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 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. Big Kahuna Beach Grill


    From its upstairs, open-air dining room decorated with kitschy surfer chic, this new restaurant invites customers to enjoy views of the pier and a bustling...Read More

  • 2. Hilo Burger Joint


    What this casual pub-turned-burger-joint lacks in space and parking is more than made up for in burger choices: more than 22 varieties of gourmet burgers,...Read More

  • 3. Poi Dog Deli


    With vintage memorabilia and a bluesy soundtrack as a background, this cool deli in a tiny strip mall has a lot more to offer than...Read More

  • 4. Kaleo's Bar and Grill


    Pahoa Town isn't known for gourmet dining choices, but Kaleo's is pretty sophisticated for a small-town restaurant and remains a local favorite with very good...Read More

  • 5. Kona Crust


    It's quite simply the best New York–style pizza in Kona. At this small, no-frills shop, the proprietors take great care to obtain the highest-quality ingredients...Read More

  • 6. Tea-licious Cafe


    Known for home-baked pastries, gourmet loose-leaf teas, and high-end coffees, this sweet, cozy spot is a lovely destination not far from the beach.  Sandwiches and...Read More

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