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Oct 26, 2012 08:24 AM

Big Island Tour of Food

Hi! I've been trying diligently to do my research and am not coming up with a whole lot. Would love if some hounds could please give me some help!

I'll be on the Big Island for a tour of sorts, so some of my meals will be chosen for me, and some I'd like to try to skip out on and find the best.

Because we'll be eating fancy-ish resort food in our meals that are paid for, I'm hoping to find total local's spots, hole-in-the-walls, just anything with truly amazing food. We'll have a car, and we're willing to drive.

Our first few nights we're staying in Kona (at Sheraton), though one of those days we're driving out to Ka'u, so can take suggestions over there.

Then we're at Mauna Lani, so would love suggestions around there.

Really the only ideas I've collected so far are Da Poke Shack and Hawaiian Style Cafe.

Looking for unique foods, stuff I can't get at home, so not Italian, French, et cetra, unless it's got some sort of twist...


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  1. I like the grilled fish sandwich at Harbor House. Also like their fries, almost no salt, very potato-y. Good creamy coleslaw.

    Also like Keei Cafe. Up a VERY steep driveway. Will be there today.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rainsux

      Re: Keei Cafe ... Cash only, Resv recommended for dinner.

    2. Aloha Dagoose,

      Hope you don't mind me tagging along on your post. I will be on the Big Island as well. Heading to Waikoloa from SF. I'm looking for local fare, Poke, fish, Farmers Markets, funky bars plus some mid range to high end restaurants. I shy away from the resort or big hotel dinning unless you tell me it's amazing. We will be taking a two day trip around the island too.

      Mahalo Big Island Chowhounds

      1. Here is a link to some "Konaweb" restaurant reviews. Contributions are from locals, residents and visitors.
        Good thing you are "willing to drive" that is what it is all about on the BIg Island. The Island is incredibly Vast....we had NO idea until that first visit.
        The Big Island does not have a wealth of good restaurants. The "local's "spots are frequented by both visitors and residents. No hidden idyllic locales, I afraid...
        A couple of spots we enjoy when on Island are
        Patz Pies @Papparoni's in Captain Cook: Great NY style Pizza, fresh salads
        Manago Hotel: Old Plantation style hotel 80 + yrs famous for their Porkchops
        Mahi's Fish & chips in Kailua Kona
        Island Fish & Chips in South Kohala...on the Lake in Waikoloa Beach Resort.
        Sansei: Japanese/seafood in Queen's Marketplace ( WBR
        Monstera: located in the Shoppes at Mauna Lani: great japanese, sushi
        Ka'u coffee is superior to many of the Kona offerings IMO
        Be sure to stop at Big Island Candies when in Hilo. Great for items to take home.

        1 Reply
        1. re: easily amused

          If you want local food I'd go to Hawaiian Style Cafe. One of the guide books gives it only an okay review but the loco moco is really good. It is only open until 1:30pm (noon on Sunday) so would need to be a late morning lunch. It's a bit out of the way but if you spend a day at Hapuna Beach or Mauna Kea beach, then you can take an extra drive to go there & visit Kamuela.

          Big Island Grill in Kailua also has good local food.

          Eat a lot of papayas - they are probably a lot better than the ones you get back home.

        2. Tropical Dreams Ice Cream in Hawi. It's absolutely superior. (Last we were there, you CAN get it at one of the ABC's at Waikoloa resort, but take the drive to Hawi. Lots of nice art galleries and shops.)

          I'd like to know if anyone has tried the lunch wagon at Da Fish House in Kawaihae? I imagine it would be good, if simple, fresh fish sandwiches and perhaps poke.

          3 Replies
          1. re: gourmanda

            Last time I was in Kona (about two years ago), you could also buy Tropical Dream cups at the sundry store at the entrance to the Kona Airport. Makes a nice treat to eat while waiting to board.

            The TD plant is in Waimea and they may be selling scoops there, too. But you're right, the ice cream is worthy of being sought out.

            Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi is pretty good.

            1. re: honu2

              Yes! We found that store at the airport . . .but the last time we were there, on our way home, the only good thing being our last taste of the ice cream. And the store was closed :(

              1. re: gourmanda

                Tropical Dreams bad news--

                They no longer have it for sale in the airport shops :( Still delicious though!