Are you looking for something quick so you can run to the beach? Do you have family in tow? Or are you thinking coffee, OJ and a bloody mary to go with your eggs Benedict? There are tons of options in this oceanfront tourist neighborhood, and we’ve done the homework for you. Here’s our list of our favorite places for breakfast in Waikiki.
But wait, there’s more. We’re here to help demystify some of the unusual words you might see on menus like furikake, laulau and lilikoi — and explain which meat is being served and why. And possibly most importantly of all, provide the fun facts on the origins of local dishes.
If you’re happy with your meal, tag us @HawaiiIslander on Instagram to share the love.
Feature Photo: Courtesy of Royal Hawaiian
Located just outside of Waikiki, this hip little coffee shop offers exceptionally good food. The savory gorgonzola, honey mushroom toast pairs with their artisanal coffee perfectly. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, they have homemade gelato, perfect for an affogato. There’s limited outdoor seating for dining in, so just grab something to go and stroll over to Kapiolani Park for a breakfast picnic. Open Monday to Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Barefoot Beach Cafe
Located on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki at Queen’s Surf Beach, this family-owned and -operated cafe is a lovely spot to sit down and enjoy an outdoor breakfast with some of the best views of Waikiki. It appears to be a snack bar but don’t be fooled — they are whipping up delicious breakfast items like the North Shore pineapple smoothie. There’s also a vegan menu. Open daily 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This centrally located eatery/market dining concept was created by the folks behind the ABC Stores, so of course it has something for everyone. Executive chef Keith Kong has lured diners (and Instagrammers) with favorites such as Basalt charcoal buttermilk pancakes (yes, they are black) that are not only delicious, but we’ve also heard they are detoxifying and help whiten your teeth too. Another feast for the eyes (and belly) is the avocado garden toast topped with a poached egg — a great way to start the day! Open for BRUNCH Monday to Friday 8 am-1 pm, except Wednesdays, Saturday and Sunday 7 am-1:30 pm. Happy hours are daily 2:30pm – 4:30pm at bar seating.
Enjoy a view of Ala Wai Yacht Harbor at Cinnamon’s while savoring the multiethnic flavors of the islands with dishes like guava chiffon pancakes, French toast made with Portuguese sweet bread, or Chinese omelet (shredded roast chicken, char siu pork and vegetables in oyster sauce). The eggs Benedict menu includes tasty seafood options (including crab cake, mahi mahi or shrimp with asparagus) that you can also enjoy omelet style: folded into the eggs with housemade hollandaise sauce but no muffin. Valet parking ($1 an hour for up to 3 hours) costs the same as nearby metered parking. Open daily 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This is a charming little brunch spot on the mauka (mountain side) of Waikiki. A hidden little gem with a European feel, its unique design is a refreshing change from the often generic corporate hotels of Waikiki. Break away from the same old, same old and enjoy the cozy ambiance while digging into some sweet and savory breakfast. The fluffy souffle pancakes won’t disappoint. Open Thursday through Monday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Goofy Cafe and Dine
Named for the left-foot-forward surfing stance, Goofy Cafe and Dine has all the right moves for a hearty, healthy morning meal, from locally grown tropical fruits in the açai bowl to Big Island beef and farm eggs in its loco moco. Late risers, rejoice — breakfast is served all day (7am to 11pm). The cheery restaurant is just west of Waikiki; if you’re not surfing first, work up an appetite with a brisk walk. Open daily for breakfast and lunch 7 a.m. to 2 p.m and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p,m.
Hawaiian Aroma Caffe
Possibly the hippest setting in Waikiki, Hawaii Aroma Caffe takes their roast seriously. Not only does their coffee taste good, check out their instagram for pure foam artistry (we’re talking portraits). Guava, Acai, salted caramel or truffle waffles are just a few of the sweet offerings as well as eight Acai bowl options. Oh, and yes, they have breakfast cocktails. Open daily 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hiking Hawaii Cafe
Located on the ground floor of the DoubleTree Hotel, this cafe is within walking distance of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Owner Crystal Evans has combined her love for the outdoors with nutritious cuisine. The menu is perfect for your pre- or post-hiking tour, offering freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and delicious food. Crystal sources local organic produce as much as possible. The ono sauces and granola are made in-house daily. This menu has plenty of gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options. The breakfast pizzas are scrumptious, and there’s even a tasty cauliflower pizza crust option. Open daily 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking available in the hotel.
Island Vintage Coffee
Located in the center of Waikiki, Island Vintage Coffee is renowned for its coffee drinks, natch, but has also earned acclaim for its bountiful acai bowls, laden with island goodies such as papaya, lilikoi (passionfruit), banana, honey and haupia (a coconut pudding). For a purple pop to your morning meal, try the taro bagel. The line moves quickly, but plan to get your breakfast to go and take to the nearby beach or the grove below; food service runs from 6am to 10pm daily. Note: There’s also an outpost in Ko Olina Station in West Oʻahu, with food served 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Royal Hawaiian: Surf Lanai
There might not be a closer pancake to the Pacific on the islands. The oceanfront, iconic Royal Hawaii has been serving up delicious fare for decades, but the pink pancakes have put them on the instagram map #onlyattheroyal. The color comes from beets, so no worries about any toxic food coloring . If you aren’t staying at the hotel, parking is free for up to four hours as long as you spend $25. Open daily 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Sweet E’s Cafe
Sweet E’s serves nothing but breakfast and brunch, and both are worth the wait if there’s a line. Try eggs Benedict or an omelet with smoky-sweet kalua pork, or go bananas with a side of French toast stuffed with banana cream cheese or an entree-sized order of banana pancakes. There’s a small parking lot and metered parking near this Kaimuki neighborhood favorite, but keep your vacation stress-free by springing for $3 valet parking. Open daily 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.