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“Sorry! Don't know what the buzz is about.”

Helena's Hawaiian Food
Ranked #5 of 2,405 Restaurants in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Hawaiian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“Sorry! Don't know what the buzz is about.”
Reviewed 15 February 2012

Small portions, over priced & over rated. One piece of kali-bi has 3 bones in it, Helena's serving is four bones which is one & third piece of kal-bi (Nearly $6), with rice and another side dish will run you about $12. It's tasty, but don't know what all the buzz is about.

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank user34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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654 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Rafael, California
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best ribs ever! Visit to Oahu is incomplete without stopping by Helena's”
Reviewed 6 February 2012

We visited Helena's with friends from the island who ranted and raved about this being their favorite local place to eat authentic Hawaiian cuisine. From the outside, and even the inside, the place did not seem impressive--but I had a feeling my expectations would not be disappointed. Their Kalua pig was so tender and juicy and filled with flavor. I was already very impressed. But then when I sunk my teeth into the Pipakaula ribs, I knew I would have to return to Oahu just to get my fix on these ribs again. I have never tasted anything like it before--no other barbeque compares to these ribs. The food at Helena's alone would entice me to return to the island of Oahu!

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Nang M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manhattan Beach, CA
Level 6 Contributor
341 reviews
147 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
“True Hawaiian--A Locals Place”
Reviewed 3 February 2012

Sitting along a busy street in Honolulu is a Hawaiian food experience. No liquor, beer, or wine is served. Sodas and water only. We had Plate #B which is a Kalua Pig cooked in an imu (stones in the ground), Pipikaula short ribs with rice, and coconut pudding. Inexpensive and very fresh. The restaurant is relatively small with about a dozen tables that seat 4 individuals each. Service is good but the establishment, which has been in business since 1946, is a little run down and the toilets are in need of a fresh coat of paint and clean up! Parking is directly in front of the business. During our dinner many customers walked in and ordered take out food. This is obviously a "locals" establishment and the menu choices are entirely Hawaiian traditional. The pork was lean but the short ribs were variable (mine were lean but my wife's were fatty). The restaurant is open Tues through Friday 10:30 am to 7:40 pm. Having shared the above, awards that go back decades line the walls. This is a family restaurant. Make sure you ask Helena to show you pictures of her new grandchildren (3 months old at this time)--her first.

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank BobWE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Authentic food / feel with a family atmosphere”
Reviewed 31 January 2012

We decided to visit Helena's after seeing a piece on them from man vs food on the travel channel. After seeing the show I had preemptively sold myself on getting the short ribs and they lived up to the hype the show created.

The restaurant itself is pretty small and has a very small parking lot but once inside you are welcomed by smiling faces, delightful smells that tickle your senses and a true sense of the aloha spirit. The food portions are normal and the prices are great considering high cost in Hawaii. I got the Kilauea Pork, short ribs and two scoops of white rice. My wife got the Luau chicken with rice. Needless to say we both left with full stomachs and a smile on our faces. At the end of the day you have to travel a bit out of the tourist zone and experience a real taste of the real Honolulu area but once inside you will be treated well both in hospitality and great taste.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Ravensminded10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burlington, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Outstanding. one of our favorite meals we had in Hawaii”
Reviewed 23 January 2012

We heard about this restaurant from chowhound and trip advisor. We are big foodies and like to seek out hidden gems and not chain like restaurants. We took our two young children here and two adults to dine here for lunch. There was a short wait outside before we were seated. Its a small restaurant and nothing at all fancy but we were there for good food not decor.
Our waitress could of been a little more friendly. that being said we met the cook who was the owner and his mother. I have to say she was one of the friendliest restaurant owners we have met. I really enjoyed our chat and got to meet her son and his smoking ribs hanging so tenderly from the ceiling of the kitchen smoking! We even purchased a tshirt here.
We wanted to try an assortment of dishes to get the real taste at this place!
WE ordered a large short rib (phenominal) . kahlua pig and cabbage, long rice chicken (this was for my 7 year old thinking this was chicken and rice it came out like almost a soup with rice noodles) she loved it!!! , beef stew was outstanding! sticky rice. lomi salmon. All served in small bowls so the portions were not huge but it was plenty for us to share with our family and come out content. I liked the salt and onion you bite into prior to eating other dishes was a interesting mix on our palate. We enjoyed a Haupia for desert.

The meal was divine. reasonably priced. and great quality. I would definatly recommend this restaurant for others on the quest for a home cooked hawaiian meal.

  • Visited December 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank palmtree34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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