Big Island Restaurant Guide

My Big Island Restaurant Guide will show you what I think are the best places to eat on the Big Island.

Hawaii has an amazing variety of food from all over the world. They range from unique creations with island flair to the simple plate lunch (see below). It really depends on what you're in the mood for. After all, you can't eat plate lunches all day...well, actually I could, but you might want to try something different...:)

The nice thing about the Big Island is that there is a great variety of places to eat within the main tourist areas like Kona. It is not packed with only the upscale eateries like many resort areas. The other areas like Hilo and Waimea offer some true gems…local favorites…true and tested.

Sidebar-Pages involving food are the hardest for me to write because it makes me so hungry. If it does the same for you, then I guess I'm doing a good job. Enjoy!


Best Expensive Big Island Restaurant

By expensive, I mean it will cost at least $20 per adult. This does not include drinks, appetizers, dessert, or taxes & tip.

My favorite expensive Big Island restaurant is Kenichi Pacific. They are located in the Keauhou Shopping Center in Kona.

They describe their food as Japanese fusion cuisine. Foodies will love the spiced up menu and contemporary yet relaxed setting. I had the macadamia-crusted lamb which was scrumptious, and the ono (wahoo) tataki was good too. They are known for the Duck Confit, flavored with five Chinese spices and served with wild mushrooms in a port wine sauce….YUM! That will be on my next visit! Reservations are recommended. (808) 322-6400.

Some other fine Big Island restaurants I recommend are…

  • Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant--This restaurant is a Big Island fixture. It is located in the town of Volcano about a mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

    You can’t go wrong with a meal here after a long day at the park. It is the nicest restaurant in the area without having to drive all the way to Hilo.

    The atmosphere is very relaxed and cozy…there’s even a big fireplace in the middle.

    They are known for their Duck L’Orange and it is DELICIOUS! The fresh fish is always good as well. For reservations, call (808) 967-7366.

  • Merriman's--This Big Island restaurant is located in ranch country, Kamuela. It is chef Peter Merriman’s original eatery…he also owns the Hula Grill on Maui.

    Foodies will love the “Hawaii Regional Cuisine” made with fresh produce from local family farms. (most of which are organic farms). Their signature dish is wok-charred ahi (tuna), marinated, seared, and served with a dipping sauce. (808) 885-6822

  • Pahui'a--This Big Island restaurant is located in the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort in Kona. It is one of the most romantic spots on the island for a meal, because it is right on the water. BUT, is it very pricey. Entrees alone will run about $40/person and wine runs well over $15/glass. Maybe now that Michael Dell bought the property, you will get a free laptop with dinner…:) For reservations, call (808) 325-8000.
  • Restaurant Kaikodo--This Big Island restaurant is located in historic Hilo town. It is in the old Toyama building, now called the Kaikodo building. Chef Mike Fennelly has taken his experience from Santa Fe, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Tokyo to create his “East Meets Southwest“ menu. I have never eaten here, but have heard several good reviews from friends. Please send me your review if you do go there! For reservations, call (808) 961-2558.
  • Roy's Waikoloa Bar & Grill-- Chef Roy Yamaguchi is well known for his Pacific Rim Cuisine. I would recommend you visit one of his restaurants while in Hawaii. He has locations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Call (808) 886-4321.
  • Kawaihae Harbor Grill--This Big Island restaurant is located on the Kohala coast in Kona. It is connected to the Seafood Bar which also has good food. We only had lunch here, and the salads topped with fresh island fish are delicious! Call (808) 882-9393.


Best Moderately Priced Big Island Restaurant

Moderately priced means it will cost between $10-$20 per adult. This does not include drinks, appetizers, dessert, taxes & tip.

My favorite moderately priced Big Island restaurant is Fujimamas Restaurant and Sushi Bar (formerly Izakaya Kai). They are located in Kona behind Leftys and Panchos.

They have two locations, one in Kona and one in Tokyo.

The prices are on the high end of moderate...close to that $20/person mark, but it is worth it! The food and service are fantastic.

Foodies will love their menu which can best be described as Asian fusion. They use fresh island fish and vegetables from local growers. I am a sucker for tempura (deep-fried shrimp, fish, and vegetables with a dipping sauce), and it was AWESOME! For reservations, call (808) 327-2125.

Here are some other moderately-priced Big Island restaurants I recommend…

  • Teshima's--This Big Island restaurant is located in the town of Honalo in south Kona. They serve Japanese and American food at very reasonable prices. It is very popular with the locals from breakfast to dinner, so you might have to wait for a table. One thing…they only take cash. Call (808) 322-9140.
  • Cafe Pesto--This Big Island restaurant has two locations, Kawaihae (on the Kohala coast) and Hilo. They serve great pizzas and have a terrific kid’s menu. Call (808) 882-1071 (Kawaihae) or (808) 969-6640 (Hilo).
  • Kona Brewing Company--This Big Island restaurant has two locations, one in Kona, and one on Oahu. It is a great place for some locally brewed micros. Call (808) 334-BREW.


Best Cheap Big Island Restaurant

Cheap means it should cost less than $10 per adult with a drink. This does not include appetizers or dessert, taxes & tip.

Many places serve what is known as a plate lunch. The plate lunch is an island staple consisting of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni or tossed salad, and your choice of an entree such as:

  • Teriyaki chicken or beef
  • Hamburger steak with brown gravy
  • Chicken Katsu (battered and served with a sweet sauce similar to BBQ sauce)
  • Roast Pork with brown gravy
  • Breaded Chicken with brown gravy
  • Lemon chicken
  • Mahi Mahi(fish)
  • Beef stew
  • Curry stew

Of course, if you can't choose just one entree, you can do what I do and get a "mixed plate". They range in price from $5-$8. Many places offer "mini" versions that are even less. These "minis" are more than enough for my wife.

My favorite cheap Big Island restaurant is Ken’s House of Pancakes. It is located in Hilo and has been a local favorite for years.

It is open 24 hours a day and everything from breakfast to dinner is delicious and cheap. This is like the well-known Zippy’s chain, but much better. Their menu is HUGE, so you will be sure to find something to please everyone. (808) 935-8711.

Here are some other Big Island restaurants to find some great cheap eats…

  • Tex’s Drive Inn--This Big Island restaurant is located in Honoka’a near the Waipio Valley. They are known for their malasadas (Portuguese donuts)…trust me, just try them. They also have plate lunches and sandwiches.
  • Kona Mix Plate--Just heed the name of this Big Island restaurant…order a mix plate. This eatery is located in Kona. It is popular with the locals so you know it’s good. (808) 329-8104.


Okay, I was right. This has made me extremely hungry...:) Hopefully, it has done the same for you, and you satisfy that appetite when you find your favorite Big Island restaurant. Enjoy your culinary adventure in paradise!

Would you like add your favorite Big Island restaurant to this guide? Do you have a comment or review of one of these places? Please contact me at any time!

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