Note: Brilliant Ox has since closed.
Eggs Benedicts are my brunch go-to. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as an eggs benny well done: creamy housemade hollandaise, perfectly poached eggs, a hearty foundation (bonus points if it’s not an English muffin), and a good protein.
You won't find traditional eggs Benedicts with English muffins and Canadian ham on this ranking. This Top 5 is all about over-the-top eggs bennies with delicious variations.
Even staying away from the traditional, Oahu has a LOT of eggs Benedicts. Here are all the ones I tried:
- Bogart's Cafe: Crab cakes benny
- Sweet E's Cafe: Corned beef / Kalua pork benny
- Scratch Kitchen & Meatery: BLT benny
- Cafe Kaila: Kalua pork benny
- Egghead Cafe (temporarily closed): Pork belly benny
- The Nook Neighborhood Bistro: Pork belly benny
- Koa Cafe: Pesto benny
- Button Up Cafe: Kalua pork benny
- Rise and Shine Cafe: Kalua pork benny
- Pancakes and Waffles BLD: Crab cakes benny
- Wailana Coffee House: traditional eggs benny
Honorable mention: The Brilliant Ox, Brilliant Benedict, $14
The Brilliant Benedict features a meaty twist with oxtail hollandaise, poached eggs and spinach atop an English muffin. The runny hollandaise is reminiscent of a savory cream of mushroom gravy. I enjoy the meaty chunks throughout; yolky eggs and crispy potatoes on the side steal the show. Brilliant.
The Brilliant Ox • 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. • Ala Moana • 377-4803
No. 5: Smith & Kings, Pork belly Benedict, $15
This eggs Benedict loads crispy pork belly, Nalo Farms butter lettuce, caramelized onions, soft poached eggs and hollandaise on a buttermilk biscuit. It's my favorite by far of the four on the $32 Benny share plate, which also includes BLT, lobster cake and bacon jam versions. The generous slab of pork on top has delectably crispy skin, with lots of juicy pork belly underneath. It’s so darn tasty that I contemplate ordering a side of pork belly, which you can do for $2.50 more.
You can choose the housemade grits or breakfast potatoes for your side … or you can get half and half to try both. The grits’ texture is spot on, but the perfectly seasoned breakfast potatoes have me at first bite. Smith & Kings serves weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Smith & Kings • 69 N. King St. • Chinatown • 537-2222
No. 4. Koa Café, Porky pork Benedict, $14
Porky pork is the no. 1 selling benny at Koa Café. The main ingredient: the signature housemade vinha d’alhos. There's a generous mountain of the Portuguese pork, which is similar to kalua pork, along with spinach, chunky bacon bits and housemade hollandaise.
The vinha d’alhos is flavorful and salty, and the bacon bits enhance the meaty texture. English muffins can be too dry or hard, but these have to be some of the softest I’ve tasted. And not just because they’re drenched in hollandaise.
Tip: Eggs Benedicts come with tossed greens or the potato medley, but ask for the beer-battered side winders instead. These crispy fried potato wedges are 100 percent crunchy and comforting, and 200 percent addictive.
Koa Café • 2700 S. King St. • Moiliili • 941-7778
No. 3: Button Up Café, Korean braised short rib Benedict, $14.95
While I love the kalua pork hash eggs benny at this Pearl City hidden gem, the first time I try the Korean braised short rib version instead, I can see why it's the top seller. The shredded short ribs are tender and juicy, and there’s a LOT of it. The paper plate sags under the weight of all that meat, which is so tender it practically melts in my mouth.
All meats are made in-house with no MSG, so no worries about those sensitivities when you indulge your inner carnivore.
Button Up Café • 719 Kam. Hwy. • Pearl City • 454-5454
No. 2: Cinnamon’s Restaurant, Crab cake / kalua pork Benedict combo, $14.75
My go-to at Cinnamon’s used to be their red velvet cake pancakes. But everything changed once I discovered these eggs Benedicts. The eggs benny menu is quite extensive — you’ll find everything from pastrami and smoked salmon to mahi mahi, roast beef and corned beef — but the best part is that you can mix and match your favorites.
That’s right — though it’s not listed as a menu option, you can combine half-portions of two eggs Benedicts in a single order. The house-roasted kalua pork and crab cake (the chef’s secret recipes) bennies are my top two favs, along with a side of crispy homefries. The succulent crab cake is a generous size, and the kalua pork benny comes with a heaping mound of shredded meat; both are topped with thick, creamy hollandaise. Expect an immediate kanak attack.
Cinnamon’s Restaurant • 315 Uluniu St. • Kailua • 261-8724
Tied for No. 1: Rise and Shine Café: Surf n turf, $14.95
Rise and Shine also lets you mix and match any two of the five eggs Benedicts to create the combo your heart desires. Many customers get the Surf n turf, which is essentially the loco moco with grilled/blackened fish of the day. I usually get the fish with the corned beef, because you can’t ever go wrong with hearty chunks of housemade corned beef (while the menu reads "corned beef hash," these are fresh corned beef cubes). All bennies are served on toasted English muffins with a side of addictive breakfast potatoes, and topped with a poached egg and housemade hollandaise.
Tips: Be sure to ask if there’s a featured eggs benny special (previous specials have included kalua pork and smoked salmon). Also ask about the fresh catch of the day, which can include opah, ahi, shutome and more; the choice will help you decide if you want yours grilled or blackened.
Rise and Shine Café • 95-1057 Ainamakua Dr. • Mililani • 260-9312
Tied for No. 1: Cafe Kaila, Meatloaf benny, $15.95
Café Kaila has several different bennies on its regular menu — smoked salmon, kalua pork, eggs Florentine and the traditional. But on weekends and certain weekdays, the restaurant features eggs Benedict specials that range from mahi mahi, chicken apple sausage and pastrami to fresh corned beef hash and meatloaf.
The meatloaf eggs benny comes with a thick slice of housemade meatloaf, which is a tad sweet and smothered with a savory mushroom and onion gravy. Add that to two poached eggs, a toasted English muffin and Café Kaila’s hollandaise and you’re in for a delicious, full-on food coma. You won’t regret it. The meatloaf is succulent, its light sweetness balanced by the savory gravy and creamy hollandaise.
Tip: The early bird gets the worm — on weekends, they make a double portion of hollandaise and often sell out by 12:30 or 1 p.m. And once they’re out, they’re out!
Cafe Kaila • Market City Shopping Center • 2919 Kapiolani Blvd. • Kapahulu • 732-3330
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