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Jan 1, 2008 12:03 AM

Upscale Kona Recs

I'm looking for an upscale place to celebrate an anniversary dinner in Kona. I did a bit of searching and Pahuia seems to fit the criteria well, but it is a bit far (40 min from my hotel, the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort). Any suggestions closer to where I will be?

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  1. Pahuia would be my choice, probably. It is probably a bit less than 40 minutes if you aren't at rush hour.

    Close options:which is more important, food or view/ambiance?. If you want great food in nice but certainly not upscale surroundings, we loved Kenichi Pacific in the Keauhou Shopping Center. Full bar, nice casual but somewhat celebratory vibe, no view except of the parking lot, and excellent pacific rim food.

    If being oceanfront and outdoors appeals, you might look into the restaurant that used to be Edwards, in the Kanaloa at Kona condos.very close to you, have heard mixed reports about whether or not it is re-opened, (t was closed, I heard it reopened but can't confirm that) no reports since management changed on the food (it used to be mediterrenean and good, but that was five or seven years ago)....I actually had my wedding dinner there (under the old chef/owner seven years ago)...beautiful ocean-front location. Has anyone tried the food there lately?

    2 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf

      The Restaurant at Kanaloa at Kona has reopened, cleverly named "Grill and Bar" and the menu states that they are now "affiiliated" with Jameson's by the Sea. The food looked good the night we went (last week), but I had a nasty "Hawaiian cold" and couldn't really taste it to evaluate it . My spouse liked her Ono dish, but felt it was somewhat overcooked compared to an Ono dish she had at Kenichi Pacific in the nearby shopping center, earlier in the week. Kenichi Pacific has no Ocean View at all, but has great Pacific Rim food in addition to an impressive Sushi menu. Kanaloa at Kona's Grill and Bar has the outstanding view, but the food might dissapoint a bit.

      1. re: rpl

        thanks for the report back, much appreciated! I definitely agree that the food is great at Kenichi Pacific, it definitely would be my choice for dinner in that neighborhood if food were the top priority.

    2. It's really only Pahu'i a that fits exactly what you're looking for - ask for a front table. I haven't been for a long time, but in my mind, a far 2nd choice would be Brown's Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid & closer to you - it's right on the beach & romantic. I remember the food being good, but not much past that...

      10 Replies
      1. re: torta basilica

        Brown's would be even further away ( North) from Keauhou. It is up at Mauna Lani area Pahui'a is the choice for a special event. 15 minutes closer. You have a car?

        1. re: easily amused

          You're so right - what was I thinking? I thought they were up in Kohala/Waikoloa, where most tourists stay - didn't read carefully enough...

        2. re: torta basilica

          We just returned and we enjoyed Browns Beach house considerably more than Pahu'i a. The Four Seasons on Maui and the Big Island have recently been sold and there are some staffing changes taking place. Maui is struggling much more than the Big Island with the changes but after spending a week at the FS in Maui and eating at Pahu'i a on The Big Island we were not impressed. Browns is an absolute bargain in comparison and worth the extra 15 minutes. Go early to get a table near the path by the water as the sun goes down and they light the torches.

          1. re: Docsknotinn

            Doc - this is very disappointing news as we've had some memorable dinners at Pahu'i a. when did this sale go down?

            1. re: ibstatguy

              We spent a week at the FS on Maui the first week of December and then went to the Big Island. From what I could gather from the concierge the sale to Michael Dell of theese two units was fairly recent. We had a terrble meal at Duo and Pucks was really struggling as well. Some major staffing changes taking place. Our impression was the FS on the Big Island seemed to be feeling the change a lot less but we stayed at the Fairmont and to be very honest the food was much better. Norios Sushi bar and Browns were both excellent. I'm sorry to say we didn't have a single memorable meal at either FS. In fact we wound up walking out on a comped dinner it was so bad.

              1. re: Docsknotinn

                Doc - thanks for the (distressing) followup

                in the event that you go back to the Big Island, try Merrimans up in Waimea, its very good

                we've heard good things about Browns so I guess we'll be giving that a try

                1. re: ibstatguy

                  I expect that over the next few months the FS will settle in with the new management. For now I'd skip it.If you haven't been through the Fairmont it's a beautifull older property but the rooms can't compare to the FS.
                  We really enjoyed Waimea but never made it to Merrimans. We also enjoyed the coffee shops in Hawi. The coffee bar at Kona Joes has to get my vote for the most scenic coffee bar ever. Not cheap but very good. We enjoyed the BI much more than Maui. What I really found myself wanting there with all that fantastic fish and produce was my own kitchen.

                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                    we rented a condo once on the Mauna Lani property for that very reason...keep thinking we should do it again

                2. re: Docsknotinn

                  Just as an FYI, the FS Hualalai was sold in June of 06, FS Maui in 2004. So I'm not sure what is affecting the service and food quality issues, but obviously there are issues as you are not the first person to have a disappointing experience at Pahui'a. Glad to hear another good report on Browns. We're looking forward to going there next week.

                  1. re: gourmanda

                    This is what the concierge staff on the eigth floor (Maui) was telling people. Maybe the staff feels that they have been going down hill since the sale. Several employees mentioned they have a new chef. No idea if any of it is accurate or just excuses for poor service.

          2. I've seen good reviews of a french oriented restuarant in the Kona area right on the main highway, sorry I don't have a name at hand

            2 Replies
            1. re: ibstatguy

              You might be thinking of Daniel Thiebaut in Waimea? But that is going to make it a trek from the Sheraton.

              1. re: gourmanda

                la bourgogne is the name and its in Kona. wasn't thinking of Thiebault's.