#1 of 26 Oahu Restaurants

Ethel’s Grill

Ethel's Grill – A Chill Place to Enjoy Homestyle Asian Fusion Specialties in Honolulu
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A local favorite since 1979, Ethel’s Grill treats Honolulu to homestyle Asian-Hawaiian fusion dishes cooked up just right. Their chill atmosphere sets the stage for an awesome meal, while their friendly service ensures you always feel welcome. Not sure what to order? You cannot go wrong with their house specialty: Fried Turkey Tails.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

When Ethel’s Grill opened their doors way back in 1979, they quickly gained a strong following and have kept their loyal patronage through the generations. As a part of the fabric of Honolulu, this laid-back eatery sees tons of foot traffic from open to close. So, if you’d like to get a taste of just why they’re so popular, you’ve got to come in rather early. Despite the crowds, they open up shop for breakfast and then close everything down right after the lunch rush.

If you slide through the doors of Ethel’s Grill on time, you’ll get hit with the amazing scent of their Asian-Hawaiian fusion cuisine. As it’s just a collection of printouts on their front signboard, their menu changes often to reflect what they’re in the mood to serve up. Most days, you’ll find incredible delights, like Ahi Sashimi, Misoyaki Pork Chops, and Ume Shio Chicken.

As you browse the daily offerings at Ethel’s Grill, you’ll also get to read about what’s already sold out before you got there. Hint: It’s probably all the Ahi. But don’t worry, all of their offerings are 100% delicious, so you really cannot go wrong no matter what you choose.

Better yet, even before trying out the food at Ethel’s Grill , their friendly service and chill atmosphere will have you planning your return trip. Their bright alohas, warm smiles, and friendly chatter will make you instantly feel like family and help perfect your dining experience.

The most popular items at Ethel’s Grill include:

Deep-Fried Turkey Tails
As their signature dish, the Deep Fried Turkey Tails always boast big flavor that’ll leave you begging for more. They make this masterpiece by seasoning the turkey tails with five-spice and so much more, although they keep the details a secret. Then, they deep fry them until tender, perfectly browned, and ready for dipping. The onion-vinegar dipping sauce is a must before every bite, as it helps take the spicy flavors to the next level.

Tripe Stew
Only served once in a blue moon, the Tripe Stew has a long-standing list of patrons eagerly awaiting its return. Each time it lands back on the menu at Ethel’s Grill, the crew gives these regulars a call to come in and get a bite. Even if you’re not a fan of tripe, try this dish for yourself. All the rich flavors come together beautifully in their tomato sauce and cilantro broth.

Ahi Tataki
If decadent seafood is calling your name, definitely turn your attention to the Ahi Tataki when it’s available. They begin this dish by taking the freshest ahi around and letting it briefly kiss the grill for just a moment or two. Then, they take this rare delight and put it in their scrumptious sesame shoyu sauce. Alongside, you get warabi fern shoots that pair perfectly with the fish.

Since Ethel’s Grill only has 18 seats total in their whole restaurant, you can always expect a wait for a table to open up. You’ll need to wait outside until they have room, and then they will let you know that it’s your turn to partake in their offerings. If you’d like to skip the wait, call in your takeout order instead. They’ll get it ready for pickup while you jet down from the hotel. Once you have your meal in hand, you can go to the nearby beaches or parks to enjoy – or just chow down in your car.

Insider Tips:
-They only accept cash as payment, so hit up the ATM before swinging by.
-Need parking? Look next door for open spots.
-You must arrive by 1 pm to put in your order or you’ll miss out for the day.
-They list all their daily specials on Instagram, so check out their profile before coming in to get an idea on what you want to order.