Good, cheap eats in Waikiki

Coming off another 48 hours in Waikiki I’m finally getting to the point where I don’t hate the place. When the sales come up the flights are a great price for the number of miles earned so it is really hard to resist them. But I’m generally not all that happy in Waikiki. The beach is fake and not particularly soft. Plus it is incredibly crowded and loud. The shopping is the same as many places on the mainland (though more expensive) and the food is mostly chain restaurants that are overpriced and not particularly good. The ones that aren’t chains are just overpriced for the most part.  It certainly takes away from my enjoyment of a quick weekend away.

But since I’ve actually done this trip a couple times now I’m starting to find some of the less touristy dining choices.  Delicious food at reasonable prices and all right in Waikiki Beach (or very close by).  All of them are located towards the Diamond Head end of the beach, a bit out of the fray but not too much so.

  • Me B-B-Q


    Great Korean BBQ shop with breakfast, lunch and dinner every day but Sunday.  Meat, rice and a side range from $6-12 and is way more than enough food even after a long day of surfing or diving.

  • Morio’s Sushi
    Mmmm…brains. Enjoying sweet shrimp at Morio’s.


    Housed in a natural foods market, at night Morio’s transforms into one of the better sushi shops along Waikiki Beach. Morio works the sushi bar himself while a couple of waiters scurry around the small kitchen to help serve guests at the 5 tables on the adjoining patio. There are only about 8 seats at the counter and getting one can be tough – especially on a Saturday night. Morio’s regulars are loyal and keep coming back, with good reason. When in doubt, ask Morio for a recommendation. It is sure to please.

    Morio’s is also a BYOB shop and there are at least three convenience stores on the block. More than one guest headed back out mid-meal for more as the drinks kept flowing. Some of the regulars were even sharing their stash with the staff. Watching a guy move his hands that quickly with such sharp knives is one thing. Watching him do it after he chugs a beer is whole different level of amazing.

  • Rainbow Drive-In
    Eggs over a giant mound of fried rice for breakfast at Rainbow. Huge portions at great prices.


    I certainly didn’t discover this place – it has been around for over 40 years – but it is top notch. Located just far enough off the beach (about a mile) to keep the casual observers away, the grub is top notch. Breakfast is served until 10:30am and lunch/dinner after that. Huge plate lunch helpings for around $7 each. Hard to go wrong at that point.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.