As a long-time Honolulu resident, I take my breakfast very seriously. Sure, beaches and hikes get most of the attention when it comes to Oahu. But ask the locals, and we’ll tell you: Few things beat finding that perfect spot to fuel up in the morning with a hearty meal before a day of island adventures. Over the years, I’ve purposefully taste-tested the top breakfast joints across Oahu to discover my favorites. From hole-in-the-wall gems with melt-in-your-mouth malasadas to Instagram-worthy cafes plating picture-perfect avocado toast, I’ve experienced quite a range of morning cuisine. And now, I’m sharing my hard-earned expertise with you! Here, you’ll discover my picks for the best breakfast on Oahu for whatever you may crave. I’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions I get about breakfast in Hawai’i.
Let’s start satisfying those breakfast cravings, shall we? Dig in to find the best places to eat breakfast on Oahu!
Screaming Hot Malasadas in Kapahulu
Ask anyone from Hawai’i what tops their list of favorite local breakfast treats, and they’ll undoubtedly mention malasadas in the same breath. Essentially the Islands’ version of doughnuts—minus the hole—malasadas get their unique flavor from a sweet dough fried to golden perfection then showered in sugar.
And for the best malasadas on Oahu, you have to visit Leonard’s Bakery in Kapahulu. A Honolulu staple since the 1950s, Leonard’s draws huge crowds daily for their melt-in-your-mouth malasadas hot from the fryer. Order them plain, filled, or with haupia cream for the quintessential local breakfast experience. Don’t forget the coffee milk to wash it all down!
Just brace yourself before taking your first bite—the crisp exterior gives way to an interior bursting with hot air. Leonard’s doesn’t skimp on cooking their malasadas fresh, that’s for sure! From chocolate to coconut, guava to pineapple, they offer fillings to suit any craving.
Insider’s tip: Get there early, or better yet, pre-order online to skip the typically long lines. Trust me, it’s worth it for those hot, sugary malasadas!
Beachside Breakfast with Breathtaking Views
Few things make my heart sing more than sipping a mimosa while soaking in an ocean vista over breakfast. And the Beachhouse at the Moana offers one of the most spectacular settings on Oahu to take in panoramic Pacific views.
Perched right on iconic Waikiki Beach, the Moana’s Beachhouse provides prime real estate for a relaxing open-air meal just steps from the shoreline. Swaying palm trees and the sounds of the sea set the peaceful backdrop at this beachside retreat.
Equally matched by the beautifully plated breakfast options, I always find it hard to choose from the menu starring fresh local ingredients. How can you pass up guava chia seed pudding, açai bowls heaped with tropical fruit, or banana mac nut pancakes? Even the cocktails delight, like the Lilikoi lychee bellini or spicy Bloody Mary.
With sand already on my feet, I like to kick back with an umbrella-dotted mimosa in hand after finishing my meal while catching some rays. The Beachhouse allows me to soak in true Hawaiian tranquility from sunrise to sunset!
Farm-to-Table Brunch Done Right
For an elegant weekend brunch enveloped by nature at its finest, the Kaimuki Farm Café tops my list. Tucked into lush gardens, the open-air Farm Café surrounds you in tropical foliage, from hanging ferns to orchids sprinkled about.
Focusing on locally-sourced ingredients, their farm-to-table orientation shines through in the seasonally inspired menu of breakfast sandwiches, bowls, parfaits, and more. I almost always order their signature Farm Café Bowl, brimming with quinoa, beets, kale, eggs, and goat cheese feta.
Every dish overflows with the freshest produce picked straight from Hawai’i farms, providing the ultimate nourishing, feel-good brunch. And while it lies just off the main drag in Kaimuki, the tranquil garden oasis makes you feel worlds away.
The smell of freshly baked goods drifting from their bakery next door is an added bonus. After brunching, I love to browse their cases showcasing cookies, tarts, cakes, and pastries, all housemade. With so many sweet choices, resistance becomes futile!
For a peaceful morning meal that brings farm-fresh flavors direct to your table, the Farm Café can’t be matched.
Breakfast Hawaiian Style with an Ocean View
Craving that quintessential Hawaiian breakfast of flaky biscuits doused in thick gravy with Portuguese sausage and eggs? Well, the MAC 24/7 in Wai’anae dishes up this local favorite—and more—any time, day or night.
Perched on Oahu’s leeward shore, MAC 24/7 captures Hawaiian culture through-and-through in both cuisine and decor. With an interior splashing classic Island motifs against breathtaking views of the Wai’anae coastline, this family-run restaurant embodies the spirit of aloha.
By now, MAC 24/7 holds a special place in my heart for its always comforting, homestyle cooking. Their Signature MAC Breakfast with Two plies me with a hunk of fried sweetbread alongside eggs, rice, and Portuguese sausage finished off with that iconic house gravy.
Or for a sweet twist, I dive into the Banana Chocolate Chip pancakes that honestly taste like dessert for breakfast—though I won’t tell if you don’t! If you want authentic Hawaiian comfort food served with stunning scenery, MAC 24/7 delivers.
Southern-Style Cuisine at a Chinatown Gem
Venture into Honolulu’s bustling Chinatown neighborhood, and nestled amongst the tangled web of streets, you’ll stumble upon the Southern Spectacle. This cozy cafe dishes up Southern comfort classics with homemade touches that warm my belly and my heart.
From buttery biscuits and jumbo muffins fresh from the oven to fried green tomatoes and savory grit bowls, all the flavors of the American South shine. And their Chicken & Waffles rank as some of the best I’ve tried outside the mainland. Perfectly fried chicken atop a fluffy Belgian waffle drizzled in syrup…I’m drooling just thinking about it!
For a sweet kick, don’t miss their Beignyacs: house beignets literally overflowing with silky Nutella cream. Paired with a cup of strong coffee, it makes my ideal morning ritual before exploring Chinatown.
Tucked down a little side street, Southern Spectacle feels like your new favorite hole-in-the-wall gem away from home. Its charm and comfort foods never disappoint!
Loco Moco for Days in Hawai’i Kai
No article about the best breakfast on Oahu would be complete without mention of that undisputed local staple: Loco Moco. A mound of sticky white rice capped with a hamburger patty and fried egg, all drowned in rich brown gravy—this dish defines Hawaiian comfort food at its finest.
And my long-time go-to for the best loco moco is Kona Brewing Company out in Hawai’i Kai. Their fun, open-air brewpub dishes an awesome traditional loco moco served with some fab house brews. Upgrade to the Buffalo or Kalua Pork Loco Moco for a local twist.
But truly, you can’t go wrong with any loco moco here! The fluffy white rice provides the perfect foundation for that pillowy over-easy egg and savory hamburger patty. One bite through the runny yolk mixing with beef juices and thick gravy, and I’m in Hawai’i comfort food heaven.
Pair it with a Longboard Lager or some Big Wave Golden Ale, and you’ve got one supremely satisfying local meal. Even better? Kona Brewing offers up this Hawaiian staple all day long—and even delivers within a few miles!
Beachside Dining at Duke’s Waikiki
Mornings often find me craving a chilled bowl of fresh fruits or yogurt, coconut pancakes, and a cup of Kona coffee while soaking up Waikiki views over breakfast. My instant choice? none other than Hawaii icon Duke’s Waikiki across from the famed surf break.
Named for legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s lies right on a prime stretch of Waikiki Beach, affording unparalleled views of surfers riding waves yards away. The casual, open-air restaurant channels quintessential beach house vibes for the ultimate relaxing meal.
With my toes buried in the sand below my table, I love diving into Duke’s Tropical Fruit Plate heaped high with the Islands’ juiciest papaya, pineapple, and melons alongside a mountain of yogurt and granola. Their signature coconut pancakes always tempt me too, light and fluffy with a delicately sweet coconut flavor.
And do save room for their creamy, dreamy Coconut Haupia Pie with lilikoi sauce! Between beachfront setting and scrumptious Hawaiian flavors, no one does Waikiki breakfast quite like Duke’s.
Omelette Nirvana in Kailua
Living in Kailua, a weekend tradition involves strolling down to the Morning Brew for my go-to breakfast of champions: omelettes packed with fresh veggies or locally-caught fish. Tucked into the beach town neighborhood of Kailua, Morning Brew cafe oozes that laidback lifestyle with indoor-outdoor garden seating perfect for leisurely breakfasting.
While their menu brims with options from healthy bowls to pastries galore, the omelettes always catch my eye first. Each combines farm-fresh ingredients wrapped in fluffy, pillowy eggs, from classic ham and cheese to more unique blends. I lean towards the Greek Omelette dotted with feta, spinach, tomatoes, and olives for a mouthwatering Mediterranean twist.
Or for a true Hawaiian style omelette, try their Island Catch stuffed full of fresh island fish, mango salsa, and goat cheese. Served alongside Morning Brew’s outstanding fried potatoes, I’m set for hours of Kailua beach time ahead! For omelette excellence on Oahu’s windward side, Morning Brew rules breakfast.
Acai Bowls and Avocado Toast in Kailua
If an energizing yet balanced breakfast fuels you best, then the Sweet Evie’s Organic Café dishes up supreme açai bowls and freshly smashed avocado toast to power your morning. Conveniently found in downtown Kailua just off the beach park, their adorably decked out café oozes surfer hippie vibes.
With superfood smoothie bowls and whole, wholesome comfort foods starring on the menu, Sweet Evie’s offers the health-minded plenty of options from chia puddings to quinoa ranchero bowls. But their ever-changing selection of açai bowls tops my list, blending the antioxidant rich açai berry puree with Nutella, peanut butter, fruits and other toppings that delight.
The avocado toast also makes regular appearances on my table, mashing up creamy avocado, chili oil, and crunchy pea shoots atop thick whole grain bread. Washed down by a tumeric ginger lemonade with anti-inflammatory benefits, it’s the perfectly nourishing yet delicious breakfast.
Between feel-good food and chill surfer style, Sweet Evie’s allows me to balance tasty fuel and wellness—just what I need before hitting Kailua Beach!
Picture-Perfect Brunch Worthy of Instagram
Let’s just say, if I’m craving a more “glam” kind of breakfast out in Waikiki, BLT Steak Waikiki certainly delivers with their Sunday Champagne Brunches. Making every Instagram feed shine, this upscale restaurant plates some of the most beautifully presented brunch foods I’ve seen on Oahu.
From bountiful fruit and cheese displays to overflowing seafood towers, the culinary spread is pure foodie eye-candy at BLT Steak. And their live cooking stations add freshly prepared omelettes, carving meats, and endless bubbly to complete that lavish Sunday brunch experience.
Seated at white linen covered tables framed by palm tree views of Waikiki Beach, I dive into perfectly poached eggs Benedict drizzled in truffle hollandaise orStacked Buttermilk Pancakes almost too stunning to eat. Every bite delights at this visually dazzling feast!
While I can’t afford to indulge in their decadent grand brunch weekly, BLT Steak makes for the ultimate special occasion brunch to impress visitors or simply treat myself. Because everyone deserves to feel like an Instagram influencer now and then!
Locally-Loved Spot for Comfort Food Classics
Living just minutes from quaint Grace’s Inn in central Honolulu, practically any time of day, I crave their diner-style breakfast comforting as home. Unpretentious and unfussy, Grace’s Inn simply plates solid morning staples from giant omelettes dripping with cheese to mile-high stacks of banana macadamia nut pancakes.
Run by a local Hawaiian family, Grace’s Inn anchors my neighborhood with that cozy, everyone-knows-your-name hospitality. Formica tables, kitschy decor, and friendly smiles welcome you in. Their Portuguese Sweet Bread French Toast proves the perfect way to start my day—cinnamon-laced slices of Hawaiian sweetbread dipped in vanilla custard then grilled golden, finished off with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
When I’m not in the mood for something sweet though, a hearty Combo Plate never fails. Eggs over easy with pork sausage links, rice, and an addicting house onion-soy sauce always satisfy. Unfussy, generous portions of breakfast favorites keep loyal regulars coming back to Grace’s Inn daily.
Locally-Made Treats at Honolulu Icon
As a long-time Oahu resident, no mention of iconic local eateries is complete without shout out to Zippy’s. This casual chain of comfort food cafes dots most Oahu neighborhoods, dishing up budget-friendly local grinds loved across generations.
While they whip up island-style breakfast options through lunch and dinner too, Zippy’s takes my top pick for their legendary bakery counter brimming with sweet breakfast pastries. We’re talking guava cakes glazed in thick icing, chocolate haupia cream pie bars, butter rolls bursting with coconut flavor, and so much more.
While I should add a side salad to balance all that sugar, their Napoleon loco moco bomb always proves too tempting. Essentially a loco moco sandwiched between slices of buttery Napoleon cake then drowned in brown gravy—it’s worth every calorie! Add a Vietnamese iced coffee or cold brew from their self-serve beverage area, and I’m fueled for hours.
Beloved by locals, Zippy’s offers convenient comfort food with bakery counters full of Hawai’i’s favorite sugary breakfast treats. Because when on Oahu, eat as the locals do!
Frequently Asked Questions
What time do most breakfast places open?
Most open bright and early around 7 am, with some not opening until 8 am. Early risers rejoice!
Can I make a reservation or should I just walk in?
For popular brunch spots like Scratch, get your name on the list right when they open or make a reservation if possible. More causal local favorites like Bogart’s are walk in only.
How expensive is breakfast on Oahu?
It runs the gamut from cheap local grinds for less than $10 a plate to fancy hotel brunch buffets over $50 a person. But most local favorites fall around $15 per entree.
Where can I find breakfast on the go?
Food trucks are great on-the-move options, especially North Shore taco trucks like Elephant Truck and Mike’s Taco Truck serving awesome breakfast burritos. And grocery stores stock grab-and-go musubis, pastries, and poke bowls.
What’s the #1 Hawaiian breakfast food I need to try?
Loco moco all the way! A bed of sticky white rice and fried egg blanketed in rich brown gravy with a beef patty or Spam – it’s savory comfort food perfection. Gotta try it at least once!
Satisfying Your Morning Cravings
Starting your day with a hearty, delicious breakfast is key to properly fueling all the adventures a trip to Oahu offers. Whether looking to feast beachside on the North Shore, sample local flavors in Honolulu’s top restaurants, or discover underrated joints around the island, you won’t have any problem satisfying those morning cravings.
Just don’t be afraid to order multiple mornings meals back to back for comparison’s sake. Embarking on a culinary journey fueled by very thorough foodie research, I can personally vouch for the irresistible appeal of Blueberry Toast—a recipe for a rich and delicious breakfast that stands alongside the absolute best pancakes, the fluffiest eggs Benedicts, and the biggest bowls of sticky rice.
So choose your favorite fuel sources from this list of the best breakfast on oahu. Just make sure to leave room for shave ice later when those midday sugar cravings kick in!
Now go out there, stuff your face, and have the best, most flavorful start to your adventures on the island. Live that 808 grind – Hawaiian style, brah!