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Island-Fresh: Farm to Table Restaurants on the Big Island



The locovore movement is hot in Hawaii, and has rapidly gained momentum over the years leading to new farm to table restaurants to be established all over the Big Island. All around the island restaurants that feature a menu with locally grown fruits and vegetables, and locally raised fish and meats can be found. While several offer local food at the casual level, many restaurants combine gourmet cooking with locally grown foods. From the lush east to the sunny south side, farm to table restaurants decorate the island.

Out in along the sunny Kona Coast is the Kamuela Provision Company. A lovely farm to table restaurant making a home inside of an ocean front resort, the provision company has evolved along with the Big Island's sustainable needs. Nearby in Waimea is Merriman's. Located in the lush and green historical town, the eatery was one of the first to put a focus on farm to table meals. 

Over on the east side in Hilo, the Sweet Cane Cafe is perhaps the leading Big Island farm to table restaurant. The owner of the cafe is a farmer herself, and much of what's sold in the cafe is grown on her own land.

Enjoy the abundance of the island with our guide to the ten best farm to table restaurants on the island, and eat healthy and delicious.


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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 Farm to Table because: Kilauea Lodge is known for its gourmet menu offers changing dishes and exotic meats utilizing local food.

Jade's expert tip: Enjoy while exploring Volcano National Park.

Read more about Kilauea Lodge Restaurant →




It's all about food going straight from the farm to you table (or to go bag) at Village Burger in Waimea. While many farm to table restaurants were starting out as formal and pricey, the man behind Village Burger wanted to bring healthy local food to one of our most basic meals, the burger and fries. Village Burgers uses only local, grass fed beef and veal for their burgers. To top off the burgers, they utilize local produce such as avocados, tomatoes, lettuce and mushrooms to create a mix of delicious burgers. Shoestring french fries fried in truffle oil are really the icing on the cake, and can be ordered smothered in "parmesan goop." Vegetarians will also be content at Village Burger, and can enjoy a handmade taro or mushroom burger. Dine in at the narrow seating area, or at front at the sidewalk tables. Meals can be taken to go to a beach or park nearby.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Village Burger offers delicious burgers and fries made with grass fed, hormone free beef, veal and locally grown vegetables.

Jade's expert tip: Those with children should take their meal to go and enjoy at the elaborate wooden playground down the street.

Read more about Village Burger →


Kamuela Provision Company


Specializing in Pacific Rim-influenced cuisine, this restaurant offers tables with sweeping views of the ocean and of dramatic island sunsets. Refined yet unpretentious, the Provision Company prepares dishes using only locally grown produce and fresh-caught seafood. Headliners include a seafood mixed grille with Hawaiian fish and Maine lobster in a lemongrass herb sauce. Landlubbers will want to try the likes of the Big Island Luau for two, served with a pupu platter and your choice of pork rib chop, beef brochette, grilled scallops, or fresh fish. The Kamuela Provision Company utilizes protein and produce from around the island in an upscale atmosphere.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: The Kamuela Provision Company serves locally sourced meat, seafood and produce cooked to perfection.

Jade's expert tip: Come here for a romantic date.

Read more about Kamuela Provision Company →


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Big Island Brewhaus
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt


Amazing beer! If that got your attention, then the Big Island Brewhaus is for you. The locally crafted beer is truly one of the top breweries in the islands, and as the newest one serves up great food and beef in an ideal location, in the sleepy paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town of Waimea. Located on the side of the main road in Waimea, it's an ideal location when traversing the Hamakua Coast between Kona and Hilo. Here amazing and award winning beer is combined with really good Mexican food, both making the brewhaus worth a stop in their own right. Dine, or just drop in and take a growler (half gallon) to go in a custom glass bottle.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: This award winning brewery serves local proteins and vegetables along side its delicious micro-brews.

Jade's expert tip: Grab food and a growler to go and enjoy down the road at Hapuna Beach Park.

Read more about Big Island Brewhaus →




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.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Island Naturals serves healthy and organic food locally grown food as both snack and meal options.

Jade's expert tip: Get there before 10:30 for breakfast.

Read more about Island Naturals Hilo Market & Deli →


Merriman's


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 of local ingredients that amazes and tantalizes even the most discerning diners. Featured items include ponzu-marinated mahi mahi with shiitake mushrooms and hearts of palm, roasted natural chicken with vegetable ragout, and "Kansas City Cut" New York steak platter. A uniquely Hawaiian dining experience that you shouldn't pass up. Reservations are a must, especially during peak seasons. Located in the inland town of Waimea, this is a perfect stop when driving between Hilo and Kona.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Merriman's utilizes the abundance of the Big Island by serving locally grown vegetables and meats.

Jade's expert tip: Reservations are a must.

Read more about Merriman's →




Over 200 vendors of all kinds frequent the Hilo Farmers Market. This outdoor market is like many restaurants combined into one. Thai food, vegetarian, coffee, desserts, Hawaiian food and other cuisines can be found here. Although it's open daily, the biggest days are Saturdays and Wednesdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every other day. At the market you'll find everything from jewelry, to fresh flowers, to clothing and home decor, to food, ready to eat and to bring home and cook. The market is a bustling place to socialize or window and is a classic Hilo attraction.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Hilo Farmers Market offers a high concentration of food vendors all in one area that utilize locally grown ingredients.

Jade's expert tip: Bring a reusable shopping bag since plastic bags were banned on the Big Island in early 2013.

Read more about Hilo Farmers Market →


Hilo Bay Café


Don't let appearances deceive you; there are more than just burgers and fries at this unassuming restaurant. 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. Utilizing the bounty of the Big Island to create their gourmet menu, Hilo Bay Cafe is the go to restaurant in Hilo for an upscale night out.

Recommended for Farm to Table because: Hilo Bay Cafe uses locally grown ingredients to create gourmet dishes.

Jade's expert tip: Try local beers on tap and the unique pot pie.

Read more about Hilo Bay Café →




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 Farm to Table because: The owner is a farmer and uses much of her own produce to serve in her healthy and delicious.

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

Read more about Sweet Cane Cafe →


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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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