Explore Oahu

The Best Restaurants for Cheap Eats in Honolulu

With Oahu’s diverse cultural makeup, the island’s food landscape is an exciting place to sink your teeth into.

With so many restaurant options in Honolulu, it’s often difficult to both narrow down your choices and decide where to splurge and where to save. Visiting the city can cost a pretty penny, and you might not want to spend all your hard-earned money quelling your hunger with extravagant dining options.

Get a taste of the islands with our budget-friendly guide to Honolulu, sure to please any palate. 

Rainbow Drive-In

A local institution with a loyal following, Rainbow Drive-In has been serving plate lunches for nearly 50 years.

Da Spot

Island slang for “the spot,” this little cafe is known for serving Egyptian food at plate lunch prices, along with freshly made baklava and smoothies. It’s always busy mid day, filled with kids from nearby schools who love the dollar menu of corn dogs and tacos.

Liliha Bakery

This neighborhood 24-hour bakery and diner is a beacon for night owls or the early morning business man. The legendary Coco Puffs are undefeated in the “what to bring to the potluck” category and sell out quickly.

Helena's Hawaiian Food

One of the only Hawaiian food restaurants to offer sit-down service, you can expect all of the traditional style dishes here, plus some signature dishes like pipikaula-style short ribs. To prepare pipikaula (Hawaiian smoked beef), strips of beef are rubbed with coarse salt and then hung to dry.

Char Hung Sut

You’ll have to get here before 11 a.m. to ensure getting your pick of freshly steamed manapua (pork stuffed buns) and pork hash (dumpling). Those local goodies sell like hot cakes at this old-fashioned Chinese style deli.

Blue Hawaii LifeStyle

This eco-friendly cafe offers dolphin-safe tuna sandwiches served on biodegradable plates, organic Hawaii-grown coffee and açai bowls topped with bananas, berries, honey and granola.

W&M Bar-B-Q Burger

This Kaimuki institution has been serving their famous burgers for years, and locals swear the secret to the success of this “old school” burger stand in the house BBQ sauce. Order the signature Royal Burger, and don’t forget the fries.

Leonard's Bakery

The malasada is a round, tennis ball-sized Portuguese doughnut that is deep-fried and then doused in sugar. While it may seem like an easy task, perfecting the dough is anything but, an how Leonard has managed to do it for 56 years is surely a lesson in dedication.

Matsumoto's Shave Ice

There’s always a line outside of Matsumoto’s no matter what time of year it is, with hordes of visitors and locals waiting to get some shave ice (Hawaii’s answer to the snow cone). This family-owned shave ice stand has been in business for nearly 60 years.