Cheap Eats Honolulu

Cheap Eats Honolulu: Japanese Noodle Shops

If you’re looking for Honolulu restaurants that specialize in delicious homemade Japanese Noodles, we have two for you to try that will also save you money on your Hawaii vacation. Our longtime favorite cheap eats Honolulu has been Jimbo for its thick, chewy and fluffy Udon. Once you have a table you’ll be served a hearty bowl quickly. More recently, we continue to return to another standout noodle place getting rave reviews from all. It’s a Waikiki restaurant named Marukame Udon. That is listed by review sites as among the most popular restaurants in Hawaii.

Both cheap eats Honolulu noodle shops can have a wait to get in with Marukame being the longest. Even at 2 pm we had to stand outside for nearly a half hour. That’s how popular this restaurant is. But it is well organized and the line moves fast.

At Marukame you’ll see the noodle making process as soon as you enter with steam rising from the kitchen. See those thick udon noodles get rolled out, cut into strips and boiled right in front of your eyes. Unlike Jimbo, where you are served at a table, here you’ll grab a tray and walk through a cafeteria style line of incredible food prep and value. Once you select your choice of noodles, pick your favorite accompaniments of assorted tempura and musubi (rice balls), add sauces and you’re set.

Speaking of Waikiki food deals, both have value to offer. We had a large meal for two at Marukame for about $20. That’s about $5 less than Jimbo’s which is located a mile from Waikiki.

If you go to Marukame you’ll find yourself immersed in authentic Japanese atmosphere. They run an efficient operation too with their in-charge table monitor. She made sure each party sat at tables for their size and did not linger. At Jimbo, by contrast, you put your name on a list if busy. Once seated, it is a cozy environment and you’ll find no rush to leave.

In Honolulu, you’ll find Jimbo located at 1936 S King Street. Marukame Udon is located at 2310 Kuhio Avenue and at 1104 Fort Street Mall. You’ll also now find Marukame Udon in Southern California and San Francisco.

Try both places and let us know which cheap eats Honolulu you like best.

Beat of Hawaii photo at Marukame Udon. 

11 thoughts on “Cheap Eats Honolulu: Japanese Noodle Shops”

  1. Marukame is great, but it can get pricey since everything is ala carte. plus, parking is always a challenge in Waikiki. The noodles are amazing, though.

    Jimbos is good too. My wife likes their udon, i like their curry… mmmm. i think i might have to go there tonight. 😀

  2. Love to eat at all the local places. Was really saddened that the International Marketplace was torn down and high end stores will be replacing all the fun and affordable shops. I loved eating in the food was good and easy on the wallet. Will be coming to Hawaii for a month in September.

  3. Parking isn’t easy at Jimbo’s, either, but unless you’re staying in Waikiki, getting there for lunch — or sunset drinks – can be a real headache. We love Jimbo’s and like to head there for lunch on a rare “cold day” in Honolulu when steaming udon fits the bill. The bill at Jimbo’s, by the way, rates it as a bargain.

  4. For Marukame in Waikiki on Kuhio, try looking for meter parking on Seaside and Aloha Drive or on Nohonani St. The meters during the week day, there are parking spaces available. Week nights and weekends, the condo folks fill the meters. On Nohonani there is a parking lot walking toward Ali Wai. These streets are just south of Kuhio, Peter

  5. My first stop used to be Margaritaville but since it closed,it is now marukame
    I go at least 2 or 3 times during my stay.

  6. taking a trip to OGG from MCO in mid to late March 2020.
    Would it be feasible to go with Southwest using a stay over on the West coast?
    Thanks, for all your insight!
    Richard C

  7. My understanding is that the ones in California, while similar, are not part of the same ownership group. The ones in CA are called Marugame instead of Marukame.

    1. Hi Shin.

      Thanks for the insight. We too wondered what was with the one letter difference in spelling. That having been said, they are all on the same website.


  8. I have to ask – how did table monitor make sure people did not linger? Sometimes we like to linger.

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