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Cheap Eats

Hungry for good values, we combed through the Islands in pursuit of delicious meals for $20 or less. We lunched, we brunched, we wined, we dined. And we found you can eat well, accompanied only by a minted portrait of Andrew Jackson. The secret is not just knowing where to go, but what to order. So grab your wallet, and follow us.


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Dat One Persian Restaurant

801 Alakea St., Ste. 109, 791-1616.

Ghormeh sabzi & fesenjoon plate, $6.50
A new addition to downtown’s lunchtime scene, Dat One Persian Restaurant offers up a refreshingly exotic palette of flavors. From the various stews in their buffet-line pans, we opted for ghormeh sabzi (beef with chives, parsley, fenugreek and dried lemon, with red kidney beans) and fesenjoon (boiled chicken stewed in a walnut and pomegranate stew). The first was a bit bitter, not unlike laulau with its ratio of meat-to-dark-green-leaves. The second was sweet and aromatic, like something you’d serve on a holiday. For an extra treat, visit on Friday’s for the beef kabob special ($7). Lunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.

Don’t be fooled by the olive-oil cake’s name—it’s actually quite light and airy at Downtown.

photo by Lara Hata

Downtown, Hawaii State Art Museum

250 S. Hotel St., 536-5900.

CHEAP EAT Italian Soda, Duck Confit Sandwich, Olive Oil Cake, for $19.25
Downtown, the new Ed Kenney offering on the ground floor of the Hawaii State Art Museum, has both a counter for takeout, as well as a lively, trendy-but-not-pretentious dining room. The Italian soda ($2.75; we chose pomegranate flavor) is a layer of syrup, topped with club soda and milk, which you stir to create a pink concoction. The duck confit on grilled rye ($10.50) has a joyful, date-spiked mustard, while the olive-oil cake ($6) comes topped with cooked Kula strawberries. A meal here tastes like a summer afternoon in Europe, with your window open. 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

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Honolulu Magazine August 2020
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