Honolulu for One Day, where to eat?
I'm looking for good cheap eats / under $20, local fare or sushi, that will fit into this itinerary:
Fly in at 9:45am on a Wednesday (after 4 days in Maui) and pickup a rental car, drive to Iolani Palace in the morning, have LUNCH, picking up friends at the airport at noon, Pearl Harbour, then DINNER, then check-in at Sheraton Waikiki.
honolulu is pretty easy to drive around... so you can eat at aloha tower marketplace (chai's is pretty good, but i haven't been there for lunch, only dinner...) plate lunches are good at HK's and at Rainbow (i like getting the mixed grill) other folks on these boards don't seem to like rainbows, but many locals go there.... wailana coffeehouse is in waikiki and they are pretty affordable.. although i find breakfast there to be yummy.... but i don't believe you will be there for breakfast... folks like to eat at sam choy's for dinner.. i haven't gone there yet though... and you may want to check other threads for dinner recommendations... also, a good tip would be to pick up those magazines called "this week in oahu" or "oahu gold" because sometimes you will see some 2 for 1 coupons for dinner of some discounts for some restaurants... i ate at chai's and hy's steakhouse (both pricey at dinner) with a coupon and we saved so much and yet we were stuffed...
i would try to avoid eating in waikiki proper unless you really have to. it's kind of pricey very touristy... although, if you absolutely have to eat in waikiki, there are some good places. i don't know which sheraton you will be at (there are MANY), but you can pretty much park your car at the hotel and walk around waikiki. so if you must eat in waikiki (like your friends want to or something), then seafood village on the bottom floor of the hyatt is pretty good. i find the chinese food there very yummy. i don't like to go to duke's for food because it's very expensive... and you can get more somewhere else. i would rather go to tiki's bar and grill on the diamond head end of waikiki because you are overlooking the beach, there's live music hawaiian music at night, and the prices are a little more reasonable than duke's... plus it's not as crowded as duke's. if you must go to duke's, then i would suggest going for drinks only. they do make a really good lava flow...
those are basically the only restaurants i go to in the actual waikiki vicinity. there are also some restaurants at ala moana mall... if you go to mai tai's on the 3rd floor, they have live music and i think half off during happy hour. if you go to mai tai's then a good drink to get is a mango colada with 99 banana... =) i also like brew moon at ward warehouse... they have pretty good ribs... oh, and if you want snacks, there's leonard's bakerys with yummy malasadas. also, soemtimes those coupon books i mentioned will have a coupon for baskin robins where you can get a macadamia nut sundae, which i just love...
if you need to get snacks for the hotel room, like bottled water and such (if you are a bottled water type of person on the islands) then i wouls suggest avoiding food pantry in waikiki at all costs. a gallon of milk will cost you like 7 dollars or so... better to go to a foodland (there's on on kapahulu by the H1 exit and there's one all over the place) the prices are WAY more reasonable...
and finally, if you get the chance, try some poke ("po-keh") or musubi... although i'm not into spam, so i usually get a portuguese sausage musubi.... =) oh and the honolulu cookies from the honolulu cookie company are to DIE for!!!!! don't believe imitation hawaiian shortbread cookies... the pineapple shaped ones are the BEST.... my family usually fights over these.... and when i bring them to potlucks, they are the first to be gone...
good luck!!!! and alooooooha!!! =)
Update: I ended up snacking at Ninja Sushi by the airport because it was open and close. Typical fast food sushi, not very good at all.
For lunch I headed to Mitch's and it was just as described. Very expensive though. Mitch saw my table split part of my Toro ($18 for 2 piece) so he got the chef to cut small pieces for everyone at the table! Nice, amiable guy, and he knows I heard of his place from the 'net so he was extra nice to me. The cute Japanese grandmom serving us was memorable too. And Mitch made sure the girls at our table knew the chef is single.
And yes, it was the best toro ever. Melt in your mouth, and not fishy at all.
Dinner at California Pizza Kitchen was great for a casual, family style meal. We had it with a bottle of red, and the bill was very low and food very high quality. Great salad, good pizzas (a few too many mushrooms on the 4 Mushroom Pizza), and good pasta. This is a chain that does it right! Come to Canada!!!