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Jul 12, 2014 09:28 AM

Big Island - Kohala Ranch and beyond.

Just booked a fantastic home in Kohala Ranch for 10 nights - so we are about 20 minutes to Hawi, 20 minutes to Waimea, and 20 minutes to Resort Row and the beaches. We already know we will return to Bamboo and Sushi Rocks in Hawi. And we'll do sunset bar dining and strolling at Beach Tree at 4S.

As I start searching, I thought I would start a fresh thread for suggestions. We will likely return to Place of Refuge and Waipio Valley area. Fish markets, farmers markets, plate lunch, best island poke, food trucks.

What's still hot, and what's not?


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  1. Da Poke Shack looks road trip worthy. Cooler and ice packs - don't leave you vacation rental without them!

    Village Burger in Waimea looks promising.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bellachefa

      On my May visit, I liked Da Poke shack, but honestly am not sure it is road worthy all the way from Kohala Ranch area, unless one is heading to Kailua Kona anyway. For me it was very good, but not great. There wasn't much of a line when we went, and I was glad I didn't wait longer given the quality. I will say that it looked spotlessly clean and was well managed.

      Village Burger was great. Highly recommended and one of our favorite meals this last trip. Be aware that there is almost no seating: two tables outside in the mall parking lot, a counter inside, and that's about it. You can call ahead and place your order and perhaps take it to picnic somewhere (although we ate there, and I am not sure how well the food would travel). There is also a food court next to it in the mall which has lots of tables, so presumably you could eat at one of those.

      Food at Monstera in the Mauna Lani shops was fabulous on this, my second visit. However, service was 'relaxed' to the point of being annoying: LOONG waits between plates, we heard them tell a neighboring table about specials we weren't informed of, and bill was brought without asking if we wanted dessert...However, that wouldn't stop me from going again; the food really is that good.

    2. We have a house in Kohala Ranch and love it. Blue Dragon in Kawaihae is our favorite restaurant with great live music. Don't miss the national and state parks -0 minutes in Either direction. Enjoy. -Joe

      1 Reply
      1. re: JoeZ1

        Fantastic joe! I recall driving by the place. Had thought it closed, so this is great news. Lucky you. And thanks for the reminder to check out parks. Love that BI has lots of ocean access signage so you don't feel compelled to open a blue book or map, just let the road take you where it takes you! Mahalo

      2. 10 days at Kohala ranch will be fantastic..a little cooler with fab views.
        Friends have a home in Kukio and we debated flying over for a couple of days from Maui.
        What month are you headed over?
        Check out the FS Hualalai for lunch/dinner/drinks..


        5 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Thanks, I had already mentioned plans to return to 4S. It was our last casual meal at the bar before heading to airport last visit. A bargain price for admission to stroll the extensive grounds and take in the sunset. We are going in January. The home is at 800 ft so still pretty warm, although I will hope for some chill and rain before we head to Maui for a few nights in Wailea area.

          Any experience with Teshima's Restaurant when we're down south? Old school Japanese family restaurant. Yelp photos show frozen veggies, but the concept intrigues me for a different casual meal any time of the day. I do love me some japanese breakfast.

          Holuakoacafe also intrigues but a long drive home after dinner.

          1. re: Bellachefa

            This thread has my long report on Holuakoa Cafe from a few years ago. Yes, it is a long drive and no, I wouldn't go back.


            1. re: susancinsf

              Thankyou for sharing. Honestly, the house is so amazing that I will likely be sourcing as much local fish, meats and fruits and veggies as I can and cooking 'at home'

              It is good to have recognizable places to check out during road trips. And often times, I'm just not hungry when driving by a noted place, but am happy to recognize the establishment anyway. If that makes sense.

              1. re: Bellachefa

                no, that makes sense, and please do report back on any places you try: We visit the BI as often as we can afford (or maybe even a bit more often than that :-)) and updates are always welcome!

                Regarding the cooking at home: absolutely the way to go, even if the house weren't amazing. The quality of Big Island fish, meats and produce exceeds the quality of its restaurants, at least in my opinion. There is good dining there, but not much in the way of great dining, and yet lots of great ingredients.

                Hawi has a Saturday Farmer's Market, by the way (I think), and Waimea has two on Saturdays...(as well as a mid-week market on Wednesday).

                Edited to add: my email is in my profile: would love a private message with a link to the house you are staying in...especially if you end up loving it as much as you expect to do. Have fun!

                1. re: susancinsf

                  I have most experience with Kauai fish markets and farmers markets, so look forward to exploring the Island of Hawaii products.

        2. If you will be doing some of your own cooking (or like tuna jerky--ono!) go to Da Fish House in Kawaihae. Located right near the harbor with daily fresh catch. Nice people always have good suggestions. Lunch truck on site also.
          Kohala Ranch is beautiful---enjoy!

          Also grocery at The Shops at Mauna Lani has a decent selection if it's on your way home from an outing. Nice deli too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gourmanda

            mahalo gourmanda for your suggestions

          2. Is the mushroom farm still operating? I would love to make a mushroom ragu or mushroom pizza while watching the sunset from my kitchen!


            most of the posts on their website seem dated.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bellachefa

              Ok, that's just mean ;) I love it when we can get to the Big Island. Enjoy!!!!!

              1. re: Bellachefa

                I recall seeing their mushrooms in shops when I was there in May, so my guess is probably yes (?).