Home to the iconic Waikiki beach, Oahu is a tropical wonderland and paradise for families. The picture-perfect island also offers a world-class dining scene, featuring everything from casual beachfront cafes to celebrity chef-run restaurants. Better still, most of the top culinary establishments are family friendly. From the laid-back historic North Shore, to the bustling metropolis of Honolulu, here are six family-friendly restaurants on Oahu that will impress every member of your party.
Live entertainment and an over-the-top gourmet spread are hallmarks of Kai Market’s dinner buffet at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort. Visit on a Thursday evening to experience the interactive oxtail soup station, as this hugely popular dish is a must try while on Oahu. The rich broth is perfectly prepared and presented with traditional toppings, including boiled peanuts, cilantro and chili. Other favorites include Chinatown roasted duck, prime rib, Chinese steamed fresh fish, an assortment of poke and prawns served ‘shrimp-truck-style’. Kids will enjoy plenty of savoury options as well as the build-your-own sundae station.
Sup by the shore at Moana Surfrider’s Beachhouse restaurant in Waikiki. Reserve your table in advance and request a window seat in the Victorian dining room to watch the morning surfers ride the waves. If you’d prefer to sit al fresco, grab a table on the wraparound veranda that overlooks the hotel’s sprawling Indian banyan tree. Order a la carte or indulge in the impressive buffet spread. Kids will love the array of fresh tropical fruit, pastries, pancakes and cereal, while adults will appreciate the omelette station and variety of savoury, sweet and Asian dishes. After brunch, take some time to explore the historic property that was built to be Waikiki’s first hotel when it opened as the Moana in 1911. Buffet ranges from $57 - $61 for adults and $25 for kids.
If attending a luau tops your Oahu to do list, Toa in Waimea Valley is a brilliantly entertaining option for families. Before the main event begins, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture through hands-on demonstrations, including coconut cutting, poi preparation and traditional games. Although it’s a simple spread when compared to some of Hawaii’s larger – more commercial – luaus, the buffet dinner of kalua pork and huli-huli chicken, is delicious. After dinner, relax and enjoy the live music, vocal and dance performances celebrating Polynesian culture. The bonus? Tickets, which start at $85 for children and $98 for adults, also include access to the park’s picturesque gardens and falls, so plan to arrive early to explore and swim.
Hang ten at Roy’s Beach House overlooking Turtle Bay on Oahu’s famed north shore. Spend the day playing in the protected bay and pop to Roy’s for lunch with a view. Enjoy one of Roy’s signature cocktails while your little ones munch on the complimentary children’s appetizer plate with cheese quesadilla and fresh fruit and veggies. For the adventurous palettes, order a few share plates like the crispy curried Brussel sprouts, pork belly bao buns and crispy calamari. Or play it safe with the Keiki (kids) menu, featuring penne pasta, tender braised short ribs or grilled chicken breast, followed by a house-made ice-cream sandwich. If you’re still beachside at sunset, walk around to The Point restaurant at Turtle Bay Resort for Mai Tai’s, live entertainment and to watch local surfers catch their last wave of the day.
Swing by the Ka'aha'aina Café for a casual homestyle Hawaiian meal with jaw dropping coastal views. This relatively off-the-grid restaurant, tucked behind the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, serves traditional plate lunches piled high with grilled meat, brown rice and fresh greens from MA’O – a local organic farm dedicated to teaching sustainable agricultural practices and Hawaiian culture to underprivileged youth. Choose from the juicy Huli-Huli chicken, tender Kalbi beef strips, or authentic slow roasted Kalua pork. The generous portions can easily be shared. Afterwards work off those delicious calories by exploring the Health Center’s pristine walking trails and tropical gardens. Best of all, lunch plates start at just $9.
Spend the morning with Mickey and the gang at Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki, in Ko Olina’s Aulani Disney Resort and Spa. While noshing on a delectable buffet spread of tropical fruits, Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, omelets and sweet treats, your little ones will enjoy meeting their favourite Disney friends. Special Hawaiian touches, including an interactive ukulele performance by Aunty and conga dance party, create magical moments for every guest. Simply bring your appetite and sense of childlike wonder to this breakfast extravaganza. Oh, and don’t forget the camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the dining experience.
Courtesy of Four Seasons
Seeking culinary perfection? You’re likely to find it at one of Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina’s three family-friendly restaurants. The property’s weekend Brunch for All Seasons is nirvana for foodies, and one of the island’s most popular locales for locals celebrating milestone events. You may need a map to explore the infinite selection of seafood, carving, poke, dim sum and pasta stations on display. Insider tip: avoid the decadent dessert bar until after the kids have satisfied their nutritional requirements. For a unique sea-to-table experience, reserve a sunset spot at the beachfront Mina’s Fish House, where a resident fish concierge offers tableside chats about the restaurant’s fresh daily catch. Order the whole pan-roasted Opakapaka for a delicious family-style meal. If you’re craving delicate handmade pasta, Noe promises to please. The caprese salad, seasonal ravioli and veal cheek ‘Rossini’ are just a few of the restaurant’s must-try signature dishes. Children’s menus at the Four Seasons are equally creative and vary by restaurant. Highlights include Noe’s spaghetti ice cream and the phyllo-crusted fish and chips at Mina’s.
by Mhairri Woodhall