Are you looking for the top Haleiwa eateries on Oahu’s famous North Shore? You’ve certainly arrived at the correct location!
True, the North Shore of Oahu is known as the world’s surfing center due to its spectacular winter waves. And Haleiwa is its gateway village, roughly an hour’s drive from the noise and bustle of popular Waikiki. The historic and laid-back hamlet is replete with well-preserved 1900s sugar-plantation period buildings, rural ambience, amazing art galleries, beautiful boutiques, and, of course, a plethora of extremely awesome surf shops. Every Hawaiian would tell you that Haleiwa is the sweetest, kitschiest town on the whole island. And after many trips, we couldn’t agree more.
Simply walking through Haleiwa Old Town seems like stepping back in time. We’ve frequently fantasized of visiting during the world-famous surf championships, when pro surfers can be seen wandering the streets.
But this time, we came to Haleiwa for the gourmet experience, since many of the restaurants here are locally owned and run, and they showcase many of the classic cuisines and cultures that make the Hawaiian Islands so unique. They were the people that made us feel like ohana (family), and who left us pleased and contented.
Visiting other places in Hawaii? Check out our other tasty guides:
- 7 Must-Try Ko Olina Restaurants
- 13 Best Traditional Hawaiian Dishes
- 10 Must-Try Breakfast Places On Maui
- Best Lahaina Maui Restaurants
- 10 Best Restaurants In Maui
The Top 6 Restaurants in Haleiwa
Beach Home in Haleiwa
808-637-343562-540 Highway Kamehameha
During our first visit to Oahu, one of our favorite restaurants in Haleiwa was Jamesons by the Sea. We watched our first green flash sunset here, a rare event that made that first visit special, despite the fact that it was a rustic cafe in need of renovation.
After being closed for many years, the venue was rebuilt and reopened in 2016 as the Haleiwa Beach House, overlooking Haleiwa State Park. We were delighted to return here and relive those wonderful experiences.
For the moment, the two-story restaurant is only open for lunch. Natural wood walls, floor to ceiling windows in the dining room, and an open front give this real beach home a light, breezy, and beachy vibe. We had to start our visit with the classic Mai Tai, Hawaii’s favorite libation. The cuisine is amazing, including not just seafood but also typical native island beef and hog meals that you won’t find anywhere else.
Being a seafood fan, I chose the Poke Bowl consisting of fresh ahi tossed in a poke sauce blended with sliced red onion, sea asparagus, and topped with tobiko, scallion, and yuzu aioli over a bed of white rice. To say the least, it was fantastic.
When my husband asked for a suggestion for a true local favorite, our waitress was quite helpful. The Loco Moco included a seared wagyu beef patty on top of white rice, drenched in a red wine demi-glace, topped with fried eggs, and capped with crispy potato skins. He was pleased with this tasty selection. And we were overjoyed to be back in this picture-perfect environment!
Joe’s Seafood Grill in Haleiwa
The phone number is 808-637-800566-011, and the address is 808-637-800566-011.
This restaurant, located in old Haleiwa Town, completely lives up to its promise of fresh cuisine, pleasant service, and breathtaking views. It’s even better with a Mai Tai or Blue Hawaiian in hand.
Haleiwa Joes, which opened in 1998 and is available for Sunday brunch and everyday supper, has magnificent harbor and ocean views with postcard-worthy sunsets.
The menu was so comprehensive that we couldn’t get beyond the pupus. Each delectable dish beckoned to our taste buds. We couldn’t resist the Coconut Shrimp, which usually tastes best in the Hawaiian Islands. It was excellent with its plum and honey mustard sauces and delicately deep-fried to perfection. Another great winner was sizzling mushrooms with butter, salt, crushed peppercorn, and Parmesan cheese served with crostini. Finally, our Thai Fried Calamari with an Asian dipping sauce was delicious.
We celebrated a beautiful sunset with two glasses of Italian Benvolio Prosecco. Even though we didn’t achieve the green flash effect this time, the evening was nonetheless unforgettable!
Sushi Restaurant Banzai
808-451-269966-246 Kamehameha Highway 808-451-269966-246 Kamehameha Highway
The Banzai Pipeline is a well-known surf reef break on Oahu’s North Shore, famed for its massive curving waves, some of the biggest in the world, that may create a tunnel.
The Japanese seafood restaurant Banzai Sushi Bar has been named one of Oahu’s top restaurants four years in a row by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. You may also watch those old surf flicks while dining here.
The restaurant’s credo is “keep it real-keep it raw,” and their sushi is as fresh as it gets. Seasonal seafood is matched with the wealth of the island’s seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not only is the food wonderful, but the chef presentations are works of beauty.
The restaurant is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, but during happy hour, beers and a selection of handrolls are just $5. We enjoyed Banzai so much that we returned for happy hour and supper on two separate occasions. We had to since the menu is so wide that it’s almost hard to go through all of your favorites.
The servers are really helpful, and their recommendations were right on with our preferences. The Sake Aburi with cucumber and avocado was delicious, and it was topped with Aburi-style (flame-seared) king salmon with a spicy miso sauce and jalapeño. This is ideal if you like spicy foods.
Another gold-medal winner was the Sashimi trio, which allowed us to experience three distinct cuts of quality fish: Hawaiian large eye ahi, New Zealand King Salmon, and Japanese yellowtail.
This is the spot to go if you like sushi!
The phone number is 808-637-551666-460 Kamehameha Highway.
This beautiful family-owned cafe perfectly depicts Haleiwa’s old village. We like the vibrant antique structure and its charming inside atmosphere. With fresh, made-to-order breakfasts and lunch plates, the caf specializes on American diner meets California Mexican. We arrived for breakfast before going for a trek during our vacation to the island.
We had heard that the Buttermilk Pancakes were delicious, and they were. They’re fluffy and hearty, with bananas or mixed berries on top. Another popular dish is Huevos Rancheros, which consists of two eggs on a corn tortilla topped with the Cafs’ handmade red salsa and cheese. This dish was accompanied with Spanish rice, beans, and a flour tortilla. And it was, indeed, wonderful. We didn’t eat again till evening since we were so full! But next time, we’ll go to the Caf for lunch.
If you chance to be on the North Shore of Oahu, this is a terrific spot to start your day. It is without a doubt the greatest breakfast in Haleiwa.
Pupu Bar & Grill Uncle Bos
111 Kamehameha Highway, 808-797-964966
When Uncle Bos first opened a few streets from Waikiki, it quickly became renowned as one of Honolulu’s great hidden treasures. Subsequently, much to the pleasure of residents and tourists alike, a second site opened in Haleiwa. Despite it may seem to be a good-ol’boy establishment, it really draws a young, diversified audience of customers that like pupus and delicious cuisine.
Uncle Bos specializes on pupu appetizers, soups, salads, pizza, pasta, and treasures from the land and sea and is open for Sunday brunch, happy hour, and everyday supper. If you’re not sure what to eat, start with the Bohana favorites indicated with a red heart on the menu.
We came for the pupus, and we’re very pleased we did. We suggest the Dynamite Shrimp with garlic chili aioli and a Parmesan panko crust. It was delicious and had just the proper amount of heat. Thai-Style Steamer Clams, cooked in a mild chile and garlic oyster sauce, were another fan favorite. Some companions got the Bos Huge Nachos, which were a massive dish of ham, kalua pig, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese on wonton chips. For you, Hawaiian nachos.
Make space for the Hobos basket of warm taro beignets with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and Frangelico American honey sauce for dessert. Six come in a basket, so get at least two if you wish to share with a group. These really are that delicious!
Uncle Bos will appeal to those who like pupus and pleasant surprises.
Shaved Matsumoto Ice
111 Kamehameha Highway, Suite #605, 808-637-4827
You just cannot leave Haleiwa without experiencing Matsumoto’s shave ice. This family-owned landmark grocery shop has been selling shave ice, as well as unique t-shirts and other island products, since 1951.
Shave ice (pronounced shave ice, not shaved ice) is a traditional Hawaiian delicacy made of fine ice shavings sweetened with fruit syrup or other sweet ingredients. It’s not the same as a snow cone, which is prepared with coarser crushed ice. Matsumoto serves around 1,000 shave ices on a hot Hawaiian day. Therefore, if you spot a queue, join it and stick around because the shave ice here is worth the wait.
The menu offers 40 various tastes, or you may pick a three-flavor combination presented in a cup or cone in three sizes. The delectable sweet taste of its numerous flavors, ranging from pineapple, strawberry, and raspberry to more imaginative bubblegum, cotton candy, and root beer, is what makes Matsumoto so famous. If you want to go all out, try the Li Hing Mui, a Chinese plum, a Pickled Mango, or Yuzu, a Japanese citrus. Many Hawaiians love the Ichiban Special, which is created with a single flavor of shave ice, vanilla ice cream, condensed milk, mochi (rice cake), and a waffle bowl.
Put Matsumotos on your list of things to do in Haleiwa. You’ll be so happy you did.
J.A. Medders, a spiritualist, famously claimed that even the sweetness of a newly cut pineapple from Hawaii is a sermon.
Imagine tasting some of its greatest cuisine while surrounded by such breathtaking scenery. It’s aloha, and it is, indeed, a piece of paradise.
Which of these Haleiwa eateries are you going to try first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!