Big Island - looking for recs on sushi - asian food - fish
We are flying to the Big Island this Friday to spend 10 wonderful vacation days. We are staying at the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook (I know, I know, we have to try the pork chops, we'll do that!!) but want to enjoy the fantastic freshness of fish.
I have been doing some investigation, and this is what I have come up with so far:
Fujimama: seems to be a bit overpriced? Read somewhere that the sushi is just ok.
Teshima: familiar place that we will hit for sure.
Buns in the Sun for sandwiches
Poke: at KTA or similar (can't wait to try it!!)
Kenichi pacific: great sushi I read.
Imari at Hilton Waikoloa: exceptional japanese cuisine - expensive
Oodles of Noodles (O's bistro)
U Top it for crepes
So, we would really appreciate any tips for:
- Breakfast. We have been once before in the big island, stayed in Hilo and had breakfast everyday at Ke'ns house of pancakes; we were so filled up that usually we did not have anything for lunch and then had an early dinner. Loved it.
- Sushi: to give you an idea of what we like, for those who know New York, we LOVE Ushiwaka Maru, Izakaya Hagi, Sugiyama, Ichimura and sakagura. Never tried yasuda (but I am sure I'll love it) and didn't like Nobu. We love sushi and sashimi, especially ama-ebi, uni, tuna (any kind), kampachi, hamachi... I'd better stop now. One question: is Uni local to Hawaii?. We would be happy to go wherever japanese or local people go for their fix of raw fish.
- Japanese food (cooked)
- Places where fresh fish is deliciously cooked
- Asian food places in general (Thai, Viet, Chinese...)
Well, that is all. I hope I didn't bore you too much with my questions... Thanks in adavnce!!
I was on the Big Island a few months ago and will try and give you a report of where we went and what we ate. I tried to hit all of the restaurants owned by the founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC)
Hualalai Grille by Alan Wong - One of the best meals that I've ever had. It's almost a must to try the tasting menu. His kalua pork - foie gras sandwich is amazing. HRC owned.
Merriman's - Again, another top notch restaurant. Merriman's, like many restaurants, have great relationships with local farmers and it shows in the freshness and taste of their produce. It's a bit of a drive from Kona, but well worth it. HRC owned.
Coast Grille - Very good food with a great view. Make sure and make reservations on the terrace and watch the sunset.
Big Island Grill - Great spot for breakfast. Lot of locals eat here. Seems like everything on the menu is good.
Manago Hotel - Yes, I tried the pork chops. They were very good. Don't let the atmosphere fool you.
Kona Mix Plate - Was once a great spot for local style food, but have come under new ownership and was less than I expected.
O's Bistro - Thought this place was very over rated. The service was bad, portions were small and prices were high. Surprised to find this kind of food from Amy Ota, one of the founders of HRC.
Punalu‘u Bake Shop - One the way to the volcano if you head south from Kona. The malasada's here are great, almost as good as Leonard's in Maui. Tex Drive-In gets all of the press for malasada's, but they were heavy and greasy in my opinon.
Shave ice on this side of the island is pretty dismal. Your best option is Scandanavian, but I would skip it unless you don't plan on going to Hilo.
Not a fine dining options in Hilo. Lot more laid back.
Restaurant Kaikodo - The food was decent, but there aren't too many fine dining options on this side of the island.
Nori's Saimin & Snacks - This place is a must. Their saimin is right up there with Hamura's on Kauai. Tried other dishes as well, and they were all excellent. This place is hard to find but well worth it. 688 Kinoole St
Kuhio Grill - Good place for local style food. Their claim to fame is the 1 pound lau lau. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a place that has butterfish in their lau lau the last few times I've been to either Kauai or the Big Island.
Ken's House of Pancakes - Their saimin is also pretty good. They use noodles made from Maebo, so you know it's going to be good. Their pancakes are also pretty good. This place is sort of like Cheesecake Factory, they must have over 200 items on the menu.
Tropical Dreams - Hand crafted ice cream with regional flavors. Not as good as Lappert's but worth a try.
Shave ice - There are two places worth going to for shave ice. One is Wilson's on the Beach, the other is Itsu's. IMO Itsu's is the better option. Itsu's has been compared with Matsumoto's and Waiola. Itsu's is located inside of fishing tackle store, but don't let that fool you. It's a must try.
Hope this helps.
Sorry you didn't get a response, the Big Island can be pretty mysterious.
Hope you had a great time and found some good things to eat and enjoy.
I envy your staying in Captain Cook, we've been staying in King's Beach, very commercial! Everytime we start to ascend the mountain and hit Captain Cook I marvel at the change in scenery, the beautiful fruit/nut trees and the funky architecture. It reminds me of Costa Rica or something...