#15 of 26 Oahu Restaurants

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Helena's Hawaiian Food – A Time-Honored Oahu Favorite Serving Classic Delights
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

At Helena’s Hawaiian Food, they take a traditional approach to whipping up all the fan favorites. From Lomi Salmon and Fried Ahi to Short Ribs Pipikaula Style and Chicken Long Rice, they have the full range of classics on tap all day long. Just be sure to get ready for quite a wait, however, because this little Oahu eatery remains plenty busy from open to close.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Helena’s Hawaiian Food makes it their mission to roll out all the best classic dishes made with flair. Although their Short Ribs Pipikaula Style is a definite fan favorite, they have many other excellent offerings, like Butterfish Collar and Tripe Stew. In all they make, they go above and beyond in building bold flavors using the freshest island ingredients around.    

As a result of their efforts, their quaint Honolulu, Oahu, eatery brings in the crowds from the time they open their doors all the way to close. You can expect at least a 20-minute wait for a table as a result, plus plan to spend even more time waiting around while they whip up your food. Although their small eatery might not look like much, the cozy tables, pleasant atmosphere, and friendly service will have you feeling right at home.

If you want to get straight to devouring their phenomenal classics, you can get your order to go instead. Helena’s Hawaiian Food will get straight to cooking your selections while you go relax in the car until they’re ready. You’ll then get all your items in convenient to-go boxes that you can take to a nearby park or beach to enjoy. As you smell all the delicious flavors wafting from the containers, you might just decide to enjoy your meal right then and there in the comfort of your vehicle.  

Either way, you can expect to feel completely blown away by your selections at Helena’s Hawaiian Food. Whether you order their pork, fish, or something altogether different, their wide variety of proteins are always juicy, tender, and flavorful. Beyond that, their sides have just the right amount of sweetness and saltiness to complement the main entrees.

Fan favorites on the menu at Helena’s Hawaiian Food include:

Short Ribs
Available in small and large portions, the Short Ribs Pipikaula Style bring all the best flavors to the table, treating you to a meal to remember. Although they keep their recipe secret, you can expect meaty bites with just the right amount of fat. The zesty sauce brings it all together, especially as you pair each bite with their tasty mac salad.

Boiled Butterfish Collar
Since ingredients run out on the regular at Helena’s Hawaiian Food, it’s tough to get a taste of their Boiled Butterfish Collar. So, it just makes sense to try and order it at each visit in hopes of getting lucky. If you manage to order up this phenomenal dish, you can get your luscious butterfish plain or with stew gravy or watercress. Don’t hesitate to get a side of poi to go with your butterfish, as it helps elevate the rich flavors even more.

Kalua Pig
When you want perfectly-seasoned meat cooked until fall-off-the-bone tender, you need the Kalua Pig in your life. They cook this dish in imu, or in an oven deep underground, for hours until it’s absolutely perfect. Then, they serve it up in small or large portions with the side of your choice. If you prefer to take a bunch home for later, you can buy it by the pound instead.

At every visit, you’ll get a complimentary haupia gelatin dessert, so be sure to save a bit of room in your belly. The fresh coconut flavors never fail to delight, after all, serving as the perfect end to an amazing meal. If you’re too full to take another bite, you can decline the offer for dessert, although you’ll definitely be missing out.

Insider Tips:
-They only accept cash payments at Helena’s Hawaiian Food, so stop by the ATM before you arrive.
-The parking lot at Helena’s Hawaiian Food is extremely small, so expect to wait for a spot to open up. You can look along the side of the building for space to park, but that fills up fast, too.
-Although the raw onions and haupia dessert come on the same plate, they’re not meant to be enjoyed together. Put the onions on your entrees to enhance their flavor and save the dessert for afterward.