Nicos at Pier 38

Nico’s at Pier 38: Still Our Pick for Best Plate Lunch

Any restaurant that we frequent multiple times in one week is worthy of mention. We’re talking Nico’s at Pier 38 in Honolulu. It’s where the Hawaiian plate lunch undergoes a healthy French makeover 7 days a week. This isn’t a recent find as we’ve been eating there for many years in both its prior and current locations (both on the same pier). They’ve also been a repeated Hale ‘Aina award winners as one of the best restaurants in Hawaii. They were also featured on The Food Network. And now they have added a new upscale restaurant featuring steak and seafood, set above the pier 38 location. Also now located in Kailua.

Great Value in Honolulu Dining with a view!

When I said “French”, you probably saw dollar signs.  It’s quite the opposite.  Our favorite plate lunch, the catch of the day, is reasonably priced at from $11.95 to $14.95. Today features include Pan-Seared Ahi (cooked Medium-Rare) with a clam and spinach cream sauce. With a choice of white or brown rice and nalo greens or mac salad.. Yum.

Nico’s is also open for breakfast and dinner. No matter what time of day you eat there you’ll enjoy a great harbor view, pictured above.

The menu changes daily and includes a homemade sauce with your fish. Since Nico’s is located near the Honolulu Fish Auction building, you’re guaranteed freshness.

Chef Nico’s credentials are impressive. Nico moved to Los Angeles from Lyon, France at age 22 and has lived Oahu for the past 20 years. He was formerly the cook and sous-chef at Michel’s at the Colony Surf and the Bistro at Century Center.

The Nico’s Vibe:

Informal, upscale, noisy, crowded, with both indoor and outdoor dining and an eclectic clientele. You’ll find people of all trades and professions mixed in with visitors.  On Friday and Saturday and other times too, there’s live Hawaiian music to accompany your meal.

Ordering Food:

Expect a line, but it moves fast.  We’ve never had to wait long. When your food is ready, you’ll be buzzed to come and pick it up.  You can also have the daily menu emailed if you subscribe to their mailing list. Or see today’s specials online.


On Pier 38 across from the Honolulu Fish Auction building, Look for the crowd and you’ll be at Nico’s. Parking is plentiful and free.


Breakfast served Monday through Saturday from 6:30 am to 10:00 am. Lunch everyday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Happy hour every day from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and dinner daily from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

They have a great fish market to take away too. It’s open daily.

8 thoughts on “Nico’s at Pier 38: Still Our Pick for Best Plate Lunch”

  1. Hi. We are planning our annual trip to Kauai in late January to end of February. We haven’t found any affordable flights from pdx this year.
    Is there any indication prices will come down this fall? Usually use Hawaiian or Alaska. Don’t know if it’s safe to wait as far as seat availability or bite the bullet and pay current price?
    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Sheri.

      Currently $398-$423 on those carriers, mid-week during your time frame. Not sure if it will improve by much – not likely.


  2. you didn’t mention my favorite – the connected market with the ultra-fresh poke bar. Choose a bowl and 3 different types of poke on top – different preparations (spicy, shoyu, ginger, etc.) or different fish (various tuna species, marlin, etc.) It doesn’t get any fresher (as you said, across from the daily fish auction) or more delicious! Eat outside, or take it to go . . .

  3. We went here four or five times in our two week trip to Honolulu! Loved everything about it!
    Thanks for bringing back the memories!

  4. Nico’s is always our first stop and meal after landing at HNL! We love the Furikake-Crusted Ahi. So ʻono! 😄😋

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