Best Vegan Food in Honolulu

by Jessica Percy Campbell, The Vegan Vacationista

Enroute to Australia, my partner Wes and I stopped over in Hawaii for a few weeks to enjoy the luscious green islands of paradise. After chatting up some locals for recommendations on the best vegan food to eat in Oahu, we discovered some seriously delicious treats. Here’s my guide for the best vegan restaurants to choose for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out in Honolulu if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to try something new.

1. Breakfast: Le Jardin

Le Jardin Honolulu

Some of the best vegan food is at Le Jardin in Honolulu

If you’re a fan of refreshingly cold acai bowls in 30-degree weather, Hawaii is the place for you. Le Jardin takes the thick smoothie bowl to a whole new level, adding a full fruit salad on the top. They offer mango, apple, kiwi, blueberry, and banana over crunchy granola and frozen acai. I got mine with soy milk. This tiny counter also serves sweet dessert crepes and Hawaiian fruit smoothies at reasonable prices.

Fun tip: If you visit this area on a Tuesday or Thursday, you can also stock up on some exotic fruits, chocolate, coffee, and crafts at the vibrant Waikiki Farmers Market while you’re at it.

2. Lunch: Simple Joy Vegetarian Cuisine

Explore some great vegan restaurants in Honolulu

Explore some great vegan restaurants in Honolulu

We stumbled across this humble vegan restaurant on our way downtown and were so glad we did. It’s one of the best vegan restaurants in Honolulu. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist strip, Simple Joy specializes in south-east Asian style food as well as American and Italian dishes. I tried the breaded soy “chickun” nuggets which were so much like the real thing I ordered a second batch. I also ordered the teriyaki kabobs as per the server’s recommendation. The kabobs were a little salty, slightly chewy, and made from lemongrass soy protein sided with a generous serving of stir-fried veggies. A nice choice if you’re tired of the same ol’ tofu chunks on a stick.

3. Dinner, drinks and maybe even a show
The Down Beat Diner

Down beat diner in Honolulu

Enjoy the retro vibe at Down Beat Diner

Located in Old China Town, The Down Beat is a trendy American retro style diner with an alternative twist. This establishment is split into a small local music venue on one side, and a diner with a full bar on the other, creatively decorated with old-fashioned black and white booths featuring portraits of celebrities such as Bill Murray and Michael Jackson. Most importantly (to me), almost every dish on the menu can be made vegan on request. After a sweltering day of sun bathing at Ala Moana Beach, I was ready for a frosty caramel milkshake (coconut milk base). Then came the real treat, vegan hot wings! The “wings” were crispy on the outside with a melt-in-your mouth tenderness and not too spicy. Made from wheat gluten and soy proteins, they come with a side of homemade ranch and shall go down in history as one of my favorite mock meats of all time. Add a veggie burger with some curly fries to top it off and you will be one happy camper.

Bonus features: All day breakfast, vegan spare ribs, and live music 6 nights a week.

If you haven’t already done it, be sure to add Hawaii to your bucket list. Each island offers its own flavour and  Oahu has a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you’re a hiker, a surfer, a foodie, or simply a sun-bather, Honolulu, Oahu is worth a visit.

Travel Planner

Le Jardin (2424 Kalakaua Ave) under the Hyatt Regency just steps from Waikiki Beach

Simple Joy Vegetarian Cuisine (1145 S King St)

DownBeat Diner and Lounge: 42 North Hotel Street, Honolulu

Visit the Official Island of Oahu website at www.gohawaii.com

For more tips on vegan-inspired travel to the world’s best sun destinations, check out these other delicious posts by the Vegan Vacationista. Or subscribe to the free A Taste for Travel newsletter.

Bahamas: Breezes Resort Rebounds After Hurricane Matthew 

Florida: Vegan Festivals, Food and Cocktails in Florida Keys and Miami  

Cancun: The Stuff Vegan Dreams are Made Of 

Kauai: 3 Top Vegan Eats on Kauai 

Aruba: Finding Vegan Heaven 

Panama: Secrets Playa Bonita Panama: A Paradise for Nature Lovers 

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Best Vegan Food in Honolulu

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Showing 13 comments
  • Janice Chung
    Reply

    My niece JUST got back (yesterday) from Hawaii! She would have loved this post. I’ll get there one day and have bookmarked your post. Food looks fabulous and I love how you described the vegan hot wings! Yum!

    • Jess
      Reply

      Nice! She must have had a blast !

  • Tami
    Reply

    Wow, the food looks terrific. When we were in Hawaii, it was so refreshing to have fresh fruit, or ice cream when it was hot. Looks like you found some great options for cooling down, too!

    • Jess
      Reply

      Oh yeah! One thing I forgot to mention is shave ice. Anything sweet and refreshing to cool off!

  • Donna Janke
    Reply

    The food here looks delicious. I am not vegan, but my daughter is (with some other dietary restrictions as well) and finding good places to eat when I’m with her can be tricky, especially if we are travelling. I will have to hang on this info should we get to Honolulu soon.

  • Ilana
    Reply

    Interesting topic! I love to see how many places are more open to vegetarian and vegan options!

  • neha
    Reply

    Being a vegetarian, it’s heart warming to see vegan and vegetarian food posts from different corners of the world. That honolulu has such a nice set of restaurants with delicious vegan foods is really a delight for me. As whenever I travel abroad, searching for vegan and vegetarian food is often a challenge for me

  • Mihaela Dragan
    Reply

    I’m not a vegan myself, but those fruits and dishes look so yummy! Hope you enjoyed your trip 🙂

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    Reply

    Though I’m not vegan, both my adult children are, and so I do appreciate a good vegan restaurant. I’ll add these to my list for Honolulu.

  • Anita
    Reply

    I love your idea to cover all the meals of the day in one post. You have a valuable skill to find great places for that. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jenny Freedman
    Reply

    Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I love to mix in vegetarian dishes when I’m away. Your breakfast spots looks fabulous…/a vreat way to start the day!

  • Doreen Pendgracs
    Reply

    You can’t go wrong with the food in Hawaii. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a bad meal there. Can’t wait to return to the island next Feb. Will keep this post on hand for reference.

  • Sue Reddel
    Reply

    Thanks for this! We have so many requests for vegan fare while traveling. We too, like to take a break from meat from time to time and enjoy a good vegan meal.

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