A full plate of loco moco breakfast plate lunch in Hawaiii.

15 Best Places to Get A Plate Lunch on Oahu

Oahu is famous for many things, and a quality plate lunch is truly up there.

The number of glares we are going Road Runner on right now is truly terrifying. So, please bear with our humble pickings and read through the options to, hopefully, see why these made the competitive cut. 

Plate lunches aren’t very picky meals. As long as it is authentic, made with fresh ingredients, and has a much-loved varied assortment of eating, it’s good to eat.

Without further adieu, here are the best plate lunches in Honolulu:

Our Personal Favorite: If you have never tried Loco Moco, you’re in for a real treat! This Hawaiian dish is typically made with rice, a hamburger patty, eggs, and gravy. It’s hearty, filling, and absolutely delicious and will leave you satisfied. This is by far our favorite plate lunch in Hawaii. We always get it whenever we’re in Honolulu.

1. Rainbow Drive-In

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 7:00 am-9:00 pm

RATING: 4.3 out of 5

Location: 3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu

Price: $

Website: https://rainbowdrivein.com/

Rainbow Drive-In is well-known around the entire island, and they’ve been family owned and run since 1961. Every meal has a ton of history and story, and they sure know how to sculpt a hearty and full plate. 

Why we love this place: The Kanaina Ave store location is the most popular out of multiple locations peppered throughout the island. Their Hawaiian plate lunch has generous proportions while keeping to the tradition of affordability.

Loco Moco plate lunch in Honolulu.

2. Nico’s Pier 38

Hours Of Operation: Mon-Sat: 6:30 am-9:00 pm, Sun: 10:00 am-9:00 pm

RATING: 4.4 out of 5

Location: 1129 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: http://www.nicospier38.com/

One of the liveliest spots to have dinner as it hosts live entertainment every evening. Nico’s Pier 38 also sticks close to its name by providing its patrons with fish so fresh you’d think you just caught it yourself.

Why we love this place: Absolutely adore Nico’s not only because of the dynamic environment from the laid-back and neighborly ambiance. It would be your tongue and tummy’s miss if you didn’t try the Fried Ono lunch plate or their Loco Moco and refreshing poke.

3. Diamond Head Market

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 7:30 am-9:00 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 3158 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: http://www.diamondheadmarket.com/

Diamond Head Market is like a Saturday food market you can enjoy every day. They are a popular window-serve grill with quality kitchen-cooked meals and freshly baked delights. 

Why we love this place: I’m not saying I’m a plate lunch connoisseur, but I do know my way around Diamond Head Market’s juicy Surf & Turf plate or their ginger salmon lunch plate. They have a varied selection of plate lunch options to satisfy every palate. 

Tips for travelers: Just remember that it’s not really a sit-down restaurant, but don’t make the mistake of skipping a visit if you find yourself around this blessed neighborhood. 

4. Papa Ole’s Kitchen

Hours Of Operation: Thu-Mon: 7:00 am-3:00 pm, Tue-Wed: Closed

RATING: 4.6 out of 5

Location: 53-316 Kamehameha Hwy #9, Hauula

Price: $-$$

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/papa-oles-hauula

About: There’s much to rest your tender gaze on and do around Hauula, but your only correct choice for a plate lunch is Papa Ole’s Kitchen. This well-liked spot is known for its unassuming and straightforward presentation of genuine Hawaiian grub. 

Why we love this place: Papa Ole’s has forever heightened my perception of food in styrofoam containers, especially while on the island. To say that Papa Ole’s galbi cut in their plate lunch has a generous figure is me being poli—it’s thicker than a peanut butter sandwich. Whoomp, there it is.

5. Ted’s Bakery

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 8:00 am-6:30 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 59-024 Kamehameha, State Rte, Haleiwa

Price: $$

Website: https://www.tedsbakery.com/

Ted’s Bakery is the holder of multiple accolades. It continues to be a trusted and beloved staple out on the North Shore of Oahu. Their menu has pies, malasadas, cakes, and plate lunches that are prepared but exceptionally made.

Why we love this place: You should be aware by now that we are fans of Hawaiian cuisine. As the cool kids say, we might even be stamps or stans. One of the two, but there’s no mistaking the ono quality of their plate lunches and a pie.

Tips for travelers: It sometimes gets crowded to come with that laid-back island spirit, just in case.

6. Honolulu Kitchen

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 7:30 am-3:00 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 94-861 Farrington Hwy, Waipahu

Price: $

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/honolulu-kitchen-waipahu

Honolulu Kitchen cooks tasty Hawaiian fare with an Asian and Chinese touch. They are famous for their signature fried buns in all the flavors under the plentiful Hawaiian sun.

Why we love this place: If it were anywhere else, the transactional counter serving of your eats would either feel like you are in a fast food joint or a shabby hotel’s all-you-can-eat situation. But, everything in the Honolulu Kitchen feels sincere and intentional, like their mini plate lunches.   

7. Kono’s Northshore

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 7:00 am-2:30 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa

Price: $$

Website: konosnorthshore.com

If your taste buds love Hawaiian cuisine, but they’ve had a bit too much on this trip, Kono’s Northshore is the place to be. Their kitchen is known to prepare quality local cuisine with a modern and creative take.

Why we love this place: Pork plate lunch. That’s it, plain and simple, and sometimes that’s enough said. Hog out; friend, you’s welcome.

8. Ono Steaks And Shrimp Shack

Hours Of Operation: Mon: 10:30 am-5:00 pm, Wed-Sat: 10:30 am-5:00 pm, Sun: Closed, Tue: Closed

RATING: 4.6 out of 5

Location: 41-037 Wailea St, Waimanal

Price: $$

Website: http://yelp.com/biz/ono-steaks-and-shrimp-shack-waimanalo

Ono Steaks And Shrimp Shack specialize in local plate lunches like kalua pork, smoked meat, teriyaki chicken, boneless kalbi, and so much more. Their trendy and fun-colored shack is hard to miss, and you’d be amiss if you did.

Why we love this place: This spot sits around other famous plate lunch restaurants, so when you are on a mission for a traditional plate lunch, this is the area to be lost in. Their food is always up to the task, fresh and super ono, and you can taste all that on their smoked meat kiawe plate lunch, and you have to have the garlic fries and shrimp.

9. Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 6:00 am-11:00 pm

RATING: 4.4 out of 5

Location: 1366 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: https://www.bobsbarbque.com/

Like your grill-loving uncle Bob, Bob’s Bar-B-Que serves up some non-copyright infringing finger-licking onolicious eats. Their menu is tasty and genuine to Hawaiian sensibilities.

Why we love this place: There must be something in their teriyaki sauce because otherwise, I’m all out of excuses for my physician. Bob’s has a charming allure that’s somewhat reminiscent of the Portland food truck scene.

10. Island Style BBQ

Hours Of Operation: Mon-Fri: 5:30 am-7:00 pm, Sat: 5:30 am-5:00 pm, Sun: Closed

RATING: 4.4 out of 5

Location: 2011 N King St, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/island-style-bbq-honolulu

Island Style BBQ has an unpretentious presentation with homemade meals with the owner’s personality peeking through. The dishes are comfort-centric and reflective of the chef’s varied cooking experience.

Why we love this place: This is the place to be when you’re craving “fast food,” but you’re on the island and fighting against The Man. There’s quick and friendly service, and the meal portions are giving at a fair price.

11. Highway Inn Kaka’ako

Hours Of Operation: Sun: 10:00 am-1:30 pm, Mon-Thu: 10:30 am-8:00 pm, Fri-Sat: 10:30 am-8:30 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 680 Ala Moana Blvd #105, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: https://www.myhighwayinn.com/

Highway Inn Kaka’ako has been serving delicious and respected Hawaiian food for over seven decades, and they haven’t missed a step. It’s a family affair that carries a bright torch of traditional food with the flavor of Old Hawaii. 

Why we love this place: It’s a very peppy and jovial spot that’s fun to be at any day, so there isn’t much not to love. Being able to concoct your own plate lunch from scratch is also a fun and yummy bonus because they prepare all their parts swimmingly.

12. Pioneer Saloon

Hours Of Operation: Daily: 11:00 am-8:00 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 3046 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: http://www.pioneer-saloon.net/

Pioneer Saloon opened its doors in 2009 with the simple goal of providing drool-provoking plate lunches at prices anyone can afford. They’ve stuck true to their mission statement, and their success is a testament to that, with a building of other locations outside the original spot. 

Why we love this place: Their plate lunches aren’t as intimidating in size as other plate lunches around the island, but they pack a considerable punch. It’s also the perfect spot to hit after a good surf and can easily become a daily ritual because of the ridiculously affordable prices.

13. Button Up Café

Hours Of Operation: Tue-Sun: 8:00 am-1:30 pm, Mon: Closed

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 97-719 Kamehameha, Hwy

Price: $$

Website: buttonupcafe.com

Button Up Café also has a straightforward mission of making fresh and delicious meals around the classic Hawaiian nature of a warm welcome to any and every stranger. Needless to gush, this pleasant spot in Pearl City is a gem of a visit.

Why we love this place: The atmosphere of Button Up is in stark contrast to the concrete, industrial-esque location. Their food is juicy, lively, and exceptionally made, and their braised short rib lunch plate has just continued to taste better over the years. 

Tips for travellers: The place does tend to get bustling over the weekends and has limited parking, so either go during the week, phone ahead or do a bit of both.

14. Da Ono Hawaiian Food

Hours Of Operation: Tue-Sun: 11:00 am-8:00 pm, Mon: Closed

RATING: 4.4 out of 5

Location: 726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: https://www.daonohawaiianfood.com/

Ohana rings throughout Da Ono Hawaiian Food, and you can taste your tutu’s hand in every handmade, fresh, and ono dish. The restaurant has tried to keep the same cooks in their “new” Kapahulu location. 

Why we love this place: Tradition is written all over the restaurant’s walls, and you can feel and see the heartbeat behind its success from the framed, storied pictures covering the walls. You can’t help but root for this restaurant; fortunately, their meals need no further motivation.

Tips for travellers: Last throw, go early to avoid long queues. 

15. Alicia’s Market

Hours Of Operation: Mon-Sat: 10:00 am-2:00 pm

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Location: 267 Mokauea St, Honolulu

Price: $$

Website: http://www.aliciasmarket.com/

A store fire and a global pandemic seem to have conspired to keep Alicia’s Market down, but this spot is a force too firmly rooted in Hawaii. Their house-prepared meats are great sells and fantastic additions to their menu, especially their exceptional plate lunch options.

Why we love this place: True to Hawaiian reputation, Alicia’s Market knows how to get around pork. Their roast pork plate lunch has all the right curves in all the right places—traditional, juicy, and incredibly filling. 

The Wrap-Up

If you’re looking for a delicious plate lunch in Honolulu, look no further than these spots. From Loco Moco to Garlic Shrimp, you’re sure to find something that’ll satisfy you. So what are you waiting for? Go check them out!

Mahalo for reading! Until next time, Aloha!

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