This neighborhood filled with historic homes offers respite from the urban city.
Visit Mānoa on any given day, and chances are there’s a slight mist filling the air, swathing the neighborhood in a mysterious aura that leaves one’s skin feeling cool and dewy. It is perhaps because of this enigmatic mist that the area is so breathtaking. Once an agricultural center in ancient Hawai‘i, this verdant valley was used by Native Hawaiians to develop extensive irrigation systems that fed into the lo‘i, or taro patches, thought to have once covered the area. Though the region became purely residential in the late 19th century—today, it is home to one of the highest concentrations of historic designated homes in the islands—Mānoa remains a welcome respite from the bustle of city life, where a lush environment and ono eats intersect.
The neighborhood of Mānoa is a welcome escape from Honolulu’s bustling city life.
An open-air café with a rustic vibe, Morning Glass (2955 East Manoa Rd.) has a menu that focuses on simple preparation and features seasonal, local, and sustainable products that are made from scratch when possible. This breezy eatery also offers a selection of coffees from various international roasters, each cup brewed with freshly ground beans and prepared to order. Don’t pass up the honey butter biscuits, baked daily, or the famous egg-a-muffin, made with a farm-fresh egg, applewood-smoked bacon, and tomato jam on a house-made English muffin. And since Morning Glass is the perfect spot for a weekend brunch, diners should plan on arriving early (or waiting) to try its macaroni-and-cheese pancakes, biscuits and gravy with Shinsato Farms pork sausage, or skillet-baked Kalei eggs.
Handcrafted coffee and freshly prepared fare are hallmarks of Morning Glass.
Andy’s Sandwiches and Smoothies
Blink and you might drive right by this no-frills sandwich shop. Opened in 1977 by Andy Rodrigues and his wife, Alma, Andy’s Sandwiches and Smoothies (2904 E. Manoa Rd.) has kept Mānoa healthy with its wide and reasonably priced (between $3 and $4) array of sandwiches—hearty servings of meat and veggies packed between freshly baked wheat bread—high-protein smoothies, and sweet treats. If you’re lucky, you will be able to snag one of the handful of tables here. Or, you can call your order in ahead (808-988-6161) for a to-go meal that’s perfect for taking on a nearby hike.
At Andy’s Sandwiches and Smoothies, find healthy options that are perfect for on-the-go eats.
Serg’s Mexican Kitchen
Since 2009, Sergio Arellano has been bringing a taste of Mexico to Mānoa with his authentic, never-from-the-can fare found daily at Serg’s Mexican Kitchen (2740 E. Manoa Rd.). Having grown up in Mexico City, Arellano uses recipes taught to him by his parents and grandparents to create authentic dishes like his tender pork carnitas, famous flautas, nopales (prickly pear cactus salsa), and ranchero beans.
Serg’s serves up authentic eats inspired by recipes of owner Sergio Arellano’s grandmother.
The Mānoa Heritage Center is dedicated to educating visitors about Hawaiian culture.