10 Best Big Island Restaurants to Experience Traditional Hawaiian Food

We all know the old cliche, "When in Rome..." and that definitely applies to eating Hawaiian food while visiting the Hawaiian Islands. As an island that is still rich with traditional Hawaiian culture, the Big Island has a huge array of ono (delicious) Hawaiian food. Home to an array of great restaurants with menus of varying cuisines, it's easy to get lost in your culinary journey on the Big Island and it's important not to miss local food.

The Kona Brewing Co. is known for it's amazing locally crafted beers, but the fun brewery also offers menu of dishes with a classic Hawaiian twist. Come here for a Hawaiian take on bar food, like kalua pig nachos and fish sandwich. Of course, don't pass on local brews like a black sand porter and red lava ale.

On the other side of the island in Hilo is Cafe 100. A local style, freshly made but served quick or to go, the open air eatery has been a local staple for decades, serving up classic Hawaiian dishes like loco moco. For quick eats to enjoy it on the go, this downtown Hilo eatery is a true local experience.

For a more gourmet take on Hawaiian food, hit up Jackie Rey's Oahana Grill. Brunch here is always a reliable option for a fill start to the day, and the Hawaiian theme extends to the art and collectibles for sale.

Remember, 10 Best has you covered for the Big Island's best Hawaiian food, and it's all right here.

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...  Read More

Kona Brewing Company: Kailua-Kona Pub & Brewery

Just across the street from the cruise port, the pub at the Big Island's most famous brewery is a terrific place to wind down after shopping. Brewery tours are quick and personal – an added bonus is that visitors over 21 get to sample the...  Read More

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...  Read More

Big Island Grill

This local favorite is almost always packed, a testament to its fantastic American and Hawaiian comfort food that sparkles. From loco mocos to roast pork, and sweet potato haupia cheesecake (coconut), they've got the Hawaiian dishes covered. The...  Read More


Peter Merriman, whom many regard as the man who helped put Hawaii's regional cuisine on the world map, owns and operates this eponymous restaurant just outside Waimea. His award-winning dishes continue to reveal imagination and an understanding...  Read More

Hawaiian Style Cafe

The name says it all with this place. On first glance, this place may not look like much, but as everybody knows, you can't judge a book by its cover. Big Islanders are fond of homestyle cooking, and it's done especially well at out-of-the-way...  Read More

Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill

Well-credentialed chefs at this popular establishment focus on thoughtful preparations of freshly-caught fish, chicken, and beef. Dinner favorites include curry-crusted ahi, beef short ribs, and Szechuan pepper pork loin with purple sweet potato...  Read More

Keei Cafe

Ask a local or a frequent visitor where to go for the island's best seafood, and you'll likely hear this treasure named among the top suggestions. Nestled between the highway and the coastline, Keei Cafe serves spectacular American-Hawaiian...  Read More

Lava Rock Café

Serving three meals a day, volcano-themed Lava Rock Caf� is where locals refuel. Breakfast includes traditional egg dishes and the Big Island's own Loco Moco, a heap of rice with a hamburger patty and fried egg, all doused with gravy....  Read More

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...  Read More


Meet 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...  More About Jade

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