This shopping plaza restaurant—set in the chilled-out, North Shore surf town of Hale‘iwa—evokes deeply nostalgic, yearning sighs from big-city folks. It is, quite possibly, the state's best Thai food. But be prepared for cash only, erratic opening hours, no reservations, massive queues, lengthy waits for food once seated, and a highly variable menu. The chef-owner Opal quizzes patrons about their preferences... and then starts cooking. Man, are the results ever worth any slight inconveniences! Too hungry to wait? Stroll 0.2 miles north to tasty Rajanee Thai, which has a small dining room, as well as a takeaway window and outdoor picnic benches. Like many North Shore eateries, both establishments are BYOB: Long Drugs across from Opal sells adult beverages.
By Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
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No Nonsense Thai on the North Shore
Opal's Thai Restaurant is an outstanding culinary experience and must-try mainstay of Oahu's North Shore for "foodies" and "non foodies", alike. With crowds waiting hours and sometimes days for a seated table at this cozy and unpretentious room filled with nostalgic grooves and homey mainland MoTown hits, the food meets the expectation. Once seated, there is a moment before being greeted by the chef and owner himself. He entertains the table by familiarizing himself with our individual palette preferences, personal tastes and dietary needs, through a series of five simple questions. Impressively, he proceeds to demonstrate his skill and savvy of the culinary arts by conjuring up combinations of ingredients and suggested meals to satisfy our individual taste buds and liking. What happens next is near perfection as the family style dishes, served from the kitchen when ready, and in no particular order, flood our table one by one, each, more flavorful and tasty than the last. We indulge. We leave feeling most satisfied and sensibly overstuffed. Opal's Thai is very much about the experience, as much as, the food. Like the cuisine, Opal's Thai is a potpourri of delight. My suggestion is that it be on your North Shore short list of places to go. My bet is that you'll have no regret. Cheers!
66-197 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA