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Big Island dining recommendations

Chowhounders - I need your help with suggestions for fine and casual dining on the Big Island. We went last year and so far the only place we are planning on returning to is Merriman's. We're staying at a B&B in the Captain Cook area, but are willing to drive. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and we are open to any type of cuisine.

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  1. Boy, Lots of closures of late.. Dining choices are getting limited. You can blow the budget at Pahui'a (Four Seasons)
    Near Captain Cook is the Coffee Shack..great for casual lunch or breakfast
    We enjoy the pork chops at Manago Hotel...very 1950's style..maybe even 1940's Either way .delicious.
    In Hilo..Cafe Pesto, Nori's saimin for local fare, very casual.
    In Waikoloa beach resort , Island fish and chip stand is tasty and affordable.
    Now, I realize these recommendations are not all in your neck of the woods but you did say you were willing to drive. We know the deal. Good thing there is unlimited mileage with car rentals !!!

    4 Replies
    1. re: easily amused

      Can you provide some detail on some of the closures? Sounds like I'll need to make some calls ahead of time as to who's still open for business.

      1. re: ladybugthepug

        Those that have closed within the last nine months:
        Waikoloa Beach Grille
        Big Island Steak House (KIng's Shops)
        Hard Rock, Hooter's, Rio's, Kuakini Cook House
        Rumored to be closing soon or for sale..... Donatoni's at the Hilton ( Waikoloa Beach resort), O's Bistro, Huggo's (closed for Lunch), Casandra's (Greek)
        Sadly a sign of the times.
        Perhaps the local chowhounds can provide more updates.
        Our next visit is a few weeks off...

        1. re: easily amused

          I thought Casandra's was closed as of my last visit (in September 08), though I can't swear to it.

          My favorite Big Island restaurant is Kenichi Pacific. In Keahou (in the mall) so not too awful of a schlep from Capt Cook.

          1. re: easily amused

            Thank you for that info. Of the various dining venues at the Waikoloa Hilton, I thought that Donatoni's was the best.

            Still, as you say, "sign of the times."


      2. Great description of the Manago Hotel by easily amused. You might find this link interesting; http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overv.... Have a great trip

        1 Reply
        1. re: curiousgeo

          Looks like the link didn't work. Try this one, http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Write... If it doesn't work you can go to Roadfood.com and do a State search. In Hawaii the Manago Hotel is listed with a review and some photos.

        2. we love the Holuakoa Cafe for dinner...Wed thru Sat evenings...have excellent risotto and gnoochi dished as well as very good meat entrees...their fig appetizers are spectacular...located in the tiny artist community of Holualoa...reservations recommended

          1. forgot to mention...Keii Cafe is good(Capt Cook)...Teshima's is good local style Japanese food(Kainiliu)...the Roadhouse Cafe has very good lunches...lots of folks like Mi's, which has Italian cuisine(Cook)...Jake's Bar-B-Que is good for lunch (Honaunau)

            1. Focusing on Kona side only...

              Second the recommendations for the Manago Hotel and Teshima's, both near where you're staying. Funky, delicious, and economical. Old Hawai'i.

              Up in Kailua town, don't miss Ceviche Dave's. Not long on variety (unless you count different types of ceviche), but outstanding quality. Carry-out only, if I recall correctly, but it's fairly close to the old airport beach. Bring your own cooler. A six pack, some ceviche, and sand between your toes - what's not to like?

              Waimea has lots of great options, Merriman's being prominent among them. In addition to your fine dining option, there's also Hawai'ian Style Cafe (breakfast and lunch only). Huge portions of ono local kine grindz.

              Keep heading counterclockwise, and you'll find yourself in Honoka'a, home of Tex's Drive In. Get hot malasadas. Don't ask for nutritional information, and never, ever mention it to your cardiologist.

              1. North of Capt. Cook and south of Kona we always like the Aloha Angel for breakfast and lunch. They also have great baked goods.
                Although "just a coffee shop" type of place, in Kona the Big Island Grill never disaapoiiints for lunch and has big portions. They have a catch-of the-day type salad with a great sesame dressing, and great burgers. The Kona Brewing CO. has GREAT beer and decent pizza.
                In Waimea we LOVE Huli Sue's barbq. everything we've had there is good. Merriman's in our current big island favorite, although not cheap.
                Although others have complained on this board, we always have good food at the Bamboo in Hawi. There is also a new (1-2 years old) place that i can't recall the name of in the motel at the corner of Hawi Road across from the gas station. It's good as welll......a streak house kind of place, with live music most nights. Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae, and there's also a good fish house in Kawaihae as well. And don't miss Duke's. Our friends went for the first time on our last visit, and they're still talking about those malasadas!
                I don't recall the name, ut there is a great thai restaurant in Hilo, on the road near the aiarpost.....not to be confused with the couple of thai places in town. It's in a modernish business office type of building. All of this is as of October. Hope none of these places have closed.