If you’re not very careful, you can spend a fortune on expensive restaurants and food in Maui and still miss on getting an authentic Hawaii experience. Great food is not exclusive to the high-end restaurants – there are plenty of spots in Maui where you can eat authentic cuisine at reasonable prices. Don’t stop at every local food joint you see, however. Check out some of our favorite spots where locals eat in Maui.

Geste Shrimp Truck
Image Credits @raiderlon

Geste Shrimp Truck

You’ll see this food truck recommended all the time when you’re in Hawaii – it even makes an appearance in Lonely Planet’s guide. Located at Beach Road, Kahului, Geste Shrimp serves some of the most delicious shrimp meals you can have.

The shrimp-based plate lunches are what make Geste Shrimp popular. The portions are huge, and the plate gets positively heavy as it’s so laden with food. There are four kinds of shrimp on the menu, of which the most popular one is the Hawaiian Scampi Dish. It comes with a generous portion of delicious, freshly-cooked shrimp, rice, and crab macaroni salad.

The food here is freshly-cooked, so you’ll have to wait a few minutes before your order is fulfilled. It is advisable to place an order by calling in after the place opens (usually around 11am). Thanks to its affordable prices and delicious food, the Geste Shrimp Truck is one of the local highlights in Maui and it is an experience in itself, so be sure to check it out!

Tin Roof Meal
Image Credits @tinroofmaui

Tin Roof

Tin Roof is a busy little place located in Kahului, Maui and is one of the restaurants Top Chef Alumni Sheldon Simeon and his wife have set up in Hawaii. It’s common to see it packed with Maui locals with long lines outside, which is always a welcome sign if you’re after affordable food.

The menu is small but everything on it is delicious. The place’s specialty is the pork belly noodle combo, which is nice and garlicky with just a hint of chili. With a side of extra Mac this can easily become a wholesome meal for two with a price of under $20.

Other menu items worth checking out are the garlic shrimp with brown rice (delicious and flavorful shrimp), Chef Sheldon’s special with pork belly noodles, and chopped steak with rice.

Do take into consideration that this is a cozy little restaurant, so things can get busy especially on the weekends. It is best to order your food by calling in advance, and most people prefer to order take out. The restaurant is open from 10am to 2pm, so be sure to get in there early.

Acevedo’s Hawaicano meal
Image Credits @slayahfreya

Acevedo’s Hawaicano

This unassuming place is located in a business area of downtown Kahului, and can be easily missed if you’re not looking carefully. However, rest assured that even if you have to spend a couple of minutes extra finding it, Acevedo’s Hawaicano will be well worth the wait.

This Maui eatery is a big favorite amongst locals, as it’s always bustling with them. The reason behind this seems to be simple enough – the servings are plentiful and prices affordable. Perhaps you can gauge the authenticity of this place by ordering the outstanding fish tacos, of which the fish is buttery, the salsas fresh, and the tortillas spot on.

Acevedo’s Hawaicano is a cozy restaurant, so you may have to use the outdoor picnic-table-style seating. Given the affordably-priced yet delicious food, you won’t really want seating luxury on top of that. Whatever you order, don’t forget to ask for the habanero hot sauce with it – it’s homemade and it is the real deal.

Maui Tacos meal
Image Credits @jguira

Maui Tacos

A scrumptious Maui staple, Maui Tacos combines the best flavors of Mexico and fuses them with ‘aloha’. That’s not just some marketing dribble, the food you find here really does taste differently.

Maui Tacos is that it’s a chain restaurant, so naturally the prices are cheap and service is pretty brisk. People mostly order for take out from this restaurant, as there are only 3 bistro height tables with stools inside, along with a counter with some chairs.

The food here, in a word, is fulfilling. The overall flavor is quite decent considering that it’s a chain restaurant and the portions are generous. The enchiladas are really good and the taco selection, although a bit basic, is delicious throughout. Checkout the shrimp taco and the ground beef taco, both of which are bound to provide great taste and a fulfilling meal. You can easily leave with a full stomach by spending less than $15 here.

Star Noodle meal
Image Credits @hawaiimagazine

Star Noodle

Located in Lahaina, Star Noodle serves some of the best Asian food on the whole island. This place is busy, and you can expect to wait some time before you can place an order, so don’t forget to make reservations!

An episode of Diners, Dives, and Drive Ins featured this restaurant, and highlighted the Vietnamese Crepes, which are made to perfection and this dish alone warrants a visit. You should also try the Hapa Ramen, which is served fresh and isn’t too salty.

Service is generally very good, but it’s a busy little place so you’ll have to be a bit patient. When calling for a reservation, be sure to have your name put on the list even if they tell you the place is fully booked.

Honolua Store meal
Image Credits @honoluastore

Honolua Store

If you’re in the mood for an inexpensive quick bite, the Honolua Store is a great choice. Located in Lahaina, this place serves a variety of food options that you can have for snacks, or even a light breakfast. Grab yourself a Loco Moco with the pulled pork with a pack of fresh shrimp for an appetizer.

Hawaii is known for being a pricey vacation destination, but money doesn’t always guarantee the best experience. Visiting Maui locals’ favorite restaurants allows you to get the most authentic travel experience in Maui. Rent a villa in Maui to help you make the most of your trip.