Aloha fellow Maui adventurers!
Enjoying a fabulous Maui vacation doesn’t need to break the bank when it comes to food. Trust me, my boyfriend and I are self-proclaimed foodies who’ve been exploring the island’s affordable dining options for years now.
You see, we had the same fears as you – getting caught up in pricey resorts and high-end restaurants while missing out on the island’s delectable treasures. But fear not! We’ve dug deep through every nook and cranny of this tropical paradise to discover budget-friendly eats that’ll leave your taste buds dancing (and your wallet intact).
I’m sharing our personal list of top spots to eat cheap in Maui, including local gems we can’t get enough of. From bustling food trucks to hidden roadside stands, these eateries will make sure both your belly and wallet stay happy during your stay.
Warning: Just like that time my boyfriend tried hula dancing after sampling spicy poke from a food truck, be prepared for unexpected delights when venturing into these mouthwatering destinations!
Now let’s grab our forks (or chopsticks) and embark on this tasty journey together!
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
Few foods are as all-encompassing as a pie – sweet, savory, meaty, or vegetarian, and you can find the whole flavor factory of these buttery delights at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Lahaina. The best part – you’ll get a filling Hawaii-size (think: big) portion of delicious food with nothing more than $15!
This locally-run eatery on the Honoapiilani Hwy escapes most people’s attention, but you need to stop by here for their freshly baked pies, delicious sandwiches, burgers, hoagies, and salads.
A local-favorite item is their chocolate haupia pie, which packs coconut cream flavors, and will have you ordering a whole bunch.
Here’s why Leoda’s is one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap:
- They bake as many as 800 pies daily, so there’s always a fresh slice waiting.
- They serve terrific chicken, veggie, and turkey pies for $10-11 each.
- It’s a great place for families or larger groups to try local food without running up a big bill.
Zippy’s is a culinary institution in Hawaii for its authentic local dishes, low prices, and 24/7 timings. With branches in Oahu, Maui, and Big Island, you can find Zippy’s on every corner and feast on their incredible plate lunches for as little as $9.
The plate lunch at Zippy’s is a local favorite which includes a big serving of a meat patty on scoops of white rice, with eggs or gravy on top, and a hearty side of mac salad.
My boyfriend and I love their chili, which is packed with spicy flavor and comes in huge portion sizes. You can also try delicious stews, noodles, sandwiches, and soups here, which deliver a fusion of Hawaiian and Asian flavors.
Here’s why Zippy’s is one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap:
- You can try freshly baked goods from Zippy’s bakery, Napoleon’s, served at great prices.
- If you’re not one for big portions, try their mini plate lunches for half the price.
- Their prices range from $9-18, with most in the lower range.
Take a look at the best bakeries in Maui
808 Grindz Cafe
Maui is full of eateries serving authentic flavors of Hawaiian cuisine, and 808 Grindz Cafe is one of the best. Located in the Old Lahaina Center, you can find lines outside this restaurant waiting to try their delicious plate lunches for as low as $10.
Their most famous item on the menu has to be the loco moco, a generous serving of hamburger patties on top of fried rice, which is enough to feed two people.
My boyfriend loves their great breakfast options like the macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, French toast, and Eggs Benedict.
So make sure to drop by 808 Grindz Cafe for a delicious meal, as they’re one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap.
- Most lunch plates on their menu range from $10-15.
- They open as early as 7 AM, so you can start your day here with a hearty breakfast.
- They also have great vegetarian items on their menu.
If you’re in South Maui, don’t miss a stop at Kihei Caffe, a local-favorite eatery for its generous portions, unmatched flavors, and low prices. They’re known for the breakfast items on their menu, but everything here is delicious, and no menu item is higher than $18.
Some great items on their menu worth trying are the Kalua Pork Loco Moco, Corned Beef Hash with eggs, and our favorite, the 2-2-2 Breakfast Slam (2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and 2 pancakes or French toast.)
Here’s why Kihei Caffe is one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap:
- The prices on their menu range from $9-18 and come in huge portions.
- They have a great special menu if you want to try fusion meals like an Irish Loco Moco.
- This is a great place to take kids who will enjoy the food from their keiki menu.
Grocery store food in Hawaii has a way of being as good as restaurant fare, which is why you should eat from Foodland in Maui. They serve ready-to-eat meal boxes, bentos, sushi, and incredible poke bowls all day long, which make for a filling meal at very low prices.
From the never-ending items on their menu, don’t miss the spam musubi, Ahi poke, and sushi rolls, which are all prepared fresh and also on order.
Another great perk to Foodland is that you can buy meat like shrimp, spam, and fish raw and cook it yourself on a nearby beach grill for a great meal.
Here’s why Foodland is one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap:
- Their prices start from $10-15 per pound for the prepared meal boxes.
- You can try free samples from their menu before buying anything.
- It’s a great place to stock up on fresh food before a long hike or road trip.
Cool Cat Cafe
Enjoy the best burgers in Maui at incredible prices from Cool Cat Cafe, whose open-air location gives great views of Lahaina’s lively Front Street. The family-run restaurant has consistently been voted a local favorite for the past 15 years, and after trying their delicious food, you’ll understand why.
They serve more than a dozen burgers, tacos, and sandwiches on their menu, with the option to make your meal gluten-free as well.
My boyfriend loves their large steak entree plates, and I’m a fan of their Don Ho burger, but anything you try here is bound to be both delicious and filling.
Here’s why Cool Cat Cafe is one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap:
- Their prices are very reasonable, starting from $8, and the priciest item is under $15.
- The restaurant has a great ambiance and offers views of downtown Lahaina.
- They serve diner-style milkshakes in delicious flavors that go great with the burgers.
Huli Huli Chicken
Feast on a traditional Hawaiian meal of Huli Huli chicken, which is like no other meat you’ve had before, cooked in an underground oven called an imu and bursting with flavors. The best part – you can get this meal in king-size portions for just $15!
You’ll find this place in Hana on a roadside stand opposite the Koki beach, with long lines outside even before their opening.
They serve the chicken with rice which is great for absorbing all the meaty juices and also serve slow-cooked meat options like ribs.
My boyfriend and I love stopping by the Huli Huli chicken stand when we take the Road to Hana, and you will too, as it’s the best place to eat in Maui for cheap:
- You can get upsized portions of their lunch plates which cost between $15-18.
- The best way to eat the Huli Huli chicken is on the Koki beach next to crashing waves.
- Gordon Ramsey loved this chicken, so you know it’s a must-try!
Thai Mee Up
Maui has all sorts of culinary surprises, and gourmet-style food served from a local food truck is one of them. You’ll find Thai Mee Up in the parking lot of the local Costco, serving authentic Thai food prepared by professional chefs at great prices.
The food truck is a local favorite (it was rated as the #1 food truck in Maui) and has long lines waiting during peak hours, but their incredible flavors are well worth the wait.
You’ll love their Thai plates serving classics like Panang chicken, garlic shrimp, Pad Thai, and salmon with jasmine rice, which taste like a meal from a five-star restaurant.
My boyfriend and I love Thai Mee Up’s affordable take on upscale food, and here’s why they’re the best place to eat in Maui for cheap:
- Their prices range from $9-20, and the food comes in generous serving sizes.
- The Tofu Special on their menu is a great option for vegans and vegetarians.
- Their staff is efficient and quick, so you won’t be in line for long.
The Sunrise Cafe
A food tour in Maui is incomplete without stopping by its mom-and-pop eateries, and the Sunrise Cafe on Front Street is one of the best. They serve delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch meals which can fill the whole family for just $10 per person.
Try their breakfast special, including eggs with pancakes, French toast, or waffles, all for $6.95, and a freshly brewed coffee.
My boyfriend and I love their loco moco, which comes in filling portions of hamburger patties, eggs, and gravy on fluffy white rice.
Here’s why Sunrise Cafe is one of the best places to eat in Maui for cheap:
- Nothing on their menu costs more than $14, and prices start as low as $7.
- The restaurant is family-owned and has friendly service.
- Try their terrific brunch of pineapple boat, chocolate pancakes, and Eggs Benedict at a great price.
Our best tips for eating cheap in Maui
Take it from the duo who’s been eating low-priced and great-quality food in Maui for years, and follow our tips for a guaranteed delicious meal at low prices.
- Always ask locals for the best places to eat, and they’ll direct you to clean eateries with great food and prices.
- Never underestimate the power of happy hour, which means half-off on appetizers and most mains in local restaurants.
- Eat from food trucks and farmers markets, which serve food made from local produce that’s fresh and cheap.
- Buy the meat and veggies from grocery stores and cook it how you like on grills and BBQ stations found on most beaches. (great if you have picky eaters in the group)
- Always ask the servers about portion sizes because local restaurants serve very generous lunch plates, which are enough to feed 2-3 people.
How do I eat on a budget in Maui?
You can enjoy food on a budget in Maui by avoiding your hotel restaurants for meals, eating from local places which have lower prices, asking locals for recommendations, and getting packed meals from grocery stores that are filling and delicious.
What food is Maui famous for?
Maui is famous for its seafood like Ahi, tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Ono, which is caught fresh and served in restaurants every day. You can also find the best authentic local food in Maui, like loco moco, Huli Huli chicken, and poke bowls from local eateries on the island.
How much should I budget for food and drinks in Maui?
If you’re planning to eat from upscale eateries, plan to spend $50-80 per person for each day. However, for those on a tighter budget, eating from cheap restaurants, food trucks, and roadside stands will cost you $20-30 per person for a day.
Wrap-Up: The Best Places to Eat in Maui For Cheap
A trip to Maui doesn’t have to leave you broke afterward because you can save on eating out from the great cheap restaurants mentioned in this article. Maui has tons of restaurants that serve delicious food on a budget, and you can sample a range of cuisines like Hawaiian, Asian, Thai and American from them.
Want to grab a seafood meal in Maui for cheap? Head to Thai Mee Up and Foodland, which serve fresh shrimp and sushi.
Looking for a hearty breakfast and lunch meal on a budget? Don’t miss The Sunrise Cafe, 808 Grindz Cafe, and Kihei Caffe.
Need a quick-fix meal at low prices in Maui? Try the Huli Huli chicken from Hana.
The best places to eat in Maui for cheap never disappoint!
Last Updated on May 26, 2023 by Brigitte