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Dining on Oahu is a unique experience—one where menus have a language of all their own, whether peppered with native Hawaiian words or referring to dishes that came out of Hawaii’s unique blend of Polynesian and other cultures, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Portuguese. It’s the result of waves of immigration, beginning in the 18th century, from missionaries to whalers to laborers brought to work the plantations—which means the cultures have had a lot of time to assimilate. This mixing of East and West isn’t a fleeting trend: it is locals’ comfort food, it is their history, it is the story of the islands.
While some of the best restaurants are hole-in-the-wall institutions passed down through generations, Oahu also attracts talented chefs from abroad and brings home those lauded international chefs who were born and raised on the island to create a fresh and buzz-worthy cuisine, from a 30-course seasonal omakase menu to a pho French dip. Make sure these lauded restaurants top your list of things to do on Oahu.