On my very first visit to the North Shore of Oahu, I asked around for a unique place to eat and the clear answer was, “you have to try Giovannis Shrimp Truck. It’s the best”. With the word of mouth of Giovannis Shrimp Truck being so incredibly positive, I had to give them a try and I was glad I did.
To give you an idea of how much traffic Giovannis Shrimp Truck receives, just look at their Yelp reviews. Both Giovannis Shrimp Truck locations on Yelp have a combined rating count of 2,238 (at the time of this review). The other top 8 Shrimp Trucks being Macky’s, Romy’s, Fumi’s, Famous Kahuku, Shrimp Shack, Big Wave, Honos and Blue Water Shrimp have a combined total of 1,989 ratings. Does this information alone mean that Giovannis Shrimp Truck is the best on the island? Of course not, but it does tell you that this is the one everyone seems to be buzzing about.
Ordering your food is pretty simple at Giovannis Shrimp Truck. They literally only have three shrimp dishes to choose from. The first and by far the most popular is the Shrimp Scampi. The second named “Hot & Spicey” comes with a very clear warning, “Very Hot, NO REFUNDS”. I took heed to this advice and stayed away from this very hot dish. Their third dish is the Lemon & Butter Shrimp plate. They also have a fourth option, the Garlic Hotdog, which I haven’t tried. Being that their most popular dish is probably what drives the most traffic, I ordered the Shrimp Scampi. Be prepared to wait for about thirty minutes for your order if you show up on a busy day. On the day I went, fortunately, the line wasn’t too bad so I got my order in about fifteen minutes.
What I really like most about Giovannis Shrimp Scampi is how the sauce really sticks to the shrimp. Some proteins are pretty easy to season but seafood can be a bit tricky, especially when the shells are still on (as in this case) since this can cause the flavor to be lost once you peel them. Another positive for going to Giovannis Shrimp Truck over some of the others is that you get twelve shrimp on your plate as opposed to selling them by weight. As I mentioned in my review of Romy’s Shrimp Truck, they go by weight (which includes the heads) so you will most likely get 3 less shrimp for a price of $13.75 instead of $13 flat at Giovannis Shrimp Truck. It’s not much, but shrimp is not the most filling dish in the world and most people I know would much rather have more shrimp than less shrimp for their money. Also, the shrimp at Giovannis Shrimp Truck is a decent size so there’s no complaint there.
If there are others in your party when going to Giovannis Shrimp Truck who aren’t in the mood for shrimp, another added bonus for going there is that there are quite a few other food trucks within walking distance to choose from. These include Kalbi on Fire BBQ, Chinese Food (the sign literally says “Chinese Food”), Nelly’s Tacos, Hawaiian Island X-Treme Smoothies and Shave Ice, Funnel Cake, Ono Pops (Popsicles), Fruit Bowls, Fresh Cold Coconuts, Lemonade Stand and an Espresso truck. There are also several Hawaiian gift shops nearby that sell everything from original hand-carved wood carvings to sea shells and clothes. Even though Giovannis Shrimp Truck’s Surf Board Menu lists Ice Cold Coconut and Shave Ice, I decided to give Hawaiian Island X-Treme Smoothies and Shave Ice a try. Some food trucks look amazing and as a photographer and artist, I must say I really liked the art on the side of their truck done by Ronald D Tadiarca. It is one of my favorites. The design doesn’t cover the entire truck like Fumi’s or Macky’s yet it is still a really cool looking piece. The colors really pop and the art really makes it stand out. Sure the painting on the side of a truck doesn’t make the food or drink taste any better, but it sure is nice to look while you wait.
I was pretty thirsty so I decided to go with the classic Pina Colada smoothie. It came with a fresh slice of pineapple on top and though it may have been a bit watery, it was still nice and refreshing, especially for a hot day. I think the smoothie was 5 bucks and for this island, that is about the norm.
Overall, I really enjoy eating at Giovannis Shrimp Truck and have had their Shrimp Scampi several times with no complaints. In my opinion, is Giovanni’s the best shrimp truck on the island of Oahu? I can’t answer that right now because there are still a couple more I need to try. I can say, I would highly recommend Giovanni’s, Macky’s and Fumi’s Shrimp Trucks. Once I get a chance to try a few more, I will do a full article on all the shrimp trucks and how they stack up against one another, so stay tuned for that.
As I mentioned Yelp earlier in this article, it might interest you to know that of all the reviews on Yelp, 73% of Yelpers rated Giovannis Shrimp Trucks 4 to 5 stars. On the flip side, 11.5% of Yelpers rated Giovannis Shrimp Trucks with 1 or 2 stars. According to the stats, that’s about 1 in 10 who don’t like their food and roughly 7 of 10 who enjoy it. Very few places are universally loved but the stats show that despite its detractors, Giovannis Shrimp Truck has established itself as the Shrimp Truck to beat as far as overall traffic and popularity goes. Here are some photos from my visit to Giovannis Shrimp Truck and some of its surrounding shops and trucks.
Map to Giovannis Original Shrimp Truck
Here is a map to Giovannis Haleiwa Shrimp Truck