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Despite the notoriously inattentive waitstaff, budget-conscious snowbirds, night owls with a yen for karaoke, all-day drinkers of both coffee and the stronger stuff, hearty eaters, and lovers of local-style plate lunches contentedly rub shoulders at this venerable diner and cocktail lounge at the edge of Waikiki. Most checks are under $11, and there's a $2.50 children's menu. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year (except Tuesday, when the restaurant closes from 10 pm to 6 am), but the place fills up and a line forms around the corner at breakfast time, so arrive early or late. Reservations not accepted. Credit cards accepted.
The three-tiered Top of Waikiki has amazing 360-degree views of Honolulu, but unlike many revolving restaurants it also has an award-winning menu that features delicious new American cuisine with island flavor. The lobster-crab cake salad or the coconut shrimp are great ways to start the evening. For dinner, although they may sound basic, the seafood pasta and garlic rib eye are the most popular entrées because they're just that good. To get a sunset view, grab dinner from 5 to 6 pm and enjoy the added early-bird dishes starting at $17. topofwaikiki.com. Credit cards accepted.
Bountiful buffets and menus that feature seafood are popular with Islanders, so this Japan-based restaurant is a local favorite. It's popular with budget-conscious travelers as well, for the wide range of hot dishes, sushi, and the 160-foot seafood spread. The emphasis here is more on quantity than quality. Credit cards accepted.
If you need proof that To Chau is highly regarded for its authentic pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup), just check the lines that form in front every morning of the week. It's said that the broth is the key, and it won't break the bank for you to find out, as the average check is less than $10. The restaurant is open only until 2:30 pm, but you may be turned away if the food runs out earlier. Reservations not accepted. No credit cards. No dinner.
On the second floor of a busy hotel, Tiki's is the kind of place people come to Waikiki for: a retro-South Pacific spot designed for fun. It has a back-of-the-bar faux volcano, an open-air lounge with live local-style music, indoor-outdoor dining, and a view of the beach across the street. The menu of contemporary island cuisine, revamped by chef Ronnie Nasuti, includes Asian-influenced seven-spice salmon, sophisticated interpretations of plate-lunch standards, and exceptional desserts. Try their mai tais, which come in a variety of flavors. tikisgrill.com. Credit cards accepted.
Stories to inspire your own adventures at Outrigger's travel blog.
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