Arguing about where the best poke is in Oahu is a local pastime. People talk about poke more than the unprecedented corruption in the local government. I’ve eaten it pretty much everywhere in the 4 years I’ve been here because I love raw fish, there aren’t many other dining options, and it’s the best food Hawaii has to offer. You won’t find a tastier, fresher, melt-in-your-mouth tuna anywhere else in the world. It’s why I get sad when I see fat midwest tourists packing Denny’s, IHOP and McDonalds. You can get diabetes any time you want back home, why do it here?
That vacation was a grand slam haha. Why were those divers shooting harpoons at us?
Anyway, here are the top 5 poke spots in Oahu from my point of view which is the right point of view. If you disagree, first of all, you’re wrong, and secondly, let me know in the comments. I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted the number of poke places on Oahu and I would love to know if there’s one I missed.
5. Aloha Cones (Kalihi)
I used to visit Aloha Cones when it was located right next to my apartment in Makiki in one of the “stabbier” areas of the island. It was a little hole in the wall right next to a 24/7 convenience store that catered to mostly meth heads and the homeless. Still, they offered some of the freshest poke with equally fresh locally sourced veggies. They also served delicious shave ice with ice cream because it’s Hawaii and mandated by law. It’s a family-owned business with a simple menu and low prices. Everything you need in a good poke spot.
Thankfully, they’ve moved to Kalihi and expanded to a few other locations so now you can visit without the threat of a rusty knife being plunged into your gut.
4. Kahiau Jerky (Downtown Honolulu)
This is a new spot my local friend introduced me to downtown that exceeded all of my expectations. Mostly because I thought they only sold jerky. I knew I was in for a treat when I walked in and saw a fresh tuna half broken down right behind the counter. It’s tiny, the store can only hold maybe 3 people, but what they lack in space they more than make up for with flavor. I had a shoyu poke bowl here that was borderline the best I’ve ever had and has made me a loyal customer.
3. Foodland Farms (Ala Moana)
There is an important distinction to make here, I’m talking about Foodland Farms, not regular Foodland. For some reason, the quality of the tuna is much better at the “Farms” and they have much more variety. Foodland isn’t terrible, it’s just worse.
The poke station at the Ala Moana location is truly a sight to behold.
Mother of God
They have interesting flavors that you won’t find anywhere else including Garlic Ahi, Rainbow Roll, Kochujang Masago. They’re all delicious but also way more expensive than every other place on this list, which is hard to justify considering #2 and #1 on this list. But if you’re boujee and need a whole bunch of shit in your poke other than the fish this is the perfect place for you.
2. Tanioka’s Seafood and Catering (Waipahu)
Tanioka’s is #2 on my list but could easily be tied for #1 if it weren’t so far away. I’m lazy so convenience is a huge factor in my rankings. Either way, Tanioka’s is a small, family-owned business out in Waipahu that has been perfecting poke, bentos, and other local delicacies for over 40 years. I actually produced a video for my old job at Tanioka’s where I got to witness their operations behind the scenes and I can say with confidence they have the highest standards when it comes to freshness and quality. Jasmine Tanioka (CFO/Manager) might be the nicest person I’ve ever met. They’re good people that serve great food day in, day out to the local community and tourists from across the globe.
They have all the traditional flavors of poke (Hawaiian, limu, shoyu etc.) and serve up specialty poke bowls that pile a host of delicious seafood and fried foods on top of their already amazing poke. They’re a humble, no-frills establishment that puts all of their energy and passion into the food, and you can taste it. Don’t forget to grab a “Hello Kitty” souvenir shirt on the way out.
1. Ono Seafood (Kaimuki)
The best of the best on Oahu and it’s not up for debate. $12 for a huge poke bowl with a drink and I can say with confidence it’s the tastiest, freshest tuna you’re going to find. I don’t know how they source their fish but they do it better than everybody else. Like Tanioka’s they’re a small, no bullshit restaurant with no indoor seating and a handful of tuna and tako (squid) poke.
The entire menu
Their tako poke is pretty, pretty, pretty good but the tuna is arguably the best in the world. Also, their rice is always perfect and did I mention it’s $12 for a MASSIVE portion. I went here so much when I first moved to Oahu that they became worried about me when I went on vacation for two weeks. Not only do they serve the best poke on Oahu, they care about your wellbeing. Ono is located right next to the bank and across from Mopeds Direct off Kapahulu. If you blink driving past you’ll miss it so pay attention for chrissakes. Remember to get a combo poke bowl so you can try two flavors at once.