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“Amazing Hawaiian food. A True Experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Helena's Hawaiian Food

Helena's Hawaiian Food
1240 N School St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817
(808) 845-8044
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Ranked #6 of 1,916 restaurants in Honolulu
Cuisines: Hawaiian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Local cuisine, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Amazing Hawaiian food. A True Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

While we lived in Hawaii, we would drive the hour from North Shore to the teeny tiny restaurant in Kaimuki just to see our "family." We were treated as such. When we walked in, they knew our name and our regular order. My son (5) grew up begging to come here.

It may look run down, but the food is amazing. Kalua pork, pipikaula short ribs (beef short ribs, marinated in soy, dried and fried) and rice was our go-to. I learned to love haupia from this place. I took every single visitor to experience Helena's.

Truly a gem and we miss it so much.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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216 reviews from our community

88% Recommend
    155
    37
    20
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, California
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Fantastic Hawaii local food...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

On the last day of our Honolulu vacation, we found this nice place. We ordered Pipikaula Short Ribs, Boiled Butterfish Collar with Watercress, Kalua Pig, Haupie cake, all of them taste very very good, Pipikaula Short Ribs is our favorite. Other than the food, their service feels heart-warming. We didn't know what the "poi" is, so we asked waitress what it's made of, she first explained to us, Then to all our surprise, instead of pushing us to order more like many other restaurant, she offered us a bowl as sample so we could try it first then decide if we want to order more. What a great service! We will for sure come to here again next time we visit Honolulu.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norcal
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Simple, unpretentious but tasty local food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

Tasty local food served without presentation.... nothing fancy to distract you from the real star of this establishment: the food.
Located in a small strip mall away from the main tourist areas, Helena's Hawaiian Food continues to draw positive reviews from locals and the handful of tourists who venture away from the confines of the mainstream eateries of Waikiki. Open from Tuesday to Friday, 10AM to 7:30PM. (Closed weekends and Mondays)... avoid most of the crowd by avoiding the lunch and dinner hours.
There is a limited amount of parking in their parking lot.... plus some spots on the street.
Unimpressive on the outside, the restaurant is equally simple and worn on inside.... but the food is what most people come to experience.
We ordered the Pork Laulau. the Kalua Pig and cabbage, Long Rice Chicken, Pipikaula Short Ribs and the Ahi Poke with Opihi... all very good except, for me, the short ribs (very dry, tough and lacking flavor.... maybe it was a bad batch)
If you want to experience a romantic atmosphere, fancy decor and impressive presentation, this is NOT a place for you.....
BUT if you want to experience good local food then you should take a drive or take a taxi to 1240 N. School Street in Honolulu.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Poway, CA
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Don't read this book by its cover!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

As you've probably read, Helena's is rather run down in appearance, but the constant flow of great reviews and repeat patrons tells the real story. The food is LOCAL with a capital L, and prepared simply. The Ahi should not be missed, nor the Korean style ribs. You will spend less and leave more satisfied than from any other Hawaiian eatery, and the experience is better than most finer restaurants in Honolulu, to be truthful.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Amazing local fare”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

In the tradition of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants, Helena's has delicious food for a great price. An added bonus is that the cashier and servers ask for your name, then actually use it to talk to you!

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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