and well-being,” explains Nam.
“Kalapawai Café is the first thing you see when you come into town and the last thing you see when you leave,” says Lindsey Dymond, owner of Kalapawai Market and Kalapawai Café & Deli. Its plantation-style red roof welcomes east side residents home from their winding drive through the mountains. Kalapawai Café is a Kailua hot spot, serving up classic fare with an Island-style twist and the best coffee this side of the Ko‘olau. Both Kalapawai establishments offer a great selection of sandwiches and burgers—including the house favorite, the Kailua Club. “Our café customers often enjoy a glass of wine with lunch or settle into a seat with a house-made latte and their laptops, and beachgoers can come into the market with sandy feet to grab a cheeseburger or sandwich, then head back down to the water,” says Dymond.
When the Dymond family purchased Kalapawai Market, their main goal was to preserve the essence of the quaint cottage-style shop while providing their customers with updated inventory and great eats for the beach. Kalapawai Market has a been a convenience and a treat for Kailua and Lanikai residents for decades, providing snacks, coffee, drinks, sandwiches and any last-minute items you forgot to pack in your cooler.
The Dymond family also runs Zia’s Caffé—Kāne‘ohe’s perfect date-night spot. Zia’s has an upscale menu of Italian comfort food, an extensive wine list and a charming atmosphere, all of which keep customers coming back two or three times a week. Favorites on the menu include the chicken Parmesan, the Moloka‘i sweet-potato ravioli and the Panzanella, an Italian bread salad. Zia’s also expanded its hours and is now serving a simple yet elegant brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.