Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
Feb 14, 2012 01:40 PM

Dinner in Waimea (Kamuela) on the Big Island

Going to be on Hawaii Island at the end of the month. One evening friends and I will be in the Waimea area in the early evening before heading back over the saddle road for sunset and stargazing at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. We will be coming from Hawi, so I really don't want to drive all the way down to Waikoloa unless someone has some amazing recommendation that simply can not be missed.

Wondering what chowhounds recommend. Merriman's? Thiebaut's? Village Burger? Other suggestions? Both Merriman's and Thiebault's have gotten some vicious reviews lately on Yelp, but I'm always suspicious of Yelp (people complaining that someplace served potato soup that was cold, or blackend ahi that was raw in the middle.)

Looking forward to your comments.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Aloha! You might want to consider Pau Pizza as an alternative to the restaurants you have listed. They are not just a pizza place, their salads are good and you could put fish or something else on top of the salad if you want something a bit more filling before stargazing.

    Merrimans was fine the last time we were there but I would save it for an evening when you don't have plans to go somewhere else. Village Burger.....I must be the only person on the plant who doesn't like it. Fries were good though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: connecticut_lady

      thanks Conneticut_Lady. I guess kamuela isn't that popular to eat - who'da thunk it?

    2. Been some years, but we really enjoyed Thiebaut's. Had reservations for a dinner, but found ourselves in the neighborhood, so did lunch. It was great, and we were glad that we got to do it for dinner too.

      Have not dined at that Merriman's, but others have been favs. of ours. Still, different locations?

      Enjoy, aloha and travel safely,


      2 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        almost every recent review of Thiebaut's has said that they have fallen from grace. Merrimans gets mostly good reviews. At the same time our 'important' meal will be dinner at Kilauea Lodge (my favorite for many reasons.) Fortunately it won't be my decision alone, there will be 4 or 5 of us to decide...hehehe. Where ever we end up i'll get a posting up as soon as I can get around to it.

        thanks for the comments. Thiebaut's isn't out of the question yet.

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          Well, it has been several years, and much can change in that time.

          Going back a bit, we also had some great food on the general Kona-side, but then almost each restaurant has changed dramatically. Stuff happens.

          Also we had (going back even further) bad service and food at The Canoe House, but much more recently, others have praised them. There, I hope that much HAS changed, as the venue was great - just not enough to get us past many other problems.

          Have not read of recent reviews of Daniel Thiebaut's, but if the sources are credible, then I would say that things changed, and not for the better. Once, it was very good, though just short of excellent.

          Most of all, travel safely, and enjoy,


      2. I highly recommend Merriman's - I try to go every year when we visit. I also saw some crazy Yelp review when I checked them out on there the other day, but the reviews seem to be consistently good otherwise. It seems like most people complain about small portions. If you're someone who values freshness and quality over portion size, this shouldn't be an issue. We always get the most wonderful service when we go, and the food has been consistently great every time I've been.

        You could try the new restaurant in the old Huli Sue's spot, which has transformed into someplace much fancier called Allen's Table. It JUST opened, so not many reviews. (It has some not-so-good reviews incorrectly posted to Huli Sue's Yelp page, mostly from people who stopped in expecting BBQ or having eaten at the previous incarnation.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: stefohnee

          We have dined at Merriman's Maui several times, and enjoyed each visit. However, there are some major negative reviews of that restaurant, and many are contemporary with our visits. Not sure what the problem is. It could be just a difference in palates, or maybe the night, that the reviewer went, or maybe something else. There is just no way of telling.

          On some other sites, I have seen people, who pan a restaurant. In a few cases, I have tracked the poster, to see what the deal was. In one case, a particular poster gave horrible reviews to any up-scale restaurant, and only gave good reviews to a couple of low-end chain restaurants. Not sure what that was about, but I quickly discounted all of their reviews.

          Wish that I had something recent for K'Man on Merriman's Big Island, but I do not.


        2. We hit up Merriman's for lunch last week (to save a bit of $$$ over dinner) and it was great. I had an amazing cobb salad with kalua pork (it came with a warm and delicious roll with red salted butter), my husband had the burger and loved it. Service was excellent even though the place was quite full. We shared the poke for a starter - it was great! It's served with some steamed rice, which is kind of nice. (I'm used to getting poke just by itself, I guess.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: stefohnee

            sounds great. almost had lunch in Kamuela and almost had dinner there, but never ended up eating there at all. Still good information for next time.