Big Island (Kona Region) Eats?
I'm going to visit Hawaii for the very first time in a couple of weeks and want to know about great food in the Kona region. I'm staying at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa and I'm looking for good places near there. I've also heard a lot about the plate specials and would love to try those as well! Price isn't a huge concern - I just want to hear about great food!
Hi. I live on the Hilo side.As far as west side goes, I'll third the Kona Brewing Company It's better than your average brewpub. Seared Ahi is a personal favorite there.
The west sie location for Pesto is about an hour north of Kona in Kawaihae. If I was driving that far, I'd just go the few extra miles to Waimea to dine at Merrieman's. Lunch is a very good value there ($12-$22). Dinner's pretty pricey. Staff is clumsy, but you have to remember, the employee base on the Big Island is tiny. The Kona Pizza Hut actually has had to fly people in from Oahu to work there!
And for all who might be in Hilo again, Cafe Pesto is fine, but you're much, much better off going to the Seaside Restaurant (Note: Do not confuse the Seaside restaurant with the Coconut Grill, which is next to the Seaside Hotel. Coconut Grill is very mediocre).
The Seaside Restaurant is on its third or fourth generation and serves fantastic fish (I prefer it grilled with the mac-nut pesto reduction). Also recommend the calamari (really thick and tender. Definitely call for reservations. You also may request that they catch a mullet out of their on-the-premises pond and steam it for you (definitely have to call ahead for that). That's about as fresh as it comes. Can't recommend the place enough.
Thanks for the Café Pesto/Hilo update. We planned on doing it once, and ended up twice - very nice!
I have a request: there is/was a restaurant, south of the deep harbor, that is located on a fish pond/small bay. It sits on stilts over this small body of water. We had a wonderful meal w/ great service, but I cannot find the info, or recall the name. It was a "family-style" place, though definitely did cater to the tourists. I've poured over MapQuest, and my AAA maps of the Big Island, and cannot even find the street that it would have been off of. I'd guess that it was built in the '60s/70s, when attempts were being made to make Hilo a "destination location," and the staff was excellent, as was the seafood. If you happen to know this restaurant, please let me know the name.
re: Bill Hunt
That name does not ring a bell. I wonder if the name has changed, since my last visit. It seems, in the dusty recesses of my memory, that it was a person's name, but Merriman's (Kona-side) is blocking. I'll still search my old reviews, and notes from that trip, but it may be too long ago to be of any use.
Thanks for the update, and maybe I can find some history of the location and see if it's undergone a name/management change. When we dined there, the food was very good and the servers were top-notch. As with most of the dining in the Hilo area, it is not haute cuisine, but good, friendly and they worked very hard. I hope to get back to Hilo soon. It was a bit of a time-capsule and we loved it, kitsch and all. I felt that I had landed at Aloha Tower on the "Pacific Clipper" in 1953!
Again, mahalo nui,
I was there a week ago and have a few suggestions.
- In Waimea we had a great lunch at Charlie's Thai ( http://www.chowhound.com/topics/428877 ).
- On a friend's recommendation, we went to the Fairmont Orchid for lunch at their beach bar cafe (next to Brown's restaurant there). You sit at tables with your feet in the sand with sea turtles just beyond the rock wall. Their fish sandwich special (mahi mahi that day) was very good.
- Down the coast a bit from Kailua-Kona is the Coffee Shack. It's well known, but is really a "don't miss" for the great view from their deck. The food was just OK but worth it anyway.
- Big Island Grill in Kailua-Kona for very good breakfasts (probably other meals also) in a coffee shop atmosphere. My ahi and eggs were excellent (try getting that in a coffee shop on the mainland).
Local food/cheap eats.
Big Island Grill -
Here's my review: http://vegasbuff.blogspot.com/2007/06/big-island-grill.html
Splasher's Grill - Stick with the basics like pancakes, burgers, wraps.
Manago Hotel - Famous for their pork chops and very reasonably priced.
Teshima's - Home style Japanese food, also affordable.
Hualalai Grille -
My review: http://vegasbuff.blogspot.com/2007/06/hualalai-grille-by-alan-wong.html
Merriman's Restaurant -
My review: http://vegasbuff.blogspot.com/2007/06...
Coast Grille - Sit on the terrace and watch the sunset if you can. I've read mixed reviews about the place, but I had a wonderful meal there.
It is great to be able to escape the mega-resorts and get some low-key and lower-priced food.
I enjoyed Cafe Pesto which is north of Kona in the town of Kawaihae.
There is a Vietnamese cafe called BaLe in the Kona Coast shopping center that is inexpensive and good.
Waimea is charming and has a less touristy vibe than Kona - good coffee shops and restaurants.
Here is a link that might be helpful: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/259244