UPDATED MAR 5, 2020
For a state known for fresh fish, Hawaii sure has a lot to offer when it comes to vegetarian and vegan eats. Oahu may not have the greatest amount of veggie restaurants, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up with quality.
Smoothies? Sandwiches? Salads? Sweets? Peace Cafe on South King St. has one of the most diverse vegan menus on the island. The Heart & Seoul bibimbap with yuzu carrots, sesame, and miso paste is truly special. On a hot day, be sure to try their lemonade, made with turmeric, mint, and berries. The extra-mellow, farmhouse vibe of the sunny interior only adds to its charm.
Want to pair your vegetarian and vegan food with a chill ambiance? Water Drop Vegetarian House is run by the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple, a sanctuary located just upstairs from the dining area. The inside may look simple, but the kitchen produces some of the best vegetarian food in Honolulu’s downtown area. Water Drop posts photos of their daily menu on their Facebook page, so you’ll have a chance to daydream about their food until it’s time for lunch.
This local favorite for Indian cuisine is almost always busy, and once you taste the food, you’ll see why. The menu has a huge selection of vegetarian options, from curry to samosas. Can’t decide what to get? They offer a vegetarian sampler with rice, naan, and a selection of their most popular vegetarian dishes.
Local, organic, and all vegan, it doesn’t get much better than Leahi Health. All four locations on Oahu pride themselves on supporting local farmers and bringing vegan options to the community. Their Rainbow Bowl is loaded with delicious ingredients that are sure to fill you up, like brown rice, avocado, goji berries, and more. Pair your food with one of their smoothies or house-made kombucha, and you’ll be good to go.
Being on the go doesn’t have to mean sacrificing health. Tucker and Bevvy offers healthy options for a grab-and-go breakfast or lunch. We suggest the avocado toast or mango-mac nut bread for breakfast, and go with a salad-grain bowl for lunch (all can be conveniently packed to go). Their Veggie Stack panini, meanwhile, combines eggplant, sweet potato, provolone, basil, and other veggies on organic sprouted grain bread — it’s a vegan’s dream sandwich.
One of the best things about Loving Hut is that despite being a worldwide chain, the menu is different at every location. The company believes in the uniqueness of every city and takes that into consideration when designing a menu. The location on King St. caters to local options like vegan stir-fry, pho, and their Rainbow Sandwich (vegan ham, cashew pâté, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, and cilantro).
Don’t worry about disappointing your meat-eating friends when you pick Vegan Hills on Waialae Ave. for brunch or dinner. The meals here are satisfying enough for everyone! Highlights for this spot are their nachos, tofu scrambles, Jalepeno Mac, Tunot Melt (made from jackfruit), and, well, can we just name everything on the menu? It's that good.
Not only does Da Spot cater to Oahu’s vegetable-lovers, but it also focuses on foods from around the world. Their goal is to challenge their customers' palates, all while keeping meals fresh, healthy, affordable, and imaginative (something we can all get behind). In the mood for something cold? Choose a smoothie from their menu of 35 (yes, 35!) different choices.
One of the only Burmese restaurants on the island, Dagon is perfect for those vegans and vegetarians who like a little more spice in their lives. The popular Tea Leaf Salad here keeps people coming back time and time again, so we recommend starting there. The menu points out which items are vegetarian and which ones can be modified as vegetarian — a helpful tool when navigating the extensive choices.
With the restaurant situated in the heart of Oahu’s farming community, the good people at 'Ai Love Nalo don’t have to go far for some of the island’s freshest organic produce. Their 100% plant-based menu focuses on food that is both beautiful and delicious (with a Hawaiian twist, of course). Customers go crazy for their Buddha Bowl with house-made kimchi ginger dressing.
Shaloha is hands-down one of the best places for Mediterranean food on Oahu. Grab a falafel pita sandwich with crunchy red cabbage and house-made hummus, or try the grilled eggplant with turmeric rice and Israeli cucumber salad. Even better, they make the pita bread themselves, using no shortening, dairy, or eggs.
This Bishop Square counter market has no frills, but we don’t mind. ‘Umeke Market’s food speaks for itself. Whether you’re craving tacos, a salad, burger, or a creamy smoothie, this is your daytime spot in the city. We recommend the Lentil Loaf Sandwich on ciabatta with all the fixings. You can also create your own plate with a base and sides, or order a platter to go to feed a crowd. Need a tip? The Mix Plate Set with pono chili, Korean “chicken”, bombay spinach, red lentils, organic salad greens, and rice is absolutely drool-worthy.
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