The morning drive from the East side of the island up to the North Shore is one of the best little road trips the island has to offer. The snorkeling at Sharks Cove is top notch and the beaches on the North Shore, like Waimea Bay, are world famous. Check out the surfers doing their thing at Pipeline or explore the shopping in the quaint little town of Haleiwa. When it’s time to stop for lunch, here’s a list of our favorite places on the North Shore of Oahu!
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.
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Feature Photo: Jess Loiterton from Pexels
Beet Box Cafe
Looking for a super satisfying vegetarian restaurant? The Beet Box menu is strictly vegetarian with many vegan and gluten free options. At both their Haleiwa and Kailua locations breakfast is served all day; they have an extensive smoothie, juice and acai bowl menu. For lunch goers there are hearty salads and some creative vegetarian takes on burgers, burritos, tacos, and sandwiches. Believe us, even the most enthusiastic carnivore will be satisfied. Open daily 9am to 3pm.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Looooove this spot, but not when you get behind a bus of tourists. So if you’re feeling lucky stop by Giovanni’s – and if it’s too crowded, you can shop and move on to another shrimp truck, there are plenty around. Open daily 10:30am to 6:30pm.
Maya’s Tapas & Wine
Maya’s Tapas & Wine is a chef owned and operated local favorite with an inside bar peeks into the open kitchen and pleasant fresh air seating on the front deck. The dishes are Spanish and Mediterranean style featuring locally sourced ingredients. The service is fantastic and the cocktail, beer and wine menu is on point. This is a perfect spot to grab lunch in Haleiwa town. Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday 11am to 3pm and dinner 5pm to 10 pm. Saturday brunch from 10am to 2pm and dinner from 5pm to 10pm. Sunday brunch from 10am to 2pm. Closed on Monday.
Nalu Health Bar & Cafe
This joint is healthy, fresh and a crowd pleaser. People love it so much they have multiple locations! You can enjoy this deliciousness in Haleiwa, Kailua or the South Shore Market at Ward. The Nalu menu is focused on healthy food to fuel you up for your active lifestyle. Wraps, salads and sandwiches with vegan, vegetarian and carnivore options for your taste buds pleasures. Try one of their açaí bowls for a refreshing light lunch. Open daily 9am to 6pm.
Seven Brothers Burgers
Burger porn. Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s all we got. Let us know if you agree. Family-owned and operated, these guys are serious about their burger game. The Seven Brothers mission is “your happiness always,” which begins with their grass-fed beef patties. With two locations on the North Shore, one at The Mill in Kahuku and the other in Laie, if you’re craving some deliciousness, stop by and get your burger on. Open Monday through Saturday 11am to 9pm. Closed on Sunday.
Uncle Bo’s Bar & Grill
Foodies flock to Uncle Bo’s, because this “Uncle” is a.k.a. Chef Bo Pathammavong, who with his partner, Ho Suk Lee have created a fun, hip and (tasty) empire on the island. Open Monday through Friday 4pm to 9pm, Saturday 11am to 9pm, and Sunday 11am to 7pm.
The Country Eatery and Juicery
Located at the Kahuku Sugar Mill, Country Eatery and Juicery serves up a variety of organic juices, smoothies, wraps, salads, and breakfast sandwiches. A must-have is The Ultimate Veggie Burrito stuffed with peppers, roasted sweet potato, spinach, black beans, and other veggie delights. Open Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm and Saturday 7:30am to 1pm.
Raised by the Waves
This plant-based, vegan-friendly, eco cafe is a favorite of north shore locals. Raised by the Waves has an extensive menu with veggie-friendly smoothies, bowls, sandwiches, and more all made from local or organic ingredients. Try their Spicy Vegan Poke bowl or for some sweet plant-based treats try the hapa milkshake or holoholo sundae. This is not a fast food joint, so sit back and relax in the sun or take a walk around the Sugarmill as you wait. Open Tuesday through Sunday 7:30am to 5pm.
This place is a fav, it’s tucked back from the road, next to the Malama Market. Waialua Bakery is a family owned and operated bakery features locally grown fruits and veggies. The smoothies perfectly accompany the sandwiches featuring homemade bread. Their cookies are abundant and you can even make your own ice cream sandwich! This intimate little spot has some dine in seating, but it’s the perfect place to order lunch and head to the beach. Open Monday through Saturday 10am to 4pm. Closed Sunday.