Rainbow Drive-In Lunch in Oahu

Oahu – Day 3 – Part 6

Rainbow Drive-In

So we kind of did this out of order and got dessert first, but at least we didn’t really skip lunch. We headed down the street to the Rainbow Drive-In which is now quite a tourist destination since it was featured on the food network (and I heard Obama has mentioned this place before too?) and for tourists its just a good place to sample local fare (according to yelp reviewers).

We actually walked by this place when we walked to Side Street Inn for dinner the previous night and it sure was busy. That’s why we grabbed dessert first, so that we were not starving while we waited for lunch. It was pretty crowded and busy when we got there but lucky for us we found a parking spot right away in the small lot. We are ready for some yummy Hawaiian plate lunches! I remembered reading quite a bit about the Shoyu Chicken but too bad it was not Shoyu Chicken day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturdays only).

The lines were a little confusing, there were people waiting to pick up food and ordering in the same area and lots of signs for lots of things.  After staring at the menu (and reading some yelp reviews), we ended up ordering a loco moco plate, mixed plate and pork chop with gravy plate for the four of us to share.


According to wikipedia loco moco originated in Hilo on the Big Island when a bunch of teenagers were looking for something different from a sandwich and something cheap and quick to eat. So the owner put together a bowl of rice, a hamburger patty, and added gravy on top. The egg was added later. source.  Today, it’s served as a plate meal and at Rainbow Drive-in you get two scoops of rice, a beef patty on top, lots of gravy and then topped with 2 eggs (I ordered them sunny side up). Oh, and a scoop of mac salad (you can also choose a side of slaw if you prefer that).  I think this is my very first legit traditional loco moco. I guess it should be something to eat while in Hawaii, since it did originate in Hawaii.





We decided to get the pork chop with gravy plate to kind of compare. We really like the pork chop we got at at Side Street Inn and pretty much just wanted more pork chop. This plate was very different from what we got at Side Street Inn though. Instead of thick cut, we got a much thinner cut of meat with gravy on top. We ordered a side of slaw with the pork chop. The two pork chop dishes were very very different! And both good in different ways.


The mixed plate came with BBQ beef, mahi, and boneless chicken. And because I’m indecisive, I went with the mixed plate so that I can try a couple more things. It was decent but forgettable compared the other two plates we had. It sure does look good in my picture though (make me hungry every time I see it).

There are some small tables available and some bigger picnic tables to for bigger groups and/or to share. I noticed some Rainbow Drive-In gear for sale in a little shack in the back. I guess that’s how you know it’s quite a tourist destination. But, I would say for my first time in Oahu I should hit up these touristy spots to get checked off my list first. How do you feel about going to touristy places?


In the end, I would say it was a good experience with some good comfort food. And that pretty much concluded our trip in Oahu. We gave ourselves just enough time to relax and do some site seeing. We went to the Chinatown in Honolulu after lunch, where we just walked around. Check out my full Oahu itinerary.

Rainbow Drive-In
3308 Kanaina Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815


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