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. A-Bay's Island Grill

    $ | Mediterranean

    This casual yet upscale restaurant and sports bar offers a 24-tap digital beer tower, 10 TV screens, a Cruvinet wine preservation/dispensing...Read More

  • 2. Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

    $$$ | Italian

    This beautifully designed venue provides a relaxed and elegant setting for alfresco dining near the sand, with its boardwalk-style deck, outdoor...Read More

  • 3. Bears' Coffee

    $ | American

    This favorite, cozy breakfast spot, a fixture downtown since the late 1980s, is much loved for its fresh-fruit waffles and tasty morning coffee...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Brown's Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii

    $$$$ | American

    Sitting right on the resort's sandy bay, Brown's Beach House offers beautiful sunset dining and innovative cuisine. Attention to detail is evident...Read More

  • 6. CanoeHouse at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    One of the most romantic settings on the Kohala Coast, this landmark restaurant on the oceanfront showcases traditional Hawaiian flavors, artful...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Hilo Bay Café

    $$ | American

    This popular upscale restaurant overlooks Hilo Bay from its towering perch on the waterfront; the sophisticated second-floor dining room looks...Read More

  • 9. Island Fish and Chips

    $ | American

    Hidden lakeside at the Kings' Shop, this little take-out place is a best-kept secret in the Waikoloa Beach Resort. The combo baskets brim with...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Kaaloa's Super Js Authentic Hawaiian Food

    $ | American

    It figures that the best laulau in West Hawaii can be found at a roadside hole-in-the-wall rather than at an expensive resort luau. In fact...Read More

  • 12. Ken's House of Pancakes

    $ | American

    For years, this 24-hour diner on Banyan Drive between the airport and the hotels has been a gathering place for Hilo residents and visitors...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Lava Lava Beach Club

    $$ | American

    Dig your toes into the sand at Anaehoomalu Bay and enjoy one of the most happening, entertaining, and memorable bar/restaurants on the Kohala...Read More

  • 16. Luna Restaurant

    $ | Italian

    Tucked away in a strip mall near KTA, this little restaurant makes some of the best pizza on the Big Island. Check out the Isola Grande laden...Read More

  • 17. Manta at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

    $$$$ | American

    Perched on the edge of a bluff overlooking the sparkling waters of Kaunaoa Beach, the resort's flagship restaurant is a compelling spot for...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Mauna Lani

    $$$$ | Steakhouse

    The Big Island location of the popular upscale Louisiana steak-house franchise serves the sizzling steaks (yes, they do sizzle on the plate...Read More

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