67 Fun and Delicious Meals You Can Afford to Eat Every Day in Honolulu
HONOLULU Magazine’s tour of 67 cheap eats, from burgers to soft-shell crab to frugal finds with a view.
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LOTUS CAFE’S INDIAN CURRY IN A COCONUT RICE CREPE.
PHOTO: JOSH FLETCHER
Big Island: Lotus Café
Southeast Asian and Indian food meet a natural foods restaurant in Lotus Café. The restaurant runs solely on solar energy, and the six-page menu touts its GMO-, dairy and gluten-free fare. Vegans and carnivores can dine side by side here, on spice-spiked meat and veggie dishes. A favorite is the Indian curry in a coconut rice crepe ($14.95), a spongy crepe folded over veggies cooked in Malabar curry, jammed with cumin, turmeric, tamarind, ginger and chili in a tomato base. A side of cucumber raita soothes the palate.
73-5617 Maiau St., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Island, (808) 327-3270.
Start the day off right by keeping your belly and wallet full.
SWEET E’S KALUA PORK EGGS BENEDICT.
PHOTO: MONTE COSTA
Try Sweet E’s stuffed French toast ($8.95), in which three fat slices of French toast envelop blueberries and cream cheese, for a dish that can’t make up its mind if it’s dessert or breakfast. If you’re not up for a sugary morning, the kalua pork eggs Benedict ($12.95) is a savory alternative. Paired with a perfectly poached egg, the English muffin holds up well, and the shredded, smoky meat melds beautifully with the hollandaise sauce. Use your choice of starch—rice, hash browns, potatoes or fried rice ($1.50)—to mop up the last of the runny egg off your plate.
1016 Kapahulu Ave., Suite 185, (808) 737-7771.
East Oahuans know to ask for the special biscuit ($1.35), a fluffy, softball-size pastry, to be split, lightly grilled and slathered in whipped honey butter. Everything else, from the 11 different omelettes to the onion-and-gravy-smothered hamburger steak and eggs (all for less than $10), is, well, gravy. Our pick: “Jack’s Breakfast” ($6.75), which comes with two eggs, choice of meat (ham, bacon, sausage or corned beef hash) and, of course, a biscuit. Live a little and shell out for a side of fried rice ($.95).
Aina Haina Shopping Center, 820 W. Hind Drive, (808) 373-4034.
You’ll need a fork, knife and hearty appetite to cut through the Santa Monica Benedict ($10.95), two poached eggs perched on a mound of sautéed spinach, crisp asparagus, thick slices of ham and toasted bolilo bread, covered in a creamy garlic-basil hollandaise. Or find divine inspiration in the hurricane rice bowl ($12.95), a brunch-inspired bibimbap with heaps of shredded daikon, lettuce, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, and bean and radish sprouts. Mix in flavorful strips of prime rib, eggs and (oh, no, they didn’t) bacon kim chee fried rice, then top with a generous helping of chili paste.
815 Keeaumoku St., (808) 942-0505.
We admit, this restaurant isn’t known for its cheap eats, but come brunch-time on Sundays, all entrées include an all-you-can eat mini pancake bar. We only wish those tiny addictive rounds, studded with blueberries, macadamia nuts or chocolate chips, were cooked faster. Instead, we savor our bites of smoked ham and cheese omelette or juicy kiawe-grilled chicken panini with salty notes of crisp fried capers (both $14.95), then sit back, soak in the restaurant’s view of the marina, and wait for the next batch.
Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, 377 Keahole St., (808) 395-6224.