Best of HONOLULU Family 2018: Eat

Our readers’ and editors’ 20 picks for the best places to eat in Honolulu.

Photo: David Croxford

Best Bee-Shaped Dim Sum

Editors’ Pick

Panda Dimsum

The small Kalihi takeout counter all the way in the back of the City Square Farmers Market serves up bao you’ll have to Instagram before taking a bite. Smiling panda buns filled with custard, mischievous Minions stuffed with sweet red beans, sweet-potato-filled bees and other cute creatures go for $2 each to $3.50 for two. They’ll even do custom characters. Just bring in a photo at least three days before your pickup date. Our favorite part? No artificial food coloring. Panda makes its own vegetable dyes (pumpkin for the bright yellow, sweet potato for purple) for no-guilt noshing.

City Square Shopping Center,1199 Dillingham Blvd., (808) 429-2018

Best Malassada/Ice Cream Mashup

Editors’ Pick

Malamode at Pipeline Bakeshop and Creamery

Photo: Courtesy of Pipeline Bakeshop and Creamery

First it was a malassada ice cream with bits of the oh-so-good fried treat in every bite, called Malafrozada. Then, the Kaimukī bakery one-upped itself with the Malamode, a fresh malassada stuffed with the indulgent ice cream. Seriously. Available only on weekends—from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday—the Malamode, much like the original malassada, doesn’t keep well, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Leftovers just don’t happen.

3632 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 738-8200,

Best Bakery for Keiki Treats

Readers’ Pick

Liliha Bakery

Picking your own dessert from a glass case is always a treat, even when you’re not a kid. Liliha Bakery has been serving up sweets for 68 years, so you can stop in for the famous coco puffs, our new favorite poi mochi doughnuts, adorably iced holiday sugar cookies or hand-decorated birthday cakes. The newer Nimitz Highway location also has tables for family seating, versus the barstools-only setup in the original shop on Kuakini Street, so everyone can easily share the fluffy pancakes, loco mocos, and even saimin with the bakery’s signature butter rolls and neon pink jelly.

515 N. Kuakini St., 531-1651. 580 N. Nimitz Highway, (808) 537-2488.

Best “Kids Eat Free” Deal

Readers’ Pick


Photo: Karen DB Photography

We recently counted 13 kids-eat-free deals at restaurants around O‘ahu, but the Gyotaku’s special is a big hit with readers. Every Monday and Tuesday after 2 p.m., keiki 10 years and younger can select from teriyaki chicken, shrimp tempura, sushi, chicken karaage, or your choice of udon or saimin with shrimp tempura served with vegetables and fruit. And as your young ones pick ice cream or shave ice for dessert, included with the meal, they can also select a free kids toy from the keiki basket.

Three locations:Honolulu, Niu Valley, Pearl City,

Best Place to Get a Fundraising Item to Sell

Readers’ Pick

The Cookie Corner

Photo: David Croxford

The Cookie Corner started as a single shop in Pioneer Plaza in 1981. Now the locally owned company known for open doors and alluring fresh-baked aromas is just as well-known for its fundraiser bags of crispy, bite-size sweets. A 50 percent profit on the sales price, just seven days’ notice needed for orders and the opportunity to pay on a schedule instead of upfront have been strong selling points for local clubs, schools and nonprofits.

Fourteen locations on O‘ahu,

Best Kid-Friendly Brunch

Readers’ Pick

Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

Photo: Courtesy of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

Voters were clear about our new category for 2018: Anywhere with Mickey is a winner. Reservations for Aulani’s Disney Character Breakfast start filling up six months in advance for the buffet, which includes an omelet station, eggs Benedict, kālua pork hash, loco moco, miso soup, seared and grilled fresh fish, yogurt, fruit and, of course, the signature Mickey-shaped waffles. Mickey will greet you for a photo op on the way in, and kids can sing and dance with other character cameo appearances. If sunset is more your style, try the Menehune Mischief dinner buffet, which will be available on Wednesday evenings for the first time this summer.

1185 Ali‘inui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763,

Best Breakfast Restaurant

Readers’ Pick

Café Kaila

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

Chrissie Kaila Castillo could eat breakfast all day. Thankfully, her popular café in Market City makes it deliciously possible. You’ll usually find a crowd of people waiting outside for a chance to order fluffy buttermilk pancakes or crisp Belgian-malted waffles covered in fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar. Castillo whips up different flavors of her signature waffle every week, she has more than 20 including upside-down pineapple, chocolate with chocolate mousse, orange liliko‘i and maple bacon blueberry. Pair it with a generous scoop of fried rice, or, after 11 a.m., roasted pesto chicken or Kaila salad with mixed greens topped with cranberries, walnuts, feta cheese and more. Yes, there is a kiddie menu as well as vegan and gluten-free options.

2919 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 732-3330, café

Rest of the Best

Best Burgers

Readers’ Pick

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Twelve locations on O‘ahu,

Best Family-Style Caterer

Readers’ Pick

Ige’s Catering

910 Māpunapuna St., (808) 831-0050,

Best Healthy Snack You Can Order and Your Kids Will Love

Readers’ Pick

Jamba Juice

Twenty seven locations on O‘ahu,

Best Ice Cream or Gelato

Readers’ Pick


Fifteen locations on O‘ahu,

Best Kids’ Menu

Readers’ Pick

California Pizza Kitchen

Eight locations: Ala Moana Center, Honolulu Airport, Kāhala, Kailua, Kapolei, Mililani, Pearlridge and Waikīkī,

Best Local Beverage Brand

Readers’ Pick

Hawaiian Sun

Best Local Food Brand

Readers’ Pick

Diamond Bakery

Sold in more than 160 retail locations in Hawai‘i and on

Best Pau Hana with Kids

Readers’ Pick

Dave & Buster’s

1030 Auahi St., (808) 589-2215,

Best Pizza

Readers’ Pick

California Pizza Kitchen

Eight locations: Ala Moana Center, Honolulu Airport, Kāhala, Kailua, Kapolei, Mililani, Pearlridge and Waikīkī,

Best Place to Pick Up a Weekday Meal and Best Place for Potluck Pickups

Readers’ Pick


Twenty-four locations statewide:

Best Shave Ice

Readers’ Pick

Waiola Shave Ice

Photo: Karen DB Photography

Two locations: Kapahulu and McCully-Mō‘ili‘ili,

Best Spot for Parents’ Night Out

Readers’ Pick

Roy’s Hawai‘i

Three locations on O‘ahu: Hawai‘i Kai, Ko Olina and Waikīkī,

Best Store for Locally Made Snacks

Readers’ Pick

Wholesale Unlimited

Photo: David Croxford

Seven locations: Kāhala, Kāne‘ohe, Ke‘eaumoku Street, Mānoa, Māpunapuna, Pearl City and Waipahu,