Best of HONOLULU Family 2019: Eat

Our readers’ and editors’ 15 picks for the best places to eat in Honolulu.

Photo: Karen DB Photography


Best Ice Cream or Gelato

Readers’ Pick

Via Gelato

What started out as an ice cream truck has now grown into two bright shops in Kaimukī and Ward Village Shops, both equipped with low, kid-friendly tables and benches. Our favorite flavor: Fierce Chocolate, made with chocolate bars, dark French cocoa powder, milk and cream. But it’s the ever-changing seasonal menu that makes Via Gelato truly great, like October’s Harry Potter-themed butterbeer and Hagrid’s magic dragon shell, a white chocolate shell that you crack open for the gelato inside; Easter’s Peep-shaped gelato; or Boys’ Day taiyaki (fish-shaped ice cream sandwich) … the list goes on.

1142 12th Ave. in Kaimukī, (808) 732-2800.

Best Breakfast Restaurant

Readers’ Pick


The restaurant started by husband-and-wife duo Puna and Cricket Nam more than three decades ago never gets old when it comes to its sweet spins on pancakes. Chef Carsie Green (a Korean-Irish local boy) is always experimenting, leading to flavors including his most recent creation, a carrot pancake with freshly grated carrots, raisins and sour cream. Beyond the original Kailua and the newer Waikīkī locations, Cinnamon’s also has an outpost in Las Vegas helmed by Nam’s son Alika. He created the green pistachio pancake that was so popular, it traveled from the ninth island back to O‘ahu.

The Ilikai, 1777 Ala Moana Blvd., #180, (808) 670-1915 and 315 Uluniu St., Kailua, (808) 261-8724.

Best Pau Hana With Kids

Readers’ Pick

Moku Kitchen

Pau hana with keiki is usually an early and quick affair. (Unless it is our second-most popular choice with voters: having a glass of wine at home.) Chef Peter Merriman’s Moku Kitchen’s happy hour starts at 3 p.m. and comes with half-off all appetizers. Sit outside so kids can watch the crowds at SALT, while you sip local-style cocktails, one of more than 30 beers on draft or a refreshing mocktail —we love the house-made ginger beer with a dash of cayenne. That’s before you dive into 50-percent off garlic truffle oil fries, roasted squash ravioli, shrimp or lobster deveiled eggs and all the $10 pizzas you can eat or take home as a tasty leftover.

SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, 660 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 591-6658.

Best Place to Buy a Healthy Snack Your Kids Will Love

Readers’ Pick

Whole Foods Market

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Looking for nut-free, non-GMO, Paleo-friendly, fair-trade, dairy-free organic snacks—that your kids will actually eat? Walk the aisles of a Whole Foods Market where   choices abound. There are dried goji berries, nondairy cheeses, fruit snacks made with  juice, you name it.  What we also like about Whole Foods: We can use our Amazon Prime membership for discounts. The new Kaka‘ako store also is home to a Lanikai Juice kiosk, where you can grab an after-school smoothie for your hungry kids.

Three locations: Kāhala, Kaka‘ako and Kailua.

Best Musubi

2018 HONOLULU Magazine Readers’ Pick

7-Eleven Hawai‘i

Illustration: Getty Images


Jumbo mochiko chicken, fish patty, even spicy shrimp katsu are available for last-minute lunch or spur-of-the-moment snacks, but by far the biggest seller—2,000 cans of Spam a day big—at 7-Eleven is the humble Spam musubi. On average, people pick up 120 Spam musubi daily at each of 7-Eleven’s 64 locations. That’s not counting the Spam deluxe musubi, which adds egg and furikake. Debbie Lee Soon, 7-Eleven’s senior category manager for fresh food, says workers continuously review and continue to perfect the Spam preparation, look for the best nori, and work with various rice farms to create “something that can withstand the production process but still melt in your mouth.”

Multiple locations.

The Rest of the Best:

Best Bakery for Keiki Treats

Readers’ Pick

Liliha Bakery

Three locations: Ala Moana Center, Liliha, Nimitz.

Best Burgers

Readers’ Pick

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Eleven locations on O‘ahu.

Best Family-Style Caterer

Readers’ Pick

Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering

94-903 Farrington Highway, Waipahu, (808) 671-3779.

Best Item to Sell for a Fundraiser

Readers’ Pick

Zippy’s Chili

Twenty-six locations on O‘ahu.

Best “Kids Eat Free” Deal

Readers’ Pick


Three locations: Pearl City, Honolulu, Niu Valley.

SEE ALSO: Free Fun: 15 Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Best Kid-Friendly Brunch

Readers’ Pick

Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

92-1185 Ali‘inui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763.

Best Pizza

Readers’ Pick

Pizza Hut

Twenty-five locations on O‘ahu.

Best Place for Potluck Pickups

Readers’ Pick


Twenty-six locations on O‘ahu.

Best Shave Ice

Readers’ Pick

Waiola Shave Ice

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

Best Store for Locally Made Snacks

Readers’ Pick

Wholesale Unlimited

Six locations: Kāne‘ohe, Kapolei, Ke‘eaumoku Street, Māpunapuna, Pearl City, Waipahu.