Hawaii’s capital and its biggest city, Honolulu is one of the most visited places in the U.S. island state. With that said, the capital has an impressive local dining scene that caters to all tastes and diet preferences.
One of the “trends” that has made waves in the city’s culinary scene is plant-based eating; over the years, more and more vegan and vegetarian dining spots have sprung up across Honolulu.
With the state’s rich soil and tropical climate, Hawaii has the ideal environment for growing fresh produce used to make all sorts of plant-based dishes. In Honolulu alone, there are a number of places that serve such meals – from exclusively vegan dining spots to eateries that have vegan-friendly options.
Here is our list of the top 10 vegan-friendly restaurants in Honolulu. (Pro tip: Look for a luggage storage locker in Honolulu where you can temporarily store your items before heading out for a meal.)
Hawaiian people are known for their love of sushi, so it only makes sense that a Japanese restaurant with vegan options has been established in the capital. Founded in March 2019, Tane Vegan Izakaya has quickly become one of the go-to places for vegan Japanese fare.
The restaurant was founded by chef-owner Kin Lui, who also happens to be the man behind the incredibly successful vegan Japanese restaurant Shizen, located in San Francisco.
Tane Vegan Izakaya features a menu that is 100% plant-based and goes way beyond just sushi. Here, you can order “veganized” Japanese favourites such as ramen, gyoza, a variety of roles, and nigiri. The spot is frequented by both vegans and non-vegans who simply want to enjoy some authentic Japanese fare.
Another fully-vegan restaurant that has won the hearts of the plant-based community is Umeke Market. This cafeteria-style dining spot serves a range of organic and vegan dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more. They also serve various beverages and light meals such as soups, detox salads, and smoothies.
Some of the bestsellers at Umeke Market include their BBQ pulled “pork” sandwich and their Korean “chicken”. Apart from serving plant-based meals, the restaurant also makes an effort to be more eco-friendly by using sustainable materials in its packaging and utensils.
Situated along South King Street, just a few steps away from the University of Hawaii, Peace Café is one of the first vegan dining options in the city of Honolulu. Founded by Japanese chef Shota Terai in 2010, the restaurant boasts a diverse menu featuring all-vegan dishes that are prepared using the freshest ingredients.
Some of the signature dishes at Peace Café include the Heart & Seoul bibimbap, vegan poke bowl, BBQ tempeh, curry katsu, and Tex Mex burrito. The café also strictly uses only eco-friendly products for its utensils, cups, napkins, and takeaway containers.
Loving Hut is an international chain of restaurants serving vegan fare and is inspired by veganism advocate Supreme Master Ching Hai. Located along South King Street, this casual dining spot has a fully plant-based menu that features Asian-style meals such as mock beef and broccoli, summer rolls, vegetarian pho, sweet and sour hapa, veggie curry, and their signature golden “nuggets”.
Leahi Health is an all-vegan and organic restaurant that takes pride in supporting local farmers by sourcing raw ingredients from them. The restaurant, which has four locations across Hawaii, has a wide range of delicious and healthy plant-based dishes such as rice bowls, sandwiches, and salads.
One of their bestsellers is the Rainbow Bowl, which is loaded with healthy ingredients such as avocado, brown rice, goji berries, and a whole lot more. They also serve an array of beverages, including their famous homemade kombucha.
Opened in 2010, Simple Joy is a family-owned vegan restaurant offering some of the most delicious plant-based meals in all of Honolulu. The restaurant itself is quite simple and casual but their food is anything but; Simple Joy’s extensive menu features dishes such as pasta, burgers, noodle soups, rice dishes, and sandwiches inspired by different cuisines like Mexican, Japanese, Italian and Chinese.
Their dishes that use meat substitutes are also quite popular not just among vegan clients but also non-vegan diners. With so many options to choose from, there’s no way you’ll get bored of dining over and over again at Simple Joy.
Found within the Ala Moana area, Olena Café is a locally-owned café and juice bar that has an extensive selection of plant-based dishes. The café uses all-organic raw ingredients locally sourced from Hawaiian farmers in order to produce their meals and beverages.
Aside from their cold-pressed juices and other drinks, Olena Café also serves healthy bites such as pasta, wraps, sandwiches, and salads. Some of the must-try dishes at the café include the Olena hummus toast, Kabocha pesto pasta, and the BLT sandwich (made using vegan “bacon”).
If you are craving a sweet vegan treat after your meal, look no further than Banán, an ice cream stall located along the famous Waikiki Beach. As the name suggests, this dessert shop turns bananas into frozen sweet treats in an effort to revive the Hawaiian banana industry. Aside from their banana ice cream, Banán also serves smoothie bowls, juice floats, and other dairy-free and vegan-friendly desserts.
Sip Honolulu is a vegan-friendly coffee shop known for its fair trade tea and organic coffee. The café works with local farmers to source the freshest products and creates a range of drinks such as cold brews and blended coffees. Additionally, Sip has a good amount of vegan and vegetarian dishes, including vegan burgers, salads, wraps, acai bowls, and more.
For a quick but delicious plant-based meal in Honolulu, one of your best bets is Juicy Brew. This casual vegan-friendly eatery has a menu that changes depending on the available farm produce but mostly includes grab-and-go sandwiches, baked goods, salads, wraps, rice bowls, cold-pressed juices, and plenty more.