Everyone loves a sunset, and few can top a Hawaiian sunset. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic meal with your partner on the terrace or celebrating a milestone with the whole family, no meal, music or candlelight will set the mood quite like sky dappled in pinks, oranges and purples. Here are some of the top places on Oahu to get the best of both worlds — great dining options and prime sunset views.
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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Featured Photo: RumFire
Boasting one of the best restaurant views in Waikiki, sip on the signature Monkeypod Mai Tai as you watch surfers play in the waves. When the sun sets, Lē’ahi (Diamond Head) is illuminated in warm pink light while the restaurant buzzes with live music and chatter from happy customers. The menu by esteemed chef Peter Merriman captures the best of the islands from Makai ( towards the sea) Organic Macadamia Nut Encrusted Fresh Fish to their Honolulu Meat Co. Cheeseburger made with local beef from the ‘āina (land). With an incredible cocktail selection, kid-friendly, and seating for large groups, stop by for a date night dinner or with the family. Open daily 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. monkeypodkitchen.com/waikiki
You won’t find a better spot to get views of Diamond Head. This newly renovated hotel has a gorgeous open-air restaurant that is, yes, a big open deck. It makes for a great place to watch the sunset! Deck is open Sunday through Thursday 6:30am to 10pm. Friday and Saturday 6:30 am to 11pm.
This iconic restaurant is located on the oceanfront in Waikiki. With live music daily, Duke’s Waikiki is the ultimate place to watch the sun go down watching the surfers catch their waves with a view of Diamond Head in the distance. Open daily 7am to 12am.
Hideout at the Laylow
This large open-air restaurant is located in the newly renovated Laylow Hotel. Hideout has a retro chic vibe and fire pits, and though it’s not oceanfront, but the decor and live music make it a sweet place to hang out while the sun goes down over Waikiki. Open daily for dinner from 5pm to 10 pm. Friday and Saturday extended hours from 10pm to 12am.
House Without A Key
You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner at this dreamy spot with Diamond Head and sparkling ocean views, but sunset comes with a bonus: nightly live Hawaiʻian music with graceful hula by a former Miss Hawaiʻi. Order a classic Mai Tai and their signature coconut cake and you’re good to go, or enjoy one of our new cocktails from our new Earl’s Pool Bar located in the restaurant. House Without a Key is open daily 7am to 8:30pm.
Chef-Driven Aloha is the motto at this open-air, second-floor eatery at Outrigger Waikiki. Watch early morning surfers and the sunrise over locomotor, pancakes or a healthy avocado toast. Hula Grill is open daily 11am to 9:45pm.
The mostly island/American lunch menu here—burgers, fish tacos, loco moco, blackened salmon Caesar salad—is available till 11pm, but you can also welcome sunset with steak, surf & turf, or pork chops (try it with the lilikoi miso sauce). Note there are no reservations at this bustling spot on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki. Lulu’s is open Monday 8am to 2am, Tuesday through Sunday 8am to 12am. luluswaikiki.com
Located on the oceanfront of Kaimana Beach, Michel’s has been a fine dining destination in Waikiki since 1962. There is a chef’s tasting menu starting at $130, and the regular menu features caviar, oysters, sashimi, foie gras, lamb and mahi mahi. Reservations are recommended. Open daily from 5pm to 9pm.
SKY Waikiki is an open-air, casual restaurant atop a 19-story building lives up to its name — you’ll see lots of sky, as well as ocean and stunning sunsets. Try the spicy ahi sashimi pizza or mushroom flatbread, or share a few of executive chef Lance Kosaka’s tasty small plates. Open Sunday through Thursday for brunch 10 am to 2pm and dinner 4pm to 10pm. Friday and Saturday for brunch 10am to 2pm, dinner 4pm to 8:30pm, and the nightclub 9pm to 12am.
Hoku’s at the Kahala
Something of an open secret as a celebrity hideaway, due to its location in the discrete Kahala Hotel & Resort, Hoku’s also claims legions of local fans. They come for Oʻahu-born chef Eric Oto’s elegantly plated, Pacific Rim-inspired dishes and well-curated wine list as much as the romantic setting overlooking the Pacific. The tasting and prix fixe menus are smart bets. Open Tuesday to Saturday 5:30pm to 8:30pm and Sunday 9am to 1:30pm. Closed on Monday.
Plumeria Beach House
This casual, ocean-view restaurant in the tony Kahala Hotel & Resort — tucked well away from busy Waikiki — specializes in seafood with a side of sunset. Big appetites will appreciate the Best of Kahala seafood buffet Friday and Saturday nights. Plumeria Beach House is open daily 6:30am-11am, lunch daily 11:30am to 2pm, dinner Monday, Thursday, and Friday 5:30pm to 8:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday 5pm to 8:30pm. Dinner closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Free 4-hour parking with validation.
Sunset Dining on the North Shore
Haleiwa Beach House
You can’t beat this view, this newly built open air restaurant sits across the street from Haleiwa Beach Park. The menu has a great selection of beers, wines and cocktails. The Haleiwa Beach House menu is focused on seafood (we love the mahi mahi and the ahi), but if you’re not in the mood for fish, there are plenty of soup, salad and pupus options. Open daily 11am to 3pm and Friday through Sunday extended hours to 8pm.
Haleiwa Joe’s has two locations, and both are perfect for catching a beautiful sunset as you dine. The North Shore location is oceanfront, just next to the Haleiwa Bridge, while the Kaneohe location is much more tropical and lush, so the sun will set over the Koolau Mountains Range. Open daily for dinner from 4:30pm to 9pm with extended bar hours until 12am. Sunday brunch from 10am to 2pm.