【Hawaii Big Island】Food Adventures on the Big Island | What to Eat Around the Island? | 18 Restaurants and Snack Bars on the Big Island

Hawaii Island Cuisine

After coming to Hawaii Island, I realized that there are so many delicious food on Hawaii Island. I ate at several restaurants in Kona and Hilo, and I was hooked on Hawaiian food. In Volcanoes National Park, where there are fewer restaurants, there is also Waikoloa Village, a high-class hotel area, where are there any good restaurants? On this Big Island driving trip, we traveled all the way around the island, and spent more than a week enjoying a lot of food in different parts of the Big Island, and this article will organize and share all the delicious and delicious restaurants on this trip. In fact, in terms of food, our favorite place this time is Hilo, if you love food and have enough time, you may want to arrange more time to stay in Hilo.

Kona | Pine tree cafe

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Pine Tree Cafe is located not far from Kona Airport, and it was our first meal after landing. The menu is extensive, offering a wide range of Hawaiian dishes from breakfast to dinner, and the prices are quite reasonable. Since we arrived close to dinner time, we opted for the Fried Chicken Bowl and Loco Moco, both of which were delicious. Throughout our time on the Big Island, we tried Loco Moco at many different restaurants, but I particularly enjoyed the one here for its flavorful sauce and rice combination, reportedly ranking among the top five on the island. Overall, if you're looking for value for money, this place is a top choice in the Kona area.

Kona | Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill is a mid-range Hawaiian restaurant with branches in both Kona and Hilo. We dined at the Kona location. More than half of the menu features seafood dishes, and we opted for the Mac Nut Ahi Tartare as an appetizer, paired with the must-try cocktails, Passion Flow and Mai Tai. For the main course, we ordered the Seafood Trio and the daily chicken special. The Seafood Trio included fish fillet, crab cake, and grilled shrimp, offering a variety of seafood in one dish. Overall, each dish was enjoyable, and the prices were reasonable for the Big Island, although they didn't quite reach the level of amazement we had anticipated. The cocktails, however, were exceptional, especially the Passion Flow with its delightful combination of passion fruit and pineapple flavors, reminiscent of a tropical fruit Lava Flow but not overly sweet. The Mai Tai, a standard favorite of mine in Hawaii, was perfectly crafted.

Kona | Da Poke Shack

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Da Poke Shack is a renowned poke shop, and we decided to visit based on its reputation. For those unfamiliar with poke, it's a traditional Hawaiian dish consisting of marinated raw fish and is a signature dish of Hawaiian cuisine. Ordering can be done through set meals or à la carte. Opting for the Plate option allows you to choose four types of poke along with two side dishes, and rice is included. Alternatively, you can order individual items. We chose to order a Plate, selecting the Chef Special, Spicy Garlic Sesame, Palace Kiss, and Wet Hawaiian poke flavors, along with Spicy Crab and Crab Meat as side dishes. We also added a Spicy Taco and headed to nearby Magic Sand Beach for a picnic. The seafood was fresh, but the flavors we chose leaned towards sweetness, which wasn't particularly exciting for me. I especially enjoyed the Spicy Garlic Sesame and Palace Kiss, which offered a bit of spiciness. However, during our visit, the prices were inflated due to the pandemic. Normally, we consider poke to be an affordable snack, but at this restaurant, a plate was priced at $36, which didn't seem worth it in terms of value for money.

Kona | Broke Da Mouth Grindz

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Broke Da Mouth Grindz is a unique fusion restaurant combining Korean, Filipino, and Hawaiian cuisine, which sounds quite intriguing. They only serve lunch, and since I typically don't enjoy fusion cuisines, we hadn't planned to visit. However, one day, due to our tight schedule and being nearby, we decided to give it a try after seeing its excellent reviews. To our surprise, we were thoroughly impressed. In terms of taste and value for money, I found it to be the most worthwhile and delicious meal in Kona. We ordered two Plates, each with two main dishes. One Plate included the signature Garlic Furikake Chicken and Garlic Butter Shrimp, while the other had Bulgogi and Kalua Pork. Surprisingly, my favorite turned out to be the Korean Bulgogi. All the main dishes were incredibly tasty, and we also opted for different rice flavors. Although the Pork Belly Adobo Fried Rice incurred an additional charge, we enjoyed it very much.

Kona | Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Umekes is a highly regarded seafood restaurant and bar in Kona, often with a considerable waitlist. After waiting for about twenty minutes, we were seated at an outdoor table, conveniently located in the lively rock music area. The atmosphere was vibrant. For dinner, we ordered Fish and Chips and Grilled Catch. The Grilled Catch came with grilled fish fillet, accompanied by Poke and seaweed as side dishes. All the seafood was incredibly fresh, and the dishes were prepared just right.

Volcanoes National Park | Tuk Tuk Thai Food Truck

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is honestly a culinary desert, even the innkeepers say so. There are few restaurants, and many of them were often closed, probably due to the pandemic. This food truck selling Thai food happened to be near our accommodation at Hale ‘Ohu, so we decided to get some takeout and eat in our room. It had high ratings online, and the biggest advantage turned out to be the large portions. We ended up having two meals from it. As for the taste, it was very Americanized Thai food, but not bad at all.

Volcano National Park | Volcano House

  • Recommendation Index: ⭐️⭐️

Volcano House is located within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is the only hotel and restaurant within the park. The wait times for dining here can be quite long; we arrived around 3 PM when it was least crowded and still waited for over half an hour. We ordered Poke, a burger, and fish and chips, which were quite pricey for their average taste. However, considering it's within the national park, expectations shouldn't be too high. The best part was actually the cocktails and the fantastic view of the volcano.

Hilo | Hawaiian Style Cafe

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hawaiian Style Cafe may sound ordinary, but it's actually my favorite restaurant on the Big Island, highly recommended. The food is just so delicious that even though we only stayed one night in Hilo, we ended up going there twice. Because every dish is really good, I suggest ordering based on your own interests. The first time we went, we didn't realize how big the portions were, so we ordered the Deluxe fried saimin, which came with fried wontons, Korean fried chicken, and beef short ribs—it was incredibly abundant. We also had Da Big Mok, which is Loco Moco with fried chicken, spam, and two different types of sausages. When we finished eating and left, the server thought we hadn't eaten anything at all (actually, we did, just not even a quarter of it). Each dish was about $16, and between the two of us, we could split them into two meals each and still feel very full. My favorite dish is the Saimin, which tastes similar to Japanese fried noodles. The next day, we came back and ordered two servings of Saimin and fried rice to go.

Hilo | Cafe 100

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cafe 100 is very famous in Hilo, reputedly the birthplace of Loco Moco, so it's definitely worth a visit. There are many variations of Loco Moco to choose from, but since we had eaten at Hawaiian Style Cafe so many times, at Cafe 100 we just got a simple Loco Moco to go for a picnic. However, Cafe 100 truly lives up to its name as the Home of the Loco Moco. After eating at so many restaurants, their hamburger patty is the best—meaty and flavorful. Highly recommended.

Waimea | Big Island Brewhaus

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Big Island Brewhaus is a brewery bar where beer enthusiasts can enjoy locally brewed beer on the Big Island. We visited here to grab a quick bite on the road, so we only had the Fish bites and Garlic fries. The Fish bites, made from fried swordfish, strangely reminded me of escolar. The beer was also quite good, and you can try a flight to sample different varieties.

Waikoloa Village | Lava Lava Beach Club

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lava Lava Beach Club, located in Waikoloa Village right by the beach, is always bustling with people, and finding a parking spot can be quite a challenge. We ordered the Sizzling shrimp, Coconut shrimp, and Seared Ahi. The food was quite good, and the cocktails were delicious. However, most restaurants in Waikoloa Village are fine dining establishments, and prices are as upscale as the resorts in the area. Although this place isn't extremely expensive, it's still necessary to be prepared for the cost, as it's not considered budget-friendly. After dining, you can take a stroll along the adjacent beach, which offers truly stunning ocean views.


Kona | Menehune Coffee

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hawaiian coffee has its own unique characteristics, and Menehune Coffee in Kona is a great example of that. We happened to pass by twice on our way to attractions and ended up stopping in both times, enjoying it each visit. We tried the Big Island latte frappe, Cold brew, and Coconut flavored coffee. Aside from the frappe being a bit too sweet for our taste, the others were quite delicious. Especially noteworthy was the Cold brew recommended by the staff, paired with oat milk, which was very refreshing.

Kona | Kona Coffee Cafe

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When it comes to Hawaiian coffee, we can't forget about Kona Coffee, which is the largest coffee bean brand on the Big Island of Hawaii. If you want to try it out, there's a small shop selling it in the shopping malls in downtown Kona. You can come in to buy coffee beans and sample them. We tried six varieties of coffee here, and our favorites were Coconut cream and Kalua.

Hilo | Just Cruising Coffee

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just Cruising Coffee is very famous in Hilo, known for having a lot of cars lined up at its entrance, which is quite eye-catching. As for the coffee itself, I found it to be average, nothing particularly outstanding, but their iced drinks are very refreshing, especially on a hot day.

Hilo | Ola Brew

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ola Brew is another brewery where we had some free time in our itinerary, so we decided to stop by and try their beers. The flight we sampled included: Brown ale, Lemongrass, Hibiscus lavender, and Dragonfruit lemonade. Apart from the Brown ale, all had unique fruity flavors. The most distinctive was the Hibiscus lavender, with its lavender aroma. While the beers were average in terms of taste, the variety of flavors was quite interesting.


Kona | Scandinavian Shave Ice

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The scorching heat of Hawaii naturally calls for shaved ice, and one of the most famous shaved ice shops is located in the center of Kona. With a wide variety of flavors to choose from, we ordered the Tropical trio, which includes three flavors: guava, mango, and coconut. Eating it is like indulging in rich, sugary shaved ice, perfect for cooling off on a sweltering summer day.

Hilo | Mochi Manju

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

In Hilo, Mochi Manju sells fruit-filled mochi, and I'm usually not a big fan of desserts or mochi, to be honest. However, this place is truly exceptional. There are usually long queues, and if you want to choose your own flavors, you have to wait outside after ordering for a while. The mochi is made on the spot, and because it contains fresh fruit, it's best eaten on the same day. The most famous flavor is strawberry, where the mochi is filled with a whole fresh strawberry and surrounded by red bean paste—it's absolutely delicious.

Hilo | Magic Pineapple Shack

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magic Pineapple Shack in Hilo is known for its variety of fruit smoothies, ice treats, and beverages. Their most famous item is actually the Unicone ice cream, which comes in dragon fruit and taro flavors—pretty cool, right? However, when we visited, we were drawn to the Acai bowl and decided to give it a try. The Acai bowl consists of acai sorbet topped with nuts and various tropical fruits like strawberries, mangoes, and coconuts. Despite its small appearance, it's quite filling, and two people can easily share one bowl.

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