If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that Hawaii is very near and dear to my heart. My sister, Kristi, has been living there for 11 years now?! I can’t believe it’s been that long! Along with her hubby Sean and my niece Mila, they have created a truly beautiful life for themselves there.
One of the things I love so much about Hawaii is the laid back vibe, and a culture that doesn’t seem to be quite so wrapped up in the constant want for more material things. With the abundance of gorgeous white sand beaches and those perfect turquoise waves constantly rolling in, they seem to be more interested in a vehicle that will fit all their surfboards and can happily withstand those golden grains of sand tucked into each crack and crevice. Kristi, who’s childhood dream was to own a cream BMW, is now the proud owner of Goldie – a 2004 Gold mini van. She laughs about how she never imagined herself cruising around, blasting music like this, yet I’ve never seen her happier.
As much as I would love nothing more than to have my sister down the street for Sunday dinners or morning walks, if she can’t be here, I’ll take the “must make” bi-annual trips to Paradise.
Over the years I’ve found some hidden gems for quick and healthy meals when you really want to maximize the beach time. And as much as I love a good sit down restaurant meal, it can start to feel like a lot by day seven. It’s nice to have a couple of places in your back pocket that won’t break the bank and feel like a nourishing homemade.
Here are a few of my go-tos. Have any of you been to any of these places? Anything to add to the list?
This place is a relatively new find, they just opened up in 2016. But as soon as they did, my sister had to take me there to show off their beautiful decor and light airy ambiance. The walls are lined with tropical green plants and the bar, which on top of delicious coffee, also serves cocktails out of fresh pineapples!! To top it all off, the back wall is completely open and backs onto an outdoor pool deck. Acai bowls in a poolside lounge chair? I will never say no to that!
Needless to say, this place has become a go to. I often post up here when I need to get some work done in an office that will allow a beach break just a one minute walk away
My favorite pick for a nourishing breakfast or snack is the Hawaiian Aroma Acai Bowl with a Plantation Iced Tea (this one’s not on the menu but if you ask nicely, you’re in for a refreshing treat!) I was looking for something that wasn’t too sweet and the bartender recommended this. Made with unsweetened iced tea and a splash of pineapple juice it’s the perfect combo!).
Their Spicy Chicken, Turkey Pesto, and Spinach Omelette are also great options for some midday fuel or if you want a little treat, go for one of their fluffy waffles.
Ok so this place is true grab and go! I don’t know if it was just a new location or if they’ve really stepped it up but I was blown away by all of the options at the one on Kalakaua (the main street in Waikiki). A massive poke selection (which obviously stole my heart), there had to be a dozen different flavors, a build your own salad bar, fresh fruit and yogurt, sandwiches. This place has it all and right in the center of all the action in Waikiki.
It’s nothing fancy, just your average convenience store, but sometimes that all you want. It’s a one stop shop for your sunscreen, water, souvenirs – and yes, shockingly stocked with healthy food options. There was only one other non sit-down poke place in Waikiki before so this is a game changer!
This place is an absolute GEM tucked right off of the Waikiki strip in the Royal Hawaiian shopping center. I’ve been going here for awhile to get my fix of coconut peanut butter to bring home, but one day we needed a little shopping refuel and noticed that their food menu looked amazing! The first time I went, Kristi and I shared the Kale Caesar with Grilled Island Fish. I couldn’t believe how much food it was! Definitely enough to share if you’re not super hungry, but you might not want to share. This is a Caesar Salad on crack! It was topped with fresh mango, avocado, toasted almonds, garlic bread and lots of fresh garlic drenched fish. Soooo good! I’m seriously drooling just thinking about it!
Most recently I had the Hawaiian Chili and Cucumber mixed Poke Bowl and it did not disappoint. Such creative toppings like sea asparagus and there was no extra charge to get both tuna and salmon on it. It’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with poke and theirs is top notch. Honestly everything on their menu looked amazing, every time I’d see them walk out with another dish I’d get food envy. Fresh tropical fruit bowls, Acai Bowls, and they’ve also got a keiki (kids) menu. Super fresh, authentic, local food and rumor has it they are working on opening a wine bar, so I will definitely be checking in on this next time I’m there! If you’re in the area, make sure to stop in (and pick up some of the coconut peanut butter while you’re at it!
Whether I’m home in Vancouver or in Hawaii, Whole Foods is one of my favorite places to explore. Whenever there’s a new must try health product, it’s pretty much a guarantee that Whole Foods is going to carry it. I might be a bit of a nerd like this but I could seriously spend hours in there. This place gets me seriously excited about and inspired by food!
Kailua is one of my favorite places on Oahu. It is home to Lanikai Beach which is hands down one of the most gorgeous beaches I have seen anywhere. It is exactly what you picture when you think of paradise. Being a smaller and less touristy area of the island there aren’t as many restaurants and shops in the area so I love popping in to Whole Foods on the way to the beach to grab a healthy on-the-go lunch or snacks.
My favorite place in the Hawaii locations…The Poke Bar…I know, shocking right? Their poke is so fresh and you can mix and match with as much or as little as you want.
They also have so many different snack bars! I love having a few of these stashed in my purse so I don’t have to miss out on beach time if I get too hungry. Die hard. Haha. I tried Perfect Bar for the first time when I was there last! Omg! These are seriously good. We need to get them in Canada asap! I also loved these wild salmon jerkys and grass fed beef jerky strips and they were only $2.50, which I thought was pretty good considering gas station beef jerky is around the same, if not more.
They also carry a huge selection of beer and wine so you can really get into vacay mode. I could go on and on – fresh house made juices, the BEST thin crust pizzas, lunch packs with everything from grilled tofu, to pastas and fruit and veggie snack boxes, packing your own beach food is a great way to save some money and limit the restaurant meals!
Another Kailua absolute treasure. This place is worth the sit down and enjoy. Planted directly across from Kailua beach, I highly recommend asking for a patio table so you can take in the fresh Hawaiian air. It feels like you’re in a tropical tree fort, complete with a big tree growing right through the patio roof, strung with little twinkle lights and glowing star lamps. If this place doesn’t get you into the Aloha spirit, I don’t know what will.
I order the same thing every time, the Ahi wrap. It’s just too good to pass up! Perfectly seared, fresh Ahi tuna and packed with crispy veggies and a spicy wasabi mayo. Oh man it is so so good! Kristi had the veggie burger and was so happy with it she dragged Sean there a couple days later for a repeat. Other menu favorites are the sashimi and the artichoke pupu. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Make sure to ask about the daily specials, often worked around local fresh caught fish. I’m always tempted to try the Fresh Fish Burrito and Fish Burger when I see someone else ordering them but I just can’t pull myself away from that Ahi wrap!
Oh, and the coconut mojito… you’ll definitely want one of those. You can also rent bikes in Kailua Town which makes for the perfect date day to pedal around and end up here for lunch or dinner!
There are so many other favorites but I feel like I’ve gone on long enough with these ones. Haha I think I’ll have to save those for another post. I’d love to know if you guys find these kinds of posts useful! Traveling is true soul food for me so I would love to share more of my favorite places with you guys if you’re into it! Next stop…Portugal!
Have you been to Oahu? If you have any other favorites to add to the list, leave a comment below so we can try them out!