10 Best Big Island breakfast & brunch joints offer a local take on a traditional meal
By Jade Eckardt
Big Island, Honolulu, and Kauai Local Expert
Breakfast is famous for being what doctors call the 'most important meal of the day,' and that holds true while on vacation. Hawaii's largest island is home to a huge variety of exciting adventures, and it's important to be well fueled to complete them - and 10 Best has you covered with a list of the top 10 breakfast joints on the Big Island. The options for great a great breakfast are as diverse as the different terrains the island has to offer. If you're looking for a quick cup of delicious Kona coffee and a pastry to hit the road or a traditional breakfast of pancaked, eggs, and bacon, you'll find it all over the Big Island.
Over on the east side you can have a true local style breakfast at Cafe 100 in Hilo where you can have a loco moco and a cup of coffee on the go. In sunny Kona at island Lava Java you'll be treated to a home style breakfast dishes and some of the best local coffee. For visitors who are craving a breakfast of traditional fare, Hilo's Ken's House of Pancakes won't fail to deliver - and they'll deliver 24 hours a day.
No matter what you wake up craving, you'll be able to eat your way around the island and enjoy every bite of it. Thanks to 10 Best, you won't go hungry at any time of the day, and you'll be full of great food and energy to explore every nook and cranny on the beautiful Big Island.
10 Island Naturals Hilo Market & Deli
Best described as a natural food superstore, Island Naturals in an island staple for natural food, products, spirits, beauty products, and home supplies. What really awesome is that their breakfast hot bar serves just about everything you could want in the morning, no matter your taste. Eggs, sausage, fake sausage, tofu, pastries, and more along with really good Hawaiian coffee. Take it on the road or enjoy outside at tables. With locations in Pahoa, Hilo, and two in Kona, natural food can be obtained all over the island. The store has just about everything organic, natural and eco-friendly you could need. A highlight here is the hot bar and salad bar, with a changing menu each day that offers really good ready to eat food all day long. ((808) 935-5533)
9 Kalapana Village Cafe
Breakfast, lunch and snack - right across from the lava and the ocean. Nestled in the jungle across from the expansive lava fields at the end of the highway, the Kalapana Village Cafe is a spot for locals and visitors alike for great, affordable and traditional breakfast and lunch fare. Breakfast includes dishes like eggs in various form, home style potatoes, a papaya with yogurt, bacon and sausage - you get the idea. Lunch is fish sandwiches, ham burgers and garden burgers, fries, onion rings and grilled cheese - all fairly priced and good. Seating it outdoors but covered with a roof ((808) 965-0121)
8 Coffee Shack
A great stop-off, Coffee Shack is little more than its name suggests -- a nondescript place where guests can saddle up to the counter, order fresh-brewed Kona coffee, munch on carrot cake, and enjoy warm island breezes. In recent years, the Shack has earned quite a reputation as a breakfast hotspot, and for good reason -- there are few better ways to properly kick off the day than with the help of homemade eggs Benedict, poi-bread French toast, and fresh-baked pastries. The Coffee Shack is a classic hole in the wall spot, but a wonderful treat to stumble across in the lush inland area of Kona. (808-328-9555, 808-328-9795)
7 Island Lava Java
Coffee fans love the Big Island for many reasons, and this place is one of them. You'll find freshly brewed, 100% Kona coffee here, along with an assortment of sweets and sandwiches. Centrally located in the heart of Kailua Kona, it's just a few steps from resorts, and the majority of shops and restaurants in the area. A great place to people-watch, it's situated directly across from the beach, where human activity is non-stop. After eating you can stroll the ocean side town or drive to great attractions in the area. This is the Big Island's answer to that cozy coffee shop where you want to sip coffee and chat with a friend. (808-327-2161)
6 Bay Terrace
Nestled in a lovely garden setting along the Kona Coast, here you will be enjoy unobtrusive service and a veritable banquet of choices. The Bay Terrace is a popular morning destination for both locals and visitors and it's no mystery why. Breakfast buffets overflow with scrumptious goodies, from pastries and local fruit to banana-stuffed French toast and eggs Florentine -- the variety and quantity will keep you full all day. Fresh Kona coffee flows continuously, and you can fill up on either a lighter breakfast or a hearty traditional meal. Remember that it's not far from many Big Island attractions, so make plans to explore the area after eating. (808-881-7911, 808-885-6622)
5 Kona Beach Restaurant
No matter which table you're given, you'll be granted a view of the ocean and plenty of wonderful food. American standards and Hawaiian favorites grace the menus, and the champagne brunch buffet is chock full of seafood, pancakes, meats, and fresh tropical fruits. Other themed dinner buffets are scheduled throughout the week and include a seafood buffet, Hawaiian buffet, and prime rib buffet. Fun and family-friendly, this buffet is centrally located in Kailua-Kona, enabling you to venture off to many different attractions. You can fill up on a sufficient meal here to prep you for hours of exploring without having to seek out another eatery. (808-329-2911, 808-331-6389)
4 Cafe 100
Caf-- 100 has been around for years, and it continues to offer great, filling food at unbeatable prices. In fact, it's the ideal place to try Hawaiian comfort food. Take the Loco Moco, for instance -- it's a heap of white rice topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg, then smothered in gravy. Caf-- 100 invented it back in the early 1950s, and today, they offer several variations, including one made with Spam. Although the Loco Moco is served all day, you may want to sample other dishes, which range from Kalua pork to beef stew and teriyaki beef. (808-935-8683)
3 Orchid Court
Overlooking the Fairmont Orchid's enchanting gardens along the sunny Kona Coast, the Court offers a lovely setting ideal for those wanting to relax, enjoy a bite, sip some Kona coffee, and peruse the morning news. Whether your morning appetite tends toward the light or the hearty, you are sure to enjoy the buffet options. Choose from an array of tempting fresh tropical fruits like pineapple mango and tangerine, a freshly made omelette, fish and sausages, and an inviting assortment of breads, muffins and pastries. After filling up here you can venture down the road and hike out to a beach or into a valley. (808-885-2000, 866-540-4474)
2 Ken's House of Pancakes
As a tried and true Hilo breakfast staple, Ken's stays open 24-7. Breakfast is a serious affair, no matter what time of day, and the waitstaff ensures that patrons stay "well oiled" by leaving a full pot of steaming coffee at each table. Favored fare includes French toast, traditional short stacks smothered in maple syrup, hearty omelets, and waffles. If breakfast isn't your gig, never fear -- they also serve up delicious hamburgers, hot and cold sandwiches, and fried chicken plates. This is where the locals go for a Sunday brunch, or for a late night meal after a nearby bar or movie. (808-935-8711)
1 Bamboo Restaurant
Take a step back in time and experience Big Island living the way it was before modern resorts and development took over. Once a hotel and later a grocery, the building that houses this popular restaurant (which dates from 1911) has been almost completely restored to its original state and features a green saloon-like facade, bamboo and koa wood accents, and hardwood flooring. Brunch is not to be missed, and house specialties include poached eggs with lilikoi hollandaise sauce and Mamona Paloa Toast, a cinnamon-dusted island version of French toast. A gallery inside the restaurant showcases local art, especially woodworking. (808-889-5555)
About Jade Eckardt
Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and exploring the island. A regular visitor to Kauai, Jade recently authored a full-length Kauai guide book. She is a writer and photographer, whose work has been published in numerous regional and national magazines. When she's not writing, Jade enjoys a good beer, a good surf, and time in her garden with her son.
Read more about Jade Eckardt here.
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