My Favorite Places to Eat in Honolulu

Honolulu has many excellent restaurants for food fanatics. Walking along Kalakaua Avenue, it is easy to find plenty of fancy and pricey restaurants. However, finding affordable places to eat in Honolulu are also easy with the help of the locals.

After living on Oahu for three years and dining out many times, I have my own list of favorite places to eat in Honolulu. These restaurants are not only budget-friendly, but also give you a taste of the food from all over the world. You can find $2 dim sum, $6 Kalua pork quesadilla, and $7.45 pad Thai.

If you plan to visit Honolulu and want to eat at the places offering cheap and high-quality food, check out my favorite restaurants below.

Bangkok Chef

Bangkok chef is my go-to place to eat authentic Thai food. There are three locations in Honolulu and I frequented the ones on Nuuanu Avenue and East Manoa Road. Bangkok Chef offers assortments of Ala Carte with pad Thai for $7.45, curry chicken for $8.45, and basil shrimp(my favorite) for $10.80. The service is friendly and speedy. All main courses are served in a large bento box that can be saved for two meals.

Address: 1627 Nuuanu Avenue/2955 East Manoa Road/900 N Nimitz Hwy

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu
Fish patties and sticky rice @Bangkok Chef

Goma Tei Ramen

Goma Tei Ramen is my favorite Japanese ramen place in Hawaii and I frequented this restaurant every month. Two of my favorite ramen there are vegetable and seafood tan tan, which come with shrimp, calamari, green onions, and green veggies. If you order vegetable ramen, you will see plenty of celery, carrots, mushrooms, and onions on the top and you do not have to look for any ingredients in the soup. The broth is delicious and not salty at all.

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu, Hawaii - Goma Tei Ramen
Vegetable Tan Tan at Goma Tei Ramen

There are two Goma Tei Ramen restaurants in Honolulu – one at Ala Moana Shopping Center and the other at the Ward Center. I have eaten at both restaurants and find the ramen at the Ward Center tastes better than one at Ala Moana.

Address: Ward Village, Sector 5, #429, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd (Ward Center)/1450 Ala Moana Blvd (Ala Moana)

Ryan’s Grill 

Ryan’s Grill is a Kama’aina restaurant located across the Ward Theater, and it provides a perfect combination of worldwide cuisine and a relaxing atmosphere. It is popular among the locals as they have happy hours (4-7 p.m. and after 10 p.m) featuring half-priced pupus and drink specials. You can get Kalua pork quesadilla for $6, and hot crab and artichoke dip for $7. Portions of pupus are huge so there is no need to order a main course.

***Update: this restaurant is closed ****

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu - Ryan's grill happy hour pupus
Ryan’s happy hour pupus

Angelo Pietro

I am not a fan of pizza, but I cannot pass up the pizza dish at Angelo Pietro. Here, you can make your own pizza by choosing a variety of toppings and their pizza is made with a thin crust and is very crispy. In addition to pizza, Angelo Pietro makes a delicious fusion of Italian and Japanese cuisine. I highly recommend that you try their Japanese sauce (spaghettis) and mushroom soup.

Address: 1108 12th Ave C Honolulu, HI 96816

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu, Hawaii - Angelo Pietro
Japanese sause Takana and Sausage: pickled mustard cabbage and sausage in a shoyu sauce topped with nori @Angelo Pietro

Rum Fire at Sheraton Waikiki

Rum Fire is another excellent place for happy hour. The food option during the happy hour is very limited but you can get kimchi fried rice and chicken wings for $6.  Their prime location, in my opinion, made it the best place for happy hour. They have outdoor seating on the oceanfront where you can have a gorgeous sunset view while listening to live music being played by local musicians.

Address:  2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu, Hawaii - RumFire Waikiki
RumFire outdoor seating


For Korean food, Chodang is one of the best places for budget travelers, if the service is not the best. It is popular among locals because they have daily specials for around $7. You can get several mini banchan dishes (sweet potatoes, kimchi, bean sprouts salad, and spinach salad) with your order. If you arrive at the peak hours, be prepared to wait in line, but the high quality of food and the reasonable price are worth the wait.

Address: 451 Piikoi St, Honolulu, HI 96814 (Ala Moana Center) 

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu, Hawaii - Chodang
Chodang mixed noodles bibimien

Happy Garden

For a cheap dim sum meal, Happy Garden is the place to go. This Chinese restaurant opens from 6 am to 10 pm and features all day dim sum with $2 for most items. I love to have their shrimp dumpling, beef balls, chicken feet, turnip cakes, and rice soup. It is a cash-only restaurant so make sure to bring enough cash before you go.

Address: 1113 Maunakea St, Honolulu, HI 96817 (China Town) 

My favorite places to eat in Honolulu, Hawaii - Happy Garden
Dim Sum at Happy Garden

Honolulu has many great restaurants in very touristic places, but there are always budget-friendly restaurants providing quality food with enough portions. When it comes to my favorite places to eat in Honolulu, these aforementioned restaurants are always my top places.

Where are your favorite places to eat in Honolulu? Comment below.

More on Foodie’s Travel Guide:

My Favorite Food to Eat in China 

7 Best Cheap Eats in Toronto

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My favorite restaurants in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


Julie Cao

Julie Cao is a travel blogger, travel writer, and global citizen currently living in Toronto Ontario.

14 thoughts on “My Favorite Places to Eat in Honolulu

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  • May 22, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    The food looks delicious. Hawaiian cuisine is so healthy and has a distinct flavour. I must get back there soon for another visit to try some of these places.

    • May 26, 2017 at 6:05 am

      The food is so green there. We all need to go back there just for the food 🙂

  • May 23, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Honolulu offers a wide range of food options. The spread looks delectable and offers a wide array. I am sure that the vegetarian options are also available and equally tempting.

    • May 26, 2017 at 6:06 am

      Bangkok chef and Goma Tai has vegetarian options, and they are delicious!

  • May 24, 2017 at 2:23 am

    These all look amazing! My brother is actually going to Honolulu for his honeymoon next month, so I’ll have to send him this list! Happy Garden looks right up my alley because I love dim sum and it’s cheap!

    • May 26, 2017 at 6:04 am

      Thanks Paige. Wish your brother has a great trip in Hawaii!

  • May 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Yum! I love Goma Tei, and I have to try Ryan’s Grill! I’m always hunting for the next happy hour destination.

    • May 25, 2017 at 3:29 am

      I miss Goma Tei. Their broth is the best. The pupus at the Ryan’s Grill are awesome. If you find other happy hour destinations, please let me know. I am dying for a return visit to Hawaii and try the ono food!

  • May 25, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Hawaii is defintely a paradise on earth and from your photos it seems to be a heaven for the foodie too. I liked the way they present the dimsums, wrapped in a leaf instead of a wicker basket and it is so cheap too. I am sure to have a couple of dollars tucked away somewhere. 🙂 🙂 Love this post.

    • May 25, 2017 at 3:31 am

      Thanks Nisha! Yes Hawaii is not just a paradise for the nature beauty, but the food there is as heavenly as the nature itself.

  • May 25, 2017 at 9:37 am

    One of the great parts about being a local is having extensive knowledge of the food scene! I really like that Ryan’s Grill has two happy hours (drinks and food included) and sharing the differences in tastes at the Goma Tei Ramen is very helpful! Since I’m usually on a budget, it’s great knowing that I have lots of options!

    • May 26, 2017 at 6:01 am

      I dont know Ramen at Roma Tei tastes different at different locations until I tried the other one. Hawaii has a great food scene and this is just a tiny part of it 🙂

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