Just some of the selections at Kanpai — Photo courtesy of Kanpai
Kanpai Sushi, Noodle & Sake Bar - a new addition to the culinary scene in Big Island - is the brainchild of two veteran Hilo restaurant owners, who saw the need for a place like this. It's a place for delicious food and good times for families as well as groups of friends in celebratory mode.
Kanpai’s dinner menu includes more than just sushi. Homestyle Japanese food is also made at this downtown Hilo restaurant. Guests will find a menu consisting of ramen, pho and light pupus. The Japanese- and Korean-inspired menu also offers a nice selection of vegetarian dishes. A large drink menu and a wide selection of sake are also on offer.
Kanpai serves fresh, local fish. — Photo courtesy of Jon Aslund
Not only does the eatery use fresh, locally caught fish for their sushi, they also use other locally grown ingredients. Even the ingredients used for their exotic cocktails are freshly made to stick with the goal to keep all the drinks muddled; nothing will be blended or pre-made. Even the syrups are homemade, and orange juice is hand-squeezed the day a guest enjoys it.
The ambiance of the restaurant is like being in a cool place somewhere in Japan. One of the walls is stainless steel and the other made of rock tiles. Several beautiful banzai trees line the room, creating the feeling of being in a Japanese garden. Hand-constructed tables, monkeypod wood bar stools and a smooth bar are all complemented by the carefully placed lighting. In the back room, there’s a mural painted by a local artist.
Kanpai's local art — Photo courtesy of Kanpai
For those making the trek from Kona for dinner at Kanpai, it's worth it to get to Hilo early and explore the area. Watch the sunset over Hilo Bay and majestic Mauna Kea from Liliuokalani Park. Its peaceful Japanese gardens and fish ponds are lovely to relax by. Wander the gardens, sit on a rock wall above the ocean or just relax in the grass. It's a beautiful experience.
At Hilo Farmers Market, over 200 vendors of all kinds can be found. You'll find everything from jewelry to fresh flowers and clothing to home decor. There's even food, ready to eat or to bring home and cook. The market is a bustling place to socialize or window shop. It's definitely a classic Hilo attraction.
This market is open daily, but the biggest days are Saturdays and Wednesdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Every other day, hours run from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Before you start your Hilo adventures, though, remember to make reservations at Kanpai to ensure a table at the restaurant.
Kanpai Sushi, Noodle & Sake Bar
190 Keawe St.
Hilo, Hi 96720