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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
The cool courtyards and varied galleries of the Honolulu Museum of Art are well worth a visit and, afterward, so is this popular lunch restaurant. The café overflows onto a lanai from which you can ponder Asian statuary and a burbling water feature while you wait for your salade niçoise or signature Piadina sandwich (a fresh-baked flatbread round stuffed with arugula, tomatoes, basil, and cheese). www.honolulumuseum.org. No dinner.
The sign claims to serve authentic Nepali and Indian cuisine, but many dishes incorporate a blend of cultures, including Chinese and Hawaiian. Start with Himalayan spring rolls or garlic naan bread, try the mahi Nepali masala—which is a Nepalese curry with Hawaii mahimahi—and don't miss the mango kulfi, which is like a creamy mango dessert. The extensive menu appeals to a wide range of tastes—some that soothe the palate, others that excite—which may be why this little restaurant tucked away in a business/residential area is packed every night. Perhaps it helps that this place is BYOB with no corkage fee, as well. himalayankitchen.net. Reservations essential. Credit cards accepted.
Step back in time to an era where you could buy a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch and some ice cake from the store and sit on the pier as fishermen idly motored by. It doesn't feel like much more than a shack on the pier, but the food is pumped out by one of Oahu's hottest young chefs, Mark Noguchi. Try the guava barbecue chicken or the luau stew (a hearty stew made with taro leaves and beef), which are his specialties. If you're hungry, try the off-menu Cheekeater Burger, a beef burger topped with homemade Thousand Island dressing, Portuguese sausage, Spam, bacon, and a fried egg. This is well worth the drive—way, way off the beaten path. www.heeiapier.com. Reservations not accepted. Closed Mon. No dinner.
The vine-like hau tree is ideal for sitting under, and it's said that the one that spreads itself over this beachside courtyard is the very one that shaded Robert Louis Stevenson as he mused and wrote about Hawaii. In any case, diners are still enjoying the shade and the view at this romantic beach side restaurant. The poi pancakes at breakfast, papaya chicken salad at lunch, and fresh fish or steak at dinner are all favorites. Dinner entree portions are quite large. www.kaimana.com. Reservations essential. Credit cards accepted.
After the long drive to the North Shore, it's a treat to while away the afternoon on the covered open-air lanai at Haleiwa Joe's, scoring a couple of cute souvenir glasses, watching the boats and surfers in the harbor, and munching crunchy coconut shrimp, a mahi burger, or whatever's the freshest fish special. It's just past the Anahulu Stream Bridge. A Kaneohe location overlooks lush Haiku Gardens. www.haleiwajoes.com. Reservations not accepted. Credit cards accepted.
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