Oahu under $20
In 2008, I had a great food excursion on your island. My previous trip is here: http://bit.ly/bkGnwO I’ve listed the places below.
I’m back and would love recommendations for any new under $20 places to add to those below. The ramen here is a cut above what I get at home, so any ramen recs are particularly appreciated. I have a car and will report back. Thanks in advance!
Yotekko Ya – Ramen
Hank’s Haute Dogs
Nico’s – plate lunch
Side Street Inn - pork chop, clams
Leonard’s - Malasadas
Wailoa Bakery – shave ice
Million – korean stews
Gina’s – korean bbq
Shrimp trucks (Romy's, Macky's, Hono's, Blue Water Shrimp
)Tanioka’s – Poke
Maguro-Ya - Sushi
Here are my truncated trip report/cheap eat recs:
Sweets - Leonard's for malasadas (be sure to get at least one unfilled one. I had one with li hing sugar, which was very tasty, but I would also recommend trying just a regular sugar one first).
Liliha bakery is famous for its coco puffs, but I preferred the regular cream puffs - and the adzuki bean turnover was awesome.
Bubbies for mochi ice creams. The lychee was my favorite. Wait for them to thaw a little before digging in (tough to do, but worth it!)
Shave ice - we checked out Shimazu...I would not recommend any peanut butter flavor - there's something playdoh-y about them. But everything else - I think I sampled the red velvet, green tea cream, melon bar, and cream brulee - was excellent. Texture is just right. We also went to Island Snow in Kailua, which was better than I was expecting (maybe it was the kayaking? I find the deliciousness of shaved ice to be closely linked to the situation - I don't like Matsumoto's, but maybe that was because it was cold and rainy the day we were there). Flavors were spot on.
Li hing mui sour gummies. Yum.
Hawaiian - I prefer Helena's to Ono, but both are good. At Helena's, definitely get the lomi lomi salmon and the squid luau (looks kind of gross, tastes heavenly)
Sushi - in Waikiki, there's a health food store called Ruffage during the day and has melt-in-your-mouth sushi, great value.
Ramen - we went to Ezogiku. I'm not a ramen expert, but the spicy seafood ramen I had (with egg) was tasty and satisfying. Everyone seemed happy with what they got - except the chicken wings. I would avoid these.
Korean - I reviewed Choi's Garden on another post. Would definitely recommend, especially if you're looking for something a step up from hole-in-the-wall. Meat jun and the panchan weren't great, everything else was.
Breakfast - Eggs and Things is good. Pancakes and fried rice were solid. There's a coffee place next door that serves very smooth coffee...good for the inevitable wait.
Acai bowls at Jewel or Juice. Awesome. Velvety blended acai with fresh fruits and granola on top. Could eat this every day.
Boots and Kimos - pancakes are delicious. The mac nut sauce tastes like melted ice cream, which borders on too sweet (even for me, and I have a serious sweet tooth).
Cinnamons - guava chiffon pancakes. again too sweet, but flavor is good otherwise.
Misc - Puka Dog - quite fantastic for the first 2/3, then a sweet, soggy mess at the end. If you like it spicy at all, get the hot hot. I had veggie, hot, lilioki mustard, and papaya relish - needed more spice! Worth it if you're in the area.
Poke - Still haven't made it out to any poke-specific places. That being said, Foodland has some pretty tasty poke. Pick up a couple of tubs of poke, some spicy edamame, and some fresh sliced papaya and you've got yourself a awesome picnic lunch. Would not recommend underseasoned, overpriced poke at beachside resorts. Boo.
I'm sure I'm forgetting places, and there's still a ton of places we need to try. Next time! :)
1303 Rycroft St, Honolulu, HI 96814
The list below is BYOB in Honolulu. Russkar
Antonio's Pizza / 4210 Waialae Ave. #109B, 737-3333
Burgers on the Edge / Kapahulu Ave fronting Safeway
Cafe Taj Mahal / Indian- 3036 Waialae Ave, 732-6496
Casablanca / Moroccan - 19 Ho'ola'i St. Kailua, 262-8196
Champa Thai / Thai - 3452 Waialae Ave. 732-0054
Chao Phaya / Thai - 45-480 Kaneohe Bay Dr. Kaneohe, 235-3555
Dew Drop Inn / N. Chinese - 1088 S. Beretania St. 526-9522
due Divino's / Italian - 432 Ena Rd. 955-4242
EAT Cafe (Lunch Only) / 560 N. Nimitz Hwy. 538-0597
Grand Cafe / Pauahi St - 531-0001
Green Door Café / 1145 Maunakea, 533-0606
Himalayan Kitchen / Himalayan - 1137 11th Ave - 735-1122
Indian Café / Indian - 1016 Kapahulu Ave. 737-4600
Irifune / Japanese - 563 Kapahulu Ave. 737-1141
Kakaako Kitchen / 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. 596-7488
Kotobuki / Japanese - 617 Kapahulu Ave. 732-1630
La Pizza Rina / 1425 S. King St. 941-6634
Le Guignol / French - 1010 S. King St. #108, 591-1809
Los Chaparros / Mexican - 2140 S. Beretania St. 951-6399
Luigi's Place / Italian - 442 Uluniu St., Kailua, 263-5678
Maharani / Indian - 2509 S. King St. 951-7447
Mekong I / Thai - 1295 S. Beretania St. 591-8841
Mekong II / Thai - 1726 S. King St. 941-6184
Ono Hawaiian / 726 Kapahulu Ave. 737-2275
Sabrina's / Italian - 3036 Waialae Ave. 739-0220
Shillawon / Korean - 747 Amana St. 944-8700
Spices / Southeast Asian - 2671 S. King St. 949-2679
Sunrise / Okinawan - 525 Kapahulu Ave. 737-4118
Sushi Land / 1610 S. King St. 945-2256
Tatsuo's / Japanese - 2224 Alahao 988-2134
Tea at 1024 / Nuuanu Ave. 521-9596
The Fat Greek / 3040 Waialae Ave 734-0404
The Olive Tree / Greek - 4614 Kilauea Ave. #107, 737-0303
Town / 3435 Wai'alae Ave. #103, 735-5900
Zaffron / Indian - 69 N. King St. 533-6635
Zia's Caffe / Italian-Kaneohe- 262-7168
2140 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96826
563 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
1200 Ala Moana Blvd # 135, Honolulu, HI
Burgers on the Edge
890 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Dew Drop Inn
1088 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814
Olive Tree Cafe
4614 Kilauea Ave Ste 107, Honolulu, HI 96816
69 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Le Guignol Restaurant
1010 S King St Ste 108, Honolulu, HI 96814
45-620 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
La Pizza Rina
1425 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96814
Champa Thai Restaurant
3452 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
2224 Alahao Pl Ste 200, Honolulu, HI 96819
We just got back from Honolulu and really enjoyed The Green Door in Chinatown. It is a hole in the wall with 2 tables and one person to cook, cashier, and take your order. The reports on google maps say she is surly, but I thought she didn't seem surly at all-- just busy and efficient. And the food was really quite delicious. I had tofu with lemongrass. I have to say I enjoyed my 7 dollar meal here more than my $28 meal at the Alan Wong restaurant in Macy's at Ala Moana.
I had the "hot ginger chicken" at Alan Wong's and it was a nice poached breast with your standard ginger scallion sauce and a broasted leg that was dry and overcooked. It came with some glass noodles in overly salty broth with some wintermelon. My husband had macadamia encrusted pork chop on top of pumpkin puree, topped with balsamic sauce. He liked it a lot. The lemonade tasted like minute maid with seltzer in it. Blech. The 6$ japanese citrus soda was delicious.
The malasadas at Leonard's were unbelievable. I've never had anything like it. They are beyond compare to any other donut. We ate them in the car, splitting each one between three people, polishing off 7 of them. Loved the filled puffs like crazy.
We had really wonderful ice cream mochi's at Bubbie's. We ordered 4 and then went in and got 3 more! The mochi dough was actually deeply flavored-- not just colored. I loved the coffee one and the raspberry dark chocolate dipped one. If I had to ration calories I would choose the mochi over the cocoa puffs at Liliha's.
Tacos Rico in the old Waiola's building had the best carnitas tacos I have ever had in my life. They were crispy, and soft, juicy and rich tasting. I sprinkled them with the chopped purple onions and cabbage they had at the condiments bar-- 5 tacos for 9 bucks. The husband had the half chicken which was average or a little below. Dry and not very flavorful.
And of course we had shave ice at Waiola's. Yummy-- but I just wish I had gotten the eye popping rainbow cone a little kid sitting next to me had. We had so many desserts in Hawaii, we should probably have skipped the meals.
Just tried Waiola's...loved it! I got the azuki bowl...now i don't know how they compare to other shave ice places, because this is the first shave ice with azuki beans and mochi that i've ever eaten. My shave ice experiences growing up just consisted of blended ice with sugary syrup poured on top, which was never a favorite dessert of mine. But the azuki bowl is something i could get addicted to.
It's kind of hard to know where to start, the majority of places I go for "everyday food" are less than $20 for a meal. So here is my overwhelming list (including in Finer Dining and "Nicer". Almost all the rest are less than $20. If you want to know more about anyplace, let me know I will try to reply.
AMERICAN/FUSION - Finer Dining
DK Steak House, Waikiki
Duc’s Bistro, Chinatown*
Hau Tree Lanai, Waikiki*
Hy’s Steakhouse, Waikiki*
Mariposa, Ala Moana
Ninniku-Ya Garlic Restaurant, Kaimuki
La Mer, Halekulani
Longhi’s, Ala Moana
Plumeria Cafe, Kahala
Roy’s, Various Locations
3660 On The Rise
AMERICAN/FUSION - Nicer
Blue Water Cafe, Hawaii Kai
Buzz’s Steakhouse, Aiea, Kailua
Cafe Hula Girl, Waikiki
Chart House, Waikiki (iffy)
Chuck's Steakhouse, Waikiki
Cheesecake Factory, Waikiki
Henry Loui’s, Mapunapuna
Kona Brewing Co., Hawaii Kai
La Mariana Sailing Club, Sand Island*
Outback Steakhouse, Various Locations
Tiki’s, Marriot, Waikiki
12th Avenue Grill, Kaimuki
AMERICAN/FUSION - Everyday
Big City Diner*
Chili’s, various locations
49er Fountain, Aiea
Good to Grill, Kapahulu
Kakkaako Kitchen, Ward*
Ryan’s Grill, Ward
Side Street Inn
BREAKFAST KINE PLACES
Bob’s Big Boy, Mapunapuna
Eggs ‘n Things, Waikiki
Koa Pancake House, Moanalua
Liliha Bakery*, Liliha/Kalihi
Original Pancake House, Ala Moana*
Wailana Coffee Shop, Waikiki
BURGERS, SANDWICHES, & SUCH
BaLe Sandwiches, various locations
Big City Diner, various locations
Buffalo Boys Hoagies, Moiliili (till 3am)
Burgers on The Edge, Kapahulu
Da Big Kahuna, Airport* (better before 2pm)
Hank’s Haute Dogs, Kakaako
Islands Burgers, Ala Moana
Kua Aina*, Haleiwa and Ward
Moose McGilycuddy’s, Waikiki
Puka Dog, Waikiki
The Shack, various locations
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers*, Waikiki
W&M Burgers (wed-sun, lunch only) Kaimuki
Asia Manoa, Manoa
Dew Drop Inn, Lower Makiki
Duk Kee, Kaimuki*
Eastern Paradise (Korean Style), King St.
Happy Days, Kaimuki*
Little Village Noodle House, Chinatown*
Mini Garden, Chinatown & Beretania
On On, McCully
Royal Garden, Ala Moana
Happy Days, Kaimuki
Mei Sum, Chinatown
Panda Restaurant, Keeamoku
Royal Garden, Ala Moana
FAST FOOD (mainland chains)
don’t know any anymore...help
The Willows, Moiliili
Cafe Maharani, King St.
Cafe Tajmahal, Kaimuki
Himalayan Kitchen, Kaimuki*
Auntie Pasto’s, Lower Makiki
Bella Mia, Kaimuki
Pizzarina, King St.*
(Romano’s) Macaroni Grill, Ala Moana
Verbano Waialae.* (&maybe King St.)
Zia’s, Windward side
Ichi Riki, Keeamoku
Yamagen, King St.*
Gina’s, Market City
Sorabol, Keeamoku/Lower Makiki
Choi’s Garden, Lower Makiki
Cafe Million, Lower Makiki
LATE NIGHT PLACES
Buffalo Boys Hoagies,Moiliili
Sanoya, noodle/ramen, King St.
Sorabol (24/7) Korean, Keeamoku
Zippy’s (24/7) Various Locations
LUNCH ONLY PLACES (or breakfast/lunch)
Honey Glazed Hams (tue-sat), Moiliili
Waioli Tea Room, Manoa
Monarch Seafood, Lunch Take Out, Kalihi
Nico’s, Pier 38 (lunch), Nimitz*
Yama’s, Moiliili (Lunch)
W&M Burgers, Kaimuki
Champion, Beretania St
Char Hung Sut, Chinatown
Libby Manapua, Kalihi
Royal Kitchen, Chinatown*
The Fat Greek, Kaimuki
The Greek Corner, Moiliili
Olive Tree, Kahala
Caliente Del Sol, Kapahulu
Maria Bonita, Downtown/Chinatown
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Ward
Bob’s bbq, Kalihi
Grace’s Inn, Various
Rainbow Drive-In*, Kapahulu
Boulevard Saimin, Liliha
Goma Ichi, Keeamoku
Goma Tei, Ward Centers
Sanoya, King St.
Nico’s*, Kalihi Kai (till 5pm, earlier weekends)
Sam Choy’s BL&C, Nimitz
Genki Sushi (various)
Kats Sushi, King St/Makiki
Zippy’s (Kahala & Aiea Only)
Chai’s (Thai inspired), Aloha Tower
Champa Thai, Various locations
Pae Thai, King St./Makiki*
Spices (Thai inspired), Moiliili
To Thai For, Kaimuki*
Green Papaya, Kaimuki
Hale Vietnam, Kaimuki
Pho Mai, King St./Makiki
Pho South King, Moiliili
Hale, Kapiolani (makai of Walmart)
Chef Mavro - Once was enough, look up “obsequious”
IHOP - Once was too much. (at least at Windward Mall)
I Love Country Cafe, used to be good, what happened?
L&L drive-in - just don’t like it. Want some mac in that mayo salad?
Likelike-drive-in: not after the last two visits
Mac 24/7 - for bad service there are better options.
Wendy’s - When they apologize to Ellen I will go again (who's holding a grudge?)
Wow! Thanks sharing your list. I have about a week of eating, so I'll only get to a few best bets or outstanding places within their category. I noticed you have astrisks next to some of your listings, does this mean that those are your favorites places?
I am curious about Yamagen, what would you recommend from their menu?
ive got a bunch of picky friends, and unless i look at my list, we always end up at the same few places again and again. . . drives me nuts.
yes, the ones with asterisks are my favorite in that particular category. and yes, a few names show up in more than one category.
yamagen is great, especially if you sit outside on the 'lanai' (more like a converted carport). I enjoy the bbq/teriyaki chicken, and the tempura. I often get the Tempura Donburi, but if you only get to go once, get one of the teishoku combos. Im always tempted by the katsu curry too, but somehow never get around to it, im told its really good. The noodles are good too. So I guess I'm not helping any huh? There are some good reviews of this place on yelp also.
It is easy to miss, and there are only two (yeah, 2) parking stalls. Most of us locals park in the upper deck Longs lot, then do our longs shopping after eating.. you can always find something you need at longs.
I'll have to take a look at which ones i even know are. The roadblocks vary depending on where you are going and when. it is difficult to get thru waikiki on a holiday weekend without coming under scrutiny, although the roadblocks themselves are mainly focused on people leaving waikiki headed toward the freeway.
BYOB from my favorites:
himalayan kitchen, i believe it is
pizzarina, yes it is byob
yamagen, i doubt it but possibly
pae thai, i believe it is
spices, i believe it is
I'll be in Oahu in July. I know i am going to eat way too much, so i wanted to have a couple of lower calorie lunches...sandwiches, soups...that kind of thing. Of those sandwich shops you listed, which do you like best? Which are the healthier ones and also, i would like it to be a local sandwich shop...something unique to Hawaii. Thanks!
first you have to remember that sandwiches are not a big deal here. so you won't be finding many local sandwich shops, i don't think there is a real "deli" left on the island. just a note, there are a few japanese okazu style places that are referred to as deli's. Good places to go, but you wont find a pastrami sandwich there or any other kind of sandwich - and you won't find a good pastrami sandwich anywhere on the island.
hawaii just isn't a bread place. you want starch, you eat rice or noodles. A lot of my local friends say 'if there's no rice, its a snack, not a meal'. Having said all that....
BaLe Sandwiches, various locations: these are vietnamese style (bahn mi). the bread is a great small french roll with a crunchy crust, you can also order it on a croissant in most of the locations.
Big City Diner, various locations; Big City is one of my default places. They have really good salads, and a variety of sandwiches. They do have an on line menu.
Da Big Kahuna, Airport* (better before 2pm) These sandwiches won't save you any calories. they are the size of a dessert plate and piled high with kalua or bbq. Tasty, filling, wonderful, but its a lot of food. Gotta get a plate of the garlic cheese balls to go with them... oink
Hank’s Haute Dogs, Kakaako; an interesting variety of specialty dogs. This and puka dogs in waikiki will pretty much fill any hot dog craving you have.
Kua Aina*, Haleiwa and Ward: a local institution. burger style sandwiches, but some are relatively healthy.
Moose McGilycuddy’s, Waikiki: one of the better burgers in waikiki and not bad prices.
The Shack, various locations: Good burgers and such... especially the one wiht the portuguese sausage split on top of the burger. They also have decent salads and such.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers*, Waikiki: they will do your burger bunless. good sandwiches, aside from the burgers i like the cajun style chicken, although i doubt it would pass muster in new orleans.
Cafe Laufer: In kaimuki, a couple of doors from big city diner. They do really nice smaller sandwiches, salads, soups... probably closer to what you are thinking of. Very nice, light. But there is a catch, you order your sandwich while standing in front of one of the most attractively filled pastry cases in honolulu. i think you can gain weight just standing there waiting to order.
hope this helps
Big City Diner
3569 Waialae Ave Ste 3, Honolulu, HI 96816
3565 Waialae Ave Ste 107, Honolulu, HI 96816
Thanks for the info! I had previously looked at Cafe Laufer's website. It looks really good, so i think i will try that out. Also, Kua Aina looks like it will satisfy me for something healthy and my husbands desire for a good burger. We are trying to eat on the cheap for lunch and splurge at night...menu prices for that one looked really good.
3565 Waialae Ave Ste 107, Honolulu, HI 96816