Best Kona Restaurants
Best Kona Restaurants
Highlighting the best Kona restaurants today. Things are always changing in the restaurant world. Menus change, management changes, and time weathers buildings and facilities. We strive to deliver the best up to date options in Kona cuisine. Here’s what we’ve been liking lately.
Best Kona Restaurant Categories
Best Breakfast View:
1. Big Kahuna Beach Grill
Located across from the pier in downtown Kona the view is very good if you want to see some hustle and bustle especially on cruise ship days. The breakfast fare is solid here.
The great thing about Denny’s is you always know what to expect. Low wait times, solid service, consistent food, and inexpensive. Our Denny’s has one other benefit. A great view. Located at the top of the hill near the heart of Kona our Denny’s quite possibly has the best view of any Denny’s period.
Best Breakfast Buffet: Honu’s on the Beach
Located in Kamakahonu bay, the birthplace of King Kamehameha the great the view is nice and breakfast goers can roll out to the beach after dining.
Best Ono Kine Grindz (Local Food): Pine Tree Cafe
One of the best Kona restaurants for breakfast, Pine tree cafe is an institution that is a locals go-to for island style breakfast options like loco-moco, fried rice omelette, and egg sandwiches. If you want to fuel up for the day this is a great option for those heading north out of Kona up to Waikoloa, Hilo, Hawi or Waimea. Large portions often accompanied by 2 scoops of rice (can have brown rice or downsize to just 1 scoop).
Best Secret Restaurant with a view: Resident’s Beach House
Located on the southern end of the 4 Seasons resort this hidden gem is not well known among locals. Open to the public during lunchtime only it’s nestled next to an estuary and just steps away from the ocean. The cuisine is good with mid to high-end pricing. The happy hour menu is very good and reasonable. Portion size is on the smaller end.
Best Ono Kine Grindz (Local Cuisine): Broke Da Mouth
A newer local hot spot located in an unassuming strip mall Broke Da Mouth (local pidgin meaning delicious) has some traditional options mixed with modern fusion flair. The most popular menu item the furikake fried chicken is a tasty mix of sweet and savory. Take out only. You can head over to Old Kona Airport beach park nearby to grind (eat). It’s so yummy the delicious food will break your mouth.
Best Seafood & Pub Grub: Harbor House
One of the best casual lunch spots in town located in Honokohau harbor this place is an institution. Salty fisherman at the bar and seasoned servers running giant schooners by the armful. It’s in a great location with a view of the boat harbor. The menu is fairly extensive and the food is solid.
These are the best Kona restaurants if you’re looking for good food with an atmosphere .
Best Fancy Restaurant with a view: Huggo’s
There are other restaurants with a view, but few can match the location combined with the service and food quality of Huggo’s. Keep in Mind there are 2 Huggo’s. One is Huggo’s on the Rocks. This is not the same Huggo’s. t’s been around for ages and has one of the best desserts in town (ice cream pie to the sky). The drinks are solid, the service never fails, and the switch back to a more traditional menu has served it well.
Best Tiki Bar: Cheeky Tiki
Located across from Kailua pier in downtown Kona, there aren’t many options for tiki culture inspired cuisine, but this restaurant fits the bill. Serving drinks in gimmicky themed cups, the decor is appropriately themed and the view is one of the better views on the island.
Best Seafood: Umeke’s
Serving perhaps the most authentic island cuisine and poke Umeke’s has earned it’s spot as a seafood standard.
Best Pub Grub: Quinn’s Almost by The Sea
Located in downtown Kona from the monte Cristo to the captains platter if you like fried food this is a great option. With a dated, dive bar like atmosphere from the 70’s Quinns is an establishment. The saldads are pretty good too.
Best Fast Casual: Willie’s Hot Chicken
Catering to the hipster rebel crowd Willie’s is one of the most popular restaurants in Kona. A simple menu of fried chicken is made more complex with a multitude of spice levels, sauces, and sides. Mostly outdoor seating is available with craft beers on tap and fancy drinks too.
Best Japanese Restaurant: Izakaya Shiono Kona
Great noodles and solid sushi, the Japanese offerings are many but it’s had to come by one as solid as this.
Best Pizza: Kona Brewing Company
It can be a challenge to find good pizza on the Big Island. There’s always the tempting choice of the Costco $9.99 giant pizza (if you’re a member). That’s why we’ve selected the best pizza with a good atmosphere. Kona Brew Pub has been around for a long time and it basically an institution in Kona. It’s popularity means there might be a wait to get in so try to time you’re attendance before or after typical mealtimes. Our favorite is the slice and salad. For a low price you can get a slice of pizza and a small side salad. We’ve tried ordering other options from the menu and we’re always disappointed so we end up going back to the slice and salad. You can’t go wrong here! The slice is either the pizza of the day, pepperoni, or veggie and the salad is greens or strawberry spinach.
One nice thing about Kona Brew pub is the outdoor atmosphere where diners sit in a garden. The service is always solid and the beer selection is reliable. There are a few alternatives to beer but not a lot.
Best Kona Restaurants with Live Music:
Since the COVID pandemic some restaurants have dialed back their live music. These are the best options for live music in Kona now.
Willies Hot Chicken – various acts
Good casual atmosphere mixes well with live outdoor music. Mix spicy chicken with drinks and you have a reason to dance.
Outdoor stage located right next to Willies.
Huggo’s on the Rocks – Hula and a musician
A musical act of one person on guitar with a hula dancer is a recipe for easy entertainment. Get up and participate in the dance lessons in the sand.
Best Vegetarian/Vegan Kona Restaurants
These are the best Kona restaurants for people looking to avoid meat and dairy.
Located in downtown Kona this little cafe is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Alii Drive. Everything on the menu is vegan making it easy for those who are looking for dairy alternatives. Most mains come with a bowl of soup and bread on the side. The jackfruit and smoked eggplant options have good flavor and the presentation is nice.
With an expensive menu of pizza, tacos, and burgers Kai exemplifies simple yet crowd pleasing variety. With over 40 beers, seltzers, and wines on tap there’s bound to be a beverage option for you. Located in the downtown Kona area on the water it’s easy to add beyond meat to any of the menu options with a large variety of options for vegetarian, vegans, and omnivores.
Looking for something to eat later at night? Kona pretty much goes to sleep at 9pm but don’e despair! There’s still hope.
Restaurants Open Late in Kona:
Denny’s is open till 11pm every night.
Domino’s Pizza is open till 12pm
And finally Jack in the Box is open 24 Hours!
What do you think? We’ve done out best to narrow it down to the stand outs in each category. If you agree or disagree with these picks drop us a line at [email protected] and we’d be happy to try your favorite place to eat in Kona. It can be difficult to choose from so many options in Kona with restaurants changing, closing and opening all of the time.