[food] Top 3 Poke Picks in Honolulu

So since my last post (in April – ridiculous, I know) a lot has happened in my life… I went to Chicago (posts on that are in my drafts as we speak), I got engaged, and I got married.

Like I said, a lot happened. Yes, the Man and I got engaged and tied the knot, and for our honeymoon we went to Hawaii. I fell in love with Honolulu the last time I was there over a year and a half ago, and the Man decided he needed to see what the fuss was all about.

But not to worry, I knew he would love it – and I knew he would love poke. Poke is a favorite in Hawaii – some kind of fish (ahi tuna is the most popular) marinated in a sauce (usually shoyu, or soy sauce, based) and often served over rice, though just as delicious on its own. The dish is becoming quite popular here in Korea, and though I’ve tried many of the purported “hotspots” here in Seoul, it doesn’t do it justice to what they do with ahi in Hawaii.

We had poke once a day the whole week we were there, with the exception of one of the days (we’re both regretting that day now). Here are our three favorite spots! (Apologies to the locals who are shaking their heads at this tourist, but if you have any places you’d recommend, write them in the comments below – we’d be happy to check them out on our next trip!)

  1. ONO Seafoods

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By far ONO was my favorite poke spot. We were fortunate to be able to get a seat on our first visit as we went at an odd hour, but the next time we tried to go there was a line out to the sidewalk.

ONO has some of the freshest fish in the city, and their menu is ridiculously simple. Poke bowls come in regular or large, and white or brown rice. You get a choice of drink and your choice of poke, but if you want a combination of pokes, then you tack on 50 cents. You can also get poke by the pound, but we decided to go for the poke bowls.

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Seating is all outdoors and it. is. hot. But it’s all worth it for this gloriousness. ONO’s doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. It’s just good, fresh, poke. Sides are available to purchase indoors, but we didn’t wanna mess around with this thing of beauty.

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  1. Da Hawaiian Poke Company

Our next favorite was Da Hawaiian Poke Company – simply because of its ease. Honestly, this place was like Chipotle for Poke: you walked in, you chose size, rice, poke, side – they wrapped it up for you and you were on your way.

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It was the easiest experience I had, and when we had run into the ONO-line-fiasco, this was our go-to second option. Service is quick, and while there are tables outside, it seemed like most people were getting their food and peacing out.

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We loved the sides here: the “ocean salad” which was a wakame salad, cut the flavors nicely, while the potato salad (more like a spaghetti+potato salad) was creamy and delicious.

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  1. Fresh Catch

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Our last pick for the top three was Fresh Catch – this seemed to be a local favorite as we went inside and there were no tourists in site, but mostly local day laborers who were looking for a cool place to eat, talk, and chill.

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Fresh Catch had other foods available including plate lunches, but we had our eyes on the poke (as usual). They had a plethora to choose from, and the server was kind enough to let us sample some flavors before we decided on four (yes, four) different types of poke.

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Despite us having eaten all this, the Man decided he was still hungry and went back for seconds.

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Clearly, we had a great time in Hawaii trying all the different types of Poke. Again, if you have any other (or even better???) suggestions, we’re all ears. We’re already planning our next trip!

If you’d like to visit the places we mentioned in this post, here are the addresses. Please note that they may have other locations! Always check hours of operation before heading out, as different places on the island have different days of rest!

  1. ONO Seafood: 747 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
  2. Da Hawaiian Poke Company: 870 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
  3. Fresh Catch: 3109 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

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