White plate with half triangle sandwich and greens
: Mānoa
Text By
Lisa Yamada
Images By
Jonas Maon &
John Hook

Explore Mānoa

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.

cream and brown brick house with trees

The neighborhood of Mānoa is a welcome escape from Honolulu’s bustling city life.

Morning Glass
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.
Sign hanging from ceiling of Morning Glass coffee shop
glasses of coffee sitting on wood counter
White plate with half triangle sandwich and greens
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.
neon sign of Andy's Sandwiches & Smoothies
At Andy’s Sandwiches and Smoothies, find healthy options that are perfect for on-the-go eats.
sandwich with meat and greens on white plate
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 Mexican Kitchen restaurant sign
fish taco with salsa on white paper plate
Serg’s serves up authentic eats inspired by recipes of owner Sergio Arellano’s grandmother.
Mānoa Heritage Center
Established by the late Sam Cooke and his wife, Mary, in 1996, Mānoa Heritage Center is a place of cultural and environmental learning, dedicated to educating visitors about Hawaiian culture. The 3.5-acre estate includes a Native Hawaiian garden and ancient heiau, the last intact Hawaiian temple in Honolulu. Also on the property is the couple’s historic, Tudor-style residence, built in 1911 by architects Walter Emory and Marshall Webb. Tours of the garden and heiau are available Monday through Friday with advanced reservation, and although tours through the home are not currently available, Mary continues its daily upkeep, so that one day, future generations can walk its storied halls. For more information, call 808-988-1287 or visit manoaheritagecenter.org.
bronze plaque on iron gate of Manoa Heritage Center
stone wall overlooking green hills and misty mountain view
View of Manoa Heritage Center with stone wall and green plants
The Mānoa Heritage Center is dedicated to educating visitors about Hawaiian culture.
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