Winner of the Hale Aina Award, Café Maharani is the only place one should go to indulge in Indian food while in Honolulu. This small restaurant seats about twenty people and is always packed. Call in advance (same day) and get your name on the list in order to avoid a long wait (no reservations). The food here is so good that when one of my friends took a half-dozen Pakistani visitors—who are practically royalty in their home country—to dinner here, they gushed about it for the next two days.
Start off with their garlic cheese naan, followed by a fish curry or palak paneer with basmati rice, and be sure to finish your meal off with one of the best cups of masala chai or a mango lassi (fruit and yogurt-based drink) to be had in the U.S.
Note: Please keep in mind that there is limited parking in the back of their building, and that you may have to find street parking (free after 6pm). Also, Café Maharani is vegetarian friendly, but they use ghee (even when you ask for your food to be cooked without it) so vegans steer clear.