Traveling during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to give up traditional celebrations, even in Hawaii. For example, celebrating Thanksgiving while on Oahu, there are tons of restaurants to choose from.
If you’re going to be visiting Hawaii, and Oahu, in particular, this Thanksgiving, you can still have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Or not. There are many options on-island for your dining needs. Whether you want turkey or not, brunch or dinner, there’s something for everyone.
Thanksgiving Brunch Options
- 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar – located at the Hawaii Prince Resort, 100 Sails (formerly known as Prince Court) is a popular buffet among locals. Options here are numerous, the prices reasonable, and the views are pretty good. But no turkey will be on offer on Thanksgiving.
- Hoku’s – located at the Kahala Resort & Spa, Hoku’s is another popular local brunch buffet, featuring luxurious items like lobster and eggs benedict. Usually, the brunch buffet is only available on Sundays, but this Thanksgiving it will be available. Plus, turkey with classic garnishes will be on offer.
- Kuilima Ballroom at Turtle Bay Resort – for those staying out on Oahu’s North Shore, your best option is probably Turtle Bay. The resort will have a Thanksgiving brunch buffet with over 40 items in its Kuilima Ballroom.
- MAC 24/7 – famous for its monster pancakes, Mac 24/7 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Resort will have Thanksgiving brunch. There will be lots of choices to choose from, but no turkey.
- Plumeria Beach House – the less expensive option at the Kahala Resort is Plumeria Beach House. Their Thanksgiving buffet will feature prime rib, snow crab, and more, but no turkey. You’ll have to go to Hoku’s for that.
Thanksgiving Dinner Options
- 53 by the Sea – the restaurant with some of the best views in Honolulu will be open for dinner on Thanksgiving with a special, prix fixe menu. This special five-course menu includes items like foie gras mousse on toasted banana bread in addition to a traditional turkey entree.
- 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar – just as with brunch, 100 Sails’ dinner on Thanksgiving will be a buffet. Dinner, however, will also include turkey.
- Azure – for an upscale beachfront dinner, check out the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s signature restaurant. The four-course menu here comes with a choice of three different entrees, one of which is turkey, of course.
- Bali Steak & Seafood – located in the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Bali Steak & Seafood will feature a three-course dinner with three different entrees to choose from. Of course, one option is turkey, though here it’s smoked.
- Beachhouse at the Moana – the Westin Moana Surfrider’s Thanksgiving dinner will be a buffet featuring lots of seafood, prime rib, turkey, and more.
- Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai – as the name suggests, this restaurant is in the Ilikai Hotel. And though known for its brunch, Cinnamon’s will feature a Thanksgiving turkey buffet.
- D.K. Steak House – enjoy a three-course Thanksgiving meal at this Waikiki Beach Marriott restaurant. I think this place is the only one where you can get two different courses of turkey.
- Herringbone Waikiki – one of Waikiki’s newest restaurants at the International Market Place, Herringbone Waikiki features a seafood-heavy Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey is an option, though, if you must. But for dessert, they’re serving Hawaiian Pie Co. pies, of which I’m a BIG fan of their passion, orange, guava pie!
- Hoku’s – the Kahala Resort’s signature restaurant will feature a luxe prix fixe menu, with featuring items like pan-seared foie gras, Chilean Seabass, turkey roulade, and more.
- Kula Grille – Turtle Bay‘s signature restaurant will feature an all-you-can-eat turkey dinner buffet on Thanksgiving.
- The Lanai Restaurant & Bar – the Hyatt Centric Waikiki’s restaurant will feature live entertainment alongside a traditional Thanksgiving dinner buffet with a local twist.
- Le’ahi Concept Kitchen – support the Kapiolani Community College’s acclaimed culinary arts program and enjoy a farm-to-table Thanksgiving dinner.
- MAC 24/7 – if you can’t make their brunch buffet, MAC 24/7 will be open to dinner too. But, unlike brunch, the dinner buffet will have turkey.
- Mahina & Sun’s – the Surfjack Hotel’s signature restaurant by Chef Ed Kenney will feature a three-course, fall harvest dinner.
- MW Restaurant – enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but with local flavor influences.
- Plumeria Beach House – if you missed brunch here, you can go for dinner and get the same, bountiful buffet.
- Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar – D.K. Steak House’s sister restaurant at the Waikiki Beach Marriott will feature a traditional Thanksgiving meal, as well as unique specials, including, of course, sushi.
- Top of Waikiki – The regular menu will be available at this Waikiki landmark, but a special Thanksgiving entree will be on offer too.
What Else is Open
Thanksgiving is a national holiday, so most businesses will be closed. But, if you can’t get a reservation at any of the above restaurants or any other hotel restaurants, you can also have a low-key dinner at Zippy’s. If you don’t already know, Zippy’s is Hawaii’s own chain. They’re famous for their chili and Zip-Pac Benots. However, when at Zippy’s I like the loco moco, chili cheese fries, and the spaghetti plate. I usually hate pasta that’s not al dente, but I give Zippy’s a pass because I love the meat sauce.
All 24 hour Long Drugs (CVS) locations will also be open on Thanksgiving Day. Or, if you’re bored, you can catch a movie at all Consolidated and Regal theaters. Both companies will be operating under normal hours.
If, however, you’re getting around using public transportation, be aware that the City’s TheBus will be operating on a Sunday schedule that day.
Celebrating Thanksgiving on Oahu, Final Thoughts
Being away from home (vacation or not) during the holidays can great, or not. It’s what you make of it. And if you’re looking to sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you’re covered while visiting Oahu. But if you want to try something different, you’re covered here too.
Personally, most of my family lives on Oahu, so I have a number of gatherings to attend throughout the day. If I didn’t have anywhere to go, though, the restaurant that peaks my interest the most for Thanksgiving (in no particular order) are:
- Le’ahi Concept Kitchen
- MW Restaurant