Poke in Hawaii: Options for Kauai, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island

Tamura's Poke Hawaii

Last updated: November 30, 2022

Poke (poh-kay) is one of our favorite things to eat and it’s especially good in Hawaii.  While it’s usually served as an appetizer, you can make it part of a meal with sides, such as rice and seaweed salad (poke bowl). If you’re not familiar with poke, it’s a type of raw fish salad. The most common type usually has tuna with soy sauce, limu seaweed, sesame oil, and onion. In this post, we share our favourite places to get poke on Kauai, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. 

Poke on Maui and Oahu:

Tamura’s Fine Wines and Liquors: Tamura’s is a chain of family-owned markets with locations on Oahu and Maui that are recognized for their poke bar and also having a great selection of snacks, liquors, wine, and beer. While it feels like you are entering a convenience/liquor store, a quick walk around and you’ll be amazed at the wide range of local and international products available. When we’re in Hawaii, we always make sure to pick up poke to take with us to eat at the beach or at the hotel for a casual lunch or dinner. Most of the poke at Tamura’s is fresh, not frozen like other places and the prices are very reasonable.  We usually get 2 types of tuna, 1 type of tako and some pipikaula (Hawaiian dish that’s salted dried beef, similar to beef jerky).

  • Rating: 20/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Tamura’s has numerous locations on Maui and Oahu.

Poke on Oahu:

Off The Hook: If you are willing to venture about 5 miles away from Waikiki into the hills of Manoa, Off the Hook Poke is worth the trek to experience their gourmet poke. The cold ginger ahi is probably the best and most unique poke we have ever tried. We also love the Kileaua fire ahi and miso ginger tako.

  • Rating: 20/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent (…a little pricey though!)
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Fresh Catch: The Fresh Catch is another small local seafood and poke shop with a-la-carte options as well as bowls. We decided to try this one as they have many flavours, including a cold ginger ahi and non-mayo spicy ahi. They have a few locations but the one we visited was a 15 minute Biki ride from Waikiki beach at Kapahulu and H1. If you’re driving, parking is actually not too bad and much easier than Ono.

  • Rating: 20/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent (…very decently priced!)
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Ono Seafood: If you’re looking for something close to Waikiki, Ono Seafoods is a great option on Oahu. This hole-in-the-wall family poke shop is popular with locals and tourists; you can either get take-out for a beach picnic or enjoy your poke at the table in the front. The fresh poke menu is pretty straightforward; either ahi tuna or tako (octopus) is seasoned with shoyu, miso, spicy, wasabi or Haw’n Style. If you don’t like really salty and slightly fishy taste, we would recommend avoiding the poke with “limu”, which is a strong-tasting seaweed. In addition to the poke, they have sides on the cooler like pickled mango, kimchi, rice, seaweed salad and other items. On our last visit in 2019, we noticed there is not a picnic table in the front with an umbrella so that you can enjoy your poke there.

  • Rating: 20/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Poke on Kauai:

Koloa Fish Market: While they don’t have a Tamura’s in Kauai, we found Koloa Fish Market, a small market that offers poke and other Hawaiian foods to go located in Koloa town near Poipu Beach when we stayed at Koloa Landing Resort, Kauai (Hawaii). Similar to Tamura’s, this is a small family-owned business and the poke is mostly fresh, not frozen and made daily. We liked all the poke we tried but it was really the tako that we enjoyed the most. Compared to other tako pokes we’ve had, the one at Koloa Fish Market is sliced super thin and this makes it very tender. We also always get some of their haupia for dessert when they have it. This place is cash only and there at ATMs within walking distance. Since we first started supporting them a few years ago, they have grown and expanded to a much larger space located on Poipu Road; the new space includes outdoor seating on a nice shaded patio and larger ordering area.

Update: Prior to December 2019, we had rated Koloa Fish Market as 20/20 based on 4 visits. On our most recent visit in December 2019, we were quite disappointed by our poke. The tako was sliced very sloppily, was super rubbery and was not seasoned properly; it was inedible. The tuna poke we had was also sliced sloppily and lacked seasoning. We hope this was just a bad experience based on one visit so we will try again in the future. We still recommend the Koloa Fish Market for poke but worry the quality has changed since they moved location and should be monitored.

  • Rating: 16/20 – We would visit again with some hesitance.
  • Quality: 2 –  Poor
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 4 – Good but not as good as old location
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

The Fish Express: Located just outside of Lihue in Hanamaulu, The Fish Express is a great place to grab some take-out poke or poke bowls when you are on the island. They have a great selection of fresh poke and one of the best places to get a poke bowl due to all their great toppings which are billed by weight. The service here was really prompt and friendly despite how busy they were.

  • Rating: 20/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Konohiki Foods: Konohiki Foods is another small restaurant serving up poke and Hawaiian food just outside of Lihue in Hanamaulu. We tried their poke and ginger fried chicken and enjoyed both but the chicken stood out the most. At the time we visited, there was a limited selection of poke and that could have affected our experience.

  • Rating: 19/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 4 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Poke on the Big Island of Hawaii:

Da Poke Shack: Located in Kona, Da Poke shack is one of the more popular poke places and it’s delicious but not cheap at $27.99 per pound (price in December 2019). Considering how expensive sub-par poke is here in Vancouver, the poke at Da Poke Shack pricing is on par but the quality is outstanding, it’s never frozen and not salty.  You also get the Aloha vibe here due to how nice and helpful the staff are; it is definitely worth the splurge!

  • Rating: 19/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 4 – Pricier than anywhere but they are generous with samples and the fish here is top-notch quality and cut very well
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent
Poke from Da Poke Shack and salad from Island Naturals
Poke from Da Poke Shack and salad from Island Naturals

Hale l’a Da Fish House: Located in Kawaihae, Hale I’a Da Fish House is our favorite place to grab poke to go. It’s a very small place that sells out fast to it’s best to go to early and remember they’re only open Monday-Friday during the summer and Monday-Saturday in the fall/winter. At $12.99 per pound (back in December 2019), they have some of the freshest poke we’ve ever had in Hawaii and it’s not overly salty. This small family owned and run poke shack credits the taste and quality of their poke from the love they feel in making it and sharing it!

  • Rating: 20/20 – We would visit again.
  • Quality: 5 –  Excellent
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Pau Hana Poke: Located near Kailua-Kona, near the Costco, Pau Hana poke is a small poke shop with poke bowls, poke by weight and other Hawaiian food, like desserts and snacks. We decided to get takeout poke here after skipping Da Poke Shack due to its insanely long lineup and we have no regrets! The poke was fresh, not frozen and had good flavours; we ordered two types of ahi and one tako. They have somewhat limited hours but if you’re near Costco, definitely give Pau Hana Poke a try!

  • Rating: 18/20 – We would visit again if our favorite spots were not open
  • Quality: 4 –  Very good (…but a few chewy pieces)
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent (prices were reasonable and good selection)
  • Service: 5 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent (easy to find parking

Umeke’s: Located in the Kona area, Umeke’s offers up delicious poke bowls and other food in either a small restaurant with counter service or a sit-down restaurant (there is a poke bar for takeout as well).

  • Rating: 17/20 – We would visit again if our favorite spots were not open
  • Quality: 3 –  Good
  • Quantity: 5 – Excellent
  • Service: 4 – Excellent
  • Location/Atmosphere: 5 – Excellent

Related Posts:

Kauai:

Oahu:

Big Island:

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