The staff at Banzai Sushi Bar serves fresh, flavorful fish in a down-to-earth atmosphere, earning accolades in the Star Advertiser's Ilima Awards for several years running. Nestled in a corner of Haleiwa's North Shore Marketplace, the restaurant cossets diners in a covered open-air deck constructed of rustic dark wood, with floral floor cushions for Japanese-style dining or conventional seats for settling the bill with games of musical chairs. Raw seafood is laid bare atop nuggets of sushi rice in nigiri or wrapped tightly between layers of rice and seaweed in maki rolls such as the hawaii roll, whose bundle of shrimp tempura and cucumber is topped with spicy tuna and macadamia nuts.
Breakers Restaurant & Bar exudes a laid-back vibe that carries through its dinner menu of casual surf 'n' turf dishes favored by a regular clientele of North Shore boardriders. Test your hunger's waters with the Breakers Cakers ($12.95), crab cakes plated with a zesty homemade tropical salsa and a creamy garlic mayo. The beer-battered fish ($16.95) cloaks a fresh catch in a crispy, suds-laced jump suit, and the Hawaiian burger ($11.95) sports a festive pattern of grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, and traditional fixings. With prowess over land and sea, the surf 'n' turf entree ($23.95) tackles barren bellies with coconut shrimp and an 8-ounce new york strip steak. Breakfast and lunch menus ably accommodate morning wave riders and morning DJs done surfing radio waves.
Universe Juice Café harnesses solar energy to blend and squeeze organic fruit into refreshing drinks that complement a menu of fresh, healthy fare. The Mantra smoothie mixes together berries, bananas, papayas, and positive thoughts ($6.75), and the Malo Man swaggers out of the blender with banana, ginger, pa'i 'ai, and noni ($6.50), and refuses to ask directions to the nearest glass. Signature poke bowls layer spicy or shoyu-style Hawaiian ahi over rice ($8) and kale ($10.50), as savory naan flatbread paninis embrace vegetable and turkey fillings ($8.50+). Universe Juice Café's warm-colored walls and intimate café seating abut a wood-topped juice bar, creating a cozy atmosphere for dining, drinking, and blending in time to live music showcases.
When a canoe enters the lagoon at Polynesian Cultural Center, its passengers transcend time, distance, and the need for a passport. The boat drifts to the shores of different exhibits, each of which represents a unique Polynesian region. At the Samoa section, for instance, visitors learn how to spark a fire and cook native cuisine. Nearby, the sounds of the haka—a lively war dance—ring through the Aotearoa area, while rhythmic drumming permeates the Fiji and Tonga exhibits. Those who stop by the miniature Tahiti can learn a traditional dance, and guests of the Hawaiian village observe skilled artists weaving leis.
For a cultural cap on an exploratory day, patrons can upgrade their general admission ticket and attend the nightly Ali'i Luau. A celebratory feast is laid out, including authentic Hawaiian cuisine and a whole pig roasted in an underground oven. Alternatively, guest can upgrade to even more evening entertainment, Ha: Breath of Life. During this show, more than 100 Polynesian performers dance, play music, and toss fire to tell an epic story. Dinner is not included with Ha: Breath of Life.
After falling in love with Wahiawa upon his first visit, master coffee-brewer Mike Richards quickly plotted a way to join the community’s eclectic crowd on a more permanent basis. The fruition of this aim, Perk-A-Lot Coffee & Sandwich Shop, marries Wahiawa’s uplifting spirit with a low-key ambiance and delicious coffeehouse fare. Since opening its doors in 2011, this up-and-coming spot has evolved into a cherished hangout for locals and coffee connoisseurs on pilgrimages from nearby islands.Mike and his friendly staff of baristas prepare café beverages behind simple wooden counters, pairing iced or steaming drinks with handmade wraps and sandwiches. When they aren’t sitting down to enjoy pastries such as lemon scones and fudge brownies, visitors can walk across the café’s checkerboard floor to view the local art that adorns the walls. On Friday nights, local poets and musicians stage performances for crowds, who signal their approval by snapping and pelting the stage with packets of sugar.
Featured on the Food Network, Chef Elmer Guzman harvests the sea’s bounty to proffer a menu that combines polyflavorful batches of the classic Hawaiian dish, poke, with other varieties of sea fare at Poke Stop, a combination seafood market and upscale eatery. Marinated cubes of tender raw fish dance with Hawaiian sea salt and seaweed, sashaying across a near-infinite spectrum of ingredient possibilities to help the chef keep more than 25 varieties of freshly prepared and chilled poke in stock at any given time. Try the spicy Korean octopus poke for internat ional ocean zing, or take a smaller leap of food faith with one of several salmon varieties ($8.99–$14.99/ lb.). Chef Guzman’s Asian-food expertise graces dishes such as the deconstructed sushi bowl, piled high with blackened ahi sashimi and Asian shrimp, with a garnish of ginger and grated metanarratives ($9.95). A coating of the chef’s house blend of herbs and spices prepares an island fish for blackening in the fires of culinary acumen ($8.95), and the seafood combo pits seared island poke against furikaki salmon belly in a struggle for savory supremacy ($7.95).