Decor? Doesn't matter. Ambience? Forget it. Great food? Ah, now you're talking. For an authentic coastal experience and great food, here are our favorite dives for 2013.
Kahuku and Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii
The menu taped to the side of the truck isn't kidding about the shrimp scampi, on either count, when it promises "lots of garlic, the BEST!" You get lots of butter, too, plus two scoops of white rice. Those who prefer their food less assertive should try the lemon-and-butter shrimp. Both trucks park on the North Shore of Oahu from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Haleiwa) or 6:30 p.m. (Kahuku). Bring wet wipes; 808/293-1839 or giovannisshrimptruck.com.
Goose Island Shrimp House
This one-counter, take-out-only culinary gem is tucked away on West Division Street in the industrial part of town. From the tiled menu overhead, the fried jumbo shrimp is everything the name promises and more: A savory batter creates a seal around the fresh shrimp so that they remain piping hot until the whole order is gone. Fried scallops are sublime—tender on the inside and the size of a fist—and fried frog legs are a delicious treat one wouldn't expect from this tiny hole in the wall; 312/642-3640.
Don't see your favorite dive here? Tell us about it!