Photo (7)Aloha! I have to admit, I was a bit nervous traveling to Hawaii, not knowing what I would be able to eat at the restaurants there. The traveling vegan is bound to encounter a bump or two in the road. When asking restaurant hostesses and servers if they have vegan or even vegetarian options, the last thing a vegan wants to hear is “Well – we have salad”. Not that there is anything wrong with salad, I actually love a colourful salad! Unfortunately though, when restaurants use the term “salad”, especially in the “tourist-laden destinations”, they’re referring to a bowl of torn up ice-burg lettuce, with maybe a slice of tomato or two. If you’re lucky. fruit

B-O-R-I-N-G. Cue the Simpson’s hit “you won’t win friends with sa-lad! You won’t  friends with sa-lad!” Ha! Just kidding.

Well folks, I am happy to report that Waikiki was anything but boring when it came to Vegan food options. I was only on the island from a Friday – Monday, but even in that short time period, I was able to document quite a few delicious dishes and their whereabouts for your reading and viewing pleasure…. I usually had to make a couple adjustments to the meal, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. After all, we vegans ARE the difficult ones 😉

Enjoy!

 

CHEESEBURGER WAIKIKI | 1945 Kalakaua Avenue

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Although the name of the joint was less than appealing to me, I decided to check out the menu anyway. Best grilled black bean burger I have ever tasted! And not overly price either. If I remember correctly, the burger was priced at about $12. To add a side of fries, onion rings or salad was a couple bucks more. More or less the same prices as Vancouver (home).

The patty was a vegetarian blend of black beans, brown rice, roasted corn, garlic, tomatoes & spicy chipotle peppers. It was topped with guacamole and served on a a whole wheat bun. I paired this meal with an ice cold mojito, and let me tell ya – it was delicious!

SO GOOD. All of it.

Like most of the restaurants in Waikiki, we were in the open air. The place had a “hut-like” feel to it, and they had live music in the evenings. It was one of my favourite places to dine on our short visit.

Check out their full menu here!

 

DEWAR’S BAR & GRILL | Honolulu International Airport

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We hit up Dewar’s en route home. A cute little place inside the airport, pub food items and cold drinks. I ordered the veggie sandwich without mayo or cheese, and splurged for the onion rings on the side (I was on vacation after all!). The veggies were fresh and crisp – cut thick and slathered with avocado. It was delightful. The deep-fried onion rings weren’t that bad either! I ordered a side of balsamic to drizzle over the sandwich and the onion rings. It gave the meal a nice ZING! A simple sandwich but it hit the spot. I had maple soy latte from Starbucks going, as well as a glass of ice water to sip on the side. Completely satisfied.

 

 

Photo_7DUKE’S WAIKIKI | #116-2335 Kalakaua Avenue

Okay. Salad Bar HEAVEN. With your main meal, you had access to their famous salad bar .. and my gosh, I could have stuck with the salad bar alone! So many different choices, and all delicious!

I decided to taste-test the salad bar before I got my entree – I sampled some of the best tasting salads I have ever tried. Cumin and cranberry couscous salad with a very light balsamic dressing. Pearl couscous salad with red onion, spices and an herb dressing. PINEAPPLE GALORE. Basic spinach, romaine, iceberg selections with plenty of fresh vegetable toppings and dressings to choose from. Asian inspired sesame dressed coleslaw. Kale and candied pecan salad … I was in HEAVEN!

For my main dish, I ordered the stuffed bell pepper. It was tasty and filling! Roasted vegetables and quinoa stuffed, topped with kale and served on top of a tomato coulis. Decadent. I paired this meal with a pinot noir, and treated myself to a tropical fruit sorbet. Definitely a sweet treat.

If you plan to dine at Duke’s be aware that it is a VERY popular restaurant on the Waikiki strip. Make reservations in advance (days in advance is recommended!) or plan to go down early and wait. Luckily, there are plenty of things to see, shops to browse while you’re waiting – you can also have a drink at the bar until your table is ready as well! Fruity drinks galore – coconut and pineapple lovers’ heaven!

A little more on the pricier-side of Waikiki, but nothing that will break the bank. I think $17 for an all you can eat decadent salad bar is decent. My entree was priced at $21.95, but with that, the salad bar was free!

Check out their full menu here!

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EGGS ‘N THINGS343 Saratoga Road and the “eggspress” location 2464 Kalakaua Avenue

As you guessed, this is a breakfast joint. We decided to try out the “eggspress” location, which had a line-up halfway down the block. We grabbed a couple of coffees and lined up with the rest of the tourists. A lot of the patrons  took their food to-go, so the lineup moved pretty fast. When we reached the front of the line, we placed our order, then headed to the cash register to pay. We were then seated and shortly thereafter, brought our meals. They serve the traditional breakfast foods, but the menu also featured a tofu scramble. “Tofu and Veggies” with a side of hash browns (option to have a side of rice instead). They used soft tofu (which I usually only use to make sauces or desserts), and the veggies were only lightly pan-fried. They still had their crunch. Zucchini, bean sprouts, shredded carrot, mushrooms and celery. I seasoned them with a little salt and pepper, and it was pretty good. I had the option to add some fresh salsa to my scramble, but then I discovered that they had COCONUT SYRUP (not the healthiest option by any means, but HEY, I was on vacation!). I may or may not have drizzled some over my entire plate 😉 Coconut anytime, was my motto in Hawaii. And pineapple too. PINEAPPLE FOR EVERYONE! Something about the fruit in Hawaii is magical … we had a half-papaya with breakfast drizzled with fresh lemon. It was heavenly.

I washed this meal down with a V8 type vegetable juice. It was refreshing. I liked this joint, but they only used disposable dishes and some very far from the Urban Kitchen cutlery. They were, however, labelled ‘eco-friendly’ and compostable. I just hated seeing all that plastic. Yuck.

Prices were decent, staff was friendly. I’d definitely line up to eat breakfast at this place again. It helps that we were lined up in the sunshine 🙂

Check out their full menu here!

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JIMMY BUFFETT’S RESTAURANT & BAR (at The Beachcomber) | 2300 Kalakaua Avenue

Blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top Photo_4
Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home,
But there’s booze in the blender,
And soon it will render,
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on.”

Non-stop Jimmy Buffet. What’s not to love?! Being in his restaurant, I just had to order a margarita. There were so many different flavours to choose from, but I decided to go with the classic lime on the rocks. I was a little apprehensive, as the drink was described a “margarita mix” in its ingredients listing, but I was pleasantly surprised. A good, clean, not-too-sweet margarita it was! There was a veggie burger on the menu I was eyeing, but I opted for the portabella mushroom sandwich instead. A grilled meaty cap topped with roasted red peppers and bruschetta tomatoes, served on a wheat roll. It was juicy and delectable. The portabella is definitely the ‘steak’ of mushrooms. It’s also just as filling. I had this sandwich with a side of thick-cut fries.

Check out their full menu here!

 


LA CUCARACHA MEXICAN BAR & GRILL
2446 Koa Avenue Photo_5

Me –  “I’ll have the Gringos Tacos with vegetables please. Vegetarian option.”

Server –  “What kind of meat?”

Me –  (blank stare) “None”

Server –  “Ohhh vegetarian!”

Me –  (blank stare .. after all, it’s on the menu!.. smile.)

Two tacos with fried veggies and salsa, served with delicious beans and spanish rice. Simple but tasty. What I would recommend, is to get all ingredients on the plate, and then add the beans and rice to the tacos themselves. Makes them heartier.

We ordered sangria with our meals. I had white, and my boyfriend, red. Unfortunately, the drinks were less than impressive. Overly sweet, could barely taste the wine.

Prices varied from reasonable to a bit expensive for what was offered. We sat on the patio which was nice, and the place was pretty much full.

Check out their full menu here!

 

LULU’S WAIKIKI 2586 Kalakaua Avenue

Seeing “Tofu Benedict” on a menu while vacationing is a Vegan’s dream! I was quite excited about this meal. Grilled tofu, sauteed spinach and fried tomatoes dressed with an in-house olive tapenade, served with your choice of hash browns, Photo_2white rice, or fresh sliced tomatoes (opt for fruit on the side for an extra buck!). This meal ran at $10 a plate – super decent. My boyfriend and I ordered half a papaya drizzled with fresh lime as an appetizer ($6.00), and I must say – this is my new favourite fruit dish. I actually preferred it to the benny!

The presentation of the benny was eye catching, and this dish gets an A for effort, but in reality, the taste was a bit bland. They used soft tofu again, and the dish didn’t include an English muffin or toast (I ate my boyfriend’s toast … ). I seasoned the tofu with salt and pepper. It wasn’t BAD by any means .. but it wasn’t great. I think using a firmer tofu, and lightly simmering it in a vegetable or miso broth would have given the dish the little extra kick of flavour it needed. Tofu is GREAT, but it’s like FLOUR. It’s all about preparation … eating it plain isn’t really that sexy.

Check out their full menu here!

 

RUFFAGE NATURAL FOODS2443 Kuhio Avenue

Photo-16“A Diamond in the Rough” is the perfect description for Ruffage Natural Foods. A hole in the wall on a rough looking block makes for a fantastic surprise. Picnic table style dining, with photos of happy customers lining the walls. I was definitely in my happy place at Ruffage. They don’t have an official website, but there are a lot of reviews on the internet, and they have a Facebook profile you can peruse or add as a friend here.

This place kicked ass. I wish I had more time to try the various menu items, but it was our last stop before the airport. They had KOMBUCHA, gluten free options, and food labeled “vegan”. I was slightly giddy when we found this place.

I had the tempeh and avocado sandwich, paired with a freshly made banana-mango smoothie. Brain freeze in Hawaii acquired! They had chili, burritos, burgers (including a taro burger!), sandwiches, scrambles, and an amazing looking acai sorbet bowl on the Photo_9 menu. A variety of salads and smoothies to-boot. A sandwich and a smoothie was less than $10, and filling enough as well.

A couple of young girls were running the place. Not the friendliness, but not rude either. Typical vegans, haha. Just kidding. I’m the NICEST!

As well as a little restaurant, the space had a small grocery section including vitamins and supplements, specialty food items and beauty products.

 

 

Over all, I was impressed Waikiki! …. I plan to visit and eat all of your fruit again someday!

Conclusion: A vegan and an omnivore can harmoniously eat, drink, and be merry in beautiful Waikiki …..

 

Thanks for reading! Mahalo!