Top 10 Brunch Picks in Honolulu
One thing about Hawaii in February: it rains a lot- spontaneously and against what the weather reports. So because it’s likely that you may experience a beach day impinged upon by rain, it’s helpful to have a plan B prepared. Introducing: plan brunch!
Below are our favorite brunch spots, all located near our favorite places to play. You can also find a map here to locate these little gems…
Here’s the Best in Brunch for South Shore:
1. The Nook
The Nook is truly the perfect place to be on a rainy day. The cozy ambiance, dark americanos, and warm staff make this the ultimate heaven when tropical storms roll in. Even the covered, outdoor seating create a buddle-up-and-sip-coffee kind of magic. Try the Cauliflower Scramble or Lilikoi Cheesecake Pancakes and split with a friend. You’ll be in cozy brunch heaven.
2. Cream Pot
There are few places on Oahu that resemble a fairy-tale cottage as much as the Cream Pot. This place is perfect for the quaint girl’s brunch or baby shower (just call ahead for big parties).
With most places, I generally make a recommendation of what to order, but quite simply, you will love everything on the menu here. Nathan Tran (the owner and culinary genius) most likely consults a breakfast fairy because each dish and experience I’ve had here had been sprinkled with fairy dust. Think I’m being elaborate? Go see what I mean.
3. Moena Cafe
If you’re on your way to snorkel at the famous Hanauma Bay or hike Makapu’u lighthouse trail, this is the place to go for brunch! The Fried Rice Breakfast and Sweet Bread French Toast are the perfect fuel for a day of activity! Moena baristas also make a great latte! *Cheers to you, baristos*
A tip about Hanauma Bay: go on Wednesday. The park is closed Tuesday so it gives the wildlife and water some time to refresh itself. Also, check out the weather for wind. If the wind is strong, choppy waters are no-fun for snorkeling (not to be dramatic, but I’ve almost drowned from choppy waters + snorkeling + big reef you can’t stand on). Sooo…
If you plan any activities on the East side, I recommend planning a morning adventure- like early morning. It’s usually a little calmer and totally worth the 5 am call time.
4. Morning Glass Coffee
Morning Glass takes the cake for my favorite coffee on Oahu. These guys care a lot about quality and it’s a difference you can taste. They make all of their syrups inhouse, so you don’t have to feel that health-nut guilt trip…and same goes for when you indulge in that house-made lilikoi scone.
MGC is also home to the famous mac & cheese pancake. It sounds peculiar but it’s ridiculously delicious- just bring a friend to help you eat it! It’s a guaranteed carb hangover and totally worth it. Here’s the kicker: it’s only served on the weekend, so if you want to try it, I recommend arriving at their opening time of 7:30 am. You’re still likely to wait in line, but maybe not as long. Most locals are keen to sleep past 8 am on a weekend.*wink*
5. Bill’s Sydney
If you’re from Australia, you may find the food and coffee familiar, but if you’re from elsewhere, the flavors may be a bit unique. The coffee is very strong and you will find things like “zucchini fritters” and “buckwheat bowl” on the menu. So if you’re in the mood for adventure and love a healthy(ish) meal, you’ll love Bill’s. The atmosphere is really airy with lots of daylight and super high ceilings. Plus, there’s lots of room for larger parties. And…
To describe this spot in one word: FRESH. Anything on their menu is made with local ingredients and it’s freshness you can taste! My favorite? The Big Island Honey French Toast with an order of Papaya Juice. Oh…it’s SO good!
7. Koko Head Cafe
Made popular by Top Chef’s Lee Anne Wong, Koko Head Cafe is the place to find local island flavors with a spin of gourmet chef-ery! Because of its popularity, you can expect to find a pretty serious line any day of the week so be sure to go on a weekday… but be prepared for a bit of a wait. It’s totally worth it, too!
8. Sweet E’s
For a local breakfast experience, complete with an all local-boy staff, head to Sweet E’s! They’re serving up some seriously delicious french toast and will keep the coffee coming for your entire visit. The place is totally adorable.
9. Liliha Bakery
If you’re looking for some classic Hawaii dinner-bakery nostalgia, Liliha Bakery is the place to go. Be sure to order the blueberry waffles and eggs! I’m not kidding- these waffles will change your life. They have a couple locations these days, but my favorite will always be my first taste of Lilihas- in it’s Kuakini location.
Local Tip: Be sure to take home Liliha’s famous cream puffs! Get one in each flavor (there’s chocolate, green tea, and original) and indulge with a friend.
10. BLT at Ritz-Carlton Waikiki
If rain has ruined your beach day, why not put on that elegant sundress and lipstick for the perfect dress-up date at the Ritz. Try their incredibly delicious Eggs Benedict at the BLT Market. Save some room for a little trip to Dean & Delucia after brunch for some wine and cheese tasting…just head upstairs and you’ll be walking into international gourmet heaven.
February may bring stormy surprises, but it’s just an opportunity to soak up some of Oahu’s culinary goodness until the sun shines again.
Samantha & Bryan Switalski