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21 Best Restaurants Big Island Hawaii 2022

Lau Lau

21 Best Restaurants Big Island

a close up of a street in front of a house

One of the joys of going on vacation is getting to try new foods and getting a break from having to make each meal for yourself.  It’s one of our favorite things about traveling.  It’s fun to seek out the best restaurants to grind some ono (delicious) food.  When you’re on vacation aren’t you always thinking about your next meal?  We certainly are! When is it going to be, where is it going to be, and how long do we have to wait until we eat again?  If you’re the planner type you’ve probably already spent a fair amount of time looking up restaurants and reading reviews online, but if you’re a fly by the seat of your pants kinda person then this is the perfect guide for you.

Below are some of our favorite places to eat on the island and consider them the best restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Everyone has favorites and we hope you enjoy our picks.

Breakfast

 

808 Grindz Cafe is da bomb.  Huge local-style breakfast that will have you snoozing on the beach after breakfast.  Try their Loco Moco.

 

Green Flash Coffee for breakfast to go when you’re headed to meet us for a morning snorkel. We recommend the French Toast Breakfast Sammie!

 

Big Kahuna Beach Grill for breakfast with a view.  This is located across the street from the Kona Pier so you’ll have a lovely view to enjoy with breakfast.  Try one of their tropical mimosas.  After all, you are on vacation!

 

Lunch

 

Poi Dog Deli is great to snag for when you are headed to work on your vitamin D intake aka go to the beach.  Order online and pick-up it on your way to the beach.  Favorites are the Farmer Tag’s Loaded Veggie and the Turkey BLT.

 

Willie’s Hot Chicken is another one you can order online and grab for a day at the beach or stay and eat and have a drink with one of the fantastic bartenders.  Spiciness ranges from mild to Like Lava (beware – it’s hot!)  although the Sweet Hawaiian is a personal favorite.  They also have big TVs for sports fans and it’s dog friendly so you may get to pet a pooch. Typically there is live music every weekend.

 

Umekes is the place for poke.  Their poke nachos are amazing or get the traditional poke bowl.  Their fish tacos are pretty bomb too.  Be aware that wait times can be long, but you can check what the wait times are from their Google My Business Page.

 

Pine Tree Cafe is located just north of town as you are headed to the airport and has one of the best plate lunches you’ll find.  Try their Spicy Garlic Chicken!

 

Rebel Kitchen is located in Kainaliu just 10 miles south of Kona.  They are currently only open Wednesday through Sunday, so plan accordingly.  Their food is delicious, but their Coconut Curry Ono with Shrimp and Jambalaya is out of this world!  Pick up one of their homemade sauces like ketchup or mustard to take home with you.

 

Kaaloa’s Super J’s is hands down the best laulau on the island.  Lau lau is a Polynesian pork, fish, or chicken dish. The meat is wrapped first in taro then ti leaves then steamed in an imu. Use Google to get directions to find them.  It’s a local favorite and they have no need for a website. 

 

Shaka Tacoz is the place to get your taco fix – you will not be disappointed. They now have two locations with the original one down south in Captain Cook and now one in Kona at Ali’i Gardens Market Place.  You can’t beat three tacos for just $12.

 

Harbor House is your closest spot for lunch after enjoying a morning snorkeling with us out on the Pacific ocean. They are known for their hamburgers and ice-cold schooners.  It’s a local’s favorite!  You’ll find fishermen having a cold one to unwind.

 

Lunch spots for vegetarians and vegans

 

Herbivores The Jackfruit Nachos are really really good.  Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan you should give them a try. 

 

Cultivate Good Food is located south of Kona in the historic village of Kainaliu. It’s a great place to stop and pick up food on your way to explore the southern part of the island. They are open 10-4pm.

a vase of flowers sits in front of a store

 

 

Dinner

 

Jackie Reys doesn’t have a view, but they have consistently great food.  Reservations are recommended.  The Guava BBQ Ribs are delicious.

 

Fosters now has two locations.  One in Kona and the other in Waikoloa.  Consistently great food from their “scratch kitchen” meaning it’s slow food so give your dinner the time it deserves.  This is also a great place for lunch.  Their crab cakes are delicious.

 

Shiono’s has two locations in Kona.  Sushi Shiono for sushi and Izakaya Shiono for ramen.  Get a sushi boat at Sushi Shiono – you won’t regret it.  Izakaya Shiono also has a great lunch special of two sushi rolls plus miso soap that’s perfect to take to the beach.

 

Huggos is on the water in the heart of downtown Kona. Their sizzling skillets are worth the visit.  They also have a decent happy hour from 4 pm-5 pm.

 

Original Thai is take-out only and their Pumpkin Curry is spectacular.  It’s typically not on the menu, but it’s always available so just ask.  When it’s mango season be sure and try their mango curry!  We recommend their curry puffs and summer rolls as a pupu (appetizer).

 

Roy’s – Go for their chocolate souffle and stay for their butterfish, ribeye, and brussel sprouts.  It can be a tad noisy due to the open kitchen, but it’s definitely worth it. The chocolate souffle is hands down our favorite dessert.

a piece of chocolate cake on a plate

 

Fork is reservations required and a revolving menu. It’s comfort food with a flair in beautiful and sometimes chilly Waimea town.

 

Merriman’s is reservations required and we recommend making them before you get on the island. They have a 3 course Prix Fixe menu with delicious choices.  The macadamia nut-crusted fish is a favorite.  They are a farm-to-table restaurant using the highest local ingredients available. Bring a sweater as they are located up-country in Waimea.  We are particularly partial to this one and think it’s the best restaurant on the Big Island.