Healthy, flavoursome and very creative, nothing quite beats the distinctive cuisine from Hawaii, washed down with plenty of tiki cocktails of course…There may have the amazing beaches and sunset as well, but the city of Portland has some seriously great Hawaiin food if you know where to find it. From fun party bars to cool food carts, here are the best Hawaiin restaurants in Portland, Oregon…
1. Hale Pele – known as “House of the Volcano Goddess” this cool and fun place offers an astonishing tiki bar
2733 NE Broadway
Fun island vibes abound at the “House of the Volcano Goddess”, an atmospheric tiki bar with plenty of tasteful neon and playful pufferfish decorations. Noted for its friendly staff and fabulous cocktails, Hale Pele celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2017.
Their spectacular selection of drinks is sure to sweep you away to Hawaii’s sun-drenched shores. Keep it chill with a classic Mai Tai with rum, curacao, and orgeat. Kick it up a notch – or a few! – with the old-timey Zombie Punch or sweet and spicy Jet Pilot. Celebrate in explosive style with the flaming Volcano Bowl, created especially for parties!
Six choices of small plates are sold to accompany drinks, including tuna poke, pineapple upside-down cake, and their enduring favorite: Hawaiian bread drenched in guava jam and ginger syrup.
2. Hapa Howie’s – a cool Hawaiin food cart which also offers great vegan options too
625 NE Killingsworth St
Named after the owner’s grandfather, Hapa Howie’s is on a mission to bring “true island-style comfort food” to Portland. Located at the back of the Piedmont Station Pod next to Halibut’s, their Portland truck even has two adorable mascots: a pair of little dogs named Bobby and Runt.
Their weekly specials and “island faves” items are sure to keep you coming back time and time again. Try their meat jun (sweet beef, pan-fried with a light egg wash), or deep-fried tofu coated in mochiko flour and topped with a special house sauce; or grab some loco moco with eggs and beefy gravy, a Portuguese sausage with two eggs, and classic spam musubi.
3. Hapa House PDX – nominated Portland’s number 1 Hawaiian food restaurant
2523 SE 9th Ave
Hapa House more than lives up to its proclamation of being “the best damn ghost kitchen in PDX”. Only using the best quality ingredients and staunchly supporting local and Hawaiian suppliers, their classic ahi tuna poke bowl boasts the freshest fish around, accompanied by a gorgeous blend of ginger sesame sauce, maui onion, cucumber, and toasted macadamia nuts.
The stand-out fare doesn’t end there. Why settle for a regular old hot dog when you could try the funkily-named Tokyo Teri, Hanoi Hot, or Seoul Train? And their bento boxes are sure to bring excitement to your lunch break, boasting tuna or salmon with white rice, Hawaiian mac salad, and awesome Asian-style accompaniments.
Hapa House’s food is currently only available to order, but they’re easy to find on sites like Doordash and Grubhub.
4. Noho’s – a Hawaiian cafe that serves authentic inspired dishes for both meat-eaters and vegans
4627 NE Fremont St
A local chain spot, Noho’s serves up spectacular Hawaiian poke, plate lunches, and dinners in a space teeming with surfboards and tiki lanterns. Their most popular picks include beef ribs, Korean-style chicken, and teriyaki steak, accompanied by sticky white rice and traditional macaroni salad (don’t worry: there’s a tasty tofu option if you prefer not to eat meat!).
Feeling a more tapas-style meal? Don’t miss their ono and kalua pork sliders (filled with shoyu ginger chicken and shredded pork, respectively), spring rolls packed with super fillings, and ahi tuna sashimi. Simply can’t decide on your favorite fare? Order a Mixed Pupu plate, which features your choice of two from sliders, rolls, chicken, and ribs.
5. Ate Oh Ate – the perfect spot to enjoy Hawaiian traditional food with plenty of vegan options too
2454 E Burnside St, 5200 SE Woodstock Blvd
Ate Oh Ate prides itself on delivering “the most delicious Hawaiian food in Portland”. With all-natural meats and fresh veggies in every single dish, this family-friendly venue certainly succeeds!
While most famous for their super kalua pork, Ate Oh Ate also carries a curry bowl (sweet potato in a Japanese-style sauce) and fried rice bowl (topped with spam, Portuguese sausage, or tofu). Their Big Salads are perfect for meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike, bursting with cabbage, carrot, and daikon served with a creamy sesame-shoyu dressing and your choice of protein.
Fancy something sweet? Treat yourself to a piece of delightfully-chewy butter mochi!
6. Ohana Hawaiian Café – said to be Portland’s most lively Hawaiian spot
6320 NE Sandy Blvd
Ohana means family – and this vibrant café takes that to heart, basing all their dishes on recipes passed down through the generations. Since 2005, they’ve brought their “passion for good, satisfying food and serving people” to Portland’s foodies with Hawaiian classics like Loco Moco (hamburger steak with salt rub, brown gravy, and sweet onions), ahi tuna and salmon poke, and indulgent haupia coconut custard.
For a true island experience, try their charbroiled meats seasoned with house teriyaki sauce, and their wonderfully-creative mixed plates. The Luau Plate boasts the brilliant combo that is lau lau: pork and butterfish wrapped in taro and ti leaves and steamed to tender perfection.
7. Bamboo Grove – the best Hawaiian food in a tropical environment
515 S Carolina St
Kick back with tropical décor, chilled music, and cocktails at Bamboo Grove. This café’s biggest draw is, perhaps, the luau-style kalua pork they now serve every day; but there’s bound to be something on their big, delicious-looking menu that’ll convince you!
Alongside more traditional Hawaiian eats, Bamboo Grove offers such delights as shoyu hot dogs, guava BBQ chicken, and three types of mouth-watering ribs cooked and covered in some truly special spice blends. There’s also a variety of salads, soups, and sandwiches, and their great Ohana Grinds platters are made especially for large groups.
All their fish is sold at market prices to ensure fairness, so be sure to ask your server!
8. Mgwalexs Hawaiian Grill – famous Hawaiian restaurant that offers an exquisite variety of dishes
4549 NE Cully Blvd
Prioritising amazing tastes at affordable prices, Mgwalexs cooks up Hawaiian classics alongside tasty twists on established fast-food favorites. With frequent special offers, such as burgers and Greek-style gyros on weekdays, what’s stopping you from dropping by?
One-meat platters are this grill’s speciality, featuring deep-fried orange chicken with a crushed pineapple topping, chicken wings with an assortment of sweet and savory sauces, and their take on Surf and Turf: yakisoba noodles stir-fried with veggies, shrimp, and chicken. True carnivores, meanwhile, will adore their Meat Lover Combo, which is packed with all their top meats and accompanied by sticky rice, mac salad, and kimchi.
Make it spicy for only $1 extra!
9. 808 Grinds Hawaiian Café – delicious authentic Hawaiian cuisine in Portland’s downtown
10100 SW Park Way, 5226 SE 26th Avenue
A huge wooden sign featuring a tastefully-weathered tropical scene greets you as you step inside one of 808 Grinds’ Portland eateries. Within, you’ll find a small but brilliant menu starring Hawaiian staples like shoyu chicken and kalua pork, as well as 808’s own twists on fried chicken, panko-crumb eggplant, and wontons.
Perhaps their most notable special is their Da Kine noodles, livened up with assorted veggies, light garlic soy sauce, and your choice of pork or tofu. Or, how about a kalua or char siu pork sandwich, or their 808 Chicken special served with fresh Asian slaw on a toasted pub roll? If you really can’t get enough, grab their mighty Trifecta plate, which features three of their most popular proteins!
10. Iolani’s Plate Lunch – cute little food cart right in the heart of Portland
8635 SE 82nd Ave
This parking-lot food truck might look unassuming, but it’s earned rave reviews from both loyal customers and those who happen to stumble upon the hidden gem. Dishing up piles of kawa pig, gorgeously-seared guava chicken, and infinitely-scoopable mac salad alongside other Hawaiian classics, Iolani’s is your new favorite food destination you didn’t know existed. Along with fast, friendly service and an owner whose passion for cooking, and his Hawaiian heritage, shows in every single bite, prepare to feel like part of the family when you pay a visit to Iolani’s.
11. Roxy’s Island Grill – one of Portland’s favourite traditional Hawaiian BBQ
The funky, bright tropical sign over Roxy’s doors is just a taste of this terrific chain’s character. Aiming to continue island cooking traditions, their skill and dedication are embodied in their best-selling shoyu chicken, simmered for hours in a sweet ginger marinade.
Also on offer are cuts of tender choice beef – used in their classic teriyaki and kalbi ribs – and a top-notch range of burgers. Check out their Brew’s Gravy Burger (with sauteed onions), Teri Beef Sandwich, and Loco Moco (perhaps the best Hawaiian burger, made with their speciality hamburger steak!).
Feeling fishy? Swim for a bowl of saimin: a deliciously-warming seafood broth filled with noodles and assorted toppings.
12. Joy Poke – healthy Hawaiian food where you can customize your own poke bowl
455 NW Saltzman Rd
“Find your joy” at this fabulous build-your-own-bowl-style eatery. Created by the founder of Joy Teriyaki, diners follow a simple yet fun seven-step process to tailor their dish precisely to their taste.
Starting with a base of white rice, brown rice, or mixed greens, pick sides such as seaweed salad, edamame, or even crab meat. Bulk it out with proteins, which range from classic salmon and ahi tuna to albacore, smoked squid, and tofu. Add a dash of excitement with veggie, fruit, or fish “mix-ins”; deliberate over their five types of ponzu sauce; and go wild with terrific toppings like wasabi, roasted garlic, and jalapenos.
13. The Local Grind – a good choice if you are looking to cater for events and parties
734 SE Powell Blvd
“Get it in your body” with this brilliant, island-style BBQ food cart. The fact they serve a traditional Hawaiian breakfast is more than enough reason to get you there for the most important meal of the day!
Prefer to go for lunch or dinner? Don’t miss out on their TLG Classics, featuring succulent grilled chicken in teriyaki or garlic honey sauce, tender kalua pork, and sauteed veggies in Grind’s super house sauces. Pick up some sides – how about grilled pineapple, yakisoba noodles, or Grind-style kimchi? – and you’re good to go! All their dishes can be made gluten-free, and vegan options are readily available upon request.
Their carts are unfortunately closed due to the pandemic, but you can still place orders!
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my rescued Greek street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Laos, California and the surreally beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.