Back in the day, at least twice a week after our last morning class at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, my friend Fay and I would make a beeline for Metcalf Street, where Grace’s blue lunch wagon would be parked. We never tired of Grace’s plate lunches (my favorites were beef stew and chicken katsu) and we didn’t mind waiting in the inevitable long line in front of the counter.
Years later when I was a busy single mom, plate lunches were my go-to meals when I didn’t have time to cook. It was convenient, tasty comfort food, and the portions were so big, I knew there would be leftovers for my young son and me.
These 7 O‘ahu eateries take plate lunches to delicious new heights by focusing on fresh local ingredients and offering items normally seen on the menus of upscale restaurants—think risotto, filet mignon, and rack of lamb. Lucky we live Hawai‘i, indeed.
Note: Prices at these eateries ranged from $6.95 for a mini plate lunch to $24 for regular size at the time of research. However, prices may be on the rise, in part because of Hawai‘i’s ban on plastic and polystyrene foam food ware due to health and environmental concerns (compostable plates, cups, utensils, and containers generally are more expensive).