Big Island Restaurants

Between star chefs and myriad local farms, the Big Island restaurant scene is becoming a destination for foodies. Food writers are praising the chefs of the Big Island for their ability to turn the local bounty into inventive blends inspired by the island's cultural heritage.Resorts along the Kohala Coast have long invested in c
Between star chefs and myriad local farms, the Big Island restaurant scene is becoming a destination for foodies. Food writers are praising the chefs of the Big Island for their ability to turn the local bounty into inventive blends inspired by the island's cultural her
Between star chefs and myriad local farms, the Big Island restaurant scene is becoming a destination for foodies. Food w

Between star chefs and myriad local farms, the Big Island restaurant scene is becoming a destination for foodies. Food writers are praising the chefs of the Big Island for their ability to turn the local bounty into inventive blends inspired by the island's cultural heritage.

Resorts along the Kohala Coast have long invested in culinary programs offering memorable dining experiences that include inventive entrées, spot-on wine pairings, and customized chef's table options. But great food on the Big Island doesn't begin and end with the resorts. A handful of chefs have retired from the fast-paced hotel world and opened their own small bistros in upcountry Waimea, or other places off the beaten track. Unique and wonderful restaurants have cropped up in Hawi, Kainaliu, and Holualoa, and on the east side of the island in Hilo.

In addition to restaurants, festivals devoted to island products draw hundreds of attendees to learn about everything from breadfruit and mango to avocado, chocolate, and coffee. Agritourism has turned into a fruitful venture for farmers as farm tours afford the opportunity to meet with and learn from a variety of local producer. Some tours conclude with a meal of items sourced from the same farms. From goat farms churning creamy, savory goat cheese to Waimea farms planting row after row of bright tomatoes to high-tech aquaculture operations at NELHA (Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority), visitors can see exactly where their next meal comes from.

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  • 1. Bongo Ben's Island Café

    $ | American

    At the entry of this super-casual, oceanfront diner, menus printed on the giant bongos tell the story. Offering great deals on a plethora of...Read More

  • 2. Foster's Kitchen

    $$ | American

    Ocean breezes flow through this open-air, bay-front restaurant on Alii Drive. Cajun and island influences can be found on the quality menu,...Read More

  • 3. Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill

    $$ | American

    This brightly decorated, open-air restaurant is a favorite lunch and dinner destination of visitors and residents, thanks to generous portions...Read More

  • 4. Kenichi Pacific

    $$ | Japanese

    With black-lacquer tables and lipstick-red banquettes, Kenichi offers a more sophisticated dining atmosphere than what's normally found in Kona...Read More

  • 5. Kona Brewing Co. Pub & Brewery

    $ | American

    This ultrapopular destination with an outdoor patio offers an excellent and varied menu, including famous brews, pulled-pork quesadillas, gourmet...Read More

  • 6. Quinn's Almost by the Sea

    $ | American

    With the bar in the front and the dining patio in the back, Quinn's may seem like a bit of a dive at first glance, but this venerable restaurant...Read More

  • 7. Rays on the Bay

    $$ | South Pacific

    The Sheraton Kona's signature restaurant overlooks Keauhou Bay, offering nighttime views of native manta rays that appear nightly beneath the...Read More

  • 8. Ultimate Burger

    $ | American

    Located in the Office Max shopping complex in Kailua-Kona, this excellent burger joint may look like a chain, but it's an independent, locally...Read More

  • 9. Umekes Fishmarket Bar and Grill

    $$ | American

    Locals flock to this downtown Kailua-Kona restaurant for good reason: the poke is the most onolicious (superdelicious) in town, and the many...Read More

  • 10. Ba-Le

    $ | Vietnamese

    Hidden away in a strip mall on Palani Road near KTA, Ba-Le serves Vietnamese-influenced food such as pho, a soup laden with noodles, meat, and...Read More

  • 11. Bangkok House Thai Restaurant

    $ | Thai

    It may not look like much, with its small dark interior, but this is the local go-to for good Thai food. Tucked away in a small shopping center...Read More

  • 12. Bianelli's

    $ | Italian

    With indoor and outdoor seating, this easygoing Italian restaurant serves up gourmet pizzas and a tasty selection of pasta dishes, calzones...Read More

  • 13. Big Island Grill

    $ | American

    This local-style Hawaiian restaurant looks like an old coffee shop—it's large and nondescript inside, with booths, basic tables, and bingo-hall...Read More

  • 14. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

    $$ | American

    This may be a chain named after an old Tom Hanks movie, but it has one of the nicest oceanfront patios in Historic Kailua Village, and the food...Read More

  • 15. Don the Beachcomber at Royal Kona Resort

    $$ | American

    The "original home of the mai tai," Don the Beachcomber features a retro, tiki-bar setting with the absolute best view of Kailua Bay in town...Read More

  • 16. Frenchman's Cafe

    $ | French

    A Parisian couple serves up authentic French crêpes, omelettes, galettes, and desserts at this hidden hideaway in Historic Kailua Village. For...Read More

  • 17. Habanero's Grill

    $ | Mexican

    Perched above Alii Drive near Royal Kona Resort, this casually upscale restaurant with a view features traditional taqueria-style offerings...Read More

  • 18. Harbor House

    $ | American

    This open-air restaurant on the docks at Kona's sleepy harbor is a fun place to grab a beer and a bite after a long day fishing, beaching, or...Read More

  • 19. Holuakoa Gardens and Cafe

    $$ | American

    This respected slow-food restaurant in Holualoa Village features fine dining in a lush, open-air setting beneath the shade of an old monkeypod...Read More

  • 20. Honu's on the Beach

    $$$ | American

    Featuring al fresco dining near the sand, this is one of the few truly beachfront restaurants in Historic Kailua Village. Part of Courtyard...Read More

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