Top 6 Best Shave Ice in Oahu 2024

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A trip to the tropical paradise of Oahu isn’t complete without indulging in a refreshing treat that perfectly captures the essence of the island: shave ice! From its delicate texture to its vibrant array of flavors, shave ice is a quintessential Hawaiian experience that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight. In this blog post, we uncover our top 6 best shave ice in Oahu, each offering a unique twist on this classic treat.

1. Matsumoto Shave Ice – Haleiwa

66-111 Kamehameha Hwy Suite #605, Haleʻiwa, Hawaii 96712

Located in the charming town of Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore, Matsumoto Shave Ice is an iconic gem that has been dishing out frozen wonders for decades. What began as a small grocery store in 1951, catering to the local community’s needs, soon transformed into a beloved destination for both residents and visitors seeking a cooling treat. Over the years, Matsumoto Shave Ice gained popularity, becoming an iconic North Shore experience. The lines might be long, but the wait is undoubtedly worth it. Their fluffy shave ice is artfully stacked, and the menu boasts an array of traditional and exotic flavors. Try the signature “Ichiban Special” – 1 shave ice flavor of your choice topped with vanilla ice cream, sweet Azuki red beans (trust us and try it!), mochi balls, sweetened condensed milk all within an edible waffle bowl.

Left: The “Ichiban Special” / Right: Guava, Melon & Lychee With Mochi Balls

2. Waiola Shave Ice – Honolulu

2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826

Venture into the heart of Honolulu and discover Waiola Shave Ice, a local favorite since the 1940’s. This unassuming spot has gained a loyal following for its finely shaved ice and an impressive selection of over 40 homemade syrups and toppings. The Li Hing Mui drizzle, a tangy plum seasoning, is a must-try for those seeking a unique island twist that perfectly balances the sweetness of the syrup. In addition to their shave ice, Waiola Store also has plenty of snack options for those wanting something on-the-go: spam musubi, baked goods, and specialty candies.

3. Island Vintage Shave Ice – Waikiki

2201 Kalākaua Ave Kiosk B-1, Honolulu, HI 96815

In the heart of Waikiki, Island Vintage Shave Ice is easily one of our top favorite shave ice spots on the island because of its extremely pillowy soft ice and delightful toppings. With a commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, Island Vintage offers a fresh and gourmet take on shave ice. From the signature “Heavenly Lilikoi” (passion fruit and strawberry syrups with frozen yogurt, popping boba, mochi and condensed milk) to the classic “Tropical Island” (mango and pineapple syrups with ice cream, popping boba, mochi and condensed milk) each shave ice menu item is a burst of refreshing island flavors. Plus, their dedication to sustainability, including biodegradable utensils, adds an extra layer of appeal to this tropical treat destination. Tip: There is an Island Vintage Coffee shop in the same shopping area, but the shave ice is specifically located in the kiosk on the ground floor!

The “Heavenly Lilikoi”

4. Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha – Honolulu

820 W Hind Dr #116, Honolulu, HI 96821

Nestled in the inviting neighborhood of Aina Haina, Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha is more than just a shave ice spot – it’s a hub of community spirit and heartfelt connections. Founded by Uncle Clay in 1996, this charming establishment has been serving up authentic Hawaiian shave ice while sharing inspiring stories of local resilience to rising rent and economic downturns. What truly sets it apart is its commitment to using natural and locally sourced ingredients, a dedication that shines through in every flavor-packed bite. In addition to their classic menu items, they do have rotating specialty flavors – check out their Instagram for the latest information!

5. Shimazu Store – Honolulu

330 N School St Honolulu, HI 96817

Tucked away in the unassuming neighborhood of Liliha, Shimazu Store is a true gem that has carved a niche in the world of shave ice innovation. Established in 2006, this local favorite has continued to captivate taste buds with its generous portions and imaginative flavors. What makes Shimazu Store stand out is its constant experimentation with new and exciting combinations – from the quirky “Tiger’s Blood” to the refreshing “Green River.” This dedication to innovation, coupled with its commitment to consistently using high-quality ingredients, has earned the shop a dedicated following. Each visit to Shimazu Store is an adventure into the unknown, where you can expect delightful surprises and a shave ice experience like no other.

6. Kaimana Shave Ice – Haleiwa

66519 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

As you explore the quaint and vibrant old town of Haleiwa, make sure to visit the hidden treasure that is Kaimana Shave Ice. Tucked away amidst this charming setting, Kaimana stands out not only for its delectable shave ice but also for its unwavering commitment to using all-natural flavorings. Unlike many other shave ice places that rely on artificial syrups, Kaimana takes pride in offering a truly authentic and wholesome taste of the islands.

Step into Kaimana Shave Ice, and you’ll find yourself in a slice of paradise where every bite is a celebration of natural flavors. The menu boasts a creative mix of traditional Hawaiian tastes (ex. lilikoi, mango, pineapple) and innovative combinations (ex. matcha, cold brew, cacao). We tried the “North Shore” – a combination of mango, pineapple, coconut with a sweet cream drizzle and macadamia nut ice cream. Because the flavoring comes from all natural fruit juices instead of syrup, the taste was noticeably lighter and not so overpowering on the sweetness (yay, no added sugar means guilt-free). The nuttiness of the housemade macadamia ice cream added another unexpected yet complimentary layer of flavor. If nuts aren’t your thing, try the banana ice cream instead!

The best part of Kaimana Shave Ice, beyond its flavors, is its charming ambiance. Upon walking up to the shop, you feel like you are coming to visit a family member’s home: colorful adirondack chairs and a hanging swing chair line the front porch, just calling your name; a “backyard” seating area adorned with vibrant plants overlooking a little river invites you to relax and let all of your troubles melt away. This thoughtful arrangement creates an atmosphere that’s both laidback and homey, capturing the essence of Hawaiian hospitality. Whether you’re relaxing with your treat in hand or engaging in friendly conversations with locals, Kaimana Shave Ice offers an experience that’s as authentic as the island breeze. This is one shop we are sure to return to!

Our Thoughts

As you embark on your shave ice journey across Oahu, remember that each spot carries a unique story, flavor, and ambiance. From the iconic institutions like Matsumoto Shave Ice and Waiola Shave Ice to the newer hidden gems like Kaimana Shave Ice, the island’s shave ice culture reflects its rich history and vibrant present. So grab a spoon and dive into the refreshing world of Oahu’s top shave ice spots – where tradition meets innovation in the most delicious way possible.

Whether you’re seeking the nostalgia of a traditional shave ice experience or craving a modern twist on this beloved treat, Oahu has a treasure trove of options to satisfy your taste buds. From the North Shore to Honolulu and beyond, these top 6 shave ice spots are bound to add a refreshing and flavorful touch to your Hawaiian adventure.

What makes Monsarrat Shave Ice stand out among other shave ice stores?

Monsarrat Shave Ice is known for offering unique shave ice flavors, using fresh fruit, haupia, and even shave ice, named after former President Barack Obama.

What are some popular shave ice flavors at Island Snow?

Island Snow is famous for its shave ice drenched in milk tea royale, cones topped with fresh fruit, and a special strawberry-haupia combination.

Why is Shimazu Shave Ice a favorite among locals and visitors?

Shimazu Shave Ice is loved for its chewy and smooth texture, unique flavors like durian and guava, and soft-serve ice cream option.

Where can you find Island Vintage Shave Ice’s locations?

Island Vintage Shave Ice has two locations in Oahu, one in Waikiki and another in the International Marketplace.

How long has Waiola’s been serving shave ice in Oahu?

Waiola Shave Ice has been in the shave ice business for 25 years, offering authentic shave ice made with real fruit flavors like lemon-lime and strawberry slices.

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