Best Vegan Restaurants in Honolulu
Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Honolulu
Honolulu is not always the ideal place to go hunting for meatless dishes, but if you know what you are looking for, there are quite a few hidden gems in the city. When scoping out vegan fare in the metropolis, it's all about knowing the secrets and getting there early.
The following are the top 5 places you can expect to find delicious vegetarian and vegan versions of everything tasty on Oahu:
1. Yama's Fish Market
Hawaii is all about big plates and casual eateries and Yama's Fish Market has been doing it up with "broke da mouth" food for decades. Located in the center of Moiliili, on Young Street (near the corner of Isenberg), you cannot miss this local market with fresh daily produce.
Yama's is one of the only places on the island that does a vegan version of a Pork Lau lau, aka Vegetarian Lau lau. Instead of meat, the taro leaf is filled with a mixture of carrot, onion, celery, and purple sweet potato. Top it off with a splash of local seasonings and you have a super ono, super healthy vegan lunch.
One note, however: If you'd like to enjoy this delicious dish, you may want to call Yama's about 30 minutes before you plan to dine so they can have it ready for you with no wait times.
2. The Diamond Head Cove Health Bar
When you visit Honolulu, you can't leave without checking out the island's massive rock formation called Diamond Head (originally named Leahi by ancient Hawaiians). At the entrance to the state park lies one of the best places in the city to grab a healthy plate. It also happens to be a popular hangout after snorkeling in the pristine cove below.
The Diamond Head Cove Health Bar specializes in dishes and drinks made with acai berry. The "Da Hawaiian" Acai Bowl is as vegan and Hawaiian as you can get. It's made with Pa'i'ai Waiahole Waikane (Hawaii Moi Taro), Big Island Lehua honey, fresh strawberries and blueberries, bee pollen, and of course, plenty of Acai fruit. If you'd prefer no bee products, just ask.
3. Tsukuneya Robata Grill
There are large parts of Honolulu that are influenced by the Japanese culture, and if you want some hearty vegan dishes that take the lead, check out Tsukuneya Robata Grill. They make their own incredible tofu in-house, with very reasonably-priced selections. Do not leave the island without trying their famous Miso Dengaku, a roasted tofu dish with eggplant, daikon, konnyaku, and a rich miso glaze.
4. Downbeat Diner and Lounge
Perhaps one of the best options in Honolulu for vegan plates, everything at this diner can be served vegetarian or vegan style. The staff visits the nearby farmer's market every morning, and they always carry as much fresh produce as they possibly can. The Downbeat Diner dishes simply pop with color.
The plate that locals rave about is the Loco Moco. It consists of a tofu scramble over a grilled veggie patty, topped with sautéed mushrooms and tahini gravy, served over brown rice. Even the French toast and chicken are vegan! So don't forget to roll by Hotel Street (between Smith St. and Nuuanu Ave.) and pop in for a quick snack.
5. Peace Cafe
Another popular hangout for people that dig meatless Hawaiian meals is Peace Cafe on King Street. Joyfully referring to themselves as "vegan home cooking," everything on the menu is vegan and they specifically cater to this niche.
Since the restaurant contains a multitude of specialty items, the menu is a little smaller, but fear not! Nothing on it contains any meat or dairy products whatsoever. The Moroccan Stew seems to be what everyone raves about, with lightly spiced chickpeas and brown rice. The Heart & Seoul dish is also a vegan lover's dream, with Korean bi bim bap served with house flavored TVP and fresh tofu. For dessert, you cannot leave without trying one of their dairy/egg/sugar-free Mochi cakes in Matcha Berry or Kinako.
Honolulu is a fairly large city but it is filled with incredible places to get healthy food. Hawaii is known for its diverse cultures and the assortment of delicious vegan fare is just another prime example. The islands truly offer it all!
About the Author
Andrea Griffith is passionate about Hawaii and enjoys sharing her love of the islands at Live Your Aloha.