HONOLULU Staff Favorites: The 7 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on O‘ahu

Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12) with one of our favorite versions of the childhood classic.


This article was originally published April 12, 2019. It was updated on April 12, 2022.


Robbie Dingeman loves Fete’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Fête Hawai‘i grilled cheese. Photo: Robbie Dingeman


Fête Hawai‘i

$12, 2 N. Hotel St., (808) 369-1390, fetehawaii.com, @fetehawaii

Ordering something as humble as a grilled cheese sandwich from Fête—from a James Beard-nominated chef at a Honolulu bistro known for fresh imaginative dishes—might seem like a missed opportunity. That is, until you bite into one ($12) and find the stretchy cheese pull of a classic grilled cheese.  This sandwich ups the ante with three types of cheese—smoked mozzarella, cheddar and provolone—on generous slices of the house sourdough bread smeared with tomato jam, while retaining the all-important cheese-to-bread ratio. The fresh bread takes it next level with the tang of sourdough, the crunchy crust on pillowy-soft bread that invites cheese to seep into the holes. —Robbie Dingeman, editor at large


SEE ALSO: Meet the Inspiring Woman Behind the Dishes That Whisk You Away at Fête


La Tour Grilled Cheese2 Robbie Dingeman

La Tour Café grilled cheese. Photo: Robbie Dingeman


La Tour Café

$6.49, various locations, latourcafe.com

“La Tour Café’s grilled cheese sandwich with their veggie soup option of the day! Yum!” —Christine Labrador, art director


La Tour Café tweaked one of our favorite grilled cheese sandwiches but it’s still worthy and affordable. The sandwich is now classified as a melt after swapping the sourdough of yesteryear to the shokupan of today. The Japanese milk bread feels traditional, filled with melty cheddar and nutty Havarti with a creamy finish from whipped cream cheese instead of ricotta. Still good, but I miss their sourdough. If you’re yearning for more than cheese (that COULD happen), opt for the popular riff of Garlicky Kale & Mushroom Grilled Cheese sandwich ($8.69), which adds baby kale, roasted mushrooms, cotija and garlic butter to the Havarti and cream cheese party. —Robbie Dingeman, editor at large


La Tour Kale Mushroom Robbie Dingeman

La Tour Café Garlicky Kale & Mushroom Grilled Cheese. Photo: Robbie Dingeman


SEE ALSO: Cheap Eats Hawai‘i: The Best Food for 15 Dollars or Less for Your Dining-In or To-Go Pleasure


Tchin Tchin

Photo: Steve Czerniak


The Tchin Tchin Bar

$14 N. Hotel St., (808) 528-1888, thetchintchinbar.com

“When The Tchin Tchin Bar first opened in 2016, we gravitated to the stinky grilled cheese sandwich as a simple pleasure. We haven’t changed our minds: Creamy cheese comes grilled in toasty bread flecked with herbs, along with a side of pickles veggies and onion marmalade. The triangle quarter sandwiches add some cozy nostalgia.” And the price is STILL the same. —Robbie Dingeman, editor at large



Earl’s Sandwich

$11, multiple locations, earlhawaii.com

“This may stray far from the traditional grilled cheese, but the ‘Fun Goat’ sandwich from Earl’s Sandwich is my absolute favorite version of the sandwich in Honolulu. Call it the elevated grilled white cheese—it’s smeared with goat cheese and a creamy basil pesto, topped with sautéed mushrooms, cherry tomato and spinach, and finished with an EVOO and balsamic reduction drizzle. Find it at their new location in Market City Shopping Center and in Kaka’ako (400 Keawe St.).” —Marisa Hartzell, website freelancer


SEE ALSO: We Tried Every Sandwich on the Menu at Earl Kaka‘ako and Ranked Them




$4.85, various locations, zippys.com

“I might get my Local Card revoked for this, but I don’t go to Zippy’s very often. But, when I do go, I order their grilled cheese sandwich. There’s nothing special or gourmet about it—it’s just buttered toast and American cheese (and definitely something I could make for myself at home)—but that’s exactly what I like about it.” —Enjy El-Kadi



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Aloha Salads

$12.95, various locations, alohasalads.com

“It’s ooey, it’s gooey and it comes with a tiny cup of delicious tomato bisque soup. This cheesy guilty pleasure is a combination of melted Havarti, cheddar and fresh mozzarella on sourdough. Oh, and ordering a grilled cheese sammie from a salad shop always gives me a giggle: Diet starts, Monday!” —Katie Kenny, digital editorial specialist


Non Dairy Alternatives


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“Brands Daiya and Follow Your Heart (makers of Veganaise, an alternative to sliced cheese) are both sold at Whole Foods and Down to Earth stores.” —Cathy Cruz-George.