Scrolling online led me to discounted plane tickets. The next thing I knew, I was flying to Honolulu to stay with my college roommate. While I was there, she took me to some of Oahu's tourist hits and local favorites. There are many hidden gems in Oahu to uncover, but with a limited schedule and budget, you can only go to so many. Hopefully this helps narrow the list. 

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck

The shrimp truck is best known for the Shrimp Scampi. However, with that fact unbeknown to me, I ordered the Lemon Butter Shrimp. Although I was not disappointed with the lemon, next time I would order the scampi for a dish with a bit more flavor. Be prepared for a long line. 

Leonard's Bakery

This was my last stop in Hawaii before I returned to the mainland. I brought a fresh box of malasadas (fried doughnut-like pastries) to help me survive the red eye flight. I'm not the biggest filling fan so I stuck with the original sugar coated malasadas. Not only did I appreciate them during my layover, but so did my family when I got home. 

Aiea Bowl

I was surprised when I heard we were going to a bowling alley for dinner, but sure enough Aiea Bowl is fairly well known for their food. My roommate suggested I order the Tasty Chicken and Lemon Crunch Cake. The chicken was good but the cake makes me wish I could make a quick trip back to the island. If you also get hooked, the recipe can allegedly be found online.

Lanikai Juice Company

Lanikai offers smoothies, bowls (açaí or other bases) and juices making it easy for everyone to find something they like here. To me an açaí bowl is an açaí bowl. I have a hard time noting differences in the bases, but liked the variation in toppings and the bright and tropical atmosphere. 

Poke On Da Run

I was ecstatic to try the Poke Nachos. So much so that my heart dropped a little when the shop owner said they were out of supplies for the day. I ordered a full size plate instead which came with two generous scoops of fish and rice. Enough to share with a friend. Maybe one day I'll get to try the legendary nachos...


I turned to my roommate and said: "They have everything here!" Which is not much of an exaggeration. Zippy's has pasta, burgers, salads, sandwiches, spam musubi, chicken, Zip-Meal's, cakes and so on. Zippy's is perfect if you are in a hurry and want options. 

Highway Inn

Where I first tried some traditional Hawaiian food. The school-style plate came with poi (a plant paste), kalua pig, sweet potatoes, potato-mac salad and haupia (coconut pudding). The poi and haupia were not things I would normally eat, but trying it was a worthwhile experience. 

Haleiwa Bowls

After a long day in the sun and attempting to surf, this açaí was exactly what I needed. Haleiwa only had three bowl options but customers can customize and add toppings. It is an outdoor stand and a nice option for the less populated side of the island. 

My overall thoughts on Oahu were that I wish I had more time and money to eat. Even just to try more variations at the same restaurants I had already been to. If you get the chance to visit, check out some of these spots and you won't be disappointed.