Food & Drink

The 13 Best Brunch Spots in Honolulu

Updated On 12/28/2016 at 11:57AM EST Updated On 12/28/2016 at 11:57AM EST

Traditionally, breakfast in Honolulu = loco moco, but you’d have to be... well, loco to miss out on the slew of sweet new brunch spots that’ve opened here lately. That’s why we’ve done you a favor and rounded up the 13 best ones in town. Feast your eyes...

Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast

Kaimuki

What you’re getting: Roast beef hash; mushroom rosti
Named after the Australian slang for “food and drink,” this Sydney-inspired eatery specializes in fresh, healthy ingredients like kale and quinoa salad with roasted kabocha and two poached eggs. But those with a sweet tooth will find that the Tim Tam Waffle, a light and crispy beer-battered waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, and chocolate malt biscuits, will do more than satisfy.

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

Downtown/Chinatown

What you’re getting: "Milk & Cereal" Pancakes; Creole Shrimp n' Grits
No need to set your alarm, because this Southern-inspired nook serves Kim Chee Bloody Mary and Pound Cake French Toast every day until 2pm. 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.

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 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 and 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 Malasada Breakfast Sandwiches, Haupia Oatmeal, and Pork Belly Benedict to the masses. Or at least to however many people can fit in this 700sqft café that offers a proportionately small menu, and homemade 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: Macaroni + Cheese Pancakes; Kim Chee Fried Rice Omelette
Built like a house with one roof and two walls, this breezy eatery is known for its Chemex-filtered Stumptown coffee and homemade baked goods. On weekends, sip on a cinnamon latte while braving the wait-list 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.

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
Hidden in Kilohana Square, this small brunch spot tends to pack a crowd on weekends. Luckily, it's open every day to fulfill your eggs Benedict and waffle needs. Try the Extreme Mess, which is exactly like what it sound like: all your favorite breakfast items -- 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). 

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Summer Nakaishi is a freelance writer for Thrillist who would gladly sport a food baby for the remainder of the year.

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1. Tucker & Bevvy Breakfast 449 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 (Kaimuki)

Tucker & Bevvy (Aussie slang for "food and drink") is a Sydney-inspired eatery with an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients. You'll find Kale Fried Rice gracing the specials quite often, but for those with more of a sweet tooth there's also the Tim Tam waffle, a light and crispy beer-battered waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, and chocolate malt biscuits.

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2. Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop 1030 Smith St, Honolulu, HI 96817 (Downtown)

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop, a friendly breakfast-and-lunch eatery in Downtown Honolulu, wows and comforts locals with its Southern- and Latin-influenced brunch dishes, which Chef Brian Chan (formerly of Restaurant Epic) shakes up every three months based on the island’s seasonal produce. You can expect plates like pound-cake French toast, chilaquiles with shredded chicken and sunny side-up eggs, and a BEC Brunch-wich with spiced bacon, chevre, and a tomato & caramelized onion frittata. You'll want to turn your attention to the "Pimp My Grits" section of the menu, where several takes on the Southern specialty are listed in all their cheesy glory. Since it's not brunch without a little buzz, domestic craft brews and brunch cocktails like a Kim Chee Bloody Mary are on offer, too.

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3. Koko Head Cafe 1145 12th Ave Ste C, Honolulu, HI 96816 (Kaimuki)

Led by Top Chef finalist chef Lee Anne Wong, this brunchery offers up fluffy pancakes, as well as island-takes on classic breakfasts, like eggs Benedict with poi biscuits, luau leaves and poi hollandaise. Plenty of pan-Asian eats are on the menu, and all offerings are so unique that you may have to order several extra entrees for the table.

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4. Moena Cafe 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy Ste D101, Honolulu, HI 96825 (Hawaii Kai)

Owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Eric and Nicole Chang, this bright and chic cafe in Hawaii Kai specializes in brunch favorites reinvented with the couple's personal touches. You'll find plenty of Hawaiian influence in their locally sourced creations, such as the Kalua Pig Benedict and pineapple sausage hash, plus a touch of sweetness in fan-favorites like cinnamon roll pancakes topped with a large swirl of light cream cheese syrup. Espresso drinks, specialty iced teas, and milkshakes are up for grabs as well (you can never go wrong with a chocolate shake topped with peanut butter and banana).

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5. Goofy Cafe & Dine 1831 Ala Moana Blvd Ste 201, Honolulu, HI 96815 (Waikiki)

Named for the right-footed surfing stance (not the Disney character), this beachside cafe's wooden ceiling fans and racked surfboards make you feel like you’re dining in your best friend’s beach house. The small surf-shack offers both healthy and hearty breakfast options, including an acai bowl with local sourced produce and a kalua pig eggs Benedict, which is served on a taro muffin with a raw kale salad and Okinawan sweet potatoes. Goofy serves up these specialties every day until 11pm, meaning you have plenty of time to hunt for meter parking in Waikiki before it closes.

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6. The Nook Neighborhood Bistro 1035 University Ave, Honolulu, HI 96826 (Manoa)

The aptly named Nook only takes up 700sqft of Manoa, serving Hawaiian-inspired brunch dishes all day to as many people as it can fit in its cozy, rustic-chic space. Fortunately, there's a covered outdoor patio, too, which lends extra space to customers who can be seen indulging in the menu's "Not-So Classics," such as lavender chocolate pancakes, pork-belly Benedict, and mochi waffles. Though your focus should be on brunch, there are healthy-meets-hearty dinner options later in the day, too, including an Okinawan sweet potato gnocchi and an ostrich burger, plus plenty of craft cocktails (often infused with fresh elements like mint and lavender bitters).

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7. Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe 2955 E Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822 (Manoa)

Pre-made coffee doesn't exist in this breezy Manoa Rd coffeeshop—whether they're making espresso drinks like macchiatos or pour-over cups, this coffeehouse does individually filtered, brewed-to-order cups of joe every time. Patrons can choose between a plethora of Stumptown roasts or a Hawaiian coffee-of-the-day for their cup, which takes about five minutes to brew. Breakfast and lunch are available with a changing list of decadent specials and dishes sourced from local island ingredients, like their Kalei eggs which are fresh every day. Bakery treats are available for people on-the-go, but with plentiful seating inside and out on the front patio, why would you rush?

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8. Cafe Kaila 2919 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96826 (Kaimuki)

On any given day, you'll find a line spilling out of this simple and homey cafe in Kaimuki's Market City Shopping Center, as Chef Chrissie Kaila Castillo’s phenomenal all-day brunch has captured the hearts (and stomachs) of locals. Castillo is a self-professed breakfast-lover and opened Cafe Kaila to share her favorite morning treats, which include cinnamon French toast, breakfast quesadillas, steak and eggs, and a malted Belgian waffle. Her breakfast mastery even stretches to Japan, where she opened a second Cafe Kaila in Tokyo.

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9. Kaimana Farm Cafe 845 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816 (Kaimuki)

Opened by Junko Ikawa, who fell in love with Hawaii while on a foreign exchange program, Kaimana Farm Cafe in Kaimuki is as rustic and fresh as its name implies, featuring decor like repurposed-wood booths and a menu of locally sourced brunch fare with a distinctly Japanese influence, served every day but Tuesday until 4pm. You'll find plates including Spam spinach Benedict, caramelized banana French toast, and a pork kakuni (braised pork belly) sandwich, plus fresh sides like an acai bowl and a solid lineup of smoothies (go for the kinako banana).

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10. Bogart’s Café 3045 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 (Diamond Head)

Recharge after scaling Diamond Head or hitting Kaimana Beach at Bogart's Cafe, where you're likely to see a line out the door for this cash-only spot's killer all-day breakfast, especially its massive acai bowls. Though they're sold practically everywhere on the island, fans are willing to wait for these popular bowls because of Bogart's particularly generous ratio of acai to fruit and granola. The extensive menu at this bare-bones cafe also features taro pancakes with haupia syrup, several takes on eggs Benedict, and plenty of bagels, which you can turn into a sandwich of eggs, Cheddar and Jack cheese, tomato, and spinach.

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11. Cream Pot 444 Niu St, Honolulu, HI 96815 (Waikiki)

Located at the Hawaiian Monarch Hotel, this bright and homey eatery gets as much attention for its hobbit-like, French-countryside setting as its Japanese-influenced breakfast and brunch menu. Alongside quaint knickknacks, doily coasters, and wrought-iron bistro chairs, you can indulge in plates of soufflé pancakes, a Burgundy beef stew omelet, and maguro eggs Benedict served with ahi carpaccio. You'll want to snag a seat in the outdoor garden if you can, where you'll really feel like Frodo among all the greenery, watching kayakers glide along the Ala Wai Canal.

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12. Sweet E's Cafe 1006 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816 (Kaimuki)

Now situated in a larger space in Kapahulu (say goodbye to the long lines and parking nightmare at its former home in Kilohana Square), this casual-chic eatery is a popular brunch spot on weekends, but lucky for you, it's open every day to satisfy your eggs Benedict and French toast cravings. Two favorites on the menu include French toast stuffed with cream cheese & blueberries and corned-beef eggs Benedict. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you'll want to try the Extreme Mess, which is exactly what it sounds like: all your favorite AM ingredients (hash browns, sausage, ham, bacon, onions, and peppers) scrambled together with eggs to create one giant breakfast explosion.

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13. Liliha Bakery 515 N Kuakini St, Honolulu, HI 96817 (Liliha)

Established in 1950, this Honolulu diner-meets-bakery has been an island favorite longer than Hawaii has been a state. Open 24 hours, you can sit at retro bar stools and watch longtime waitresses sizzle Portuguese sausage, scrambled eggs, and butter rolls on the flat-top grill around the clock. Then, on your way out, you can pick up treats that have entranced locals for decades, including Liliha's famous Cocoa Puffs, which are essentially profiteroles with chocolate pudding. Good luck saving them for later.

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