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10 Best Big Island Restaurants for a Homestyle Feeling and Food



Perhaps the best way to experience the true feel of a locale and its culture is through homestyle meals in a homey environment. And in Hawaii, food is used to express comfort, love, and warmth, and seeking out the best homestyle restaurants on the island can offer a unique experience. Travelers can rely on these eateries to serve up homestyle food and a warm feeling.
Perhaps the number one place for a homestyle experience, from the menu to the ambiance, is Miyo's in Hilo. Homestyle Japanese food is offered on the front of their menu, and that's what they deliver. From curries, katsus, and various bowls of noodles, Miyo's serves homestyle Japanese dishes that consist of everything but sushi.

For homestyle food of other types, drop by Full Moon Cafe for Thai and American dishes. The owners, a Thai/American couple, have carefully selected their favorite dishes to serve in their simply decorated eatery in downtown Hilo. Browse the eclectic shops and galleries before or after dinner, in one of the busiest places in town.

Hilo's Sweet Cane Cafe is truly homestyle, and that's because they serve the same organic meals the owners made for years in their own home. This family run cafe offers healthy food and a homey feeling.

So when far from home, enjoy a homestyle menu and setting for a relaxing, comforting meal out.


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Cafe 100


Cafe 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 hamburger patty and a fried egg, then smothered in gravy. Caf-- 100 invented it back in the early 1950s, and today, they offer several variations, including one made with Spam. Although the Loco Moco is served all day, you may want to sample other dishes, which range from Kalua pork to beef stew and teriyaki beef.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Cafe 100 is the ultimate experience for a local homestyle meal.

Jade's expert tip: Try this if you're looking to experience a local style breakfast.

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Located on a sprawling 24 acres in upper Puna, the Hilo Coffee Mill is a great stop for a full menu of espresso, coffee, and quick eats. The mill has a complete viewing area where guests can watch the staff roast and package all of their gourmet Hawaiian coffee, teas, chocolates and more. A small store and tasting bar offers a wide array of coffee cups, coffee and tea supplies, reusable shopping bags, and other trinkets. Food options include smoothies, milk shakes, ice cream, eggs, bagels, granola bowls, sandwiches and other dishes. Free wireless Internet is available and can be utilized at an indoor table our an outdoor table on the wrap around porch.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Hilo Coffee Mill is a family run cafe that offers friendly service and homestyle breakfast fare and coffees.

Jade's expert tip: Drop by on your way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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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 as well as juices and smoothies. Traditional breakfast fare such as egg dishes, various bagels and waffles are available to start the day. For post breakfast grinds they offer an assortment of sweets, sandwiches and wraps. This is a great place to people-watch, it's situated directly across from the beach, where human activity is non-stop. Take food to eat across the street by the ocean, or enjoy at in indoor or outdoor table on the sidewalk.

Recommended for Homestyle because: This coffee shop is homestyle in the sense that is serves delicious versions of what's often made in a home kitchen.

Jade's expert tip: Take the meal to go or enjoy people watching at an outdoor table near the ocean.

Read more about Island Lava Java →


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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 Homestyle because: Village Burger makes burgers the way you do at home, with unique toppings to make them extra delicious.

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

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Volcano National Park
Kilauea Lodge Restaurant


Whetting appetites in the Big Island's "warm" Volcano community, Kilauea has garnered quite a reputation with locals and tourists alike. The cozy, lodge-like setting seems to step right out of the pages of a Western adventure novel � stone fireplace, vaulted wood-beamed ceiling, koa wood furniture, and rustic hardwood floors. The menu sports a Continental theme, and featured dishes range from duck � l'orange to lamb Proven�al with papaya mint sauce to Parker Ranch prime rib au jus with whipped horseradish. Although the menu is gourmet, it's still homestyle in the sense that it's delicious comfort food in a homey setting.

Recommended for Homestyle because: A meal here feels homestyle yet in a log cabin in a chilly climate.

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

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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 Homestyle because: Sweet Cane Cafe is truly homestyle, they serve the healthy dishes the owners made for years in their own home.

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

Read more about Sweet Cane Cafe →


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 Homestyle because: Gourmet pot pies, ribs, and desserts make Hilo Bay Cafe the ultimate comfort homestyle restaurant.

Jade's expert tip: Check the dessert special

Read more about Hilo Bay Café →


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 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 Homestyle because: The ambiance here exudes local home style from generations ago.

Jade's expert tip: Brunch here shouldn't be missed.

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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 Homestyle because: As one of Hilo's newest Asian fustion restaurants, Full Moon Cafe offers delicious and fresh gourmet food.

Jade's expert tip: Live music is offered Thursday through Sunday and you can bring you're own wine or beer.

Read more about Full Moon Cafe →


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 Homestyle because: Miyo's created true Japanese homestyle dishes in a cozy setting. mat

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

Read more about Miyo's →


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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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