Home » Oahu » Best Places to Eat in Waikiki on a Budget

Best Places to Eat in Waikiki on a Budget

Are you planning a trip to Oahu on a budget? Scroll to find out the best places to eat in Waikiki on a budget!
This list of places to eat in Waikiki on a budget was written by Marcie Cheung (a Hawaii travel expert) and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Ready to chow down in Waikiki?

If you’re looking for a delicious meal on a budget, Waikiki is the place to go. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or something to enjoy over a long period of time, there are plenty of places to choose from. 

We’ve got you covered with this guide of all the best places to eat on a budget. You won’t have to worry about breaking the bank while enjoying some of Hawaii’s most delicious food.

Wondering why my advice matters? I’ve been to Hawaii over 40 times and have unparalleled firsthand knowledge of the islands.

Here is your ultimate guide on finding all the best places to eat in Waikiki on a budget. 

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Oahu itinerary complete with daily schedules, fun activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

Oahu Travel Guide and 7-Day Oahu Itinerary by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel Spot

Best Places to Eat in Waikiki on a Budget

There are plenty of great ways to go to Oahu on a budget. There are plenty of free and cheap things to do on Oahu. One of the most important things to do is to find places to eat that are not expensive. 

Here are all the cheap places to eat in Waikiki. Here you will find plenty of local food as well as restaurants that taste great but are good for your budget too. 

1. Uncle Sharkii

My top pick for where to eat in Waikiki on a budget is Uncle Sharkii at the International Marketplace.

Co-founded by Hawaii local born and raised, Raymond Reyes, Uncle Sharkii is dedicated to offering its Signature Hawaiian® Poke Bowls, inspired by his upbringing growing up in Hawaii. 

Image of a poke bowl from Uncle Sharkii
Photo credit: Uncle Sharkii

Built on the principles of Ohana and creating a welcoming atmosphere for families, the menu caters to everyone, providing wholesome and appetizing options. Committed to ensuring access to nutritious and delicious food for all, Uncle Sharkii keeps its menu straightforward and wallet-friendly.

The Poke Bowls are generously filled with your choice of proteins, addressing the top concern of Poke Bowl fans: “How much fish is in my bowl?”

Alongside their mouth-watering Poke Bowls, Uncle Sharkii also serves Boba Milk Teas and Dole Soft Serve, culminating in an enjoyable and satisfying meal that’s perfect for budget travelers seeking an affordable yet healthy taste of Hawaii.

2. Gina’s Barbeque 

One of the best cheap eats in Honolulu is Gina’s Barbeque. It has been a Waikiki favorite for its delicious and affordable Hawaiian-inspired meals.

The majority of their menu includes plate lunches that will easily feed more than one person and comes with a main entree, 4 choices of side dishes, and 3 scoops of rice. These plate lunches typically cost around $13.

This restaurant offers a variety of dishes such as hamburgers, pork katsu, soups, BBQ chicken, fried chicken wings, and so much more! 

Gina’s Barbeque is located in Honolulu, right by Waikiki, and is open from 10:00 am to 8:45 pm every day. 

3. Cuckoo Coconuts Waikiki

Another one Honolulu cheap eats is Cuckoo Coconuts, located right in the middle of Waikiki. Here you will find an old-fashioned Tiki bar that serves tropical Hawaiian food with live music every single night. 

What sets this place apart is that it is all outdoors! You can enjoy the beauty of Hawaii and get some cheap food too. The most expensive meal on the menu costs $19, while the rest are around $10 to $14. 

From poke salad to coconut shrimp, teriyaki chicken, and Hawaiian-style fish and chips, there is something for everyone to enjoy during their vacation to Oahu. 

You will find Cuckoo Coconuts on Royal Hawaiian Ave. It is open every day from 5:00 pm to midnight. 

4. Marukame Udon

Marukame Udon is another one of the cheap places to eat on Oahu that you will enjoy. This is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Waikiki! 

Marukame Udon in Waikiki
Marukame Udon is worth the wait!

You will find plenty of great udon bowls, or you can create your own! First, choose your udon bowl, add the toppings you want, and finish off by adding tempura if you wish! They also have delicious rice bowls available too. You can get an udon or rice bowl for around $8-15 here. 

This restaurant is open daily from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and is located on Kuhio Ave in Waikiki.  

5. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue 

One of the local’s favorite cheap eats on Oahu is, of course, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. It offers visitors a menu that features the best of Hawaii at an affordable price point. 

Get a BBQ beef bowl, chicken katsu, fried shrimp, loco moco, and other great Hawaiian foods you will absolutely love. Plate lunches range from $8 to $13, or you can order each item individually for less. 

There are multiple L&L restaurants all in the Waikiki area, including Ala Moana Beach Park – Diamond Head, Ala Wai, or Ala Moana Beach Park – Ewa. Most are open between 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with some opening earlier or staying open later. 

6. Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Helena’s Hawaiian Food, another one of the cheap places to eat in Honolulu, has been open since 1946. It is well known by both the locals and tourists. Here you can find simple Hawaiian food that is very affordable and delicious. 

The best way to order here is by ordering what you want a la carte, not from getting a meal plate. Order a side of rice for $1.95, kalua pork for $7.15, and macaroni salad for $3.60, and you have a tasty traditional Hawaiian meal for $12.70! 

Choices range from beef stew, poi, Lomi Lomi, poke ahi, long rice chicken, opihi, and so much more. Enjoy all the Hawaiian classics at a reasonable price. 

Helena’s Hawaiian Food is located on School Street in Waikiki and is open Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm. 

7. Nico’s Pier 38

One of the must-eat places in Oahu is Nico’s Pier 38. The food here is mouth-watering and delicious, but it is only cheaper when you eat here for breakfast and lunch. Their dinner menu is well over $15, but you can find breakfast and lunch meals for $16 and under. 

For breakfast, enjoy some fish and eggs, fish omelet, pancakes, steak and eggs, or french toast. For dinner, you can grab orange fried chicken, beef stew, ahi poke salad, or garlic pesto shrimp. No matter what you eat here, it will be absolutely tasty and fresh! 

Nico’s Pier 38 is on Nimitz Highway. Their breakfast menu is available from 6:30 am to 10:00 am every day except Sunday. You can grab some lunch here from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm every day of the week. 

8. Musubi Cafe Iyasume

Located along the Waikiki Beach Walk, you will find Musubi Cafe Iyasume. It is another one of the best cheap eats in Oahu because everything you’ll find here is under $10! 

Image of wrapped musubi at Musubi Cafe Iyasume in Waikiki
Musubi Cafe Iyasume is tasty and cheap! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Here you will find tons of variations of a musubi. A musubi is a rice ball that has some sort of meat on top, usually spam in Hawaii, and wrapped in seaweed. It is a very popular snack or lunch food in Hawaii! 

While this may not entirely fill you up or be a fancy meal, you can grab 3 musubis to try out for only $8. They also have a combination menu which will give you a small lunch for only $9. It is a great option for those wanting to try local food but has a strict budget. 

You can find three different Musubi Cafe Iyasume along Waikiki! Each location is open anywhere from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

9. Oahu Mexican Grill

If you are in the mood for some delicious Mexican food, try this inexpensive restaurant in Waikiki. The Oahu Mexican Grill only uses 100% grass-fed, all-natural beef and makes their salsas and guacamole fresh every day. This is what makes the food here absolutely incredible! 

You can get a huge burrito for only $12. Other items on the menu include chicken tacos, carnitas bowl, super nachos, salads, and more. Nothing on the menu is over $16, making it inexpensive but definitely tasty. It’s one of the best kid-friendly Oahu restaurants!

The Oahu Mexican Grill is located on Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki and is open every day from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. 

10. Maguro Spot

Another one of the best cheap eats in Waikiki is Maguro Spot. It is a little hole in the wall but is definitely worth a visit. It has some of the best poke on the island, but it is very affordable! 

A small bowl of poke is $9, and an XL bowl is only $18! You can choose from a variety of options, including curry, poke, salmon, tuna, spicy garlic shrimp, and so much more. There are also a few side options as well. 

You will find this delicious poke spot on Kuhio Ave in Waikiki, and it is open every day except Sunday from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm.  

11. Steak Shack

Steak Shack is one of the best cheap restaurants in Honolulu and is perfect for couples who want to eat some delicious steak while on their vacation. You have the option of grabbing a steak plate or a chicken plate. 

Image of the Steak Shack Waikiki exterior
Steak Shack has some cheap Waikiki eats. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The cheapest plate only costs $8.75, and the most expensive plate is $13.50, making it not only delicious and the best steak on the island but also the cheapest! Each plate comes with two scoops of rice and some organic greens. 

You can get some steak from Steak Shack every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. You will find this restaurant on Kalia Rd. 

12. Rainbow Drive-In

You will find Rainbow Drive-In to be another one of the best cheap places to eat in Waikiki. This restaurant first opened in 1961 and served hearty portions for a very reasonable price, and they still continue that today! 

Image of Rainbow Drive In on Oahu
Slush Float at Rainbow Drive In on Oahu. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

You can grab huge lunch plates for $8 to $12. They pride themselves on getting your food to you quickly, so this is a great place for when you are in a hurry. Try the Mahi Mahi, chili dog, BBQ beef, or hamburger steak plate. 

The Rainbow Drive-In, located on Kanaina Avenue, is open daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

13. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers 

Another one of the best affordable restaurants in Waikiki is Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. Here you will find some delicious burgers that are humungous and cheap. 

Burgers range from $8 to $15, making them super affordable for anyone’s budget! Other than burgers, you will find chicken baskets, a salad, and side options as well. 

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers is open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm every day of the week and is located on Beretania Ave. 

14. Topped Waikiki

One of Oahu’s cheap eats is Topped Waikiki. Here you will find tasty Korean food that you will love. 

From chicken bibimbap to kalbi steak and eggs, chicken mayo, shoyu chicken, and more, you will find something to satisfy your craving. Prices range from $8 to $16 at the most, making it super cheap and affordable. 

You will find Topped Waikiki on Royal Hawaiian Ave. It is open daily from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm. 

15. Me’s BBQ

From another Korean restaurant, head to Me’s BBQ. Here you will find another one of the best cheap restaurants in Waikiki filled with tasty food you will enjoy. 

Me's BBQ in Waikiki
Takeout from Me’s BBQ in Waikiki. Photo credit: Siv Eng

Try the squid stir fry, fried fish, chicken katsu, kalbi steak, or other incredible options. Most items on the menu are between $6 and $18. You can get a filling breakfast here for only $7! 

Me’s BBQ is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and is located on Uluniu Ave. 

Tips for Eating in Waikiki on a Budget

Waikiki is an amazing place to eat out, and there are many affordable restaurants available. However, it’s important to take some time to find the best eats in Waikiki that fit within your budget to get the most out of your money. 

Here are a few tips to help you have a wonderful Hawaii vacation on a budget: 

  • If you don’t eat a lot of food for your meals, consider ordering from the Kids menu, often called the Keiki menu. They have a great proportion of food but always cost less than a regular plate. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for recommendations. They often know where to find delicious food that doesn’t cost too much money. 
  • If you are on a very tight budget, you might want to go to the store, like Foodland, and get some food to make your own lunches or get the premade ones there. Those will most likely be cheaper than any place to eat. 
  • Go to places during happy hour where they will have cheaper drinks and appetizers that work as meals. 
  • If you plan to visit Honolulu on a budget, go to the farmer’s markets. Here you will find fresh produce to make your own meals as well as tons of vendors and food trucks that offer cheaper selections than most restaurants. 

Cheap Eats in Honolulu Wrap Up

Go to any of these places to eat in Waikiki on a budget to help you have a great vacation in Hawaii.

These places will give you the best deals and the most delicious food too! You can’t go wrong with any of these Waikiki cheap eats. Try out as many as you can during your trip to see which one you like best! 

Looking for more Oahu travel resources? Check out the best things to do on Oahu on a budget, cheap places to stay on Oahu, beautiful beaches on Oahu, how to get to North Shore from Waikiki, and top Oahu waterfall hikes!

Leave a Comment