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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Ultimate Burger

    $ | Diner

    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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Keei Café at Hokukano

    $$ | Eclectic

    This nicely appointed restaurant, perched above the highway just 15 minutes south of Kailua-Kona, serves delicious dinners with Brazilian, Asian...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Tex Drive-In

    $ | Fast Food

    This place is famous for its malasada, a puffy, doughy, deep-fried Portuguese doughnut without a hole, best eaten hot. They also come in cream...Read More

  • 9. TK Noodle House

    $ | Asian

    Former resort chef TK Keosavang serves up inventive Asian-fusion cuisine with the emphasis on noodles. Generous portions are beautifully plated...Read More

  • 10. Verna's Drive-In

    $ | Hawaiian

    Verna's is tried and true among locals, who come for the juicy homemade burgers and filling plate lunches. The price is right with a burger...Read More

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