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Kailua Travel and Dining Guide
Kailua is home to arguably some of the best chefs in the world. Alan Wong (Alan Wong’s Restaurant), Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Waikiki), George Mavrothalassitis (Chef Mavro Restaurant) and Phillippe Padovani (Elua) were some of the founding chefs of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement. These local legends take the freshest, locally grown produce and ingredients to create flavorful dishes for visitors and locals alike.
Kailua is undergoing something of a renaissance at both ends of the dining spectrum. You can splurge on world-class contemporary cuisine at destination restaurants and explore local flavors at popular, very affordable holes in the wall. Whatever your taste and budget, you’ll find places that pique your interest and palate. You may wish to budget for a pricey dining experience at the very top of the restaurant food chain, where chefs Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, George Mavrothalassitis, Chris Kajioka, and others you've seen on the Food Network and Travel Channel put a sophisticated spin on local foods and flavors. Savor dishes that take cues from Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, the United States, and Europe, then are filtered through an Island sensibility. Take advantage of the location and order the superb local fish—mahimahi, opakaka, ono, and opah. Spend the rest of your food dollars where budget-conscious locals do: in plate-lunch places and small ethnic eateries, at roadside stands and lunch wagons, or at window-in-the-wall delis. Snack on a musubi (a handheld rice ball wrapped with seaweed and often topped with Spam), slurp shave ice with red-bean paste, or order Filipino pork adobo with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad. In Waikiki, where most visitors stay, you can find choices from upscale dining rooms with a view to Japanese noodle shops. When you’re ready to explore, hop in the car, or on the trolley or bus—by going just a few miles in any direction, you can save money and eat like a local. Kaimuki's Waialae Avenue, for example, is a critical mass of good eats and drinks. There you’ll find an espresso bar, a Chinese bakery, a patisserie, an Italian bistro, a dim-sum restaurant, Mexican food, and a Hawaiian regional-cuisine standout (3660 on the Rise)—all in three blocks, and 10 minutes from Waikiki. Chinatown, 15 minutes in the other direction and easily reached by the Waikiki Trolley, is another dining (and shopping) treasure, not only for Chinese but also Vietnamese, Filipino, Malaysian, and Indian food, and even a chic little tea shop. Kakaako, the developing urban area between Waikiki and Chinatown, also offers a mix of local eateries, upscale restaurants, and ethnic takeout. Outside Honolulu and Waikiki there are fewer dining options, but restaurants tend to be filled with locals and are cheaper and more casual. Windward Oahu's dining scene has improved greatly in recent years due to the visitors to Kailua and Lanikai beaches, so everything from plate lunches to Latin foods to creative regional offerings can be found there. Across the rest of the island, the cuisine is mainly American—great if you're traveling with kids—but there are a handful of Italian and Asian places worth trying as well.
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A Tour of Dining in Kailua
During the reign of King Kākuhihewa and his successors, Kanekapu, Kahoowaha, Kauakahiakahoowaha, and Kualiʻi, Kailua replaced Waikiki as the residential seat of the Oʻahu Rulers (aliʻi nui of Oʻahu). Many ancient temple ruins, such as those at Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site, are in the area. Kailua Beach is crescent-shaped, about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, and ranging between 50 and 150 feet (15 and 46 m) wide. The ocean bottom fronting the beach slopes gently to overhead depths without any coral heads. Light to medium waves support surfing and bodysurfing. The steady trade winds make Kailua Beach a top windsurfing and kitesurfing destination. Robby Naish, first World Champion of windsurfing and Professional Windsurfers Association Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in Kailua. Sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to the protected seabird sanctuaries Flat Island and the Nā Mokulua, popularly known as "the Mokes", have become increasingly popular water activities at the beach.
The best way to explore Kailua is by renting an automobile. It is one of the most enjoyable and affordable way to explore Kailua because each island offers a variety of scenic drives. By just alotting a budget for gas and food, you can experience one of the most unforgettable vacation moments while encountering the best dining. Plus, there are various car rentals in Kailua that offer affordable services. Find the best dining in real time by using our virtual tour guide service.
We can help you save money by directing you to the best services for the best price in Kailua on everything down to food and gas in real time. We are local residents aware of dining and price fluctuations that online travel guides cannot keep up with. Bookmark http://oahutraveler.com/ on your next trip to Kailua, a tour guide in the palm of your hand, and get personalized directions anytime on your phone with awesome dining for your travel budget.