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. 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

  • 2. Sushi Rock

    $$ | Japanese

    Located in historic Hawi Town, Sushi Rock isn't big on size—its narrow dining room is brightly painted and casually decorated with Hawaiian...Read More

  • 3. Monstera

    $$ | Japanese

    It may not be beachfront with a view of the sunset, but this eatery is worth a visit for its sophisticated izakaya (Japanese pub) food with...Read More

  • 4. Noodle Club

    $ | Japanese

    Star Wars toys and action figures line the shelves of Noodle Club, a fun destination with serious food in Parker Ranch Center. Veteran resort...Read More

  • 5. Norio's Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

    $$$$ | Japanese

    On the garden level of the Fairmont Orchid, this classy restaurant appeals to both steak and seafood lovers. The star attraction is the signature...Read More

  • 6. Ocean Sushi

    $ | Japanese

    What this restaurant lacks in ambience it certainly makes up for in quality and value. We're talking about light and crispy tempura; tender...Read More

  • 7. Restaurant Hayama

    $ | Japanese

    Tucked into Kopiko Plaza, just below Long's, this local favorite for Japanese fare goes beyond sushi. Hayama serves traditional Japanese specialties...Read More

  • 8. Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar

    $$ | Japanese

    Creative sushi and contemporary Asian cuisine take center stage at this entertaining restaurant at Queens' MarketPlace. The lauded menu includes...Read More

  • 9. Teshima's

    $ | Japanese

    Teshima's doesn't look like much, either inside or out, but it's been a kamaaina (local) favorite since 1929 for a reason. Locals gather at...Read More

  • 10. Tunaichi Sushi

    $ | Japanese

    This hidden gem behind Gertrude's Jazz Bar serves excellent sushi at affordable prices. Presenting an authentic vibe of Japan, this restaurant...Read More

  • 11. Imari Japanese Restaurant at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

    $$$$ | Japanese

    Decked out with an impressive display of Imari porcelain, waterfalls, and a teahouse, this elegant restaurant serves sukiyaki and tempura for...Read More

  • 12. Wasabi's

    $$ | Japanese

    A tiny place hidden in the back of the Coconut Grove Marketplace on Alii Drive, Wasabi's features indoor and outdoor seating. Prices may seem...Read More

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