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Feb 13, 2012 05:40 AM

Big Island Casual Dining

Five of us are heading to the Big Island in early March for the week. We will, of course, go to a couple of fine dining spots (Merriman's or Browns, unless there's another suggestion). However, we'd also like to eat at some mid-price range places that are more casual. Not necessarily hamburger casual; maybe a step or two higher than that. We have some sushi places in mind (Monstera, Sensei) but are looking for other cuisines as well.

Suggestions? We'll be staying at the Hilton Waikoloa.

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  1. I'd suggest Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae (Italian, but with many good not-so-Italian-but-more-Hawaiian dishes) or perhaps Huli Sue's in Waimea (They do excellent BBQ)

    1 Reply
    1. re: stefohnee

      Sorry, scratch the rec for Huli Sue's - just found out they're closed! We're going to see if the location at Mauna Lani is still open when we're there next week.

    2. I would actually suggest Merriman's for lunch as a casual spot, too. We did this last week and it was great. Also checked out the Huli Sue's location at the Mauna Lani golf clubhouse, and I'd skip it. Greasy, greasy, greasy. The menu for lunch was half BBQ and half Italian, which was a weird mix. At night I guess they do Italian only, but we didn't try it. Our waiter says that the original Huli Sue's location still does BBQ at lunch, but their website definitely doesn't back that up.

      As for sushi, if you don't mind the drive (it's a pretty nice one) to Hawi, I highly recommend Sushi Rock there.

      We grabbed breakfast at the new Island Lava Java in Waikoloa village, which might be nice for a casual lunch or dinner too. I'd suggest it for breakfast over the Hilton Waikoloa breakfast. We stayed there once and the buffet didn't look that great. Ala carte was terrible - in 10 minutes you can drive to Island Lava Java, which is twice as good and half the price.

      I suggest Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae for lunch or dinner - we go back every year. I love the crab cake salad - it's got delicious, fresh tomatoes on top and a killer dressing.