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10 Best Places to Eat on the Big Island



Big Island restaurants are as diversified as the island's varied terrain and climates. Whether you're deep in the "boonies" on the lush lower east side, or in the city like town of Hilo, or nestled along the dry Kona Coast, you'll find enough great food to keep each meal exciting and satisfying. From low key eateries offering delicious local cuisine to high end elegant resort restaurants, the Big Island has it all, culinary wise.

For elegant resort dining try Norio's Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar at the lux Fairmont Orchid. Here you'll be treated to a glorious west side sunset and views of the Kona coast, while being dressed up enough to feel excited and enjoying top of the line Japanese style seafood.

Those in search of something very nice but on the casual side will be content Hilo Bay Cafe fuses Pacific Rim cuisine with a modern and city like feel to create the perfect and versatile restaurant for a date night or a special family celebration. Another local favorite for good food in an upscale yet casual environment is Cafe Pesto. Combining Pacific Rim cuisine with Italian food, Cafe Pesto has maintained it's reputation for 20 years. 

Look no further for the best Big Island food selection, because at 10 Best the restaurant list has been put together by a life long Big Island resident who knows the best spots. 


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9
Volcano National Park
Kilauea Lodge 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.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Kilauea Lodge is famous for its delicious and unique dishes served in a cozy environment.

Jade's expert tip: Stop in for dinner after a lovely day spent in Volcano National Park.

Read more about Kilauea Lodge Restaurant →




Restauranteur Roy Yamaguchi has garnered quite a reputation for himself, both in the Paradise State and on the mainland, and it's little wonder. Specializing in Pacific Rim cuisine, the Kohala Coast edition of his culinary empire dazzles diners with Szechuan-style baby back ribs, a kiawe-grilled rib-eye, and curry seared ahi tuna. Despite the shopping center locale, the restaurant offers an upscale scene that tends to get noisy during peak hours. The best tables offer clears views of either an adjacent golf course or a nearby lake. This is one of the more upscale eateries on the island and is great for date night.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Roy's is renowned throughout the islands as one of the best gourmet Pacific Rim restaurants.

Jade's expert tip: Try the chocolate martini.

Read more about Roy's Waikoloa Bar & Grill →




Sweet Cane Cafe is a family run business owned and operated by a local organic farmer and her daughters. Offering an array of healthy meals from smoothies to sandwiches, the cafe is a delicious and nutritious option for a meal while visiting Hilo. In addition to meals they offer homemade sugar cane juice and sugar cane ice pops called Cane Rush, offering health benefits and refreshment. Menu offerings include smoothies made with local fruits such as papayas and bananas, blended with healthy vegetables such as kale and parsley. Sandwiches include a roasted veggie, a taro burger and veggie nori (seaweed) wrap with raw cashew cream can be enjoyed.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Sweet Cane Cafe uses local ingredients to create truly healthy and delicious meals.

Jade's expert tip: Enjoy your meal nearby at Liliuokalani Park.

Read more about Sweet Cane Cafe →


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Hand-constructed tables, monkeypod wood bar stools, and a smooth bar are all complimented by the carefully placed lighting. In the back room, there's a mural painted by a local artist. The sushi and sake bar 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, good times for families as well as groups of friends in celebratory mode. 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 will be freshly made to stick with the goal to keep all the drinks muddled, nothing will be blended or pre-made. Even the syrups are home made, and orange juice is hand squeezed the day a guest enjoys it. Kanpai's dinner menu will include 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. It will also feature a large drink menu and with a wide selection of sake. The Japanese and Korean menu also offers a nice selection of vegetarian dishes.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Kanpai's is the newest hotspot in Hilo for dinner and drinks, which they both do great.

Jade's expert tip: Reservations are always a good idea for dinner at Kanpai's.

Read more about Kanpai's Sushi and Sake Bar →


Miyo's
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


Miyo's restaurant has been serving up great Japanese food for over a decade. You won't find sushi here, but you'll find amazing curries, katsus, salads, udon and soba dishes, and tempura. The portions are good sized, and you won't leave hungry. There's plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, and lot's of fish dishes made with locally caught fish. The full meals come with miso soup, a small salad and Japanese pickles. Miyo's keeps it sustainable by serving Hilo Homemade Ice Cream for dessert (try the ginger or green tea) and it always has been and still is, BYOB (bring your own beer or wine). Miyo's is a favorite for any locals, and that's why it's usually pretty busy. The low key restaurant mixes simplicity with elegance and the brand new building features wooden tables and walls, a kitchen full view, and a fountain and live acoustic music.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Miyo's is well known for their amazing traditional Japanese home style dishes.

Jade's expert tip: Get some Miyo's take out for lunch and enjoy at Liliuokalani Park or Coconut Island.

Read more about Miyo's →


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. A great place to people-watch, it's situated directly across from the beach, where human activity is non-stop. Grab a quick breakfast to go or sit down for a waffle or egg dish. You can't go wrong with relaxing outside under the clear Kona sky and looking at the ocean. You can order at the counter and take the food to go, or else enjoy at an outdoor table.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Island Lava Java is Kona's answer to the quintessential coffee shop.

Jade's expert tip: Hands down the best breakfast joint in Kona.

Read more about Island Lava Java →




Full Moon Caf� is a family owned and operated (by two brothers) restaurant that uses much local and organic ingredients in their menu. They call the menu new American and Asian fusion seafood. The international menu has a Pacific emphasis and a strong focus on fresh and raw fish The fish are caught by local fishermen and they use grass fed Big Island beef. A unique menu boasts dishes such as: -Yaki Udon � Sweet shrimp and house cured Kiawe-smoked bacon, sweet cabbage, ali'i mushrooms, brussels petals, chili-garlic sticky sauce. -Crispy Flatbread � Smoked ahi and white bean puree, organic lemon zest-infused olive oil -Market Fish Plate � Pan-roast uku fillet, ripe ulu & wild boar hash, Ka'u sweet corn, farmers' market vegetables, mahi-bone and red miso reduction Just a short drive from the Hilo cruise port, Full Moon is located in Downtown Hilo, an area every visitor should explore while in town.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The newly revamped Full Moon Cafe serves a delicious locally sourced menu with an emphasis on seafood.

Jade's expert tip: The menu changes regularly with locally sourced ingredients so inquire with your server about what's best.

Read more about Full Moon Cafe →


Hilo Bay Café


The new Hilo Bay Cafe has moved from its unassuming strip mall location, to a new waterfront locale on Hilo Bay. Here, diners will find a menu with a cuisine combing locally grown ingredients with a blend of Pacific Rim, gourmet, comfort food. Oh yeah, let's not forget to mention the new sushi bar too. You will find dishes like stuffed chicken breast with bacon and pine nuts, and artichoke, garlic, and cream cheese ravioli. Lunch features salads, sandwiches, and comfort food entrees (try the vegetarian pot pie). An even balance of meat and meatless plates keeps everyone happy, and the waitstaff are happy to suggest wine pairings for your meal.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Hilo Bay Cafe serves delicious locally sourced food in their casual elegant oceanfront setting.

Jade's expert tip: The pot pie is amazing.

Read more about Hilo Bay Café →


Cafe Pesto


Hilo Bay's Cafe Pesto enjoys quite a reputation for innovative pizzas, which range from traditional Italian varieties to recipes bearing Mediterranean or Pacific Rim touches. The restaurant gets packed at lunch; everybody from local business types to tourists clamor for a daily fix of pizza topped with shiitake mushrooms, artichokes, chipotle-seasoned chicken, or chili-grilled shrimp. Diners wanting to go a different route may opt for an Asian catch stromboli with shrimp tempura and an Oregon wasabi snow crab caesar salad or a Sandalwood panini (Japanese eggplant, marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and rosemary gorgonzola). Another location is in Kawaihae (808-882-1071).

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Cafe Pesto is the oldest and most respect Italian fusion restaurant on the island.

Jade's expert tip: Ask for a lilikoi margarita - it's not on the menu.

Read more about Cafe Pesto →


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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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