Hawaii diners eat less, pay more

You don’t have to tell me how expensive it is to eat out.

I eat out at least four times a week — thought it was more, didn’t you? — and the cost adds up. A $3 burger here, a $7 plate lunch there. By the end of the month, I could easily spend more eating out than what I spend on groceries.

But here’s the thing: despite what seems like constant gorging on my part, I don’t actually eat that much. But I sure spend a nice chunk of my paycheck on food.

No surprise, then, that Zagat’s Survey of the Hawaiian Islands showed exactly that: we eat less but pay more.

The average number of meals out per week dropped from 3.2 in the last survey to 3.1 this year — but we spent an average of $37.66 per meal, $2.04 more per meal than the national average. The average price for a meal in Seattle, for example, was $29.33; in Los Angeles, it was $34.85.

The good news is, though, that 74 percent of us prefer our food locally sourced, organic or sustainably raised, with another 62 percent saying they would be willing to pay more for it.

Zagat’s survey — which covered 389 restaurants across the state as voted on by 2,942 avid Hawaii diners — came up with its list of best restaurants in various categories.

Roy’s Restaurant (its popular meatloaf appetizer shown above) was named the Most Popular, with Alan Wong’s in Honolulu coming in second and Mama’s Fish House on Maui rounding out the Top 3.

Sushi Sasabune in Honolulu earned the top award for best food and La Mer at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki was voted to have the best decor and top service.

Here’s the list of top statewide winners:

Top Food
1) Sushi Sasabune (Oahu)
2) Hiroshi Eurasion (Oahu)
3) Alan Wong’s (Oahu)
4) La Mer (Oahu)
5) Mama’s Fish House (Maui)

Top Decor
1) La Mer (Oahu)
2) Lodge/Koele Din. Rm. (Lanai)
3) Orchids (Oahu)
4) Pahu i’a (Big Island)
5) Kauai Grill (Kauai)

Top Service
1) La Mer (Oahu)
2) Chef Marvro (Oahu)
3) Lodge/Koele Din. Rm. (Lanai)
4) Michel’s (Oahu)
5) Orchids (Oahu)

Most Popular
1) Roy’s (multi)
2) Alan Wong’s (Oahu)
3) Mama’s Fish House (Oahu)
4) Merriman’s (multi)
5) Sansei (multi)

You agree with the results?