Kailua Town, nestled on the island of Oahu’s Windward side, has become a top international tourist attraction over the last decade. Known for its beautiful beaches, soft sand, mild waters, and laid-back environment, this sleepy beach town has managed to keep its authentic feel despite its recently found fame. But before hitting up the beach, you should start the day with some of Kailua’s best breakfast.
Much of Kailua’s unwavering authenticity can be attributed to the town’s restaurants and coffee shops. While there are a handful of chain restaurants popping up in town, many of the eateries in Kailua are locally owned and proud of it. In fact, “keep Kailua local” is a phrase you’ll hear or see often when visiting.
And when it comes to breakfast or weekend brunch, no town on the island of Oahu does it better than Kailua. All of the brunch spots listed below offer Hawaiian-style options on their menu and serve fresh, locally roasted coffee. Plus, their pleasant island feel makes for a relaxing brunch experience.
Here’s my list of the restaurants with the best breakfast in Kailua.
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Hawaiian Breakfast Dishes
Hawaiian breakfasts are a delightful mix of the islands’ multicultural influences, blending flavors from Native Hawaiian, Asian, Portuguese, and American cuisines. Here are some typical dishes that you might find on a Hawaiian breakfast menu:
- Loco Moco: This hearty meal consists of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and covered in brown gravy. Variations may include different types of meat like kalua pork or Spam.
- Spam Musubi: A popular snack and breakfast item, Spam musubi is a slice of grilled Spam on a block of rice, wrapped together with nori (seaweed). It’s Hawaii’s take on Japanese onigiri.
- Portuguese Sausage: Brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, this flavorful sausage is often served with eggs and rice, making for a filling breakfast.
- Poi: Made from taro root that has been cooked and pounded to a paste, poi is a traditional Polynesian staple. It can be eaten alone or with other dishes. The consistency can vary but would generally be thicker than soup and thinner than yogurt.
- Eggs and Rice: A simple yet satisfying breakfast, often served with the addition of the aforementioned Portuguese sausage or Spam.
- Pancakes with Tropical Flavors: Pancakes in Hawaii might come topped with tropical fruits like pineapple, banana, coconut, or flavored syrups such as coconut or guava.
- Fried Rice: Hawaiian fried rice can be a breakfast unto itself, featuring a mix of rice with Spam, Portuguese sausage, eggs, and vegetables.
- Acai Bowl: Although not traditional Hawaiian, the acai bowl has become a popular breakfast dish in Hawaii, featuring acai berry puree topped with granola, banana, and other fruits.
- Kalua Pig: While more commonly a lunch or dinner item, kalua pig is slow cooked and often shredded to be served for breakfast alongside rice, poi, in breakfast bowls, or in an eggs Benedict.
- Haupia: A coconut milk-based dessert that’s often served as part of a larger breakfast spread.
These are some of the breakfast items that might not be common outside Hawaii, so I highly suggest you try them. But you will of course find plenty of the more standard American breakfast items as well.
The Best Breakfast Restaurants
Over Easy is known to have some of the best breakfast in Kailua by both locals and tourists for good reason. This bright breakfast stop in Kailua Town has garnered acclaim for its innovative and excellently prepared dishes. Some of the standout breakfast dishes are:
- Kailua Eggs: Sunny side up eggs over a bacon cabbage broth with Portuguese sausage and rice
- Custard French Toast: Thick cut with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and an orange crème fraîche
- Kalua Pig Hash: Hawaiian style shredded pork with fingerling potatoes, sunny side up eggs, and lomi tomato (salsa)
But other great options include crispy egg pancakes and the vegetarian crispy eggplant sandwich.
It’s important to note that Over Easy does not take reservations, but you can call in by phone 30 minutes before arriving, to put your name on the waitlist. I recommend doing this because otherwise, the wait can sometimes be quite long.
This family-owned business provides a warm, Hawaii-inspired atmosphere and is a popular spot heading to or from Lanikai Beach. It is only open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays and until 1:30 p.m. on weekends. Breakfast is offered the entire day while the few lunch items are offered after 11am. They serve coffee as well as some great Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and other brunch cocktails.
Best overall breakfast
Moke’s Bread and Breakfast
Moke’s Bread and Breakfast is an ideal spot for weekday breakfast, as the weekends can often have up to an hour long wait. But with its laid-back atmosphere, patio seating, and food made with local ingredients, this spot is definitely worth the hype.
Known for its hearty meals and generous portions, Moke’s is famed for its breakfast offerings, which are served all day. And a trip here isn’t complete without ordering a plate of the Kailua’s most famous breakfast dish, their Liliko’i pancakes. These are fluffy cakes topped with lilikoi syrup, a sweet-tart passion fruit sauce that is popular in Hawaiian cuisine. Many parties choose to place an order to be shared by the table.
The popular Auntie Harriet’s French Toast is a family recipe featuring homemade bread. And other highlights on the menu are the Home-Made Corned Beef Hash and the Loco Moco, a beef patty served over rice with two eggs over easy and topped with brown gravy.
Best weekday breakfast
Unless you’re closely looking, its easy to miss Cinnamon’s Restaurant. In fact, many visitors are unaware it even exists. But this restaurant, located in Kailua Square, is a haven for any sweet tooth or breakfast lover. Their menu includes homemade cinnamon rolls, red velvet pancakes, guava chiffon pancakes, and Hawaiian sweet bread French toast. And it’s not uncommon for them to create special holiday dishes.
The Kalua pork benedict is a favorite among the non-sweet options.
Cinnamon’s Restaurant is small, has limited hours, and only holds reservations for parties of 8 or more. So, like most places in Kailua, the earlier you arrive at Cinnamon’s for your morning sugar rush, the better.
Best hidden gem breakfast
If you have a jam-packed itinerary, but still want a local experience with healthy breakfast options in Kailua, then Morning Brew is the perfect spot.
Founded and owned by local high school sweethearts Debbie and Pete, Morning Brew is a local cafe and proud of it. With its large windows, high ceilings, bright lighting, and locally featured art scattered across the walls, just walking into this cafe puts you into a calmer mood.
Everything on the menu is good, but their espresso iced blended shakes and white mocha lattes are some of the more unique choices. In addition to the Morning Brew in Kailua, they also have a coffeeshop in Honolulu.
Local tip: Bookends, Kailua’s only locally owned and independent bookstore, is conveniently located a few doors down. You can pick out a summer read from Bookends, head over to Morning Brew, and spend a few hours reading while enjoying one of the cafe’s specialty drinks.
Best for coffee and a quick breakfast
Beet Box Cafe
The Beet Box Cafe is a beloved spot that is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Kailua. But even if you’re a meat or cheese lover, don’t let these options dissuade you from going- everything on this menu is good.
Made with fresh ingredients daily, Beet Box Cafe has delicious smoothies, acai bowls, and wraps on its menu. The Rainbow Country Burrito is a fan favorite. Plus, the wait is typically shorter here than at other brunch spots nearby. (Moke’s Bread and Breakfast is right across the street!)
Best breakfast for vegan, vegetarian, or specialty diets
Times Coffee Shop Kailua
If you truly want to get a local experience when visiting a new town, go to the neighborhood diner.
This is especially true in Kailua. Times Coffee Shop Kailua has been part of the community since 1959 and is the kind of place where everyone knowns everyone. This locally owned diner is loaded with Hawaiian-style breakfast options on their menu. So yup, they offer sides of fried rice, Spam, and Portuguese Sausage.
This diner has a very laid-back feel, and it is one of the most affordable breakfast spots on this list. The wait isn’t typically long either. As an FYI, these servings are HUGE, so sharing is recommended.
Best breakfast for a local experience