UPDATED OCT 17, 2019
Thanks to Oahu’s tourism and population, it offers the most diverse amount of top-notch brunch spots. Whether it’s before paddleboarding along the Anahulu River, a cool-down post Koko Head Hike, or simply just meeting up with friends for a Sunday bite, we’ve rounded up the best healthy options for brunch on the island.
After briefly closing their original location in SALT at Our Kaka’ako, ARVO’s new, fully renovated, and gorgeous cafe reopened just a stone's throw away in August 2019. As always, the food and coffee drinks created there are both delicious and beautiful. Their matcha chia seed pudding is topped with blueberries, strawberries, banana, kiwi, shaved coconut, and freshly whipped matcha cream. And definitely try their specialty: the loaded avocado toast with fresh avocado spread, local greens, and cherry tomatoes. If anything, the bright, cheerful atmosphere inside is bound to put you in a great mood to conquer whatever the day throws at you.
Koko Head Cafe offers the ultimate local-style brunch with a gourmet twist. There is always a long wait and a huge list of specials featuring Hawai'i’s best, seasonal ingredients. For instance, The Kitchen Sink Salad changes daily, so you’ll never be bored coming back. Even the frittata is dependent on which fresh veggies the kitchen was able to source that morning. For a filling breakfast that won’t leave you feeling guilty, the menu also has a selection of egg skillets with ingredients like jidori chicken, mushrooms, kimchi, ong choy (Chinese spinach), and carrots. And this is brunch after all, so don’t leave without trying one of their Queen’s Mimosas with sparkling wine, elderflower, and fresh guava juice.
It’s impossible to walk into Kapahulu’s Sweet E’s and not feel instantly comfortable. The family-run establishment is just like walking into someone’s living room — complete with family photos on the wall. The breakfast menu is served all day, with vegetarian options for pretty much everything. Their popular veggie benedict comes with sautéed spinach and tomatoes (and you can add avocado to everything, which is a huge plus in our book). If you’re brunching with someone who prefers something sweeter, the blueberry cream cheese-stuffed french toast is a real crowd-pleaser.
A poke option that’s vegan-friendly? Sign us up! Mud Hen Water in Kaimuki is famous for its inventive menu, casual outdoor seating (yes, you can bring your dog) and their absolute love for modern interpretations of Hawaiian dishes. You can tell that the staff really cares about the food and the kitchen handles local ingredients with the respect they deserve. Ready for flavor? Their Beet Poke combines pickled limu (algae), macadamia nuts, avocado, and fresh beets. Or try the salad with Hawaiian pohole fern, pomelo, pickled red onion, almonds, and shiso leaf.
If you haven’t tried an acai bowl yet, Bogart’s is a great place to start. The customer base here is fiercely loyal, as the debate over who has the best acai bowl on the island rages on. Bogart’s is always on the list, especially for those acai bowl traditionalists who scoff at the fancy bee pollens and cacao nibs found at the more hip locations. Nothing too fancy at this Diamond Head cafe — just good quality acai, granola, honey, and loads of fresh fruit.
This Waikiki spot focuses on organic, local, and all-natural foods. With dishes inspired by different cultures (a perfect theme for the melting pot that is Hawaii), there’s really something for everyone at Heavenly Island Lifestyle. This place also has a healthier version of one of the state’s favorite dishes: the loco moco. Traditionally done with white rice, burger patty, gravy, and a fried egg, Heavenly swaps out the white rice for 10-grain organic rice and lentils, the gravy for ginger soy glaze, the patty for grass-fed Big Island beef, and tops it off with a ton of veggies. Pair it with a freshly squeezed juice or antioxidant-rich smoothie and you’re good to go.
This cozy spot in Haleiwa and in Kailua is good enough to turn anyone vegetarian for a day. Their Zen tofu scramble is a delicious combination of broccoli, onion, carrots, zucchini, brown rice, black beans, avocado, and sunflower sprouts. And think that a flaky-crusted quiche is off-limits those with food allergies? Think again. The Beet Box Cafe makes theirs with a gluten-free crust, a side salad, and a daily selection of vegetables.
Kaimana Farm Cafe on Kapahulu Ave. has made a commitment to feed the community while supporting local farmers. Most of their ingredients are not only grown in Hawaii but grown by farmers that the staff knows personally. Try the Organic Kale Benedict or the Vegetable Quiche with organically grown salad greens. There’s also a list of smoothies to choose from, all made with organic fruits and veggies.
If you find yourself up on Oahu’s North Shore, this family-owned cafe will make you feel right at home. They’ve even got Waimanalo-made Sky Kombucha on tap. Focusing on organic ingredients with a Mexi-Cali twist, they offer menu items like a veggie omelet with island eggs and vegetarian breakfast burritos. Or, try their special smoothie of the day. To top everything off, Cafe Haleiwa is connected to a beer and wine shop next door, so you can get your mimosa on without a pesky corkage fee.
Nothing but good vibes here. And with a purely vegan menu that doesn’t sacrifice flavor, what’s not to love? At Peace Cafe, they fixate on environmentally-sustainable everything, with a deep focus on making sure only the very best things go into your body. Their Tempting Tempeh sandwich uses teriyaki tempeh and an assortment of vegetables to curb your protein cravings. Finish off your brunch with a scoop of vegan ice cream or their almond milk vegan cheesecake.