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Breakfast plates at Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe in Culver City
Breakfast plates at Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe in Culver City.
Matthew Kang

15 Fantastic Hawaiian Restaurants to Try in LA

Plate lunches, Spam musubi, fresh poke, and more

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Breakfast plates at Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe in Culver City.
| Matthew Kang

Now is not the time to catch a flight to Honolulu with Hawaii’s governor asking tourists to curtail travel while the state controls the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, Los Angeles boasts plenty of Hawaiian fare to keep those seeking island flavors satisfied until it’s safe again for a tropical getaway. Here now are 15 essential Hawaiian restaurants to try in LA.

Removed: Broken Mouth (temporarily closed), Aunty Maile’s Hawaiian Food, Brian’s Shave Ice & Boba, Poke & More

Added: Malama Pono, Canoe House, Joy Hawaiian BBQ & Cajun Seafood, Cafe Lanikai, Chin’s Hawaiian Teriyaki BBQ Chicken

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Joy Hawaiian BBQ & Cajun Seafood

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13935 Van Nuys Blvd
Arleta, CA 91331
(747) 225-0182
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Valley denizens have come to depend on Joy for Hawaiian plate lunches that never fail to satisfy. The surf and turf combination plates that come with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad are especially popular.

2. Malama Pono Restaurant

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13355 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(747) 264-1995
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Some the most upscale and innovative Hawaiian cooking in LA is happening in Sherman Oaks at chef Mario Lopez’s Malama Pono. The kalua pork is served as lettuce wraps, while the signature loco moco comes topped with a porcini gravy.

3. Rutts Hawaiian Cafe

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11707 Washington Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 398-6326
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With locations in Gardena and Mar Vista, Rutts Hawaiian Cafe has been around since 1976. The simple, colorful Washington Boulevard restaurant serves everything from shave ice to kalua pork plate lunches, but regulars know that breakfast is what it’s all about.

4. Ali'i Fish Company

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409 E Grand Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 616-3484
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What sets the poke from Ali’i Fish Company apart from others in the city is its commitment to sourcing from the Honolulu fish auction. In addition to half a dozen varieties of poke, the menu includes pupus and grilled fish too.

5. King's Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant

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2808 Sepulveda Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 530-0050
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While the cooking is solid at King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant, it’s okay to skip straight to dessert. The ever-popular Paradise Delight is a triple threat of guava-, passion fruit-, and lime-flavored chiffon cake with whipped cream in between each layer.

6. Chin's Teriyaki BBQ Chicken

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1708 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 732-8800

Visit this Harvard Heights gem for generously portioned and thoroughly unfussy plates of Hawaiian-style teriyaki chicken, fried rice, chow mein, and more. Reasonable prices and friendly service keeps the regular crowd coming back.

7. Cafe Lanikai

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3435 Wilshire Blvd #109
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 487-0106

Find Cafe Lanikai hidden inside the parking garage of the Equitable Life building in Koreatown. This day-time spot serves up pancakes and loco moco for breakfast and burgers of all stripes for lunch. The pineapple teriyaki burger is the one to get.

8. Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

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15707 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-0820
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Tucked into the lobby of Gardena Bowl is a casual coffee shop serving wonderfully homey Hawaiian fare. Regulars can’t get enough of the Hawaiian royal, a mash-up of Portuguese sausage, chashu, green onions, and eggs over white rice with teriyaki sauce.

9. Hang Loose Hawaiian Shave Ice

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1409 W Kenneth Rd
Glendale, CA 91201
(818) 649-1454
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Visit Hang Loose’s Glendale storefront for a frozen and sweet Hawaiian treat. Every shave ice comes with an ice cream base, along with dozens of flavored syrup options like li hing mui and passion fruit.

10. Back Home In Lahaina

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519 E Carson St
Carson, CA 90745
(310) 835-4014
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For the full island experience, order Back Home in Lahaina’s signature fried chicken as part of a combination platter that includes rice, macaroni salad, fried wontons, and a cabbage slaw topped with crushed ramen noodles. 

11. Fish King

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722 N Glendale Ave
Glendale, CA 91206
(818) 244-2161
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Opened since 1948, grocery store Fish King offers plenty of prepared foods including some of the city’s best poke. Varieties of hamachi, tuna, and salmon poke are sold by weight, just like in Hawaii.

12. Aloha Cafe

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410 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-9930
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Opened since 2004, Aloha Cafe brings the aloha spirit to Little Tokyo. The saimin is made with fresh buckwheat noodles, while the kalua pork is served with two scoops of white rice and a scoop of mac salad.

13. Aloha Food Factory

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2990 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 308-0215

Nearly everyone orders the macadamia nut pancakes at Aloha Food Factory. Add on a side of Portuguese sausage for a solid start to the day. Come in soon before the restaurant is replaced by a car wash.

14. Canoe House

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805 Fair Oaks Ave
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(626) 799-4169
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Come into Canoe House for cooking that captures the aloha spirit served in a family friendly dining room. Sip a mai tai and dig into kalua pork nachos, herb-crusted mahi mahi, and grilled Spam musubi.

15. Top Restaurant

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1842 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 792-1412
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From Spam musubi to barbecued galbi and loco moco, find everyone’s favorite grindz at Pasadena’s Top Restaurant. In addition to carefully made Hawaiian fare, the restaurant’s Indonesian offerings are superb, especially the fried chicken and fried rice.

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1. Joy Hawaiian BBQ & Cajun Seafood

13935 Van Nuys Blvd, Arleta, CA 91331

Valley denizens have come to depend on Joy for Hawaiian plate lunches that never fail to satisfy. The surf and turf combination plates that come with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad are especially popular.

13935 Van Nuys Blvd
Arleta, CA 91331

2. Malama Pono Restaurant

13355 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Some the most upscale and innovative Hawaiian cooking in LA is happening in Sherman Oaks at chef Mario Lopez’s Malama Pono. The kalua pork is served as lettuce wraps, while the signature loco moco comes topped with a porcini gravy.

13355 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

3. Rutts Hawaiian Cafe

11707 Washington Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90066

With locations in Gardena and Mar Vista, Rutts Hawaiian Cafe has been around since 1976. The simple, colorful Washington Boulevard restaurant serves everything from shave ice to kalua pork plate lunches, but regulars know that breakfast is what it’s all about.

11707 Washington Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90066

4. Ali'i Fish Company

409 E Grand Ave, El Segundo, CA 90245

What sets the poke from Ali’i Fish Company apart from others in the city is its commitment to sourcing from the Honolulu fish auction. In addition to half a dozen varieties of poke, the menu includes pupus and grilled fish too.

409 E Grand Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245

5. King's Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant

2808 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

While the cooking is solid at King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant, it’s okay to skip straight to dessert. The ever-popular Paradise Delight is a triple threat of guava-, passion fruit-, and lime-flavored chiffon cake with whipped cream in between each layer.

2808 Sepulveda Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505

6. Chin's Teriyaki BBQ Chicken

1708 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Visit this Harvard Heights gem for generously portioned and thoroughly unfussy plates of Hawaiian-style teriyaki chicken, fried rice, chow mein, and more. Reasonable prices and friendly service keeps the regular crowd coming back.

1708 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006

7. Cafe Lanikai

3435 Wilshire Blvd #109, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Find Cafe Lanikai hidden inside the parking garage of the Equitable Life building in Koreatown. This day-time spot serves up pancakes and loco moco for breakfast and burgers of all stripes for lunch. The pineapple teriyaki burger is the one to get.

3435 Wilshire Blvd #109
Los Angeles, CA 90010

8. Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

15707 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

Tucked into the lobby of Gardena Bowl is a casual coffee shop serving wonderfully homey Hawaiian fare. Regulars can’t get enough of the Hawaiian royal, a mash-up of Portuguese sausage, chashu, green onions, and eggs over white rice with teriyaki sauce.

15707 S Vermont Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

9. Hang Loose Hawaiian Shave Ice

1409 W Kenneth Rd, Glendale, CA 91201

Visit Hang Loose’s Glendale storefront for a frozen and sweet Hawaiian treat. Every shave ice comes with an ice cream base, along with dozens of flavored syrup options like li hing mui and passion fruit.

1409 W Kenneth Rd
Glendale, CA 91201

10. Back Home In Lahaina

519 E Carson St, Carson, CA 90745

For the full island experience, order Back Home in Lahaina’s signature fried chicken as part of a combination platter that includes rice, macaroni salad, fried wontons, and a cabbage slaw topped with crushed ramen noodles. 

519 E Carson St
Carson, CA 90745

11. Fish King

722 N Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91206

Opened since 1948, grocery store Fish King offers plenty of prepared foods including some of the city’s best poke. Varieties of hamachi, tuna, and salmon poke are sold by weight, just like in Hawaii.

722 N Glendale Ave
Glendale, CA 91206

12. Aloha Cafe

410 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Opened since 2004, Aloha Cafe brings the aloha spirit to Little Tokyo. The saimin is made with fresh buckwheat noodles, while the kalua pork is served with two scoops of white rice and a scoop of mac salad.

410 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

13. Aloha Food Factory

2990 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

Nearly everyone orders the macadamia nut pancakes at Aloha Food Factory. Add on a side of Portuguese sausage for a solid start to the day. Come in soon before the restaurant is replaced by a car wash.

2990 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803

14. Canoe House

805 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

Come into Canoe House for cooking that captures the aloha spirit served in a family friendly dining room. Sip a mai tai and dig into kalua pork nachos, herb-crusted mahi mahi, and grilled Spam musubi.

805 Fair Oaks Ave
South Pasadena, CA 91030

15. Top Restaurant

1842 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

From Spam musubi to barbecued galbi and loco moco, find everyone’s favorite grindz at Pasadena’s Top Restaurant. In addition to carefully made Hawaiian fare, the restaurant’s Indonesian offerings are superb, especially the fried chicken and fried rice.

1842 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107

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