Top 9 Spots for Vegan Food in Honolulu
You (almost) can’t go wrong with any of the vegan restaurants in Honolulu! The first time I visited Honolulu was just before going vegan when I was a wee lil’ lad(y). I was on the lookout for adventure way back then, but fast forward to more than a dozen years later as a vegan, and I was laser-focused on finding vegan goods this time around.
I enjoyed bomb food like vegan versions of traditional Hawaiian dishes, wood oven pizza, sushi… there was even a vegetarian grocery store with an all-veg hot bar! At first, I thought I was just getting lucky and picking the best vegan spots in Honolulu, but after “getting lucky” four times in a row, I knew that they just do it right out there!
On top of there being bomb vegan food all over, it was nearly impossible to take a bad photo out there. Even during a cloudy sunset, the scenery was breathtaking. There’s an abundance of beauty that I felt very fortunate to be able to witness.
Although my most recent trip mainly centered around relaxation and vegan grub, there are so many great things to do on the island! Thrill seekers can engage in water sports like diving, jet skiing, snorkeling, etc. History buffs and those that want to pay respect to the island and its people can embark on historical excursions/tours, meal experiences, nature hikes, etc.
People looking to chill can leisurely stroll around the resorts, hit up a shopping center, layout on one of the many beautiful beaches, etc. There’s a lil summin’ summin’ for everyone!
But we didn’t come here to talk about all of the amazing things that one can do on the island. We came here to talk about all of the amazing vegan food that one can eat in Honolulu! Let’s dive in!
Top 9 Spots for Vegan Food in Honolulu
1. Leahi Health
Kaimuki location: 3441 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Kaimuki location phone number: (808) 224-2607
Aina Haina location: 820 W. Hind Drive Honolulu Hi. 96821
Website: Leahi Health
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is $12)
When it comes to food that I try when I travel to new places (especially when I have limited time to VEGAboNd around), I usually skip on salad/bowl type restaurants. However, I heard and read such great things about Leahi Health, that I knew I had to give them a try. They surely did not disappoint.
Leahi Health ended up being my favorite vegan restaurant in Honolulu purely based on the mix of flavors packed into their nutrient-dense salads! They have a long list of smoothies, a handful of different taco options, and dib dab of bowls and salads.
NOTE: In case you were wondering, a “dib dab” is more than a handful, but less than a grip. It made sense in my head at least...
One of my favorite condiments in life is mustard. I love everything mustard related from a sweet vegan honey mustard to your regular ol’ yellow mustard, all the way over to hot mustard. Shoot… I even mess with some Grey Poupon when I’m feelin’ bougie and want some dijon mustard.
However, I didn’t know how I felt about having a bacon mustard (the “mustard” here does not represent “mustard greens”) salad. I called myself stepping a little out of my comfort zone and right on into the Bacon Mustard Bowl. It features a kale salad topped with black beans, corn, brown rice, avocado, grape tomatoes, roasted almonds, coconut bacon, and maple mustard dressing. I think they accidentally added the mock tuna as well, which I was not mad at AT ALL because it was amazing! I highly recommend that you intentionally add it to your own salad because I definitely will moving forward!
2. Tane Vegan Izakaya
Location: 2065 South Beretania St. Honolulu HI 96826
Phone number: (808) 888-7678
Website: Tane Vegan Izakaya
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$17)
For all my sushi lovers out there, Honolulu has an all-vegan sushi spot owned and operated by a Honolulu native! They’ve got rolls on rolls on rolls, but their menu also features other items like ramen, appetizers/shared plates, and sake. My local friend took me there for my birthday, so we did DAMAGE and ordered 3 rolls, 3 appetizers, a bowl of ramen, and had the free birthday dessert!
One of the things I liked most about the ambiance was that this restaurant is intentionally on the quieter side. Keep in mind that you may need a reservation for dine-in, so this is definitely a plan-ahead kind of spot. For these reasons, it would be perfect for a date night, intimate dinner, or small celebration. Us vegans don’t get too many places like this, so just wanted to point that out real quick.
Second, the service was amazing! Our server was an absolute sweetie pie and even gave us recommendations for places to go celebrate my birthday after dinner! And last, but certainly not least, most of the food is amazing! We did have some “misses” in our meal, but I’ll get to that later.
If you’re a saucy person, a brussel sprout fanatic, or both, you should definitely try their Brussel Sprouts from their shared plates menu. The dish has a nice mix of crispy, charred, and tender. The agave mustard and wasabi aioli drizzled on top make the dish irresistible. They even take it a step further and toss a lil’ saffron on top to make it fancy!
The Shizen Shiitake plate features shiitake mushrooms stuffed with tofu and matcha salt, then deep fried and drizzled with some sort of delectable sauce. I also gobbled this plate right on up!
Their menu mentioned that they carried Omni Pork, so I was hoping to get a dish that had their vegan Spam. Unfortunately, they did not have that product during our visit, but our server directed us to the Bean Curd Nigiri to get a similar texture and taste.
Don’t ask me why there are sauce dribblets all over the plate. I apparently was too excited about the food to even care! All in all, we really enjoyed the sides and were ready for the sushi to come out!
Finally made it to the main attraction, the sushi! We ordered three different rolls to give us a variety. We ordered so much food, that I’ll spare you the extra sushi pictures as I’m sure you get the point from this one photo. Just know that whatever pops out to you on the sushi menu is bound to be bomb!
Now, I don’t know if it was because the ramen came after we had already ran through 3 rolls and 3 small plates, or if it really just didn’t hit like the other dishes, but I could have gone without the ramen. However, they received an extra point for featuring Omni pork in the ramen, which I was really looking forward to trying.
Then we made it to the free birthday ice cream. It was a no for me. The dessert was an ice cream that was more like a slightly colder than refrigerated green tea cream mash. It didn’t taste as bad as that description, but let’s just say that I’m glad we didn’t have to pay for it. Thankfully I was able to convince my friend to eat it because I was already stuffed to the brim anyway.
Don’t let that dessert leave a bad taste in your mouth though! I still highly recommend giving Tane a try if you’re in Honolulu and recommend making a reservation in advance to ensure that you’re able to get a table.
3. What it Dough
Location: 1124 Kona St. Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone number: (808) 859-1525
Website: What it Dough
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$19)
I first heard about What it Dough when my friend hit me with (and I kid you not), “There’s this vegan pizza place that’s run out of a mechanic garage. Wanna go?!” I was skeptical at best. I was down even though I expected there to be literal sparks flying in the background with cars getting oil changes and tire rotations. That was not the case at all, so don’t worry!
If you’re able to see the picture above, you can probably tell that the setup isn’t the most glorious, but is still far from what I had originally imagined. They had all of the ingredients in large tupperware tubs laid out across a few portable tables. They call out in their banner and on their site that they make mobile wood-fired pizza, so I’m assuming that the massive stove in the background is indeed… mobile.
We decided to try two pizzas, so we ordered a classic Margherita and a Pesto Royale to give us a lil’ variety. I was very pleased with the Margherita because it was simple enough to really let the flavor of the San Marzano tomatoes shine.
I also liked the dough because it was firm, yet chewy at the same time. It was low-key like it was undercooked enough to have a slightly sweet taste to it, but cooked enough to still have some burn spots here and there.
The only way that I can describe it is to think of Sam’s Club pizza dough. There was a Sam’s Club near my high school, so we students would often buy a whole pizza for a group of us to share for the low-low (remember, I haven’t been vegan my whole life). I loved those pizzas mainly for that chewy, slightly sweet crust, which I was able to experience again as a vegan at What It Dough!
Now that you understand my chewy crust obsession, let’s talk about this Pesto Royale. I have never had goat cheese before, so I had no point of reference, but I found their vegan goat cheese to be pretty good! It didn’t stand out or anything, but it blended in nicely. That is exactly what I like from cheese on a pizza after having experienced vegan cheese over a decade ago (spoiler alert: it was not the business).
I wasn’t the most excited about a pizza with pesto instead of marinara, but I actually really liked it! Paired with the marinated peppers and Italian sausage… the Pesto Royale did not disappoint!
4. Vegan City
Location: 760 Kapahulu Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone number: (808) 888-7007
Website: Vegan City
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$17)
Vegan City was the first restaurant I visited when I arrived in Honolulu. I was set on trying classic Hawaiian dishes, so I was excited to find an all-vegan spot in Honolulu that could make that happen. Their menu features a wide range of options spanning from all-day breakfast to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, plates, etc.
I had done very little research about what classic Hawaiian dishes are prior to arriving, so thankfully the staff there was friendly and made some recommendations. I knew I wanted to get one of the plates but I kept bouncing back and forth between the Loco Moco and the Curry Katsu plates.
In hindsight, I don’t know why the decision was so difficult. Luckily for me, they messed up my order and gave me the Hamma Steak Katsu Combo, which is essentially the best of both worlds!
The plate came with a small serving of Chicken Katsu on top of quinoa rice (a surprising combination that I actually enjoyed!), small serving of the Hamma Steak also on top of quinoa rice, and two sides.
Macaroni salad was always my least favorite of the side options at the cookout, but since I’ve seen people get macaroni salad from Hawaiian spots before, I figured now was the time to lean in on the macaroni salad. I also got the Kale Slaw to go with it because I wanted to at least have one living food item on my plate.
The Chicken Katsu was my favorite part of the meal. I used to think that it would be difficult to mess up a vegan chicken katsu, but trust… I’ve been to places that have. There was even a vegan place in Honolulu that missed the mark on their chicken katsu (in my humble opinion). Vegan City got their katsu right though!
The Hamma Steak was made of a half Beyond Burger patty drenched in mushroom gravy all over quinoa rice. This part of the meal was good, but there was no razzle-dazzle on it, ya know?
The macaroni salad was macaroni salad. I thought there might be a different taste to it, but it just tasted like a good ol’ regular macaroni salad to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I like macaroni salad! It’s just that when presented with so many other options at a cookout, I was never reserving much stomach space for macaroni salad. While in Honolulu though, I was opting for vegan macaroni salad every chance that I got, like it was the thing to do!
I don’t know why I didn’t show the kale slaw any love in its own photo, but it was very simply unmassaged kale with a light mayo-like mixture on it. Like the fancy folks say nowadays, it was very “kale forward”, which I didn’t mind since I like kale in its purest form.
5. Muki Dogs
Location: 3631 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone number: N/A – try contacting them on their Instagram @mukidogs
Website: Muki Dogs
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$8)
Muki Dogs is a street hot dog cart that features 3 signature styles of hot dogs made of Beyond Sausage. As we were driving around town, my vegan senses started tingling as we neared the Muki Dogs cart. When I noticed the signature vegan symbol on the side of the cart, I dropped a pin in Google Maps to mark the location and even walked back from our original destination to make sure that I could try them out.
I (and I’m sure other vegans do this as well), sometimes go out of my way to get experiences that non-vegans get with no effort. A hot dog cart is a regular thing if you’re in a place like New York. Similarly, getting pizza by the slice is regular there too. But as a vegan, we often have to go to a full-on restaurant for a vegan hot dog or get our own full special pie rather than getting the quick on-the-go options.
So when I saw this cart, I was mainly craving that hot dog cart experience that I often miss out on as a vegan.
They had three options that all had their own lil’ spin on them. We ended up going with The Works and Depwich. Had we not JUST ordered a smoothie AND a large salad, I surely would have gotten the Miso Kake too just to round out the menu.
Although these dogs are made of the typical Beyond Sausage, they had a rich flavor that you don’t get at most restaurants, simply because they were made on an open-fire grill. I’m a big mustard kind of gal (like, it’s def a top 3 condiment for me as I made clear in the Leahi section) and I love relish, so The Works was my favorite. I also love banana peppers, so I was messin’ with the Depwich as too. Ultimately, I don’t think you could go wrong with either, and I’m willing to bet that the Miso Kake is delicious as well.
6. Simple Joy
Location: 1145 S King St. #B Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone number: (808) 591-9919
Website: Simple Joy
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$21)
Simple Joy ended up being a last-minute dinner run for us, and it did its job. It wasn’t the best food that I had in Honolulu, but it was nice to have a vegan spot around the corner from my friend’s place that we could hit up later in the day.
The menu is jam-packed with dozens of options. And by that, I mean over 60 items on the menu. It was honestly a little overwhelming for me, so I just got two simple items: Tropical Fried Rice and Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs. The flavor and seasoning didn’t wow me, but the portioning sure did. That was enough food to feed four people! Don’t let the pictures fool you. I took them after my friend and I had already had a few servings!
All in all, Simple Joy is a hearty option. There were lots of people dining inside, so maybe I just chose poorly from their menu of over 60 options. Go ahead and give it a shot if there’s something about it calling to you and let me know what I should try next time!
Best Vegan-friendly Restaurants in Honolulu:
7. Down to Earth – All vegetarian with lots of vegan options
Location: 2525 S King St Honolulu, HI 96826 (they have multiple locations, so check their site)
Phone number: (808) 947-7678
Website: Down to Earth
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$14)
When my friend told me that there was an all-vegetarian market, I thought I was dreaming. I love eating at new vegan spots and writing about them in my blog, but if I could, I’d spend my days shopping at vegan/vegetarian markets and trying out new products every day.
On top of it being an all-veg market, they ALSO have an all-veg hot bar… AND KITCHEN! And it’s not like some of those vegetarian places that have menus mainly drenched in dairy and eggs. They have a healthy amount of vegan options at Down to Earth!
And get this yall… there are multiple locations across the island, so you can enjoy this goodness all over! The first time I visited, I went up and down every aisle just mesmerized and then finally made my way to the hot bar.
Their hot bar features fresh foods to make an actual salad, soups, and cooked food. They also have premade and prepackaged food like lasagna slices and sandwiches.
Any and everything that looked even the slightest bit tasty had a home on my plate during my first visit to Down to Earth. My plate didn’t look very appetizing, but it tasted much better than it looked. I had a stew, macaroni salad, pasta, curry, and some other mystery mushroom item. All of it was delicious with the curry being my favorite!
I loved it so much that I of course went back multiple times and even ordered delivery on a day that I didn’t feel like hitting the streets. If Down to Earth were fully vegan, it definitely would have been towards the top of my list of vegan spots in Honolulu!
8. Dagon (sibling restaurant: Rangoon Burmese Kitchen)
Location: 2671 S King St Honolulu, HI 96826
Phone number: (808) 947-0088
Rangoon Burmese Kitchen location: 1131 Nuuanu Ave Honolulu, HI 96817
Rangoon Burmese Kitchen phone number: (808) 456-8088
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$16)
Now we’ve made it into the non-veg, but vegan-friendly territory. The flavors at Dagon are so bomb that I still daydream about this food. We went through a lot just to get it too. Like, we went to Rangoon Burmese Kitchen (the sister restaurant) on the other side of town just to find out that they were closed and the food that we ordered was actually across the city to Dagon. There’s a long boring story as to why that happened, but nevertheless, we were left so satisfied with the food that we didn’t even care about the extra hassle to get it!
Being that I’ve seen many a non-vegan restaurant mess up on my vegan order, I called Dagon to ask questions. I started out with some questions that helped me decipher whether they even know what is and is not vegan, and then I went into questions to help me order.
They passed my initial test and were very helpful in veganizing some dishes. This was my first time having Burmese food, so I wanted to try a few different things. We ended up going with the Burmese Sumusas, Pan Tay Noodles, and the Coconut Veggie Curry. I wish I could choose a favorite. I really intended and tried to, but they were all so good in their own way!
For folks that like noodle dishes with veggies, you can’t go wrong with the Pan Tay Noodle. It’s loaded up with bell peppers, onion, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and supposedly tomato (there wasn’t any in our serving for some reason). The wheat noodles are there too, but it’s all about the veggies and the curry sauce with this plate.
The sauce is the real MVP. Without it, this would be a regular degular ol’ plate, but the sauce just comes in all loud and proud as soon as you scoop a bite of food into your mouth. I’d argue that this blend of veggies and sauce would also taste really good with the rice noodles for those that want to cut down on their wheat/gluten intake.
Then there was the magnificent Coconut Veggie Curry. It seemed so simple, yet so bomb. Even down to the texture of the veggies within the curry. Not too soft, not too hard. Just cooked perfectly. And the curry was slightly sweet and had a lil kick to it, just like I like it!
All that to say that Dagon was doin’ the daggone thing with this dish! I don’t think I’ve heard anyone else in the world besides my dad say “daggone” in that sense, but I think you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down! At the very least, I hope that you realize that you should definitely try out the Coconut Veggie Curry at Dagon!
We ordered the coconut rice to go with the curry, because why not?! I don’t remember it having a very strong flavor, but it was definitely a step up from regular jasmine rice. It was topped with a little drizzle of green onion and fried onion and paired nicely overall with the coconut veggie curry.
We had us a nice little feast and had enough for a small portion of leftovers the next day after loading up on rounds upon rounds of food that night. I know, you’re probably thinking “there’s barely any food on that plate! Of course you had leftovers!” Well, my friend, this was just a small portion to see if I liked it and what I liked out of the options. Once I knew that it was all bomb, I threw down!
9. Olay’s Thai Lao
Location: 66 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Phone number: (808) 674-2262
Website: Olay’s Thai Lao
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$12)
If you happen to be in Honolulu dining with family/friends and feel comfortable eating out in public, I highly recommend Thai Lao. It’s another non-veg, but vegan-friendly spot, so it’s a perfect place to dine with some vegan-resistant folks. Not only is the food bomb, but the outdoor decor is beautifully peaceful!
Laotian food was another first for me, so I was really excited to learn about it and try it out. Our server was very kind and knowledgeable about Lao and Thai Cuisine as well as what vegan options they had on the menu.
Now I know that these food pictures look a lil’ rough, but keep in mind that I was trying to sneak pictures while eating out with a group including folks I had just met. There were even a few dishes that I didn’t even think to get a picture of, so I’m glad that I at least got these two! There were lots of dishes ordered, but the vegan ones included the Som Tum (papaya salad), Kua Mee Lao (Laotian Pad Thai), Pumpkin Curry, and Mixed Veggies Stir Fry.
Most items on the menu can be veganized and are even labeled as such. Make sure to ask your server what the vegan version is, as well as the cost because there is an upcharge for some items. For example, we ordered a dish that substituted a vegan oyster sauce. When we first heard that the vegan version cost more than the meat version, everyone at the table was puzzled.
The server explained that they have a house-made vegan oyster sauce that they make with a special blend of mushrooms, which is what drives up the price. Do I believe that they go out of their way to give us vegans quality food as well? You bet! Do I believe that it should cost more than the meat and seafood versions? The jury is still out on that one…
Overall though, the food at Olay Thai Lao was bangin’, the vibes were right, and the service was fantastic!
Conclusion: Top 9 Spots for Vegan Food in Honolulu
Honolulu ended up being one of my very favorite places I’ve traveled to so far for vegan food! My local friend has told me that since my most recent visit, even more restaurants have opened up. I’ll definitely be making my way back out to hit up these spots and more!
If you’re looking for other vegan friendly destinations near the ocean, check out my 7 Best Restaurants For Vegan Food in Cartagena, Vegan Food in Jaco, Costa Rica, Vegan Food in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, and Vegan Food in Tamarindo, Costa Rica posts!