6 Best Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ Spots

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Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ is not just a dish; it’s an experience and a delicious one too. 

Imagine the warm, tropical breeze of Hawaii, the sound of waves gently lapping at the shore, and the tantalizing aroma of BBQ wafting through the air. 

Now, imagine enjoying all of this while savoring a plate of succulent, smoky, and perfectly grilled meats. 

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, this dream can be your reality when you embark on a culinary adventure to Waikiki, Hawaii.

Let’s dive into the world of Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ and discover what makes it a must-try for any food lover.

The History of Hawaiian BBQ

Hawaiian BBQ, also known as “Huli Huli Chicken,” is a culinary tradition that has been a part of the Hawaiian culture for centuries. 

The term “Huli Huli” translates to “turn turn” in Hawaiian, a phrase that encapsulates the traditional method of cooking the meat on a spit, constantly turning it to achieve that perfect, smoky flavor.

The roots of Hawaiian BBQ can be traced back to the Polynesian voyagers who first settled on the islands. 

These early settlers brought with them their traditional cooking methods, which included roasting meat over an open fire. 

Over time, these techniques evolved and were influenced by the diverse cultures that came to call Hawaii home.

In the 1950s, a local businessman named Ernest Morgado took this traditional cooking method and added his own twist, creating what we now know as Huli Huli Chicken. 

Morgado’s recipe, which included a unique marinade made from pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar, quickly became a hit. 

The sweet and tangy flavor of the marinade, combined with the smoky flavor from the grill, resulted in a dish that was distinctly Hawaiian.

Today, Hawaiian BBQ is not just a popular dish in Hawaii, but it has also gained recognition worldwide. 

From food trucks in Los Angeles to restaurants in Tokyo, the unique flavors of Hawaiian BBQ have captured the taste buds of food lovers around the globe. 

Despite its global popularity, the heart of Hawaiian BBQ remains in the islands, where it continues to be a beloved part of local cuisine and culture.

waikiki hawaiian bbq

The Waikiki BBQ Experience

When you step into a Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ restaurant, you’re not just entering an eatery; you’re stepping into a slice of Hawaiian culture. 

The warm, inviting atmosphere, the friendly staff, and, of course, the mouth-watering aroma of BBQ all contribute to an unforgettable dining experience.

The Magic of Hawaiian BBQ

The secret to the irresistible taste of Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ lies in its unique preparation method. 

The meat is marinated in a special sauce, a blend of sweet and savory flavors, before being grilled to perfection. 

The result? A dish that’s bursting with flavor and cooked to tender, juicy perfection.

Must-Try BBQ Spots in Waikiki

#1. The Ala Wai Location

One of the most popular spots to enjoy this culinary delight is the Ala Wai location.

Nestled in the heart of Waikiki, this restaurant is a favorite among both locals and tourists.

Its prime location offers easy access to the beach, shopping centers, and other local attractions.

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But what truly sets it apart is its fantastic view of the Ala Wai Canal.

As you savor your meal, you can enjoy the serene sight of the canal, with its calm waters reflecting the vibrant colors of the sunset.

The restaurant’s outdoor seating area provides the perfect setting for this picturesque dining experience.

In addition to the view, the Ala Wai location is known for its friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere.

Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a quick lunch or planning a romantic dinner, this location offers an experience that goes beyond just food.

So next time you’re in Waikiki, make sure to stop by the Ala Wai location.

Enjoy a plate of delicious Hawaiian BBQ while soaking in the beauty of the island.

It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

waikiki hawaiian bbq

#2. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

For a twist on the traditional BBQ, head over to Gyu-Kaku.

This Japanese BBQ, or yakiniku, restaurant offers a unique dining experience that’s interactive and fun.

At Gyu-Kaku, you’re not just a diner; you’re also the chef.

Each table is equipped with a built-in grill, allowing you to cook your own meats right at your table.

The menu offers a wide variety of meats, including premium cuts of beef, pork, and chicken, all marinated in delicious, flavorful sauces.

There’s also a selection of seafood and vegetables that you can grill to your liking.

But the experience at Gyu-Kaku isn’t just about the food.

The restaurant’s cozy, inviting atmosphere makes it a great place for gatherings.

Whether you’re planning a date night, a family dinner, or a get-together with friends, Gyu-Kaku offers an environment that’s perfect for creating memorable moments.

The staff at Gyu-Kaku are friendly and attentive, always ready to assist you with your grilling needs or recommend the best items on the menu.

And let’s not forget the drinks.

Gyu-Kaku offers a selection of beverages, including sake and Japanese beer, that perfectly complement the grilled dishes.

So if you’re looking for a unique BBQ experience in Waikiki, Gyu-Kaku is a must-visit.

Enjoy the thrill of grilling your own food and savor the delicious flavors of Japanese BBQ.

It’s a culinary adventure that’s sure to delight your taste buds.

#3. Tex 808 BBQ Grill & Brewery

Craving for some Texas-style BBQ? Tex 808 has got you covered.

This restaurant brings the bold, hearty flavors of Texas BBQ right to the heart of Waikiki.

At Tex 808, the meats are slow-smoked over a wood fire, a process that imparts a deep, smoky flavor that’s characteristic of Texas BBQ.

The menu features a variety of meats, including brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, all cooked to tender, juicy perfection.

But it’s not just the BBQ that’s worth raving about at Tex 808.

This place is also a brewery, offering a selection of craft beers that are brewed in-house.

From crisp, refreshing lagers to rich, full-bodied stouts, there’s a beer to suit every palate.

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The beers at Tex 808 are crafted to complement the flavors of the BBQ, making for a dining experience that’s truly satisfying.

The restaurant itself has a rustic, laid-back vibe that’s reminiscent of a Texas roadhouse.

With its wooden tables, vintage decor, and friendly staff, Tex 808 offers a dining experience that’s as comforting as the food it serves.

Whether you’re a BBQ enthusiast or a craft beer lover, Tex 808 is a place that’s sure to impress.

So why not take a break from the beach and head over to Tex 808?

Enjoy a plate of slow-smoked BBQ and a pint of craft beer, and experience a taste of Texas right in Waikiki.

#4. Matsuri Tori Ton

For those who love chicken, Matsuri Tori Ton is a must-visit.

Located in the bustling heart of Waikiki, Matsuri Tori Ton specializes in yakitori, a popular Japanese dish that features grilled chicken skewers.

But this isn’t your average chicken dish.

At Matsuri Tori Ton, the chicken is marinated in a special sauce before being grilled over charcoal, resulting in skewers that are flavorful, juicy, and perfectly charred.

The menu offers a variety of yakitori options, from classic chicken thighs and breasts to more adventurous choices like chicken liver and heart.

But the culinary delights at Matsuri Tori Ton don’t stop at yakitori.

The restaurant also offers a range of other Japanese dishes, including ramen, sushi, and izakaya-style small plates.

And to wash it all down, there’s a selection of Japanese beers, sake, and shochu.

The restaurant itself exudes a warm, inviting ambiance, with its wooden interiors and traditional Japanese decor.

The staff is friendly and attentive, adding to the overall enjoyable dining experience.

Whether you’re a yakitori aficionado or trying it for the first time, Matsuri Tori Ton is a place that’s sure to delight.

So next time you’re in Waikiki, why not stop by Matsuri Tori Ton?

Enjoy a skewer (or two) of their delicious yakitori, and immerse yourself in a truly authentic Japanese dining experience.

waikiki hawaiian bbq

#5. Sundays

Sundays is a hidden gem in Waikiki that offers a unique BBQ experience.

Tucked away from the bustling streets, this restaurant is a haven for BBQ lovers.

At Sundays, the focus is on quality and flavor.

Their menu features a variety of meats, including succulent pork belly and tender short ribs, all cooked to perfection over an open flame.

Each dish is expertly seasoned and cooked just right, resulting in BBQ that’s flavorful, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender.

But it’s not just the BBQ that makes Sundays worth a visit.

The restaurant also offers a selection of side dishes, from creamy mac and cheese to fresh, vibrant salads, all designed to complement the flavors of the BBQ.

And let’s not forget about the drinks.

Sundays offers a range of beverages, including craft beers and cocktails, that are the perfect accompaniment to a BBQ meal.

The restaurant itself has a relaxed, casual vibe, with its rustic decor and outdoor seating area.

The staff is friendly and welcoming, adding to the overall enjoyable dining experience.

Whether you’re a BBQ enthusiast or just looking for a great place to eat in Waikiki, Sundays is a place that’s sure to impress.

So why not make your Sunday (or any day of the week) special by visiting Sundays?

Enjoy a plate of delicious BBQ, relax in the laid-back atmosphere, and discover why this place is a hidden gem in Waikiki.

#6. Steak Shack

For steak lovers, Steak Shack is a must-visit.

Located just a stone’s throw away from the beach, Steak Shack is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

This humble eatery specializes in steak plates that are not only delicious but also affordable.

At Steak Shack, the steaks are marinated in a special sauce before being grilled to perfection.

The result is a steak that’s tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor.

Each steak plate comes with a generous serving of rice and salad, making for a complete, satisfying meal.

But it’s not just the food that makes Steak Shack a standout.

The restaurant’s location, right next to Waikiki Beach, offers diners a fantastic view of the ocean.

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There’s nothing quite like enjoying a delicious steak while watching the sunset over the Pacific.

The staff at Steak Shack are friendly and efficient, ensuring that you have a great dining experience.

Despite its popularity, the restaurant maintains a laid-back, casual vibe that’s perfectly in tune with the beachside setting.

So if you’re a steak lover looking for a great meal in Waikiki, make sure to check out Steak Shack.

Enjoy a plate of their delicious steak, soak in the beachside views, and see for yourself why this place is a favorite among locals.

Exploring Oahu

While in Hawaii, make sure to explore the island of Oahu. 

With its stunning landscapes and exciting activities, it’s no wonder it’s a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. 

From hiking the best trails to taking surfing lessons, there’s something for everyone.

waikiki hawaiian bbq

Things to Do in Oahu

Looking for ideas on what to do in Oahu? Here are some suggestions:

Hiking: Oahu is home to some of the best hikes in Hawaii. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail for you.

Surfing: No trip to Hawaii would be complete without trying your hand at surfing. There are plenty of surf schools that offer lessons for beginners.

Kayaking: For a more relaxed activity, consider kayaking. It’s a great way to explore the island’s beautiful coastline.

Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by attending a luau, visiting a historical site, or learning about the island’s rich history.

Local Cuisine: Don’t forget to try the local cuisine. From fresh seafood to tropical fruits, there’s a lot to savor.

Whether you’re a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or someone looking for a unique cultural experience, a trip to Waikiki and a taste of Hawaiian BBQ is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.


What is the best time to visit Waikiki?

The best time to visit Waikiki is either from April to June or September to December. During these periods, the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are smaller.

What other foods should I try in Hawaii?

Apart from BBQ, other must-try foods in Hawaii include poke, loco moco, and shave ice.

Are there vegetarian options in Hawaiian BBQ?

Yes, many Hawaiian BBQ restaurants offer vegetarian options, including grilled vegetables and salads.

What should I pack for my trip to Hawaii?

Pack light, breathable clothing, a swimsuit, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes for hiking.

Can I take a cooking class to learn how to make Hawaiian BBQ?

Yes, there are several cooking classes available in Waikiki where you can learn how to make Hawaiian BBQ.

Now that you know all about Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ, are you ready to plan your culinary adventure to Hawaii? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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