Consistently ranked as one of the most vegan friendly states in the U.S., Hawaii boasts a stunning array of plant-based cuisines. From exotic fresh fruits to fully vegan sushi menus, Hawaii’s vegan cuisine reflects its fascinating history as a cultural melting pot. While you can find amazing vegan food on many of Hawaii’s diverse islands, arguably the greatest array of choices is on Oahu.
The most populous of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is also the most visited. Home to the state capital and largest city, Honolulu, it makes sense that it would house many of the state’s most visited restaurants. With an amazing local food scene, it can be easy for vegans to feel left out. Luckily, there are many plant-based options available. Whether you live on Oahu or are planning a visit, be sure to check out some of these amazing restaurants!
Breakfast and Lunch:
1. Olena Cafe
Located in the Ala Moana area, Olena Cafe has delicious caffeinated beverages, smoothies, juices, and healthy foods available. Featuring locally grown produce when possible, Olena is a great spot to grab a healthy breakfast or lunch. Can’t-miss items include their Grilled Pesto Panini and Local Farm Salad. Additionally, they offer tofu musubi. Musubi is a local snack typically made with spam, rice, and nori that can be found throughout the Hawaiian islands. This tofu version is a great way for vegans to try them out!
With locations in Kailua and Haleiwa, Beet Box Cafe offers a wide variety of both vegetarian and vegan options. You really can’t go wrong with anything you order, it’s all delicious!
Located inside Celestial Natural Foods on Oahu’s North Shore, Cosmic Kitchen features vegan sandwiches, soups, and other treats. Perfect for grabbing on the way to a beach picnic, Cosmic Kitchen uses local and housemade ingredients for many of their items. The Breakfast Sandwich and their Limeade are some favorites!
4. Peace Cafe
Peace Cafe is 100% vegan and makes the majority of their goods on site. Founded by a former Japanese restaurant chef, Peace Cafe aims to deliver healthy food that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Try out their Katsu Plate or Yakisoba and follow it up with one of their many delectable vegan desserts.
5. Leahi Health
With various locations around the island, Leahi Health serves up plant-based bowls, tacos, and smoothies. They source their fruits and veggies locally. Pair their house made kombucha with some Rainbow Tacos for a delicious, veggie packed lunch.
Environmentally friendly, vegan, and woman-owned, Raised by the Waves can be found tucked inside the Kahuku Sugar Mill. For a mouthwatering vegan version of a local favorite, order their vegan spicy beet poke. Raised by the Waves sources local produce, and offers various weekly and seasonal specials depending on availability.
7. Umeke Market
With tons of breakfast and lunch options, Umeke Market is a great place to try a variety of plant based local foods. This includes the ever popular plate lunch as well as Luau!
Craving something sweet? Head to Banan. There, you can find a delicious, creamy nice cream to rival any soft serve. Made from locally grown bananas, Banan is committed to reducing Hawaii’s reliance on imported food.
9. Juicy Brew
Open Friday through Sunday, Juicy Brew is a coffee shop and cafe located in the Kaimuki neighborhood. While their regular menu is delightful, they usually also have an amazing weekly special worth checking out!
10. Local Joe
This local coffee roaster not only boasts a great cup of joe, but also arguably the best vegan breakfast burrito on island! Searching for a souvenir? You can also buy bags of their coffee blends to take home with you.
11. Thuong An Lac
Although their menu can be a little confusing (some items are labeled as pork, beef, or crab) this Vietnamese restaurant is actually entirely vegetarian! Many of the items are also vegan friendly. Operating in Honolulu’s Chinatown, everything here is delicious. However, the bao and the pho are standouts. Parking can be difficult but is available at Maunakea Municipal Parking.
This dedicated gluten free bakery also has lots of vegan options. Perfect for grabbing a light breakfast or snack, there is something for everyone here. The lilikoi guava tea cake is gluten- and dairy-free and the perfect amount of tangy and sweet.
Opened in 2019 by Chef Kin Lui, Chef Raymond Ho, and ocean conservation activist Casson Trenor, Tane is a 100% plant-based Izakaya. Featuring both sushi and hot dishes, this restaurant shows that no fish is necessary for great food. Start with their crispy Brussels sprouts and move on to their beautifully crafted specialty rolls. It can get busy here so be sure to make a reservation and arrive with your whole party.
Formerly known as What It Dough, Floralia is in the process of expanding to a brick and mortar restaurant. In the meantime, you can pick up fully vegan wood fired pizzas, calzones, and more Friday through Sunday from 4–8pm. Their vegan meats and cheeses are made in house. Experience their delicious pesto (made with locally-grown basil), vegan goat cheese, and sausage on one of their most popular offerings—the Pesto Royale Pizza.
AV stands for “All-Vegan” in the case of this fine dining restaurant. Featuring a ten to eleven course tasting menu, this restaurant hopes to offer a “whimsical” high end vegan option in Honolulu. Run by the XO Restaurant Group, AV and its sister restaurants are committed to paying their employees a living wage and providing a space for staff members to learn and grow. If you are interested in dining at AV Restaurant, be sure to make a reservation beforehand.
Blending Japanese style with Hawaiian ingredients, Zigu is located near many of the hotels in Waikiki. Although they serve both vegan and non-vegan items, the fresh local veggies ensure that those who eschew animal products don’t miss out! Enjoy the fun, relaxed ambiance and be sure to try the Orange Turmeric Beer as well as their noodle dishes.
The sister restaurant of Zigu, natuRe offers both a six course plant-based vegan tasting menu and vegan à la carte options. Utilizing French techniques and local ingredients, this restaurant creates a unique and accessible fine dining experience.
6. Wild Orange
This all-vegan speakeasy is located inside Hawaiian Brian’s social club. Indulge in cocktails, vegan snacks, and admire the beautiful stained glass windows. You access the speakeasy through a vending machine so don’t forget to bring a nickel! Reservations are required. This bar has no website or social media, but it is easy to figure out how to get in with a little online sleuthing.
Previously known as Downbeat Diner, The Other Side takes diner classics like Reuben sandwiches, chicken wings, and milkshakes and offers a vegan alternative. Most things on their menu are available in either a meat or plant-based format. Located in Honolulu’s downtown, this is the perfect place to grab a snack at the end of a long night. If you’re craving something sweet, try out one of their boozy vegan milkshakes.
While Namikaze isn’t a typical vegan restaurant, their vegetable-forward philosophy means they have many delightful plant-based dishes. Whether by design or accident, the Farmer Focused section of their dinner menu has many dishes that are vegan and highlight local produce.
This unassuming Vietnamese restaurant near the University of Hawaii at Manoa is BYOB with tons of vegan options. The whole second half of the menu is vegan!
10. Mud Hen Water
Mud Hen Water is located on Waialae Avenue from which it derives its name; waialae actually means mudhen water. Sourcing much of their food from local producers, the menu changes frequently. However, there are always several vegan dishes available.
11. Junpuu Ramen
Although you won’t see any vegan options listed on their menu, all three of Junpuu’s vegetarian ramens can be prepared to be vegan. Located close to the Honolulu Museum of Art, this ramen restaurant has both delicious food and outdoor seating. If you are in the mood for noodles, be sure to check them out.
Already eaten your way through all these places? Don’t worry, there are many other vegan options available on Oahu. As veganism gains popularity for ethical and environmental reasons, more and more businesses continue to embrace sustainable plant based dining. If you have time, check out Oahu’s farmers markets, food trucks, and fruit stands for more delicious vegan options.
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Photo: Alexis Chloe via Unsplash; Madalyn Cox via Unsplash