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Must Eat Breakfast and Brunch Spots - Honolulu

So what’s the difference between breakfast and brunch? Cocktails.


Brunch


Brunch at Mud Hen Water in Oahu, Hawaii

Mud Hen Water serves up Hawaiian comfort food, reimagined by an Oahu born chef. Their Sunday brunch is laid back, but still just inventive. Everything’s made from seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. Even the cocktail ingredients are Hawaii grown, certified organic (and sometimes even pulled from what’s leftover in the kitchen to reduce waste). Chef and owner Ed Kenney is a James Beard nominee.


Try the: Sourdough Banana Pancakes, Kitchen Cocktail (It’s a constantly changing drink that Bar Manager Kelly Jeffer whips up using the leftover ingredients from the kitchen.), biscuit and Mapo Gravy


Tip: Make a reservation, especially for brunch. If you don’t mind sitting at the bar or a high top, you can probably snag a spot without a reservation.


3452 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816




Brunch at Koko Head Cafe in Oahu, Hawaii

Koko Head Cafe serves a legit all day brunch. Great cocktails and a creative twist on Hawaiian, Japanese, American, and Portuguese dishes. Celebrity owner and chef Lee Anne starred on Top Chef Season 1.


Try the... Dumplings All Day, Breakfast Congee, and Koko Moko. Wash it down with a Lilikoi Fizz.


Tip: Come early or close to close to avoid a long wait time.


1145 12th Ave C, Honolulu, HI 96816


Smoking Pig cocktail at The Surfing Pig brunch in Oahu, Hawaii

The Surfing Pig is the sister restaurant to Kono’s Northshore, serving up the same famous 12-hour slow-roasted kalua pork. Their brunch menu has all sorts of elevated comfort food — perfect after a long night or to fuel up for the day.


Try the… Loco Moco (with a beef and Portuguese sausage patty) or their OBB (bacon infused burger). Wash it down with a Guava Mimosa or a Smoking Pig (if anything just to get a photo of the smoke escaping the glass cover when they lift it off).


Tip: There’s plenty of cheap parking. There’s also free street parking along Waialae Avenue right out front if you can find a spot.


3605 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816



Breakfast


Latte art at Arvo Cafe in Oahu, Hawaii

Arvo Cafe’s avocado toast is almost too pretty to eat (but it tastes so good that you will), and their coffee is some of the best in Oahu.


Try the… Loaded Avocado Toast or Matcha Chia Pudding and wash it down with a Flat White or a Lavender Latte.


Tip: Kaka’ako is known for their street art murals. Arvo is in a perfect spot to check it out. You’re within a 2 mile radius of most of it.


324 Carol St Suite 1A-104b, Honolulu, HI 96813



Papaya boat and acai bowls from Banan in Oahu, Hawaii

Banan only sells one thing…. banana soft serve. They mix it with flavors like chocolate, lilikoi, mango, turmeric or acai and top it with fresh fruit and coconut, you’ve got a no-sugar-added, refreshing snack. Their Waikiki location is a cute little beach facing a long row of surfboards down a little walkway that’s steps from the beach. Then come the toppings… sliced mango, lychee, their homemade mac nut honey butter, slide mango, crispy quinoa, chocolate shavings… we could go on and on. The flavors and combos change pretty regularly, so there’s always something new to try.


Try the… papaya boat (you can fill it with any flavor or combo you want. I like the Locals Only bowl.


Tip: You can have up to 2 flavors, no matter what size cup you get. They can either swirl the flavors or do one on top of the other.


2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815



Bacon, egg, avocado, and spam musubi from Musubi Cafe IYASUME in Oahu, Hawaii

Musubi Cafe IYASUME is a great (and cheap) meal anytime of day. Their musubi are made to order and wrapped up in plastic wrap — perfect grab and go for a beach picnic breakfast or early hike. They’ve got a bunch that include egg. Very breakfast worthy.


Try the… Bacon, Egg, & Spam Musubi


Tip: How many musubi to order? One musubi makes for a good snack. Two can be a meal.


Pacific Monarch Hotel, 2427 Kūhiō Ave. #1F, Honolulu, HI 96815 (+4 other locations)



Blue Dream Bowl from Sunrise Shack in Oahu, Hawaii

Sunrise Shack started on the North Shore with a cute yellow, beachy shack that makes you happy just looking at it. They’ve got a tiny outpost in Waikiki that serves up the same blended smoothie bowls and 9 different bullet coffees.


Try the: Blue Dream Bowl (It’s naturally blue.) or Monkey Bowl and wash it down with a Golden Bullet


Try the: Blue Dream Bowl (It’s naturally blue.) or Monkey Bowl and wash it down with a Golden Bullet


Tip: you can skip the line if you order online and pick it up.


2335 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815



Malasadas from Leonard's in Oahu, Hawaii

Leonard’s is here to satisfy anyone’s breakfast sweet tooth. This is Oahu’s original malasada bakery. Malasadas are a little like a donut hole, only the size of a tennis ball, deep fried, rolled in sugar, and served warm. They’re golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and puffy on the inside. They’re rolled in sugar (or other flavors) while they’re still hot and you can also get them with tasty fillings like haupia or a seasonal flavor.


Try the… Original (aka plain sugar) Malasada. (Everyone says this is the best.) Next, taste a Haupia Malasada Puff or a Custard Malasada Puff rolled in Cinnamon Sugar.


Tip: Eat them right away, while they’re still hot! If they sit out and cool down, they get soft and oily and they’re just not as tasty. One more thing, the lines are long but move quickly. Plan at least 20 minutes if you come at the busy times. By 8am, there will be a long line all the way around the side of the building.


933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816



Booth at KCC Farmers' Market in Oahu, Hawaii

KCC Farmers’ Market happens every Saturday morning, right across from Diamond Head. This farmers’ market is unique because they have so much prepared food, not just produce. This is a great place to try food from a bunch of booths.


Try the… Breakfast Sandwich from The Pig & The Lady. This Chinatown restaurant is tough to get a seat at, but you can get a taste at the KCC Farmers’ Market. Wash it down with a mason jar of Lemonade from Waimanalo Country Farm


Tip: Get there early. The crowds and heat arrive after 9am and it wraps up by 11am.

to get a parking spot, some time before the crowds arrive, and the heat that comes after 9am. There’s lots of parking (although it gets tight as the day goes on) if you drive yourself, but you can also take TheBus, Uber, Lyft, or the Waikiki Trolley from Waikiki.


4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816




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