We've got EVERYTHING in San Francisco when it comes to food. Name a type of food and I bet we've got that. That means Hawaiian too. Of course, here in the city, we are only 5 hours from the islands, but when we can't get there and are craving the island's culinary delights, we've got options!
If you are seeking ono (delicious) Hawaiian in San Francisco, look no further than these spots:
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Liholiho Yacht Club (871 Sutter Street, b/t Leavenworth and Jones) A former pop-up that recently opened its brick-and-mortar location in Tendernob, Liholiho Yacht Club is a must-try. I say skip the entrees and get the tuna poke on crisp nori crackers; the marinated squid with crispy tripe (tender squid rings, crispy tripe, mint, cabbage slaw, and crispy shallots); the beef tongue bun (beef, kimchi, cucumber in a poppy seed steam bun) and the duck liver toast with pickled pineapple sprinkled on top!
Here is a fun hyper-lapse service video of Chef Ravi Kapur at Liholiho Yacht Club via Chefs Feed:
Grindz (832 Clement St) Want some Hawaiian in your breakfast? Grindz in the Richmond District has what you need. How about kalua pig huevos rancheros with slow-cooked shredded pork in tortillas with kimchi fried brown rice, salsa, avocado, and an egg. Yah, that will do. They've also got poke, loco moco, and Spam.
Aina (903 Cortland Ave., b/t Folsom St & Gates St) A great spot for brunch Hawaiian-style Aina is actually a pop-up in Bernal Heights. Personally, I'd go straight for dessert with the malasadas and haupia custard, but if you are more constrained have the guava and taro french toast or the kalbi loco moco.
Sammy’s Aloha (Pier 33, The Embarcadero) Although this spot is in a touristy area, and their tuna poke with salmon roe and green onion, may not entirely be worth the hassle, but the Sammy's Aloha Porky Boy kalua pork sandwich with kimchee in a brioche bun is!
Namu Gaji Restaurant (at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market and 499 Delores Street, b/t 18th St & Dorland St) this is a Korean restaurant BUT they have an amazing version of loco moco that you do not want to miss!
Huli Huli Hawaiian Grill (4100 3rd St, b/t Hudson Ave & Innes Ave) in Bayview is a spot where you can get great Hawaiian food and support a good cause. The restaurant is staffed by Project Bayview residents a “discipleship home” that reforms men after gangs, drug addictions, and prison. Avoid the burritos and get the loco moco plate or the BBQ chicken. Save room for the shaved ice – it is authentic!
Hawaiian Drive-in (4827 Mission St) this spot was opened by ex-islanders who missed home. They've got classic lunch plates BBQ (short ribs and chicken) and Loco Moco, but the star of the show is the chicken katsu.
It wouldn't be San Francisco without a food truck dedicated to Hawaiian eats, but we don't do anything small here, so there are several!
Hula Truck serving island flavors with a “NorCal twist.” Best item on the truck? Da Situation with tater tots with meat (get crispy pork belly and an egg), pico de gallo, shredded cheese, sour cream, and their special “hula verde” sauce. Okay, that may be tied with the Boom Plate with papaya salad and lechon kawali (crispy pork belly) or kalua pork. They are mostly found in the South Bay, except Friday nights when there are Off The Grid in Fort Mason.
IZ IT Fresh Grill does three things really well: fried chicken, kicker tacos with chicken or beef, and Spam Musubi. The fried chicken leg makes it on my list of the best in the city. I love the musubi. The tacos are in my opinion just okay – I like the addition of cucumber slices with the meat and salsa.
Slider Shack, is a Hawaiian-inspired slider truck with Kalua pork sliders (along with their pretty good fried chicken slider). They even have a really good black bean slider for vegetarians. Whatever you get, don't miss the tater tots!
Those are my picks for Hawaiian in San Francisco. Do you have any to add? What's your favorite Hawaiian dish?
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