Honolulu’s Best International Cuisine

Photo of Catrina Pang
15 November 2016

When it comes to dining options in Hawaii, most people think of plate lunches, poke, saimin, and manapua. Whether you’re a local or visitor looking to expand your horizons, you’ll be happy to find that Hawaii is also home to numerous restaurants offering excellent international cuisine. From Mediterranean to Indian to African to Chinese, you can find some of the world’s best dishes in Honolulu.

© Jessica/Flickr

Da Spot

Ahmad Ramadan and Ako Kifuji created Da Spot Health Foods & Juices in 2004 with the mission of providing healthy affordable food that gives a diverse and unique outlook on food with dishes from around the world. Da Spot aims to educate people about sustainability and healthy practices through its menu, which focuses on mediterranean and north african food. The restaurant offers everything from vegan to specialty meat options, all of which can be certified halal or kosher. Da Spot provides imaginative cuisine, taking inspiration from the traditional foods of Greece, Egypt, France, Italy, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Ethiopia, America, Hawaii, Japan, China, Korea, the Pacific Rim, and many others. The most popular menu items are by far the saffron rice and the Egyptian chicken, and the lamb dishes are also customer favorites. Da Spot also serves up a selection of 35 different smoothies, as well as fantastic side dishes of açai bowl and zabadi, in addition to homemade desserts like freshly baked baklava and an assortment or sorbets.

Da Spot, 2469 S King St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 941 1313

© Jessica and Lon Binder/Flickr

Cafe Maharani

Cafe Maharani offers authentic Indian food, taking the best culinary extravaganza of the great moguls in order to bring their customers a delicious and delightful ‘repast.’ Cafe Maharani asserts that on the culinary level, it was the East that conquered the West, and that the universal popularity of curry is the delicious proof. The restaurant’s own curry is based on an old family recipe, and the types of herbs and spices they use are chosen not only for their flavor, but also for their digestive and nutritional value. They use only the finest ingredients to prepare dishes that are as healthy as they are delicious, and dishes can contain a blend of 20, 30, 40, or more spices and herbs. Favorites include the coconut rice, the chicken masala curry, the stuffed naan, and the lamb saag. The restaurant is the Hale Aina Award Winner for The Best Indian Restaurant in Hawaii, and as such, the place is extremely popular and gets packed at peak hours, so if you want to avoid a long wait, it’s best to either call ahead or go in the last hour of service.

Cafe Maharani, 2509 S King St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 951 7447

© Cait/Flickr

Kan Zaman

Located on Nuuanu Avenue in Downtown Honolulu, Kan Zaman is a Moroccan-Lebanese restaurant that serves up fine cuisine in an intimate setting. The restaurant’s name translates to ‘Once Upon a Time,’ indicative of the fact that stepping into Kan Zaman is like taking a journey to visit traditional Arab culture and heritage as it once was. The warmly inviting interior with tiled flooring, low lighting, and a jewel-toned color scheme is perfectly complemented by the authenticity of the aromatically spiced food. Traditional bazaar finds, including paintings, lamps, ornaments, and wall hangings, surround guests as they feast on the delicious traditional North African and Eastern food prepared using the best available ingredients as well as ancient recipes passed down from generation to generation. Popular dishes include the hummus, pita plates, couscous, and babaganoush, as well as the orange blossom cheesecake and mint tea with orange blossom.

Kan Zaman, 1028 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 554 3847

© Eugene Kim/Flickr

Ethiopian Love Restaurant

You might not expect to find delicious Ethiopian cuisine in Honolulu’s Chinatown, but Ethiopian Love Restaurant defies expectations. This busy and welcoming place filled with Ethiopian pictures and low lighting immediately draws people in. The friendly servers making excellent recommendations and the relaxing space create the perfect environment in which to enjoy flavorful Ethiopian classics like spongy injera bread, spiced lentils, and stewed beef. The food is served on a large platter and meant to be eaten as a group, so it’s the perfect place to bring the family or a group of friends. Though you can bring your own drinks, they also offer delicious Ethiopian teas like the flavorful cardamom and cinnamon variety, as well as coffee that is hand roasted in an earthenware jug at a short table in the front, filling the room with the gorgeous smell of roasting coffee.

Ethiopian Love Restaurant, 1112 Smith St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 725 7197

© Ames Lai/Flickr

Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant

A clean and bright dim sum place in Chinatown with affordable prices, Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant has impressed its Hawaiian community. Their menu is one of the most informative dim sum menus you’ll come across, with prices, quantities, and descriptions written very clearly in both Chinese and English. The staff are all attentive and friendly, the restaurant has a nice atmosphere and several tables that fill up quickly during lunch time, and the classic dim sum dishes like siu mai, chicken feet, char siu bap, xiao long bao, and har gow are all made with quality ingredients. What tends to impress people most about the restaurant is how clean, bright, and white everything is, from the walls to the tablecloths to the plates, tea cups, lights, ceiling covers, napkins, window tinting, and tiles. All in all, Good Fortune is an excellent choice for when you’re looking to satisfy a craving for dim sum.

Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant, 1138 Smith St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 537 3883

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