The old favorites are always nice, but we did get to try some new stuff in Oahu. Here’s some places you might not have read about in the tourist guides.
Hapa Grill is known for their teri beef, a family recipe that was a mainstay of the Sassy Kassy Lunch Wagon back in the day, and there are those who say it’s the best teri beef in Oahu. I think I’m inclined to agree, especially because it’s not overly sweet.
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My wife had the fried noodles and teri beef and it was great. A huge plate of fried noodles with spam, eggs, fish cake with a side of the famous teri beef. The noodles were really good and it was (amazingly enough) the first bit of spam I’d had on this trip. I stole a piece of teri beef from my wife’s plate and immediately ordered myself a side order to complement my beef stew. The stew is the Wed. special and it was really good on this cool evening, esp. when it was mixed up with the rice. For dessert, we had an awesome chocolate mac nut brownie
It’s long drive out to Kapolei from town, but if you’re in the neighborhood or want a nice place to eat after shopping in Waikele, Hapa Grill’s not too far (about seven miles down H1 from Waikele) and definitely worth the drive.
Grass Skirt Grill
I really needed a break from eating meat, so when we were in Haleiwa on the North Shore visiting my sister-in-law, we ended up at Grass Skirt Grill for lunch (even though Kua Aina Burger smelled amazing when we walked by).
I ordered the excellent Grilled Hebi Salad because it featured locally grown vegetables and fresh, perfectly grilled fish (Hebi is a short-billed spearfish native to Hawaii). My wife and sister-in-law split a teri chicken sandwich that they both liked. We also got an order of onion rings and fries, but they were unremarkable.
Stick with the grilled fish and fresh veggies, especially if you’ve OD’ed on meat eating around the island, and you’ll have a light, satisfying lunch.
Grass Skirt Grill
66-214 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712 map
Diamond Head Market and Grill
The market itself is great. When we got married in 2005, they were the only place in town that stocked Lorina’s French Lemonade, and we needed a couple dozen for our wedding reception, so we cleaned them out.
On this trip, we decided to try out the grill, and it made me sad. The food was good, but it wasn’t anything special (at least at lunch), and the prices are exorbitant compared to other places on the island.
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I had the grilled ahi steak ($9.75) with the standard rice and green salad. It was good, but when I first opened up the container, I thought to myself “that’s it?” My wife had the portobello mushroom hamburger ($5.25), which was reasonably priced and tasted good to me, but she wasn’t impressed. We did like the jus that was included with the burger, and I ended up dipping my rice in it. She ordered fries to go with it ($2.25), and they were the worst fries we’ve had in a long time. They were tough and they tasted stale, as if they were sitting around and then refried before serving. At least they were crispy.
Now I’m not one to normally complain about prices, but at a place like Diamond Head Market and Grill, where they’re obviously making local favorites with better and fresher ingredients, the presentation could at least make it seem like we’re getting our money’s worth. And the stale fries were just unforgivable.
We’ll probably give them another shot one day, maybe on our next trip, but we may just settle for the prepared food in the market (which looks fantastic).