Food & Drink

The Best Brunch Spots in Honolulu

Updated On 05/04/2017 at 05:21PM EST
Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

Downtown/Chinatown, Ward

What you’re getting: "Milk & Cereal" pancakes

No need to set your alarm, because this Southern-inspired nook serves its kimchee bloody marys and Elvis French toast every day, except Tuesdays, until 2:30pm. Just don’t get too attached, because Chef Brian Chan (formerly of Restaurant Epic) shakes things up by updating the menu every three months to accommodate the island’s seasonal produce. Check out its sister restaurant, Scratch Kitchen and Meatery, at Ward Village with longer hours and a similar, but a more carnivorous menu.

Koko Head Café

Koko Head Café

Kaimuki

What you’re getting: Cornflake French toast; Dumplings All Day Wong (dumplings of the day)

Helmed by fashion designer-turned-Top Chef finalist Chef Lee Anne Wong, the old 12th Avenue Grill has been transformed into a bright and beachy eatery, where pancakes are fluffy and moist, and eggs Benedict get an island-inspired update with poi biscuits, luau leaves, and poi hollandaise. Go with an empty stomach (or friends who like sharing), because you’ll want to sample one of everything.

Moena Café

Moena Café

Hawaii Kai

What you’re getting: Short rib loco moco; strawberry & milk pancakes

After hitting the hiking trails, stop by Moena at Koko Marina Center to take advantage of its all-day breakfast menu. Run by husband and wife team Eric and Nicole Chang, the modern eatery offers brunch classics with their personal touch. Try the pineapple sausage hash, served with potatoes, onions, and two eggs; or the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes topped with a whirl of cream cheese syrup.

GOOFY Cafe & Dine

Goofy Café & Dine

Waikiki

What you’re getting: Big Island Honey French toast; Homemade green veggie juice of the day

Named for the right-footed surfing stance (not the Disney character), this beachside café’s wooden ceiling fans and racked surfboards make you feel like you’re dining in your best friend’s beach house. The small café offers both healthy and hearty breakfast options every day until 11pm. Try its acai bowl with local fruit or the kalua pig eggs Benedict, served on a taro muffin with a raw kale salad and Okinawan sweet potatoes. Each bite will make you forget the extra minutes spent hunting for meter parking in Waikiki.

The Nook Neighborhood Bistro

The Nook Neighborhood Bistro

Manoa

What you’re getting: Mochiko chicken & waffles; Hamakua mushroom scramble

Tucked away in the corner of Puck’s Alley, this intimate eatery was the pipe dream of two childhood friends who used a crowdfunding platform to bring haupia oatmeal and pork belly Benedict to the masses. Or at least to however many people can fit in this 700 square foot café that offers a proportionately small menu and touches like house-made hot sauce, Shinsato Farm pork sausage, and more.

Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe

Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe

Manoa

What you’re getting: Mac & cheese pancakes; kimchee fried rice omelette

This breezy eatery is known for its drip-to-order filtered coffee and homemade baked goods. On weekends, sip on a cinnamon latte while braving the waitlist before sinking your teeth into a homemade buttermilk biscuit with Shinsato Farm pork sausage patty, over-easy Kalei eggs, and country-style pork gravy. And don’t forget, a side of applewood-smoked bacon is always a good idea. Always.

Café Kaila

Café Kaila

Kaimuki

What you’re getting: Belgian malted waffle; buttermilk pancakes

Driving past Market City Shopping Center, on any given day, you’re likely to see a line curling around this brunch institution. For good reason. If you’re looking for dependable breakfast staples, stop by for Chrissie Kaila Castillo’s consistently tasty pancakes and waffles. Or, if you’re in the mood for a little variety, opt for the breakfast quesadilla or cheesy frittata, made with local vegetables.

Kaimana Farm Café

Kaimana Farm Café

Kaimuki

What you’re getting: Soufflé omelette with creamy risotto; caramelized banana French toast

Opened by Junko Ikawa, who fell in love with the islands while on a foreign exchange program, the cozy, rustic café offers a Japanese-influenced breakfast menu every day except Tuesdays. Settle into the repurposed wood-paneled booths in front of the picture window and enjoy a kinako banana smoothie or a Spam spinach Benedict while you people-watch the day away.

Bogart’s Café

Bogart’s Café

Diamond Head

What you’re getting: Acai bowl; breakfast bagel (eggs, Cheddar and Jack cheese, topped with tomato and spinach on your bagel flavor of choice)

After you’ve scaled Diamond Head or swam at Kaimana Beach, hit the ATM and then hit this popular cash-only breakfast spot with an extensive menu, including taro pancakes topped with haupia sauce, and massive acai bowls. On an island where the icy Brazilian superfruit smoothie reigns supreme, Bogart’s generous ratio of acai to fruit and granola is one of the reasons the line stretches out the door.  

Cream Pot Breakfast & Brunch

Waikiki

What you’re getting: Soufflé pancake; Burgundy beef stew omelette

With its white miniature knickknacks,  ace doily coasters, and wrought-iron bistro chairs, this breakfast spot gets nearly as much attention for its hobbit-like, French countryside decor as its Japanese-infused menu. Fuel up on its Maguro eggs Benedict, which boast ahi carpaccio topped with avocado, daikon sprouts, and a shiso leaf, served on a bed of rice. If you’re lucky, snag a table in the outdoor garden patio, and watch kayakers sweep through the Ala Wai Canal.

Sweet E’s

Sweet E’s

Kaimuki

What you’re getting: Stuffed cream cheese blueberry French toast; corned beef eggs Benedict

Formerly hidden in Kilohana Square, the 950 square foot brunch spot quickly packed a crowd. Its new location a few blocks away is almost three times the size and is still open every day to fulfill your eggs Benedict and waffle needs. Try the Extreme Mess, which is exactly what it sound like: hash browns, sausage, ham, bacon, onions, and peppers scrambled with eggs to create one giant breakfast explosion.

Liliha Bakery

Liliha Bakery

Liliha

What you’re getting: Hotcakes; butter rolls with neon jelly

Established nine years before Hawaii joined the Union, the original Liliha Bakery has been a mainstay for the past 65 years. Sit at retro bar stools and watch longtime waitresses sizzle Portuguese sausage, scrambled eggs, and butter rolls on the flat-top grill 24 hours a day, every day except Mondays. On your way out, don’t forget to grab one or 12 of its famous Cocoa Puffs. You know, for later (and totally not for the car ride home). 

Egghead Café

Kakaako

What you’re getting: Crab meat Benedict, s’mores pancake

Part Taiwanese-fusion and part California-inspired, this egg-loving restaurant wins for its menu variety. For a hearty option, try the pork belly omelette with pickled veggies, bell pepper, onions, and Swiss cheese or a Mexican Benedict with chorizo, sour cream, and verde salsa, both with a side of Parmesan garlic French toast. Looking for a sweeter start to your day? Order a pancake sampler and choose between flavors like green tea azuki, tiramisu, and macadamia nut.

Mahina and Sun’s

Waikiki

What you’re getting: Pork adobo fried rice bowl, ulu (breadfruit) pancake

Chef Ed Kenney’s fourth venture continues to feature sustainable and seasonal ingredients sourced from land and sea. The brunch menu includes sweet items fresh-baked scones stuffed with Kula strawberry and Portuguese sweet bread ricotta toast with local jam and cacao nibs, as well as hearty savory plates like the Surfjack Breakfast with two eggs, Portuguese sausage, and kimchee.

Koa Café

Moiliili

What you’re getting: Korean fried chicken waffle, guava lava mochi waffle

An offshoot of the Koa Pancake House chain, this newish eatery delivers modern breakfast inventions with a Korean flair. Get your taste buds ready for spicy options like the Angry Benedict made with Sriracha hollandaise and sweeter options like the crispy but fluffy mochi pancakes. You’ll still find Koa Pancake House classics like kalbi steak and eggs, but, here, it’s paired with kimchee quinoa instead of the traditional toast, rice, pancakes, or home fried potatoes.

Bill’s Hawaii

Waikiki

What you’re getting: Full Aussie breakfast, ricotta hotcakes

This Sydney-based all-day restaurant offers an Australian-style breakfast with a local twist -- fritters made with sweet Kahuku corn, scrambled Waimanalo eggs, or kimchee fried rice as a breakfast supplement. Start your morning off right, with a raw homemade almond milk smoothie, flat white, or breakfast martini in its rustic and airy beach cabin-y space, where the food is more than filling enough to quench your hunger but not heavy enough to force you into taking a nap against its plush sofa cushions.

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