As 2014 quickly comes to a close and we get ready for the New Year, we thought we’d share our kids top ten favorite places to dine at on Oahu. Our family chose these places from the hundreds of restaurants we’ve visited across the island in 2014. These are Lou Lou and Jaf’s favorites. They are in no particular order, but singled out mainly for their food, service, menu and attention paid towards “pint-sized” diners.
We’ve been long time visitors to Forty Niners, located in Pearl City and now with a new location in Wahiawa. Their “old school” diner feel gives this place its kid-friendly appeal.
No fancy furniture, no table settings or glasses. Just no-fuss plastic cups, wooden chopsticks and simple, home-made food. This “diner” has been in business since 1947, one of the few old-schoold diners we have left on the island.
Our grandparents, parents, and now children all enjoy going here.
Kids Favorite: Saimin, Hamburger Steak
Our favorite Genki Sushi location is in Waikele. They recently renovated it and now have these new zooming cars that are similar to the Japanese bullet trains that quickly deliver your sushi order right to your table. The kids LOVE the entire experience. All tables are equipped with a touch pad allowing you to choose what you want to order. While the kids went through the interactive menu, we choose sushi right off the conveyor belt which is also located at your table.
Kids Favorite: Karaage Chicken, Tuna Nigiri, Edamame, Garlic Salmon and Mochi Ice Cream
If you’re into “street food” then this is the place to be every last Friday of the month. Eat the Street is Hawaii’s largest food truck/street food event, located in the Kakaako neighborhood. It is the most kid-friendly monthly eating experience in Honolulu and one not to be missed if you’re visiting the islands for the first time. There’s parking, lots of local and popular foods prepared by island chefs, live entertainment, areas to dine with activities for children (bouncy castles, face painters, balloon artists).
Kids Favorite: Elenas, Paul’s Popper, Bobbalicious, Pop Pop Donuts
With the recent opening of their 2nd location at old Sam Choy’s, Liliha Bakery really stepped up their game. Though we’ve never had the chance to visit their new location, we frequent their bakery on Liliha Street as the kids love their grilled butter rolls with pink jelly and Loco Moco.
Liliha Bakery is also very famous for their local style pastries. We love their French donuts and pies.
Kids Favorite: Loco Moco, Coco Puffs and Long Johns
Kids aren’t normally big on Chinese, but when they want fried rice we head to Chun Wah Kam. The kids love that they have like 6 different kids of fried rice to choose from and usually pick 3 different ones.
Since all of their food are displayed right in front of you it makes choosing what they want easier and less headache for us parents. You’ll find many local bus drivers and construction workers coming here for lunch since the servings are HUGE!
Kids Favorite: Baked Manapua, Chow Fun, any Fried Rice dish
Talk about “finger-licking good”. The kids love seafood and love it even more when you can eat it with your fingers. It’s messy, fun and kid-friendly (as long as kids aren’t afraid of shrimps with still with their heads on). The decor is spacious and the service is quick.
They also have fried chicken wings, catfish and popcorn chicken if you don’t feel like getting dirty.
Kids Favorite: Garlic-Butter Shrimp with Potatoes, Corn and Sausages
You’ve not visited Hawaii if you haven’t dined at a local Hawaiian eatery (and luaus don’t count). We frequent Highway Inn several times a month for their combo plates which the kids absolutely devour. We visit the one in Waipahu, but they have a newer location in Honolulu, in Kakaako.
If you’ve never tried Hawaiian food before, here’s what we suggest; Kalua Pig, Rice, Lomi Salmon, Pipikaula, Haupia.
Kids Favorite: Lau Lau, Lomi Salmon and Poi.
There’s something about their meatballs that keep our kids wanting more. Our kids love this place because of their restaurant is like a maze and they always get invited to go the kitchen.
Their kids menu portions are large so we always end up taking home leftovers. Portions are family style, so we normally just order the spaghetti with meatballs and salad. Located in Honolulu, near Ward Avenue.
Kids Favorite: Spaghetti w/meatballs, Lasagna and Baked Ziti.
With their recent appearance on “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives, Elena’s have been in the spotlight recently for their awesome food. They’ve been around for years though (I remember my grandparents eating at their location in Waipahu). If you’re kids are anything like mine, they love rice and Elena’s Adobo Fried Rice is what we order every time we visit. Along with 3-4 orders of their Shanghi Lumpia, which are a kid favorite. They also have a food truck and can be found at Eat the Street events every month.
Kids Favorite: Shanghi Lumpia, Adobo Fried Rice
This is where you go to sample every single Japanese food item available in Hawaii. From udon noodles, gyoza, bentos and sushi Shirokiya has it all. The kids love roaming through the food court (located upstairs) looking at all the foods stalls and food displays available and selecting what they want to eat for lunch/dinner.
We always end up at Kulu Kulu, a dessert cafe downstairs after for their cream puffs and mochi.
Kids Favorite: Any bento from the food court and cream puffs from Kulu Kulu