Honolulu

Eat Your Way Around the Island at These Oahu Pizza Shops

Flour & Barley Waikiki
Flour & Barley Waikiki
Flour & Barley Waikiki

We know, we know. People don’t come to Hawaii looking for good pizza (good poke, spam musubi, and loco moco, though, is a different story). But what visitors may not know is that the island of Oahu is home to some pretty amazing pies — and our pizza scene is getting better every year. From massive, New York-style slices to thick Sicilian squares to pizzas topped with local specialties like Kalua pork and Big Island goat cheese, there’s a crusty creation for every mood. Here, 15 pizza joints to eat your way around the island.

Amina Pizzeria

Est. 1994 | Ala Moana
Classic and French bread pies along with pastas and calzones

Honolulu’s only Halal Italian restaurant (Halal refers to food considered permissible according to Islamic law and includes certain cuts of meat and forgoing pork), Amina serves up classic pies along with French bread pizzas with toppings like mushrooms, Italian meatballs, fresh spinach, and pepperoni. Owner/chef Amina Chau also doles out bubbly baked pastas, Italian subs, and a solid array of calzones. Though it originally opened in Kailua, the restaurant moved to its current small space on Kalakaua more than a decade ago.

Bar 35 Hawaii
Bar 35 Hawaii
Bar 35 Hawaii

Bar 35

Est. 2005 | Chinatown
Snack-like pizzas that leave room for a beer or three

Chinatown haunt Bar 35 may be best known for its extensive beer selection (over 200 choices!), but its oblong, thin-crust, almost cracker-like pies are a close second. Presented on rectangular wood paddles, the pizza offerings from master chef Francesco Valentini are both a nod to crispy, Roman-style crusts and a fusion interpretation, with toppings like tzatziki, smoked salmon, and kalua pork. Try the Sweet Bangkok — done with Chinese sausage, sweet chili sauce, cilantro, and mozzarella — that’s big enough to share, but you might not want to. For drink specials and discounted pizzas and pupus, come during happy hour, 4-9pm Tuesday through Friday and all night on Mondays.¬†

Big Kahuna's pizza 'n stuffs Hawaii
Big Kahuna’s pizza ‘n stuffs Hawaii
Big Kahuna’s pizza ‘n stuffs Hawaii

Big Kahuna’s Pizza ‘n Stuffs

Est. 1993 | Kalihi
Made-to-order personal pan pizzas

Now located in a strip mall near the airport, this no-frills establishment has been serving local-style deep(ish)-dish pan pizzas since the grunge era. The dough is made fresh daily, and baked to a well-done golden crisp, before getting topped with meaty options like kalua pork, BBQ chicken, and beef brisket along with a smattering for veggie toppings. Each pie — available in 7-inch and 12-inch pans — is custom baked, so if you’re in a rush, it’s best to call ahead. And one last thing: garlic cheese balls baked in butter. Just do it.
 

Bob’s Pizzeria

Est. 2007 | Kailua 
Gargantuan slices with classic toppings in a shopping center 

Big is the name of the game at this East Coast-style pizza joint within the Kailua Beach Center where each slice is a full quarter of a 19-inch pie — and easily splittable depending on how hungry you are. Bob’s keeps things simple on the topping side with traditional options like mushrooms, peppers, anchovies, sausage, and pepperoni. Bonus: You can enjoy your pie at a table out on the patio, complete with old-school, red-checkered-tablecloths.

Brick Fire Tavern
Brick Fire Tavern
Brick Fire Tavern

Brick Fire Tavern

2016 | Chinatown
Authentic Neapolitan pizza with housemade mozzarella in a brick-walled space

Owner Matthew Resich studied pizza-making with master pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia in Naples, Italy, prior to opening Hawaii’s only¬†Vera Pizza Napoletana-certified¬†pizzeria inside this historic brick-walled space in Chinatown. The kitchen crew has not only perfected that authentically charred-and-crispy-meets-chewy crust, but also makes its own mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce daily. The classic margherita is killer, but if it’s toppings you’re after, the meaty Mama Mia is piled with Italian sausage, sopressata, prosciutto, and hot peppers while the rich Carbonara is layered with a b√©chamel, smoked pancetta, and local egg yolk.

Brick Oven Pizza Hawaii
Brick Oven Pizza Hawaii
Brick Oven Pizza Hawaii

Brick Oven Pizza

Est. 1977 | Various locations
Local chain with tons and tons of menu options

This local brand has been a Garden Isle favorite for decades, but made its way to Oahu in recent years. Pizza sizes range from small (eight slices), medium (10 slices), to large (12 slices) and are available in white, wheat, or gluten-free dough. Tough time deciding? Go for its classic hearth-baked UltiMeat, which may just be a meat lover’s fantasy thanks to a carnivorous blend of Portuguese sausage, smoked ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and beef. Most locations do a daily afternoon happy hour from 2pm to 6pm.

Flour and Barley Waikiki
Flour and Barley Waikiki
Flour and Barley Waikiki

Flour & Barley

Est. 2016 | Waikiki
Modern brick-fire pizza in an al-fresco setting

Traditional and modern Italian-American pizzas live at this open-air beer and pizza restaurant at International Marketplace, which operates a sister outpost in Vegas. The menu is divided into rossa (San Marzano tomato sauce) and blanca (garlic cream sauce) pies. Opt for traditional go-tos like margherita or pepperoni-and-cheese or local specialties including the red-sauced Aloha Pie with Spam, smoked bacon, and slices of Maui Golds. The white mushroom pie gets a little luxe with truffle cheese and truffle oil.  Bonus: Double happy hour runs from 2pm to 6pm and 10pm to close daily. 

Garibaldi’s

Est. 2019 | Kaka’ako
Thick, Sicilian-style pizza sold by the square 

Named for the great aunt and uncle of owner Jared Brown (a New York City native who also owns adjacent rice bowl/sandwich stall Fat Cheeks), this brand-new pizzeria at Ohana Hale Marketplace focuses exclusively on Sicilian-style pies — those thick, rectangular pizzas baked on sheet pans and sold whole or by the square. Garibaldi’s hearty pizzas come out with a perfectly charred crust and a variety of toppings, including the shop’s signature white pie done with garlicky spinach and mushrooms.¬†

Impossible’s Pizza

Est. 2014 | North Shore
Take-out food truck with oversized pies by the beach

Named for a shore break in Bali, this one-man mobile pizza truck doesn’t, as its name suggests, make tracking down a slice impossible, but it is pretty tough. You’ll find IP parked between Sunset Beach and Waimea, but it’s open just three days a week or less, has no social media presence, and closes up after it’s sold out (oh, and it’s cash only). So it’s best to call and make sure it’s up and running that day and still has pies for sale or better yet, order ahead to avoid the rush. Pizzas by the slice are limited, and be prepared to invest in a gargantuan pie so big, the crust runneth over the box. Add a side of homemade ranch dipping sauce in which to dunk your naked leftover crusts for optimal enjoyment.¬†

J. Dolan’s

Est. 2008 | Downtown
Lively Irish pub with reliably delicious New York-style pies

It’s a fact: This Downtown Irish pub and pizzeria has one of the best New York-style pies on the island. The secret may be its hand-tossed dough folded with a touch of Guinness, or it might be the toppings made from fresh produce, or perhaps it’s the simple pairing of ice-cold beer and hot slices. Regardless, this local institution has become a favorite for pizza lovers for a reason.

J&B Pizza
J&B Pizza
J&B Pizza

J&B Pizza

Est. 2019 | Manoa
Rebranded pizzeria with farmers’ market ingredients and meatball pies

After taking over the space that previously housed Serrino’s Pizza at Manoa Marketplace, the new J&B (owned by two guys named Jason and Brian) have continued to bake up perfect pies with fresh-made dough, including a gluten-free version. They source fresh produce from Manoa’s fabled farmers market and proudly boast that they’re home to Oahu’s only meatball-and-ranch-dressing pizza … just in case you were looking.

Kaimuki’s Boston Pizza

Est. 1996 | Kaimuki 
Oversized pies in a Boston sports-themed space

The longstanding slice spot is still using the same recipes for its daily-made dough and sauce derived from whole crushed tomatoes as it was back when it opened more than two decades ago. The results are 19-inch, Boston-style pies that yield big foldable slices. The shop’s “premium select” pizzas are made for meat lovers with offerings like The Hogfather (topped with roasted pork, BBQ sauce, tomato, onion, jalape√Īo, and sweet peppers) and the BLT (gorgonzola, applewood bacon, spinach, tomato and garlic). If you’re not a Boston fan, avert your eyes: The place is heavy on New England team jerseys and memorabilia.¬†

Steve Czerniak
Steve Czerniak
Steve Czerniak

Moku Kitchen

Est. 2016 | Kaka’ako
Live music and gourmet pizzas made with local ingredients

Like all of Peter Merriman’s restaurants, most everything on the menu is made from scratch with ingredients that are locally sourced — down to the ketchup. Pizzas aren’t the sole star at his sprawling, industrial-influenced Kaka’ako eatery (hello, Hawaii beef burgers and 29-degree craft beers on tap), but the small-but-mighty roster of pies often steals the show. The pizza dough is aged for three days, hand tossed, and baked at 700 degrees. Creations include a rotisserie roasted veggie pie with Big Island CheŐÄvre, basil, and mac-nut pesto. You can try one for $9 during happy hour, which runs daily from 3-5:30pm with a side of live music starting at 4pm.

Courtesy of Proof Public House
Courtesy of Proof Public House
Courtesy of Proof Public House

Proof Public House

Est. 2015 | Downtown
Dive bar with creative specialty pies

Maybe you’ve stumbled into this alley bar after discovering J. Dolan’s kitchen was closed, but stayed because there’s actually room to sit down and somebody’s got to satiate your late-night pizza needs. The eatery offers slices and 13-inch, build-your-own pies, but if you’re looking for something you’re not going to find at another island pizzeria, go for one of its wild specialty pies. There’s one with smoked duck and a sage cream sauce and the locally inspired Kauai Chicken is smothered in macadamia cream sauce, roast chicken, papaya, and pineapple. Vegans will find 17 veggie-friendly toppings in addition almond-based cheese.¬†

Sophie’s Gourmet Hawaiian Pizzeria

Est. 2016 | Hawaii Kai
Design-your-own pies and guava-infused crust 

If you’re the micro-manager type — or just like your pizza exactly like you like it — this DIY palace is your spot. You’ll get to customize everything here, from the dough (choose from Sophie’s original, gluten-free, or guava-infused), to the sauce (cilantro-tomato pesto and zesty Sriracha red are among the options), then pile on the toppings ranging from Kalamata olives to Korean BBQ beef in addition to traditional faves like Italian sausage, bell peppers, and basil. After that, it’s off to the handcrafted, rotating stone-floor brick oven, which blisters the crust to an expert crisp. If you’re finding the endless options too overwhelming, try any of Sophie’s picks, including the signature style created with Parmesan, mozzarella, tomatoes, spiced salami, and fresh arugula, garnished with goat cheese shavings and truffle oil.Sign up here for our daily Honolulu email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Lizbeth Scordo is a food, travel, and lifestyle writer — and is positive she could win a pizza-eating contest. Follow her pondering competitive eating on Instagram @modlizbeth and Twitter @LALizbeth.

Honolulu

Actually Cool Things You Can Do in Honolulu This Winter

From festive light shows to forest bathing and chocolate making, we've got you covered.

Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Queen Kapiolani Hotel

You don’t have to spend these glorious warm and sunny days locked up indoors. Finding cool, safe things to do around Honolulu during the pandemic may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With new activities popping up around the island this season, holiday traditions can still be enjoyed, albeit with strict social distancing guidelines in place. So read on for more details on all the fun things you can do this winter on Oahu.

Experience a drive-thru holiday light extravaganza

$$
Ongoing through January 9
Get ready to drive through a dazzling display of colorful LED lights choreographed to holiday music at “Show Aloha Land” at the Aloha Stadium. Over 1 million synchronized lights dance to holiday music favorites that play through your car radio as you enjoy a 15-20 minute leisurely drive through the light show. After the show, enjoy tasty eats from street food vendors conveniently stationed at the upper parking lot. Enjoy dinner and a show while you make memories watching the 50-foot Mega Christmas tree synchronized to 50 minutes of music. Open daily. Tickets are $50 per vehicle online, with proceeds going to charity. Use the promo code FHBHOLIDAY to receive 10% off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows after 9pm, and 20% off weekday shows (Monday-Thursday) after 9 pm. Guests must remain in their vehicles at all times and wear a face mask when interacting with staff. 

Kuana Torres Kahele
Kuana Torres Kahele
Kuana Torres Kahele

Learn Hula and lei making with Hawaii’s own Kuana Torres

$$
Ongoing
Who said you have to fly all the way to Hawaii to learn how to Hula? As virtual workshops become the new norm, more local artists and educators can share their talents with the world. Renowned Hawaiian musician, songwriter, dancer, and producer Kuana Torres now teaches and shares his love for Hula, lei making, and Hawaiian crafts online. His sell-out Hula classes are offered through Zoom at $40 per class, with beginner classes starting in February 2021. Students can also learn how to make Ni’ihau earrings, Kupe’e shell necklaces, bracelets, or discover the ancient art of tying different Hawaiian cordage types. Order your kit online and have it mailed directly to your home.

Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Queen Kapiolani Hotel

Have a glamorous stay at the Queen Kapi’olani Hotel

$$$
Ongoing

As mainland travelers gear up for their winter holidays in Hawaii, Waikiki is beginning to buzz all over again and the Queen Kapi’olani Hotel is reopening its doors with a fresh new look. Located across from the Honolulu Zoo, with spectacular views of Diamond Head and the famed Waikiki Beach Walls-this hotel is the ideal place for a romantic weekend or family staycation. Their Kama’aina (local) rates are affordable, starting at $133 per night, but hurry-these prices won’t last long. Grab your swimsuit and book early! Note that out-of-state travelers must successfully complete a pre-travel test or be subject to the state’s 14-day quarantine program.

Learn to paint with nature artist Patrick Ching

Free
Every Wednesday through December 25
From now till Christmas, Hawaii’s favorite nature artist will be hosting live Facebook Studio Art Shows every Wednesday at 5 pm. Patrick’s art shows feature an art lesson, a bit of scenic beauty, project updates, and music from his Waimānalo Beach studio. Ching shares helpful technical tips on painting for those who want to improve their technique or just spend a relaxing afternoon doing something different.

Koki's
Koki’s
Koki’s

Take a vegetarian Indian cooking class

$$
December 11, 18, and 25
Enjoy the lush green mountains of Manoa Valley while learning how to cook and create delicious dishes from India. At Koki’s Kitchen, all cooking equipment is provided and you’ll jump right into an entirely hands-on cooking experience with Chef Koki herself! The two-hour class is limited to five participants and comes with complimentary drinks. The best part: all the food prep is done before you arrive, so you can focus on learning and savoring your meal. Classes start at $75.
 

Drive-in to your favorite holiday movie

$$
December 10, 11, 17, and 18

The drive-in has returned in full force over the last few months, popping up in Kailua, Mililani, and now in Honolulu at the Ala Moana Center. Aloha Drive-In Movies screens your favorite Christmas flicks including Elf, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Die Hard. Select a showtime and buy your tickets online, then arrive early to get closer screen viewing. Snacks and drinks are available through pre-order, walk ups, or a QR code then delivered to your car. Pricing starts at $40 per vehicle, up to five people.
 

Make your own chocolate bar

$
Classes every Thursday

Learn everything about chocolate bar making on a one-hour tour where a guide will explain the process from bean to bar in the islands and offer tastings of cacao, as well as a flight of five popular chocolate flavors. Then, try your hand at making your own, incorporating fun flavors like spicy chipotle pepper and caramelized ginger.

Honolulu City Lights
Honolulu City Lights
Honolulu City Lights

Celebrate 35 years of Honolulu City Lights

Free
Throughout December

Honolulu’s stage will be set with all the season’s warmth and nostalgia as its famed Honolulu City Lights illuminate this holiday season. This year, Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele will be donning their face masks at Honolulu Hale, along with the city’s 50-foot, fully decorated Christmas tree. All activities at Honolulu City Lights will be modified, with picture taking in front of displays allowed only if practicing social distancing. Drive-by viewing experiences are encouraged for residents. Visit their website for weekly scheduled televised events.

Relax with a full moon crystal sound bath

$
December 29

Close out 2020 with a relaxing guided meditation and crystal bowl sound healing session led by Mayu Kawasaki. It’s been a stressful year, so use this opportunity to release any lingering tension and take a moment to embrace all that you accomplished and are grateful for. Bring your yoga mat or any props that will help you relax and rest deeply during the sound journey. Enjoy a complimentary cup of coconut kava and bring a pen and journal to capture any meditative thoughts. The two-hour session begins at 6:30pm and tickets are $33.

Eat, drink, and be merry at Kailua Night Market

Free
December 12 and 19, January 9 and 16, February 6 and 13
Pet adoptions, art, shopping, and delicious ono food are what you can expect at the Kailua Night Market, which takes place two Saturdays each month at 340 Uluniu Street in Kailua from 5 to 9 pm. Over the last two and a half years, Kailua’s family- and pet-friendly popup has become an essential market for promoting the small local businesses on O’ahu’s Windward side, showcasing local food vendors, retailers, and crafts from local entrepreneurs in a celebration of culture and connection. 

Blue Note Hawaii
Blue Note Hawaii
Blue Note Hawaii

Celebrate A Charlie Brown Christmas with Jazz Musicians

$$
Friday, December 25
You can’t call it Christmas without the Peanuts and their classic holiday shenanigans. Native New Yorker trumpeter Mike Lewis returns to Blue Note Hawaii with A Charlie Brown Christmas, featuring some of Hawaii’s best jazz musicians. The performance will showcase selections from the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, as written by legendary composer and pianist Vince Guaraldi. Time slots are filling up quickly so don’t miss the opportunity to book. Prices range from $25-$35 per person.
 

Run the Hawaii Kai Ultra Marathon

$
December 19 and 20

Challenge yourself with the longest run of your life at the Hawaii Kai Ultra Run. Choose whether to run a half marathon, full marathon, 30K, 50K, 50 Mile, 100K, or 100 Miles. This semi-annual run is held on Oahu’s far east end and designed to challenge new and advanced runners to take on further distances. Start times are flexible on either day with the run beginning at Kalama Valley Community Park. Regular entry is $30 with discounts available, but volunteers who commit to four hours or more will receive free registration and a free event t-shirt. Pre-registration is encouraged and same-day registration increases to $40, with no guarantee of event t-shirts still being available. Ice, drinks, and food are provided. 

Forest Bathing Hawai‘i
Forest Bathing Hawai‘i
Forest Bathing Hawai‘i

Experience Virtual Forest Bathing

$$
Every Thursday and Sunday through January

Join a live online-facilitated nature therapy session from the comfort of your living room, led by a certified forest therapy guide based in Honolulu. The guide will dial in from a trail or green space on the island of Oʻahu, allowing guests to virtually experience Hawaiʻi’s natural and healing beauty through their screens. Attendees will be invited to tune into their senses, slow down, and give their attention to the more-than-human world around them. Prices range from $15 to $25 and complimentary walks are available for first responders, healthcare, and essential workers by emailing [email protected] for a promo code.Sign up here for our daily Honolulu email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Wendy Awai-Dakroub is a Hawaii-based writer, restaurateur, franchise business consultant and founder of kid-friendly food and travel blog. Besides her love for travel and photography, she’s also “momager” to her kid-foodies Leah and Jaffer. Follow her on Twitter.

Related