Noa Santos is the latest darling of the design world. In 2012, the 28-year-old launched HomePolish, a custom design service making interior design expertise increasingly accessible and affordable. His startup was an instant hit. Today it includes a network of more than 500 top, emerging designers in 15 U.S. cities. Santos calls New York City home, but the Hawaii-native says his North Shore, Oahu, roots are what keep him grounded. When in need of escaping manic Manhattan life, he visits his parents at the beach. Here, Santos shares his go-to spots of where to eat, drink, shop and get inspired on Oahu.
Eat + Drink
Matsumoto Shave Ice
This no-frills, family-run spot has been serving Hawaii’s version of the snow cone since 1951. Choose from dozens of sugary, day-glo colored syrups in flavors like lilikoi and yuzu.
Sharks Cove Grill
A favorite hot spot of local surfers, this little roadside food truck sells the best ahi sandwiches on the island and has outdoor seating.
Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill
Haleiwa Joe’s has a laid back vibe, but is still one of the fancier spots to dine out on the North Shore. Happy hour draws a local crowd with drink specials and such apps as coconut shrimp. The dinner menu dishes steak and seafood, and they serve a terrific, gussied-up version of the island staple, poke.
Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering
An unassuming dining spot near the airport with super fresh, local seafood. The poke is life-changing and sells out daily.
Santos admits he has a slight bias, as his boyfriend’s brother opened this 40-seat café at Bloomingdales. It’s the only Forty Carrots in the U.S. with a local, ingredient-driven menu that changes seasonally. Don’t miss the raved-about lobster loco moco. This elevated riff on the traditional rice, hamburger, and fried egg dish replaces beef with Keahole lobster and adds luxe touches like foie gras and Hamakua mushrooms. Ala Moana Center, Honolulu.
Hound & Quail
A cool vintage shop stocked with antiques, taxidermy, and worldly goods. A basement space hosts art shows as well as wine and art classes.
Local designer Jennifer Binney opened this artisan-focused shop in 2015. The highly-curated shelves showcase an eclectic mix including handmade surfboards, organic soaps, and woven bags.
Retro-cool aloha shirts for both men and women from local designer Roberta Oaks Power.
The first stand-alone boutique from visionary Hawaiian fashion designer Carrington Manaola Yap stocks runway-worthy men’s and women’s pieces. His signature style merges traditional techniques with a contemporary aesthetic.