Okay let’s just go ahead and say it straight up, St. Louis Drive In, doesn’t exactly have the most Hawaiian sounding name – but they get their name from being at the base of a mountain known as St. Louis Heights. Anyway, now that we got that out of the way, we can move on to the delicious food, plate lunches to be more specific, that they serve.
What is a plate lunch? You’ll hear the name plate lunch frequently when you are in Hawaii, and basically what it is, is a meal on a plate or packed into a foam box that includes a couple of scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and whatever main dish you choose. Popular things to eat in a plate lunch include teriyaki chicken, teriyaki steak, fried mahi mahi fish, mochiko chicken, chicken katsu, and those are just a few. You will find restaurants serving plate lunches all over Hawaii and throughout Honolulu. The most famous plate lunch restaurant in Honolulu is known as Rainbow Drive In, but there’s also L&L, which is a chain throughout Hawaii, and there are so many others.
As a tip from some of my relatives, on my most recent trip back to Honolulu, I went to eat at St. Louis Drive In, located in the Kaimuki area of Honolulu. As soon as you arrive to the small neighborhood restaurant, you can tell there’s something special about it – it just has that classic old-skool feel to it. There’s no indoor seating, so you look at the big menu, which is posted outside of the kitchen, and make your order. They have quite a few things on the menu, including all the normal plate lunches, and additionally they have some of their own unique specialties like beef stew, stroganoff, and some other Japanese and Western dishes cooked Hawaiian style.
If you go to St. Louis Drive In during a mealtime, you’ll be in line with a lot of other people waiting for the delicious food. There are two things on the menu that I would really recommend, and I haven’t tried everything on the menu yet, so these are just two things that I really enjoyed and I think you will too. Number one is the mixed seafood platter, a plate that comes with two scoops of rice, a side of fresh sashimi, some deep-fried mahi mahi fish, and finally to top things off, two deep-fried shrimp tempuras. The pile of seafood comes stacked on top of each other in a beautiful pyramid formation. The next thing I really loved at St. Louis Drive In is the grilled ahi tuna belly plate. They really have some high-quality tuna, and despite it being a real hole in the wall restaurant, they cook their fish perfectly. The tuna belly was absolutely succulent, full of those beautiful fish oils, and juicy beyond belief. Unlike other plate lunch restaurants in Hawaii, they don’t include macaroni salad as one of the main dishes, but I think you can order it on the side if you really want it.
So even though this restaurant is kind of a fast food style Hawaii restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food, and I’m speaking especially for the fish since that’s what I ate. Everything was cooked perfectly and it was truly a wonderful meal. If you’re looking for a delicious plate lunch in Honolulu be sure to take a trip over to St. Louis Drive In.
St. Louis Drive In, Honolulu, Hawaii
Address: 3145 Waialae Ave Honolulu, HI 96816
Open hours: 5 am – 11 pm daily
Prices: Very reasonable prices, most meals cost $ 7 – $10, and they have some special deals including student deals.
Music in this video courtesy of Audio Network
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