Best of HONOLULU Family 2020: EAT

Our readers’ and editors’ 2020 picks for the best places and ways to eat with your family in Honolulu.

Best Burgers


stack of burgers

Photo: Courtesy of @teddysburgers


Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers is the perfect comfort cuisine for a family dinner or an afternoon movie marathon with the keiki. Currently, it’s offering free delivery courtesy of Bite Squad, which helps everyone in the ‘ohana stay put and safe. Little ones can still enjoy the off-the-grill grilled cheese sammies, crisp corn dogs, mini custom-made sliders and pumped-up fried sides. Tater tots smothered in gooey cheese? That’s a no-brainer. For parents, the lengthy menu has some alternative healthy options including veggie burgers, grilled chicken fillets and salads loaded with super veggies. But, with all that said, beef is where the locally owned eatery shines. Since the first burger was flipped at the original Diamond Head location, Teddy’s has been getting crave reviews for its 100% ground chuck (no fillers or binders) charbroiled patties crowned with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, melty cheese, tangy pickles and a heavy, messy drizzle of the diner’s sweet-sour sauce. Pro tip: Ask for extra sauce to dip your fries—it just might make this your favorite food for a while.—Stacey Makiya

Multiple locations.

Finalist: Honolulu Burger Co., 1295 S. Beretania St., (808) 626-5202.


Best Special-Occasion Restaurant Where Kids Can Roam


Photo: Courtesy of Halekūlani Hotel


House Without A Key at the Halekūlani

The drive to the Halekūlani in Waikīkī is worth it for the complimentary valet parking, scrumptious homemade potato chips, on-point mai tais and quality kids menu. Here, everyone in the family will feel like they are on vacation. But the place’s best feature is the adjacent lawn where keiki can practice hula to live music, somersault or play tag while parents finish their meals in peace.—Laura Dornbush

2199 Kalia Road, Honolulu, (808) 923-2311.

Best Ice Cream Shop


Photo: Getty Images


Dave’s Hawaiian Ice Cream

There’s just something about our small-kid time favorite lychee sherbet. The Dave splashed across storefronts and on labels of at-home pints is Dave Leong, who opened his first ice cream store in Waiʻanae in 1982. Now, his local flavors including Hawaiian Mud Pie, haupia, lemon custard and kūlolo are churned in Pearl City and are available by the scoop in Dave’s six signature shops on Oʻahu and several restaurants, and by the pint in grocery stores for those family nights in.—Christi Young

Multiple locations.

Finalist: Baskin-Robbins, multiple locations.


Best Way to Work Different Local Plants Into Your Cooking


Ulu on plates

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


CSA Boxes from Kōkua Kalihi Valley’s Roots Café

We’ve all rediscovered ways to get local produce and meat delivered to our doors while spending so much time at home. One of our favorite new finds is the CSʻAi, a monthly box from Kōkua Kalihi Valley’s Roots Café, filled with frozen packs of locally grown kalo, cassava and ʻulu already cleaned, cut and cooked. So, any day, you can quickly defrost it and toss into soups, stews or anything else you want.—CY

$35, check @rootskalihi on Instagram for details on the next box.

Best Café Where Keiki Can Be Keiki


Photo: Courtesy of Keiki and the Pineapple



Keiki & the Pineapple

Keiki & the Pineapple quietly entered Kakaʻako’s restaurant scene in September 2019 and immediately became the café-play space where families could meet and eat with babies crawling at their feet—with zero judgment. Owner Tiffany Morrissey designed the place with young families in mind, from the indoor and outdoor play areas, to group activities and healthy bites. We love the café’s fancy lattés, Babycinnos (steamed milk) and fruit smoothies. Even the unicorn toast, with sliced fruit and rainbow sprinkles, appeals to parents who end up eating leftovers after their kids run off to play.—Cathy Cruz-George

Keiki & the Pineapple, 909 Kapiʻolani Blvd., (808) 369-7025.

Best Local Saltwater Taffy


Saltwater Taffy

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Diamond Head Taffy

Diamond Head Taffy’s li hing flavor is a must try, as are the 12 other tropical concoctions the company sells, including lychee, guava, liliko‘i and coconut. “You’re normally not used to sour saltwater taffy,” says owner Keli‘i Manrique. “It’s an egg white and evaporated milk mixture, so it’s a lot softer and creamier than other taffy.” We recommend trying the Surfer Gift Box. At $15 online, it’s a tad expensive, but it comes with all 13 tropical flavors to share (or not) with your fellow saltwater taffy enthusiasts.—Jayna Omaye

Best Locally Made Packaged Granola


Granola in jars

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Anahola Granola

For more than 30 years, Anahola Granola has dominated the local granola scene. It started out in 1986 with single mom Becky Burns selling small batches on Kaua‘i. Now her granola is available at hotels, restaurants and grocery stores statewide. “We make 3 to 4 tons of granola each week and sold 500,000 bags of granola and granola bars last year,” Burns says. We love the original, a flavor-packed combination of whole-grain rolled oats and local honey, sunflower seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, coconut and vanilla, which remains crunchy even when mixed with yogurt or milk. You can also find tropical (macadamia nuts, pineapple, papaya), trail mix (pumpkin seeds, raisins, almonds, banana chips, dried fruit) and mango ginger flavors.—Katrina Valcourt

Best New Way to Eat Poi

Photo: David Croxford



‘Ai Love Nalo

At ‘Ai Love Nalo, the Poi-fect Parfait gives the yogurt parfait a local twist by layering poi on top of a rainbow of fresh local fruit—papaya, banana, pineapple, ʻuala and avocado (no imported berries here!)—and topping it with granola, cacao coconut flakes and honey. It converts poi skeptics and delights poi lovers. We call it poi polloi—poi for the masses.—Martha Cheng

41-1025 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, Waimānalo, (808) 888-9102.





Best Kids Eat Free Deal

WINNER: Gyotaku. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Big City Diner. Multiple locations.


Best Family-Style Caterer

WINNER: Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering. 94-903 Farrington Highway, Waipahu, (808) 671-3779.

Finalist: Zippy’s. Multiple locations.


Best Bakery for Keiki Treats

WINNER: Liliha Bakery. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Brug Bakery Hawaiʻi. Multiple locations.



Best Place for Potluck Pickups

WINNER: Zippy’s. Multiple locations.

Finalist: L&L Drive-Inn. Multiple locations.


Best Item to Sell for a Fundraiser

WINNER: Zippy’s chili. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Cookie Corner Cookies. Multiple locations.


Best Spot For a Parents’ Night Out

WINNER: The Street by Michael Mina. International Market Place, 2330 Kalākaua Ave., Suite 156, (808) 896-2545.

Finalist: Roy’s. Multiple locations.


Guava pancakes from Cinnamon's

Photo: David Croxford

Best Breakfast Restaurant

WINNER: Cinnamon’s Restaurant. 315 Uluniu St., Kailua, (808) 261-8724; The ʻIlikai, 1777 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 180, (808) 670-1915.

Finalist: Koa Pancake House. Multiple locations.

Best Pizza

WINNER: Pizza Hut. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Pieology. Multiple locations.


Best Shave Ice

WINNER: Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. 66-111 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 605, Haleʻiwa, (808) 637-4827.

Finalist: Waiola Shave Ice. Multiple locations.


Best Place to Buy a Healthy Snack Your Kids Will Love

WINNER: Whole Foods Market. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Down To Earth. Multiple locations.


Best Kid-Friendly Brunch

WINNER: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. 92-1185 Aliʻinui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763.

Finalist: Keiki and the Pineapple. 909 Kapiʻolani Blvd., (808) 369-7025.


Best Store for Locally Made Snacks

WINNER: Wholesale Unlimited. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks. 762 Queen St., 1-800-546-7658.