10 Local Ocean-Friendly Restaurants on O‘ahu to Try Now
These restaurants and cafés hold themselves to a higher eco-standard that make deciding where to eat for ocean-minded people an easy decision.
Art by Anne Marie Price
For the eco-conscious, going out to get a quick bite to eat can turn into an ethical dilemma. Thankfully, these local restaurants help ease the guilt by employing environmentally friendly practices that range from opting for plastic-free cutlery, giving discounts for bringing in reusable cups or supporting local farmers.
In alignment with the “Ocean Friendly Restaurant” program certified by Surfrider Foundation, the ocean friendly restaurants all follow these mandatory criteria:
Plastic straws are provided only upon request
Proper recycling practices are followed
No plastic bags or Styrofoam takeout boxes offered
Reusable tableware is used for on-site dining
Here are a few of our favorites that help protect the ocean and abide by other environmentally conscious practices:
Ali‘i Coffee Co.
For a Portland vibe and some serious in-house roasted coffee in the middle of Downtown, head to Ali‘i Coffee Co. Order a taro ube latté ($4.60 for a 12 ounce cup) for an early morning buzz and continue the caffeine stream at lunch with a cold-brew “Coff Tail” and a flatbread featuring local ingredients. Bring your own reusable mug and straw to save 15 cents and $1, respectively. You can also get a discount on growlers of cold brew when you bring your own.
35 S. Beretania St., (808) 532-7928, aliicoffee.com
Photo: Steve Czerniak
If you find yourself hungry for lunch and want a hearty meal, Square Barrels is an anything-but-average burger-and-beer joint. Square Barrels grinds all of its meat in-house for its juicy burgers, including a Maui venison one—with none of that wasteful plastic packaging that often finds its way into the ocean. Needing to get back to the office sooner than you thought? Square Barrels has Styrofoam-free to-go containers with 100 percent compostable cutlery.
1001 Bishop St., Suite 108, (808) 524-2747, squarebarrels.com
Pint + Jigger
Modern public house Pint + Jigger offers more than just a variety of its “Lucky 21” brews on tap and craft cocktails. It also uses compostable to-go containers and recycles all of its bottles and cans. Dine and drink on the community benches in the front or opt for more intimate seating in the back. For some revamped pub grinds, order the summer skillet with fresh local Waialua vegetables served “Caprese style” ($12) or the blackened market fish sliders with a spicy avocado-cilantro slaw and pickle chips ($12).
1936 S. King St., Suite 101, (808) 744-9593, pintandjigger.com
Sunrise Shack Waikīkī
Photo: Courtesy of Sunrise Shack Waikīkī
The Sunrise Shack, that cute yellow North Shore shack you’ve probably seen on Instagram more than a few times, has brought its eco-friendly presence to the South Shore with a location in the Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort. Using local and organic fruits and veggies whenever possible, Sunrise Shack Waikīkī offers a highly instagrammable Blue Dream Bowl with edible Miliani flowers from Mari’s Gardens ($11.95). Need a lasting boost of energy? Grab a bullet coffee, blended with coconut oil and grass-fed butter ($4.95), and sip it from a turtle-printed paper straw.
In the Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort, 2335 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 926-6460, sunriseshackhawaii.com
Banzai Sushi Bar
Enhance your sushi dinner with traditional low-table floor seating and a menu with local seafood and veggies at Banzai Sushi Bar. Tucked away in Hale‘iwa, the restaurant is filled with half low-table seating and half regular seating in chairs made from local bamboo and tables made from reclaimed monkeypod wood. Get your sushi fix with Banzai’s local seafood–bought fresh daily from the fish market downtown–or opt for a plant-based sushi dinner with its Pūpūkea Roll: cucumber, avocado, yama gobo (pickled burdock root) and shiso leaf topped with shiokombu or salted kelp ($12). Enjoy your meal under the dimmed LED lights and don’t worry about the couple of bites you just don’t have room to eat; some of the scraps are recycled to feed local pigs.
66-246 Kamehameha Highway, Suite B, Hale‘iwa, (808) 637-4404, banzaisushibarhawaii.com
Kalapawai Café and Deli
Photo: Courtesy of Kalapwai Café and Deli
Coming from one of the oldest family-run restaurants in Kailua, Kalapawai Café and Deli boasts a menu inspired by home-cooked meals and the local farmers that make them possible. The café utilizes local-when-possible ingredients from Waimānalo farms and also offers rotating dishes using surplus produce from local farmers. For a pūpū dinner paired with an extensive list of local beers, order the owner’s favorite island tomato and chèvre bruschetta or the chef’s cheese and salumi board with homemade accoutrements. For a quick early-morning meal, bring your reusable mug and order the breakfast wrap topped with Andy’s Salsa. The Kailua institution utilizes low-flow faucets throughout the restaurant, paper straws and compostable to-go containers.
750 Kailua Road, Kailua, (808) 262-3354, kalapawaimarket.com
Makana Ranch House
Photo: Courtesy of Makana Ranch House
Makana Ranch House, one of Wai‘alae’s newest additions, features a paniolo-style menu featuring 90 percent Hawai‘i produce, with 80 percent coming from O‘ahu. From a Moloka‘i venison burger on a taro roll ($14) to a hearty Apache stew with a chili verde sauce ($12), the menu packs so many tasty dishes you may not even have any leftovers, which is turned into compost out back. The ranch-style restaurant with a beautiful outdoor courtyard setting is currently in its soft opening stage, with dinner hours coming by the end of this month.
3574 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 838-9315, makanaranchhouse.com
Hideout at The Laylow
Photo: Courtesy of Hideout at The Laylow
One of Waikīkī’s trendiest cocktail-hour spots, Hideout at The Laylow also follows more than a few eco-friendly practices to appeal to those who support sustainability. The photogenic cocktails in ceramic animal-shaped cups and tiki-inspired glasses are paired with equally as cute monstera-leaf-print paper straws. Graze on the local (when available) fare like the guacamame (guacamole and edamame) with taro chips or an Island greens salad with ‘ono that is sustainable-certified, meaning that it is caught in restricted numbers using environmentally viable fishing methods. For a sweet end to your meal, order the Manoa chocolate bread pudding or “The Low Rida” cocktail served with a Tamarind Candy.
2299 Kūhiō Ave., (808) 628-3060, hideoutwaikiki.com
Mud Hen Water
PHOTO: STEVE CZERNIAK
Mud Hen Water, the English translation of Wai‘alae, is another ocean friendly restaurant found on the Kaimukī street that offers a hyper-local menu featuring island-grown produce and fish caught sustainably by local fishermen. Known for its modern twists on local style food, the restaurant serves out-of-the-ordinary dishes like its roasted beet poke with smoked macadamia nuts ($9) and its I‘a Lawalu, or local mahi mahi cooked in coals, steamed in banana leaf with local veggies topped with coconut creme ($27). Take away your leftovers in a compostable to-go container and feel good knowing you’ve supported more than a few local businesses.
3452 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 737-6000, mudhenwater.com
Maui Brewing Co.
Photo: Courtesy of Maui Brewing Co.
Maui Brewing Co. follows ocean-friendly practices that extend as far back as its carbon-neutral brewing process. The main brewery located in Kīhei, which is set to be completely off the grid this month, reclaims all expelled carbon dioxide through the brewing process and filters it to carbonate its beers and push it through the tap lines, resulting in a completely zero-emission brewing process. The Waikīkī and Kailua locations offer fresh local meat and veggies from Waiʻanae, Kahuku and other parts of O‘ahu. Itching for a Bikini Blonde or Coconut Porter to go? Skip the cans and fill up a growler at any of its locations on O‘ahu.
Maui Brewing Co. Waikīkī, 2300 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 843-2739, mbcrestaurants.com/waikiki