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Big Island Eats

I'm going to the big Island and I want to know of some great cheap places for good Hawaiin, filipino, or japanese food. I'm staying on the Kohala Coast and am looking for places to eat mainly in Kona or maybe Hawi. Thanks!

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  1. Can't do better than the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook for local style dining, well known for fresh fish and pork chops. Teshima's (in Hanalo town?) for japanese food, not too far from the Manago. The Ocean View Inn across the seawall in Kona for reasonable food and drinks. These are all local institutions that have been around forever. Also since you will be on the Kohala Coast you could drive up to Waimea and have breakfast at the Hawaiian Style Cafe, another cheap, local favorite spot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: curiousgeo

      Sadly, the Ocean View Inn had been closed for about a year. According to my Mom (who lives in Kona), the owners wanted to retire, and not having anyone to pass on the restaurant to, they decided to close it. The other two places, Teshima's and Manago's, are still open but they are quite a drive from north of the airport (Kohala), esp. with the traffic going south at the end of the work day. Both restaurants are definitely local institutions though as they have both been open for decades. Yes, decades. Mrs. Teshima is in her 90's and still goes to the restaurant every day. There must be other "cheap" options in Kailua-Kona, but since I don't live there anymore, I can't vouch for any. Wish I could be of more help!

    2. Don't forget the Big Island Grill in Kailua, Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae, and Bamboo in Hawi. There is a great little book called Cheap Eats on the Big Island (or something like that); it should help you find other places. Ocean View is still closed, but being remodeled and will open again as a restaurant (though probably without the old "atmosphere")

      1. Too bad about the Ocean View Inn, a great old time place. I had heard they were looking for someone to take over, guess it didn't happen. Now where am I going to go for beef stew, eggs and rice for breakfast?

        1. Does Sam Choy still have a place near the Kona/airport Costco? The place I'm thinking of was a couple blocks mauka of the main highway and had no atmosphere -- but the seared pokes were really interesting, I think I might have had one in an omelette.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jefferson

            I think that place is closed.

            I was just dreaming of the kalua pig sandwich at Buns in the Sun (on Palani Road one block down makai from the highway). We actually got those before we had to fly out -- told them no tomatoes because no seeds on the plane, and so they de-seeded the tomatoes for us instead!

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              SamuelA.L. please give me the 411 on Buns in the Sun as well as any other finds for good local food. I'm going to be in the Kona area for a wedding in January and I'm trying to find restaurants that will cater for a rehearsal dinner and informal party. If you have any Buns in the Sun recs outside of the Kalua pig that would be great!

              1. re: kauai2b

                Buns in the Sun is a sandwich shop... pretty much anything is good, I just like the kalua pig best. Across Palani Road is Ba Le Sandwiches, which has a much better vegetarian selection than most banh mi shops. Unfortunately Izakaya Kai closed, that was the best place in Kailua.

                Never been for dinner, but Kona Ranch House has really good breakfasts... it's 75-5653 Ololi Road -- off of Palani Road, maybe 100 ft up mauka from Kuakini Highway.

                (BTW, if you didn't know, "up mauka" means "toward the mountain" and "down makai" means "toward the beach", north-south-east-west not being much use on a small quasi-circular island).

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  It has been a while, but I found Kona Ranch House to be disappointing, with pedestrian food...and not all that cheap either!

          2. No, Sam Choy's is gone unfortunately. They stopped serving dinner a few years ago, but remained open for breakfast and lunch. But a few months ago, they stopped even that. The spot isn't even a restaurant anymore.