clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Various kinds of poke in plastic containers with drinks and chopsticks on a light blue picnic table.
Poke from Tamashiro Market.
Ryan Siphers/Eater

The 11 Best Places to Eat Poke in Honolulu

From fresh ‘ahi poke and chicharrones at a Diamond Head surfer hangout to a liquor store serving luxe king crab poke, here’s where to eat poke in Honolulu

View as Map
Poke from Tamashiro Market.
| Ryan Siphers/Eater

For the uninitiated, poke (which means “to cut” or “to slice” in Hawaiian) is most commonly a dish of raw, chopped fish and onions, seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. It is not some overwrought bowl with extra toppings and kale, labeled as poké or poki on the menu at a bougie fast-casual outlet like you see on the Mainland. Though you’ll find all sorts of variations on the sauces and ingredients, ranging from cooked seafood like shrimp and clams to even non-seafood ingredients, such as beets and beef, there are really just three types of poke, usually made with ‘ahi, that locals love most. The first is shoyu, the aforementioned variety with soy sauce and sesame oil. You’ll also see limu or Hawaiian, made with limu (seaweed) and ‘inamona (roasted and crushed kukui, or candlenut). And finally there’s spicy, a creamy mayo-based variation.

In Hawai‘i, poke is most often eaten on its own as a snack, though serving it over rice, aka poke bowls, is also now popular. It’s a casual dish, so much a part of locals’ lives that it’s eaten everywhere — at bars, on the beach, on the couch — usually straight from plastic takeout containers. The best poke destinations in Honolulu prioritize fresh fish (versus tuna that’s been frozen or treated with carbon monoxide to preserve color). They tend to be unassuming and out of the way: supermarkets, convenience stores, hole-in-the-wall spots; then you know the establishment is spending its money on fish and not on high rent and useless decor. Across the board, for the best poke, fresh fish is the star.

Martha Cheng is the food editor at Honolulu Magazine, the author of The Poke Cookbook, and a writer for national publications.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

KBayBros Fish & Ice

Copy Link

The four Koki brothers opened this poke and seafood counter in a strip mall on the Windward side, scooping a combination of fresh and previously frozen fish (you can tell which is which by the prices). Fresh fish is featured in the more minimal preparations, like limu poke and one with ‘opihi (sharply briny Hawaiian limpets, pried off rocks in rough waters). Thawed fish is blanketed under a concoction of mayo and imitation crab, and topped with kimchi seasoning in the best-selling pau hana ‘ahi poke.

Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering

Copy Link

This beloved institution in central O‘ahu, dating back to 1978, is a mashup of an okazuya (old-school Japanese-style deli) and poke counter, which results in pairings like spicy ‘ahi and shrimp tempura poke bowls. It recently started offering food prepared to order, including tater tots topped with your choice of about a dozen varieties of poke, from wasabi miso tako to crunchy garlic ‘ahi. Despite its location outside of town, expect a line pretty much any time of day.

A plastic tub of ahi poke dotted with fixings.
Alae ‘ahi poke at Tanioka’s.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Poke by the Pound

Copy Link

In industrial Kalihi, near a chicken hatchery, you’ll find Poke by the Pound, where big, fresh chunks of ‘ahi are mixed with island flavorings like oyster sauce with crunchy bits of fried garlic. It’s clear that less is more with the Hawaiian salt poke, which comes with just fresh fish, white onion, green onion, and coarse Hawaiian salt. The six or so offerings at any given time are premixed in small batches and available by the pound (of course), or scooped over vinegared sushi rice for a poke bowl.

From above, a rectangular takeout container of rice topped with two kinds of ahi poke.
Garlic ‘ahi poke and Hawaiian salt ‘ahi poke.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Tamashiro Market

Copy Link

One of Honolulu’s oldest poke destinations is in the back of Tamashiro, a grocery store and seafood market in Kalihi dating back to the 1940s that offers one of the widest varieties of seafood in town. The options at the poke counter are equally broad, with about 30 varieties, from Korean-style raw crab poke (you’ll need to suck the meat out of the shell) to ginger kajiki (mild and lean with marlin) to limu aku (skipjack tuna, stronger in flavor than ‘ahi, which makes this a crowd-pleaser that sells out fast).

Containers of bright orange poke on a picnic table.
Poke from Tamashiro Market.
Ryan Siphers/Eater

Nico’s Fish Market

Copy Link

For the closest poke to Honolulu’s fish auction, head to Nico’s. The business began as a takeout counter on the pier in 2004, but has since grown into an expansive sit-down restaurant, including an adjacent fish market. You’ll find about two dozen trays of premixed poke in the refrigerated case, including kim chee tako and spicy scallop, as well as classic poke flavors applied to fresh, local fish, including ‘ahi, aku, tombo (albacore), and marlin. 

Kahiau Jerky Poke & Provisions

Copy Link

Ginger scallion poke, a take on Chinese cold ginger chicken made with raw fish, has gained popularity in Hawai‘i in recent years. Few poke shops showcase restraint with the formula like Kahiau, which lets the fresh cubes of local ‘ahi shine in a mix accented with finely grated ginger and green onions. Other favorites at this tiny Chinatown spot include the taegu poke — soft, dried ‘ahi tossed in a sweetened, spicy sesame sauce that echoes the Korean side dish of seasoned dried squid — and the poke bomb: inari sushi topped with spicy ‘ahi poke, like bite-sized poke bowls.

Kyung’s Seafood

Copy Link

Known for its generous portions of homey Korean food, sashimi platters, and strawberry shochu slush, this small restaurant is also a sleeper hit for poke, in particular, the mama special: Owner Kyung Cha tosses fresh tuna with chunky Hawaiian salt, crisp ogo (seaweed), and heaps of masago, resulting in a sweet, salty, crunchy mix that’s shot through with tiny but potent Hawaiian chiles. The spicy ‘ahi is also a must; it’s not cubed poke, but a thick spread, which you spoon into nori — though it’s also excellent with shrimp chips, for an ultimate beachside chips and dip.

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors Waialae

Copy Link

Beer and poke go together like ‘ahi and shoyu, so a poke counter inside a liquor store just makes sense. The counter sells a mix of poke made with fresh and previously frozen ‘ahi, each clearly labeled. The multitudinous trays are proof that you can apply poke seasonings to practically anything: mussels, shell-on clams, crawfish, squid strips (aka imitation abalone), pipikaula (soft-dried beef), and tofu. In crab poke choices alone, Tamura’s offers everything from imitation crab to Dungeness crab (still in its shell), and has become notorious for what might be the most expensive poke ever, at more than $35 a pound, made with king crab liberated from its shell.

Ono Seafood

Copy Link

A second outpost in Kalama Valley, just past Hanauma Bay, has done little to lessen the crowds at the original Ono Seafood near Waikīkī. Long lines stretch out of both locations, but it’s worth the wait for the simple offerings from mother-daughter team Judy Sakuma and Kim Brug (and extended family). They highlight fatty, fresh chunks of ‘ahi and chewy tako (octopus), and preparations like the Hawaiian-style with crunchy limu, coarse sea salt, and nutty ‘inamona are mixed in small batches. Don’t wait to eat your poke bowl: Bliss is found in the pairing of cool fish and hot rice.

A poke dish from Ono Seafood.
Hillary Dixler Canavan/Eater

Maguro Brothers

Copy Link

Junichiro Tsuchiya used to be a fish buyer at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. “I know good fish,” he says, proudly. During the day, he and his brother run a seafood counter tucked inside Maunakea Marketplace in Honolulu’s Chinatown, and at night, a similarly tiny shop in Waikīkī, both serving impeccably seasoned poke alongside fresh sashimi. The Hawaiian limu poke has threads of crisp seaweed and a fine dusting of ‘inamona, while the ume shiso is a bright and delicate combination. Poke here is tossed to order. For an extra-luxe experience, crown your poke bowl with uni.

Three containers of poke, with chopsticks laying across one.
Poke at Maguro Brothers.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Fort Ruger Market

Copy Link

A fixture in the Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head) area since 1937, this takeaway market keeps things simple for its regular cast of pro surfers and construction workers. You’ll find auction-fresh ‘ahi poke, seasoned with limu, rock salt, ‘inamona, chile pepper, and sesame oil, alongside fish jerky, smoked fish dip, and chicharrones, all made in house. In recent years, Fort Ruger has also become a go-to spot for Filipino and Hawaiian plate lunches. Be prepared to leave with a lot of food, and don’t forget to pick up some boiled peanuts, bundled in brown paper bags by the cash register.

From above, a bowl of poke and lechon on top of rice.
Rugerlicious ‘ahi poke and lechon.
Martha Cheng/Eater

KBayBros Fish & Ice

The four Koki brothers opened this poke and seafood counter in a strip mall on the Windward side, scooping a combination of fresh and previously frozen fish (you can tell which is which by the prices). Fresh fish is featured in the more minimal preparations, like limu poke and one with ‘opihi (sharply briny Hawaiian limpets, pried off rocks in rough waters). Thawed fish is blanketed under a concoction of mayo and imitation crab, and topped with kimchi seasoning in the best-selling pau hana ‘ahi poke.

Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering

A plastic tub of ahi poke dotted with fixings.
Alae ‘ahi poke at Tanioka’s.
Martha Cheng/Eater

This beloved institution in central O‘ahu, dating back to 1978, is a mashup of an okazuya (old-school Japanese-style deli) and poke counter, which results in pairings like spicy ‘ahi and shrimp tempura poke bowls. It recently started offering food prepared to order, including tater tots topped with your choice of about a dozen varieties of poke, from wasabi miso tako to crunchy garlic ‘ahi. Despite its location outside of town, expect a line pretty much any time of day.

A plastic tub of ahi poke dotted with fixings.
Alae ‘ahi poke at Tanioka’s.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Poke by the Pound

From above, a rectangular takeout container of rice topped with two kinds of ahi poke.
Garlic ‘ahi poke and Hawaiian salt ‘ahi poke.
Martha Cheng/Eater

In industrial Kalihi, near a chicken hatchery, you’ll find Poke by the Pound, where big, fresh chunks of ‘ahi are mixed with island flavorings like oyster sauce with crunchy bits of fried garlic. It’s clear that less is more with the Hawaiian salt poke, which comes with just fresh fish, white onion, green onion, and coarse Hawaiian salt. The six or so offerings at any given time are premixed in small batches and available by the pound (of course), or scooped over vinegared sushi rice for a poke bowl.

From above, a rectangular takeout container of rice topped with two kinds of ahi poke.
Garlic ‘ahi poke and Hawaiian salt ‘ahi poke.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Tamashiro Market

Containers of bright orange poke on a picnic table.
Poke from Tamashiro Market.
Ryan Siphers/Eater

One of Honolulu’s oldest poke destinations is in the back of Tamashiro, a grocery store and seafood market in Kalihi dating back to the 1940s that offers one of the widest varieties of seafood in town. The options at the poke counter are equally broad, with about 30 varieties, from Korean-style raw crab poke (you’ll need to suck the meat out of the shell) to ginger kajiki (mild and lean with marlin) to limu aku (skipjack tuna, stronger in flavor than ‘ahi, which makes this a crowd-pleaser that sells out fast).

Containers of bright orange poke on a picnic table.
Poke from Tamashiro Market.
Ryan Siphers/Eater

Nico’s Fish Market

For the closest poke to Honolulu’s fish auction, head to Nico’s. The business began as a takeout counter on the pier in 2004, but has since grown into an expansive sit-down restaurant, including an adjacent fish market. You’ll find about two dozen trays of premixed poke in the refrigerated case, including kim chee tako and spicy scallop, as well as classic poke flavors applied to fresh, local fish, including ‘ahi, aku, tombo (albacore), and marlin. 

Kahiau Jerky Poke & Provisions

Ginger scallion poke, a take on Chinese cold ginger chicken made with raw fish, has gained popularity in Hawai‘i in recent years. Few poke shops showcase restraint with the formula like Kahiau, which lets the fresh cubes of local ‘ahi shine in a mix accented with finely grated ginger and green onions. Other favorites at this tiny Chinatown spot include the taegu poke — soft, dried ‘ahi tossed in a sweetened, spicy sesame sauce that echoes the Korean side dish of seasoned dried squid — and the poke bomb: inari sushi topped with spicy ‘ahi poke, like bite-sized poke bowls.

Kyung’s Seafood

Known for its generous portions of homey Korean food, sashimi platters, and strawberry shochu slush, this small restaurant is also a sleeper hit for poke, in particular, the mama special: Owner Kyung Cha tosses fresh tuna with chunky Hawaiian salt, crisp ogo (seaweed), and heaps of masago, resulting in a sweet, salty, crunchy mix that’s shot through with tiny but potent Hawaiian chiles. The spicy ‘ahi is also a must; it’s not cubed poke, but a thick spread, which you spoon into nori — though it’s also excellent with shrimp chips, for an ultimate beachside chips and dip.

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors Waialae

Beer and poke go together like ‘ahi and shoyu, so a poke counter inside a liquor store just makes sense. The counter sells a mix of poke made with fresh and previously frozen ‘ahi, each clearly labeled. The multitudinous trays are proof that you can apply poke seasonings to practically anything: mussels, shell-on clams, crawfish, squid strips (aka imitation abalone), pipikaula (soft-dried beef), and tofu. In crab poke choices alone, Tamura’s offers everything from imitation crab to Dungeness crab (still in its shell), and has become notorious for what might be the most expensive poke ever, at more than $35 a pound, made with king crab liberated from its shell.

Ono Seafood

A poke dish from Ono Seafood.
Hillary Dixler Canavan/Eater

A second outpost in Kalama Valley, just past Hanauma Bay, has done little to lessen the crowds at the original Ono Seafood near Waikīkī. Long lines stretch out of both locations, but it’s worth the wait for the simple offerings from mother-daughter team Judy Sakuma and Kim Brug (and extended family). They highlight fatty, fresh chunks of ‘ahi and chewy tako (octopus), and preparations like the Hawaiian-style with crunchy limu, coarse sea salt, and nutty ‘inamona are mixed in small batches. Don’t wait to eat your poke bowl: Bliss is found in the pairing of cool fish and hot rice.

A poke dish from Ono Seafood.
Hillary Dixler Canavan/Eater

Maguro Brothers

Three containers of poke, with chopsticks laying across one.
Poke at Maguro Brothers.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Junichiro Tsuchiya used to be a fish buyer at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. “I know good fish,” he says, proudly. During the day, he and his brother run a seafood counter tucked inside Maunakea Marketplace in Honolulu’s Chinatown, and at night, a similarly tiny shop in Waikīkī, both serving impeccably seasoned poke alongside fresh sashimi. The Hawaiian limu poke has threads of crisp seaweed and a fine dusting of ‘inamona, while the ume shiso is a bright and delicate combination. Poke here is tossed to order. For an extra-luxe experience, crown your poke bowl with uni.

Three containers of poke, with chopsticks laying across one.
Poke at Maguro Brothers.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Fort Ruger Market

From above, a bowl of poke and lechon on top of rice.
Rugerlicious ‘ahi poke and lechon.
Martha Cheng/Eater

A fixture in the Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head) area since 1937, this takeaway market keeps things simple for its regular cast of pro surfers and construction workers. You’ll find auction-fresh ‘ahi poke, seasoned with limu, rock salt, ‘inamona, chile pepper, and sesame oil, alongside fish jerky, smoked fish dip, and chicharrones, all made in house. In recent years, Fort Ruger has also become a go-to spot for Filipino and Hawaiian plate lunches. Be prepared to leave with a lot of food, and don’t forget to pick up some boiled peanuts, bundled in brown paper bags by the cash register.

From above, a bowl of poke and lechon on top of rice.
Rugerlicious ‘ahi poke and lechon.
Martha Cheng/Eater

Related Maps