Big Island Buffets Soothe Your Soul & Fill your Belly
By Jade Eckardt
Big Island, Honolulu, and Kauai Local Expert
Buffets are a vacation favorite for many travelers, and why wouldn't they be? All you can eat for a good price before starting a long day of exploring a destination is an ideal opportunity, especially for families. But Big Island buffets aren't just for breakfast, on the Big Island they're a wonderful way to sample the various cuisines that reflect the different cultures on the island.The good news is that the Big Island has plenty of buffets to choose from, and they're concentrated in the resort areas of Hilo and Kailua-Kona.
If you're waking up on the Hilo side of the island, Nani Mau Orchid Restaurant is sure to please since you'll be getting two experiences in one. They offer a lunch buffet that seems like brunch to us, and it's on the grounds of they're gorgeous botanical gardens that should definitely be explored while you're on site. This buffet does a wonderful job of offering a wide selection of cuisines.
Over on the Kona Coast, Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar breakfast buffet is the place to relax and chat while overlooking the serene ocean and white sand beach. Located in the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, this restaurant is a must for hotel guests and those staying elsewhere. In the heart of Kailua is Ainakai, the Sheraton's breakfast buffet. It offers an extravagant array of breakfast fare.
We've got you covered here at 10 Best so look no further for the best Big Island buffet.
10 Ulu Ocean Grill
What's intriguing and progressive about the Ulu Ocean Grill Breakfast Buffet is that the menu's ingredients are approximately 75 percent locally sourced. This buffet is what you would expect with breakfast at the Four Seasons - delicious food, luxurious ambiance, and an exotic environment. From 6:30 t0 10:30 a.m. daily, you'll be treated to an abundance of traditional breakfast fare with flares of local cuisines. Enjoy the ocean views and later, the things to see and do of the west side of the Big Island. It's restaurants like these that keep the islands afloat, as the Hawaiian islands import over 85 percent of their food and supplies. ((808) 325-8000)
9 Let's Go Crabbing
At the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, you can indulge in a seafood celebration featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet on Friday evenings. Fill up on steamed snap and eat crab legs with drawn butter, chilled snow crab claws, a wok station with fried Dungeness crab clusters, tempura soft shell crab, steamed Alaskan snow crab legs and other delicacies including sake steamed manila clams, Washington state mussels and more. Also serving a carving station with prime rib, roasted breast of turkey and potatoes as well as a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar with all the toppings. The event takes place each Friday on the Ocean Terrace from 6 to 9 p.m. The price ranges from $62 for adults and $31 for children ages 5-12. ((808) 880-1111)
8 Ocean Terrace Buffet
Long, white sand Hapuna Beach is the coveted beach on the Big Island, where locals and visitors alike go for sunny refuge. Overlooking this gorgeous beach and the blue Pacific is the Ocean Terrace Buffet, a casual open-air breakfast restaurant offering a thoughtful mix of healthy, creative items along with familiar favorites. Featuring a daily breakfast buffet and an extensive a la carte menu, the buffet provides the perfect start to a day that may be lounging by the pool or exploring the western coast of the island. This is the best bang for your buck in the neighborhood, and the food and views are great. (1-888-977-4623))
7 Queen's Court Dinner Buffet
In addition to it's breakfast buffet, the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is also famous for its weekend buffets with a seafood buffet that consists of snow crab clusters, mahi mahi fish, Cioppino mussels, seafood newburg, shrimp curry, oysters, salad bar, and much more. On Saturday and Sunday nights, a Hawaiian and Seafood Buffet expands the offerings to include such local favorites as huli huli chicken, lau lau, lomi lomi salmon, and chicken long rice. At this buffet you'll get to experience the variety of cuisines that represent the various cultures of the island. Sample a little bit of everything to experience real Hawaii. ((808) 935-9361)
In Hawaiian, "aina" translates to land and "kai" is the word for ocean. And the restaurant named Ainakai at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay which overlooks Keahou Bay and the Kona Coastline, is the perfect place to start the day. At Ainakai you'll see that guests enjoy lavish tropical buffets, chilled Island juices, fresh Pacific Rim fruits, and made-to-order specialty omelets and waffles all enhanced by Far-East favorite selections, warm aloha service, and of course, rich Kona coffee. The buffet is an extravagant array of different cuisines that represent the local cultures. This is the best buffet in central Kailua Kona. ((808) 930-4900)
5 Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar
Any west side morning should start with the breakfast buffet at Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar. This is the place for long, leisurely breakfasts and chit chat over made-to-order waffles and omelets, fresh tropical fruits and juices, healthy whole grain cereals and various delicacies from the pastry kitchen with a cup of Big Island coffee. This is the Mauna Kea's breakfast buffet, with its ocean-overlook and birdsong symphony, and this is what your family will remember. Later on in the day venture to the exquisite crescent shaped white sand beach out front. You won't have to venture any further for great food or beach time. ((866) 977.4589)
4 Naniloa Buffet
Start your day with a breakfast buffet at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort in Hilo. Each morning on the Sandalwood Lanai the buffet is offered from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The breakfast is a blend of traditional breakfast fare as well as Asian and Polynesian style dishes. The menu includes: miso soup, mini Pastries, toast, pancakes, waffles or French toast, breakfast meats, juices, fried rice tropical fruits, tea, coffee and well as daily chef's specials. Guests are treated to ocean views while dining on scenic Banyan Drive in Hilo. You don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the buffet. ((808) 969-3333)
3 Nani Mau Orchid Restaurant
No visit to Nani Mau Gardens would be complete without an excursion to their tropical lunch buffet. They call it lunch, but with the timing of 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. it seems more like brunch to us. Even if you're not planning on exploring the gardens, the lunch buffet is always great, and offers a blend of different cuisines. Adorned with flowers and foliage, buffet tables are laden with fried chicken, pot roast, salads, fresh tropical fruits, and more. Regularly visited by both island residents and tourists, the restaurant is convivial and friendly, making the overall experience pleasantly relaxing. (808-959-3500)
2 Queen's Court Buffet
Located in the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, the Queen's Court Buffet is a long standing favorite for locals and visitors alike. Offering a panoramic view of Hilo Bay, the restaurant has been recently renovated and now featured a beautiful Hawaiian and hula themed decor. Utilizing the abundance of what the island has to offer, they draw ingredients from the Hilo Farmers Market and other island farmers. The breakfast buffet begins the day with eggs, meats, fruits, pastries and breads, as well as an ala carte menu with specialties such as the "Hilo Hawaiian Special" omelet with bacon, Portuguese sausage, grilled onions, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, served with passion fruit Hollandaise sauce. ((808) 935-9361)
1 Bay Terrace
Nestled in a lovely garden setting along the Kona Coast, here you will be enjoy unobtrusive service and a wonderful breakfast buffet along with an ala carte menu. 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)
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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