The Pac Rim Team's Top Picks of places to eat, shop and hang out

Compiled and written by the Pac Rim Team

The islands of Hawai‘i are not only rich in beauty, but also rich culture (may it be cuisine, apparel, or activities). We, here at the CDS, are proud to share with you our favorite places to eat, shop, and indulge a little. See what Hawai‘i has to offer from a local perspective.

Da Best Places to Eat

Best Hawaiian Plate Lunch

Photo: Rainbow Drive In

Rainbow Drive-In

(808) 737-0177
3308 Kanaina Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815

Are you looking for not too pricy, delicious local food? Rainbow Drive-In is the place to go, and has been for the past 50 years, for locals and visitors alike. We recommend the all-time local favorite “Local Moco Plate,” which consists of two hamburger patties, two fried eggs, over white rice and covered with their famed gravy. Do not let the long lines discourage you; Rainbow’s is more than worth the time to try.

Price: $ (under $10)
For more information and a menu visit

Best Fine Dining

Photo: Michel's at the Colony Surf

Michel’s at the Colony Surf

(808) 923-6552
2895 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815

Michel’s has been presented, every year since 1985, with Honolulu Magazine’s “Best Restaurant for Romance” Hale Aīna Award. If Michel’s awe-inspiring views, both of the ocean and the city, aren’t enough there is always its savory and well-crafted French cuisine that will leave you wanting more. Whether you’re with your significant other, with friends, or enjoying an evening by yourself, Michel’s at the Colony Surf is a fantastic option to dress up, splurge a little, and have a nice night out in town.

Price: $$$$ (over $50)
For reservations and more information visit

Best Japanese Cuisine

Morimoto Waikiki

(808) 943-5900
1775 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96815

Yes, you read right; Morimoto as in “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto debuted his very own restaurant in 2010. The cuisine found here, created specifically by Chef Morimoto, is Japanese with hints of Western and Hawaiian flare. Morimoto does offer “Morimoto Omakase” or “chef’s choice,” and is what you might say is a culinary journey of Morimoto’s ingenuity with food. Morimoto prides itself on using local ingredients, and it surely is recognized in the dishes.

Price: $$$$ (over $50)
For reservations and more information visit

Marukame Udon

(808) 931-6000
2310 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815

(808) 545-3000
1104 Fort Street Mall
Honolulu, HI 96813

Marukame is like nothing else. It’s a type of self-service cafeteria, in which you grab a tray, order an udon (from a total of up to 15 choices), choose what type of garnishes you want on it, pick from an assortment of Japanese side dishes, and pay the cashier. Now with two locations, in Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, Marukame has gained increasing popularity and recognition. If you want a casual experience with delicious, inexpensive Japanese food, we recommend Marukame.

Price: $ (under $10)
For more information and a menu visit

Best Shave Ice

Photo: Matsumoto's Shave Ice

Matsumoto Grocery Store

(808) 637-4827
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy.
Haleiwa, HI 96712

Take a drive to the North Shore, and indulge in Matsumoto’s famous shave ice.  Shave ice is a delightful frozen treat, unique to the Hawaiian Islands. It consists of snowflake-textured ice, optional ice cream or red azuki beans, covered in your choice of flavors (strawberry, passion fruit, honeydew melon, root beer, grape, green tea, etc.), then finally coated with condensed milk if you still want a little more. A day at the beach is not complete without shave ice.

Price: $ (under $10)
For more information and a menu visit

Best Spam Musubi

Da Kitchen Café

(808) 957-0099
925 Isenberg St.
Honolulu, HI 96826

Come to Hawai‘i and you’ll find out that the locals have an obsession with Spam like nothing else. Experience a twist on the traditional Spam musubi, at Da Kitchen Café. Spam musubi is traditionally a slice of fried spam, between layers of rice on both sides, and wrapped in nori (seaweed). Da Kitchen does it differently in that they deep fry their Spam musubi(s) in a panko (Japanese bread crumb) batter. Go down to Da Kitchen and experience a taste of Hawaiian home cooking.

Price: $$ (under $20)
For more information visit

Best Poi

Waiahole Poi Factory

(808) 239-2222
48-140 Kamehameha Hwy.
Kaneohe, HI 96744

If you are headed to the windward side of Oahu (where you’ll find Chinaman’s Hat), you have to stop by Waiahole Poi Factory. If you are not familiar poi, poi is a Hawaiian staple food that is made up of mashed cooked taro. Waiahole is one of the few “mom and pop” shops that offer hand pounded poi; most poi products are milled nowadays. Not only are they known for their poi, but also their delicious squid luau (cooked young taro leaves, and squid in coconut milk) and laulau (pork with layers of young taro leaves wrapped around it). Keep in mind that they are open for business only on Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Price: $ (under $10)

Best Desserts

JJ Bistro and French Pastry

(808) 739-0993
3447 Waialae Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816

This unique restaurant takes its culinary creations to another level, with an infusion of French cooking with Laotian ingredients. JJ has amazing entrees and appetizers, but what JJ is known for is it’s beautiful presentation of Euro-Asian desserts. From JJ’s famous “Chocolate Pyramid” to the “Classic Mango Bavarian” to the “Green Tea Bavarian" excite your taste buds at JJ Bistro and French pastry.

Price: $$ (under $20)
For more information and a menu visit

Da Best Places to Shop

Best Aloha Shirt for Men

Photo: Tori Richard Aloha Shirt

Tori Richard

(808) 949-5858
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96814

Tori Richard has been creating beautiful pieces of clothing since 1985. Their designs are classical, yet hip, with intricate designs and patterns. Pay a visit to their location in Ala Moana Shopping Center, or one of several others around town.

For more information visit

Best Aloha Wear for the Family


(808) 942-9868
930 Punahou St.
Honolulu, HI 96826

Gone are the days of busy printed muumuus, Manuheali‘i offers an extensive variety of exclusive aloha wear for the entire family. They’re fabrics are light and comfortable, and their designs are beautifully crafted Polynesian artwork. For more information visit

Best Consignment Shop


(808) 732-5900
4211 Waialae Ave., Suite 9010
Honolulu, HI 96816

Do you want to look fashionable, with high-end designer clothing, for a fraction of the price? Pzazz has inventory that changes everyday, so you can be fashionable and unique. For more information visit

Best Swap Meet

Photo: Swap meet

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace

(808) 486-6704
99-500 Salt Lake Blvd.
Aiea, HI 96701

Though it is only open three days a week, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet offers over 700 local merchants. You can find everything from hand made items to local food and snacks. The swap meet is great place to find local souvenirs and gifts to bring back home. For more information visit

Da Best Things to Do

First Friday Hawai‘i

First Friday takes place in Chinatown, every first Friday of every month. The main events occur between 5 and 9 p.m. Boutiques, galleries, cafes, and restaurants participate with free entertainment and striking art exhibits. For more information and directions visit

The Hawai‘i Nature Center (Makiki)

(808) 955-0100
2131 Makiki Heights Dr.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

The Nature Center offers displays and exhibits that are interactive. You will learn about the plants, ecosystems, and environments unique to Hawai‘i. There is also 2.5 mile loop hike through Makiki Valley, starting from the Nature Center. For more information and directions visit

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is a great, family-friendly beach that is conveniently close to hotels, shops, and restaurants. There are a variety of ocean activities that are offered, such as surf lessons, outrigger canoe rides, stand-up paddle lessons, catamaran sailing, and parasailing. Visit the famous Duke Kahanamoku statue while you’re there. Waikiki Beach has pathways that are wheelchair accessible.

Diamond Head Hike

If you’re a hiking and photography enthusiast, you’ll love the Diamond Head summit hike. It is a 1.6 mile round trip hike that offers a stunning view of Oahu. The sites near the visitor center are wheelchair accessible. For more information and a park brochure visit

Spa at the Modern Honolulu

It is not a vacation until you visit the Spa at the Modern Honolulu. The spa offers a wide range of services, from a traditional “Hawaiian Lomi Lomi” massage to “Indulgence for Two” massages. Reinvigorate and restore yourself at the Modern Honolulu. For more information and a spa menu visit