Prices Of Food In Hawaii: A Detailed Look

With its beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes, and vibrant culture, Hawaii is a dream destination for many travelers. However, the high cost of living, especially when it comes to food, can come as an unwelcome surprise.

If you’re wondering about food prices in Hawaii, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Food prices in Hawaii are among the highest in the U.S., averaging 20-60% more than the mainland due to the islands’ remote location and high shipping costs. Dining out is particularly expensive, though groceries also cost more.

Saving money on food in Hawaii involves shopping at local farmer’s markets, choosing plate lunch specials, buying in bulk, and limiting eating at upscale restaurants.

Average Grocery Prices in Hawaii


When it comes to buying fresh produce in Hawaii, prices can be higher compared to other parts of the United States. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the produce in Hawaii is imported from the mainland or other countries, which incurs additional transportation costs.

For example, a pound of bananas in Hawaii can cost around $1.50, while the national average is around $0.60. Similarly, a pound of tomatoes can cost around $3.50, compared to the national average of $2.00.

However, it’s important to note that the quality and freshness of the produce in Hawaii is generally excellent, making it worth the slightly higher prices.

Meat and Seafood

Hawaii is known for its delicious seafood and unique meat options. However, these items can also be more expensive compared to other states. Fresh fish, such as mahi-mahi or ahi tuna, can cost around $15 to $25 per pound, depending on the type and availability.

Beef and poultry prices are also slightly higher, with a pound of ground beef costing around $6.50 and a pound of chicken breast costing around $5.50. Despite the higher prices, the quality and taste of the meat and seafood in Hawaii are often praised by locals and tourists alike.

Dairy and Eggs

Dairy products and eggs are essential grocery staples, but they can be more expensive in Hawaii. A gallon of milk can cost around $7.50, which is significantly higher compared to the national average of $3.50.

The price of a dozen eggs is also higher, costing around $5.50 compared to the national average of $2.50. These higher prices can be attributed to the transportation costs involved in bringing these perishable items to the islands.

However, many residents and visitors in Hawaii still find ways to incorporate these items into their diets due to their nutritional value.

Other Grocery Staples

In addition to fresh produce, meat, seafood, and dairy products, other grocery staples in Hawaii can also be slightly more expensive. Items such as bread, pasta, canned goods, and snacks may have higher price tags compared to the mainland.

For example, a loaf of bread can cost around $5.00, compared to the national average of $2.50. However, it’s important to note that there are often local alternatives and specialty stores that offer more affordable options for these items.

Shopping at farmers’ markets and supporting local businesses can also help in finding more budget-friendly options.

Despite the higher prices of groceries in Hawaii, it’s important to remember that the cost of living in the state is generally higher compared to the mainland. Factors such as transportation costs, limited agricultural land, and the remote location of the islands contribute to these higher prices.

However, the unique culinary experiences and the availability of fresh, local ingredients make Hawaii a food lover’s paradise.

Restaurant and Dining Prices

When it comes to dining out in Hawaii, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the prices of food in Hawaii can be higher compared to other parts of the United States.

This is due to the remote location of the islands and the cost of importing ingredients.

Plate Lunches and Local Food

If you’re looking for an affordable and authentic Hawaiian meal, plate lunches and local food joints are your best bet. Plate lunches typically consist of a main dish, such as kalua pork or teriyaki chicken, served with rice and macaroni salad.

These hearty meals are often priced around $10 to $15 and can be found at local diners and food trucks throughout the islands. They offer a great way to experience the local flavors without breaking the bank.

For those who want to try traditional Hawaiian cuisine, luau feasts are a popular option. These festive gatherings feature an array of dishes like poi (a staple made from taro root), lomi salmon (a tomato and salmon salad), and haupia (a coconut dessert).

While luau feasts can be more expensive, ranging from $50 to $100 per person, they offer a unique cultural experience that is worth the investment.

Upscale and Tourist Restaurants

If you’re in the mood for a fine dining experience or looking to celebrate a special occasion, Hawaii has a wide range of upscale and tourist restaurants to choose from. These establishments often offer breathtaking ocean views and a diverse menu featuring fresh seafood and international cuisine.

Be prepared to spend a bit more at these restaurants, as prices can range from $30 to $100 per person for a full-course meal. It’s always a good idea to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure a table at your desired restaurant.

Happy Hours and Daily Specials

For those on a budget or looking to save some money, happy hours and daily specials are a great way to enjoy a delicious meal at a discounted price. Many restaurants and bars in Hawaii offer happy hour specials where you can enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers.

This is a perfect opportunity to try out different establishments and sample their menu at a lower cost.

Additionally, some restaurants have daily specials or prix fixe menus that offer a complete meal at a fixed price. These deals are often available during certain days of the week or specific times of the day.

Keep an eye out for these promotions to make the most of your dining experience without breaking the bank.

For more information on dining options and prices in Hawaii, you can visit GoHawaii.com, the official tourism website for the state. They provide a comprehensive guide to dining in Hawaii, including recommendations and reviews for various establishments.

Ways to Save on Food Costs

When it comes to the prices of food in Hawaii, finding ways to save money can be crucial. Here are some effective strategies to help you cut down on your food expenses:

Shop Local Farmers Markets

One great way to save on food costs in Hawaii is by shopping at local farmers markets. These markets offer fresh produce and other food items at affordable prices. By buying directly from local farmers, you can often find better deals compared to grocery stores.

Plus, you’ll be supporting the local economy.

Buy in Bulk

Another way to save money on food in Hawaii is by buying in bulk. Purchasing items in larger quantities can often result in significant savings. Look for wholesale stores or consider joining a co-op where you can buy items at discounted prices.

Just make sure you have enough storage space and that the items won’t spoil before you can use them.

Cook Your Own Meals

Preparing your own meals is not only a healthier option but also a great way to save money. Eating out in Hawaii can be expensive, especially at upscale restaurants. By cooking at home, you have control over the ingredients and portion sizes, allowing you to stretch your budget.

Look for recipes online or invest in a good cookbook to experiment with new dishes.

Look for Happy Hour and Daily Specials

Many restaurants and bars in Hawaii offer happy hour deals and daily specials, which can help you save on food costs. Take advantage of these discounted times to enjoy a meal or drinks at a lower price.

Keep an eye out for local promotions and sign up for newsletters or follow social media accounts of your favorite establishments to stay updated on their latest offers.

Avoid Upscale Restaurants

While it may be tempting to indulge in upscale dining experiences in Hawaii, these restaurants often come with high price tags. Consider exploring local eateries and casual dining options where you can find delicious food at more affordable prices.

Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and try out some hidden gems.

Remember, saving on food costs in Hawaii requires a bit of planning and research, but the effort is worth it. By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy the culinary delights of the islands without breaking the bank.

Average Food Prices by Hawaiian Island

Oahu (Honolulu)

Oahu, home to the bustling city of Honolulu, offers a wide range of dining options to suit every palate. However, it’s important to note that the cost of food on this island tends to be higher compared to other Hawaiian islands.

According to a study conducted by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, the average price of a meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant in Honolulu is around $80. Additionally, grocery prices in the city are also higher compared to other parts of the state.

Despite the higher costs, Oahu offers a diverse culinary scene with a mix of local Hawaiian cuisine, international flavors, and fusion dishes. Visitors can enjoy everything from traditional plate lunches and fresh seafood to gourmet dining experiences in the city.


Maui, known for its stunning beaches and natural beauty, is another popular Hawaiian island that offers a variety of dining options. The average price for a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Maui is slightly lower compared to Oahu, ranging from $60 to $70, according to the same study.

Maui is famous for its farm-to-table movement, with many restaurants sourcing their ingredients locally. Visitors can indulge in fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and unique flavors inspired by the island’s diverse cultural heritage.


Kauai, often referred to as the “Garden Isle,” boasts lush landscapes and a laid-back atmosphere. When it comes to food prices, Kauai falls somewhere in between Oahu and Maui. The average price for a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant on Kauai is around $70.

Kauai offers a blend of casual dining spots, food trucks, and upscale restaurants. Visitors can savor traditional Hawaiian dishes, explore local farmers’ markets, and enjoy breathtaking ocean views while dining.

Big Island (Hawaii)

The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and offers a unique culinary experience. The average price for a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant on the Big Island is approximately $65.

The Big Island is known for its diverse landscapes, which translates into a diverse culinary scene. From fresh seafood and tropical fruits to traditional Hawaiian dishes and international cuisine, visitors can find a wide range of flavors to satisfy their taste buds.

It’s important to keep in mind that these average prices are estimates and can vary depending on the specific location, restaurant, and type of cuisine. Additionally, prices may fluctuate over time due to various factors such as economic conditions and seasonal availability of ingredients.


In summary, the cost of food in Hawaii is significantly higher than the U.S. mainland due to shipping distances and limited local agriculture. By shopping smart, utilizing farmers markets, choosing budget-friendly restaurants, and cooking your own food, you can find ways to save on dining in paradise.

With the right insight and planning, you can still enjoy delicious Hawaiian cuisine without breaking the bank.

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