The Best Restaurants in Hawai‘i


2021 Hale Aina Winner Graphics 1200x900px



We asked, more than 8,000 votes were cast, and now it’s time to unveil the winners of the 2021 Hale ‘Aina Awards!


Each year, our readers vote for their favorite restaurants in the Islands and the HONOLULU dining team names the Restaurateur of the Year. The top restaurants were announced during a virtual live-reception held June 14, 2021. See our upcoming September 2021 issue for the stories behind the menus and ordering tips from some of our Hale ‘Aina Award honorees. Subscribe now to have our Best Restaurants issue delivered right to your home.


The Hale ‘Aina Awards are the state’s longest running and most prestigious dining honors, started by HONOLULU Magazine in 1984 to honor the best restaurants in Hawai‘i. Whether you’re looking for weekend brunch spots, your new favorite cocktail or the best places to indulge your sweet tooth, we got you. This list of Hale ‘Aina-winning restaurants is your all-year, can’t-miss dining guide.


Congratulations to this year’s winners for operating at the highest levels of quality, and offering Hawai‘i’s most delicious and innovative dishes.


SEE ALSO: Déjà Food: A Look Back at Past Hale ʻAina Awards and Winners


Restaurateur of the Year

Danny Kaaialii and Jonny Vasquez

Encore Saloon, The Daley, Pizza Mamo


SEE ALSO: 2020 Hale ‘Aina Award Winners: Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka of MW Restaurant Win Hawai‘i’s Restaurateurs of the Year


Best New Restaurant

GOLD – Kapa Hale

SILVER – Et Al at Kāhala Market

BRONZE – Istanbul Hawai‘i

FINALIST – Miro Kaimukī


SEE ALSO: Find the Best Wine Deals in Honolulu at Rigo Spanish Italian Restaurant


Best O‘ahu Restaurant

GOLD – Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai

SILVER – Merriman’s Honolulu

BRONZE – Pai Honolulu

FINALIST – TBD … by Vikram Garg


SEE ALSO: 35th Hale ‘Aina Winner: Peter Merriman is Hawai‘i’s Restaurateur of the Year


Best Maui Restaurant

GOLD – Lahaina Grill

SILVER – Merriman’s Kapalua

BRONZE – Mama’s Fish House

FINALIST – Māla Ocean Tavern


SEE ALSO: 2019 Hale ‘Aina Award Winners: Lahaina Grill Wins Gold for Maui’s Best Restaurant


Best Big Island Restaurant

GOLD – Merriman’s Waimea

SILVER – Roy’s Waikoloa

BRONZE – Don the Beachcomber

FINALIST – Hilo Bay Café


Best Kaua‘i Restaurant

GOLD – The Beach House

SILVER – Restaurant Bar Acuda

BRONZE – Merriman’s Fish House



Best Service

GOLD – Hy’s Steak House

SILVER – Lahaina Grill

BRONZE – Merriman’s Honolulu

FINALIST – Pai Honolulu


SEE ALSO: 11 Chefs Dish on Their Go-To Orders Around Hawai‘i


Best Breakfast

GOLD – Café Kaila

SILVER – Egg Head Café

BRONZE – Sweet E’s Café



Best Brunch

GOLD – Café Kaila

SILVER – Māla Ocean Tavern

BRONZE – Kapa Hale



SEE ALSO: Travel Around the World (Without Leaving Hawai‘i) For Breakfast at These 7 Restaurants


Best Cocktail

GOLD – Bar Leather Apron

SILVER – Moku Kitchen


FINALIST – Merriman’s Honolulu


SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Hawai‘i Drinking Guide: What to Drink to Match Your Mood


Best Wine Program

GOLD – Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar

SILVER – Merriman’s Honolulu

BRONZE – Amuse Wine Bar

FINALIST – Island Vintage Wine Bar


Best Beer Program

GOLD – Maui Brewing Co.

SILVER – Aloha Beer Co.

BRONZE – Kona Brewing Co.

FINALIST – Waikīkī Brewing Co.


SEE ALSO: Real Gastropub, Hawai‘i’s First Restaurant to Focus on Craft Beer, Won’t be Reopening


Best Bar Food

GOLD – Side Street Inn

SILVER – Monkey Pod Kitchen Ko Olina

BRONZE – Osoyami Bar & Grill

FINALIST – Pau Hana Bar at Foodland Farms Pearl City


Best Tasting Menu

GOLD – Senia

SILVER – Stage Restaurant

BRONZE – Pai Honolulu

FINALIST – Miro Kaimukī


SEE ALSO: The Best Hawai‘i Restaurants for Celebrating a Special Occasion


Most Romantic

GOLD – 53 By The Sea

SILVER – Michel’s at the Colony Surf

BRONZE – Mama’s Fish House

FINALIST – Hy’s Steak House


Best Outdoor Dining

GOLD – Hau Tree

SILVER – Hideout at the Laylow

BRONZE – Basalt

FINALIST – Kona Brewing Co. Hawaiˊi Kai


SEE ALSO: Out in the Open: The Best Places To Go For Outdoor Dining on O‘ahu Right Now


Best Restaurant That Caters

GOLD – Chef Chai

SILVER – The Pig & The Lady

BRONZE – Side Street Inn

FINALIST – MW Restaurant


Best Vegetarian

GOLD – Tane Vegan Izakaya

SILVER – Moku Roots

BRONZE – Peace Café

FINALIST – Beet Box Café


SEE ALSO: The Best Local Takeout Food for Game Days During Quarantine


Best Gourmet Comfort Food

GOLD – 12th Ave Grill

SILVER – Scratch Kitchen

BRONZE – Feast

FINALIST – Side Street Inn


Best Steak

GOLD – Ruth’s Chris Steak House

SILVER – Hy’s Steak House

BRONZE – Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

FINALIST – The Signature Prime Steak and Seafood


SEE ALSO: The Best Steak Restaurants (and Places to Get a Steak Dinner) on O‘ahu


Best Seafood

GOLD – Mama’s Fish House

SILVER – Nico’s Pier 38

BRONZE – Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai

FINALIST – Māla Ocean Tavern


SEE ALSO: 3 We Tried: Who Has the Best Seafood Tower on O‘ahu?


Best Dessert

GOLD – MW Restaurant

SILVER – Tiny Pyramid

BRONZE – Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai

FINALIST – Stage Restaurant


Best Farm-to-Table

GOLD – Merriman’s Honolulu

SILVER – Mud Hen Water

BRONZE – Kapa Hale



SEE ALSO: New Daily Happy Hour at Merriman’s Honolulu Offers Deep-Fried Shrimp, Poke, Taro Hummus and Signature Cocktails


Best Hot Pot

GOLD – Ichiriki

SILVER – Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu

BRONZE – Hot Pot Heaven

FINALIST – Nabeya Maido


SEE ALSO: The Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Hot Pot in Honolulu


Best Chinese

GOLD – Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

SILVER – Little Village Noodle House

BRONZE – Duk Kee Chinese Restaurant

FINALIST – Happy Days


SEE ALSO: How to Eat Xiao Long Bao and Other Tips for Enjoying Soup Dumplings in Honolulu


Best Hawaiian

GOLD – Helena’s Hawaiian Food

SILVER – Highway Inn

BRONZE – Young’s Fish Market

FINALIST – Waiāhole Poi Factory


Best Italian

GOLD – Arancino at The Kāhala

SILVER – La Cucina Ristorante Italiano

BRONZE – Taormina Sicilian Cuisine

FINALIST – Assaggio


Best Izakaya

GOLD – Sushi Izakaya Gaku

SILVER – Izakaya Nonbei

BRONZE – Imanas Tei

FINALIST – Izakaya Naru


Best Sushi

GOLD – Yanagi Sushi

SILVER – Sanset Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar

BRONZE – Mitch’s Sushi

FINALIST – Sushi ii


Best Japanese Noodles (Ramen, Udon, Soba)

GOLD – Noods Ramen Bar

SILVER – Star Noodle

BRONZE – Golden Pork Ton-kotsu Ramen Bar



Best Overall Japanese

GOLD – Gyotaku

SILVER – Yanagi Sushi

BRONZE – I-naba



Best Thai

GOLD – Noi Thai Cuisine

SILVER – Maile’s Thai Bistro

BRONZE – Bangkok Chef

FINALIST – Phuket Thai


Best Mediterranean

GOLD – Istanbul Hawai‘i

SILVER – Olive Tree Café

BRONZE – Shaloha Pita

FINALIST – Greek Marina


Best Indian

GOLD – Café Maharani

SILVER – Himalayan Kitchen

BRONZE – Kamana Kitchen

FINALIST – Bombay Palace


Best Yakiniku/Korean BBQ

GOLD – Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

SILVER – Gen Korean BBQ House

BRONZE – Yakiniku Seoul

FINALIST – Sura Hawai‘i


SEE ALSO: 2020 Hale ‘Aina Award Winner: The Beginner’s Guide to Korean Barbecue


Best Overall Korean

GOLD – Million Restaurant

SILVER – O’Kims Korean Kitchen

BRONZE – Kim Chee Restaurant No. 2

FINALIST – Sorabol


Best Vietnamese

GOLD – The Pig &The Lady

SILVER – Pho Saigon

BRONZE – Hale Vietnam

FINALIST – Saigon’s Restaurant


Best Mexican

GOLD – Alejandro’s Tacos

SILVER – Los Chaparros Mexican Restaurant

BRONZE – Mexico Lindo

FINALIST – Tacqueria el Gallo Rosa


Best Filipino

GOLD – Elena’s 

SILVER – Thelma’s Filipino Restaurant

BRONZE – Julie’Z Restaurant

FINALIST – Shay’s Filipino Café


Best Takeout—Affordable

GOLD – Zippy’s

SILVER – Pioneer Saloon

BRONZE – Redfish

FINALIST – La Tour Café


SEE ALSO: 7 Things We Like about Foodland’s First Eatery including Fresh Poke, Cocktails and Hot Food with a Local Twist


Best Takeout—High End

GOLD – MW Restaurant

SILVER – M by Chef Mavro

BRONZE – Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai




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