Big Island Restaurants

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Merriman's

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Merriman's Review

Among the best restaurants in upcountry Waimea, this is the signature restaurant of Peter Merriman, one of the pioneers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Merriman's is the home of the original wok-charred ahi: it's seared on the outside and sashimi on the inside. If you prefer meat, try the Kahua Ranch braised lamb, raised locally to the restaurant's specifications, or the prime bone-in New York steak, grilled to order. The extensive wine list is impressive and includes many selections poured by the glass. Although lunch prices are reasonable, dinner is "resort pricey," so prepare to splurge.

    Restaurant Details

  • Reservations essential
  • Credit cards accepted.
  • No lunch weekends.
Updated: 01-06-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    Unpretentious and Incomparable

    Relaxed atmosphere and wonderful unpretentious service despite being such a celebrated restaurant. On the night we were there, the manager (who has the key to the high end wine cabinet) was late because of a fire near Waikoloa, so they gave us complimentary glasses of a very high end wine while we waited. Food was wonderful all around. Beware that they usually serve fish medium rare. But our waitress informed us so we could ask for it more well done if we wanted. This is a restaurant that truly deserves its hype. Also, our waitress was amazing.

    by Golnarsarge, 5/8/07
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    tiny cold meal for huge price

    As a usual customer of Metropolitan Grill in Seattle, I know a good deal on quality food. We visited Merriman's in Waimea on February 18th at 5:30, when they open for dinner. My family had to wait for a bit to order as we were in a corner. Kids ordered Ceasar salad (good tasting) and Bowtie pasta with tomato sauce (no bowties, just spaghetti like pasta with tasteless tomato sauce. My wife ordered the Opa fish special. Hers was okay, lukewarm, but as a mom she is used to cold food, $28. I ordered the Combination plate and chose the Opa/Lobster dish and the Filet dish, $44. My food was even colder. My little squish of mashed potatoes was about the size of an egg. My Filet was about the 5/8" tall x 2" x2". Cooked rare, unlike what I ordered as med rare. My fish was about 5/8" high x 3" x3". It was on a small scoop of rice with some chopped veggies in the rice. No veggies on the side. I notified the wait assistant to get our waitress. Obviously, didn't tell her as she came by 5 minutes later and asked how our dinner was. I told her my food was barely warm. She apologized and said they would cook me up a new plate. My new plate came 5 minutes later. It was warmer, but the potatoes were only half the size of an egg and still cold. My fish was raw and basically seared. They had graciously added a tablespoon of corn on the plate. The waitress returned and I showed her the fish. She was apologizing again. I told her, my family was well done eating, except the boy with the tasteless spaghetti. She said she would not charge us for my plate. Oh, thanks for the special treatment! My main comment is that if you want a meal fit for a toothpick person whom doesn't eat very much, wants to spend a HUGE amount of money on such, and wants to wait long lines to get seated, then you would enjoy this restaurant. If you want a decent sized meal for a decent price, better choose somewhere else. She never offered to compensate us on my wife's cold food. I was very disappointed in this restaurant. I will admit the food was good tasting, but cold. I also admit, I failed to call the manager.

    by fireman0175, 3/3/09
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    Stop, Look, and Eat

    The location is beautiful, and Merriman's is the perfect break in the middle of a beach or hiking day. Service is slow, so if your vacation schedule is hectic, you may want to pass--but you will be missing out. So, relax, and let them treat you to some of the most creative, healthy, and just plain tasty food on the Big Island. Make room and time dessert (Why not? You're on vacation!) You'll be glad you did.

    by RognKaren, 4/20/09
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    Merriman's Review

    I made the reservation months in advance for my birthday trip to the Big Island. I called twice the week before to confirm arrangements, as the night of the birthday reservation coincided with a Guest Chef evening. "We are so excited to host a special celebrity guest Chef Dinner @ Merriman's Waimea with Chef Bradley Ogden. Dec. 7, 2011 - 6:30 - 8:00..." So I was told this was not an issue and that the reservation was confirmed. I received an email confirmation the day before - so imagine my surprise when I get there and there was not record of the reservation. We got seated but not for the Chef's dinner - and then when we left the restaurant, I received an email notice of the reservation's cancellation AFTER we have dinner there. Happy birthday to me ! About the food : steak and mahi mahi were good; do not order the cheese cake for dessert as the consistency is questionable. Follow-ups with the restaurant are unanswered at this writing. If you are staying on the Kohala Coast, this is viable option but I will not go out my way based on this experience.

    by Zhaybt, 12/12/11

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