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Local Restaurants in Big Island

MUST VISIT: 10 Unmissable Local Restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii

Welcome, food enthusiasts and travelers! Imagine a culinary landscape as diverse and vibrant as the Big Island of Hawaii. Here, every meal celebrates rich flavors, fresh ingredients, and the aloha spirit.

In this guide, we dive into unmissable and best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii that are not just eateries but landmarks of Hawaiian taste and tradition. From the shores of Kona to the lush hills of Hilo, join us on a delicious journey that promises to torture your taste buds and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Best Local Restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii

1. Da Poke Shack: A Poke Paradise

Nestled by the Kona coastline, Da Poke Shack is one of the best local restaurants in the Big Island, Hawaii, and offers an authentic taste of Hawaii with its fresh, locally sourced poke. Each bowl is a colorful canvas of seafood artistry, featuring the day’s catch seasoned with traditional Hawaiian flavors. Try their signature ‘Pele’s Kiss’ – a fiery blend of spices that dances on the tongue, or opt for a classic shoyu poke for a taste of timeless Hawaii.

2. Huggo’s On The Rocks: Dining with a View

At Huggo’s On The Rocks, one of the best restaurants in Big Island Hawaii, the ambiance is as spectacular as the menu. This oceanfront gem treats you to panoramic views of the Pacific, accompanied by waves and island music. Their menu, boasting the freshest seafood and island-inspired cocktails, makes for a perfect sunset dining experience. The grilled catch of the day, marinated in local herbs, is a symphony of flavors not to be missed.

3. Merriman’s: Farm-to-Table Excellence

In the upcountry region of Waimea, Merriman’s stands as one of the best local restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii– a beacon of farm-to-table dining. Chef Peter Merriman, a pioneer of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, crafts dishes that are a testament to his commitment to local agriculture. The menu, a celebration of the island’s bounty, features creations like Wok-charred Ahi, which encapsulates the essence of the ocean with its freshness and flavor.

4. Hawaiian Style Cafe: For the Love of Comfort Food

Hawaiian Style Cafe is where traditional comfort food meets Hawaiian hospitality. Known for its enormous portions, this café is a favorite for locals and tourists. Dive into their famous pancakes that cover the entire plate, or savor the rich flavors of their loco moco, a true Hawaiian classic. It’s one of the best restaurants in Big Island Hawaii that feels like home, with food that warms the soul.

5. Kona Brewing Company: More Than Just Beer

Kona Brewing Company, while famed for its selection of craft beers, also offers a culinary experience that complements its brews. Their menu, featuring gourmet pizzas and island-inspired pub fare, is perfect for a casual yet flavorful meal. The pizzas, topped with fresh, local ingredients, are a must-try, especially when paired with one of their signature beers–truly one of the best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii.

6. Kaaloa’s Super Js Authentic Hawaiian: A Hidden Gem

In the quaint area of Captain Cook, Kaaloa’s Super Js is one of the best local restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii– a humble establishment serving authentic Hawaiian food. Their laulau, a traditional dish of pork wrapped in luau leaves and steamed to perfection, is a culinary journey back in time. It’s a taste of true Hawaiian tradition, made with love and served with a smile.

7. Umekes Fishmarket Bar and Grill: The Seafood Lover’s Dream

Umekes Fishmarket Bar and Grill is a paradise for seafood aficionados. Located in the heart of Kailua-Kona, Umekes prides itself on serving the freshest fish local fishermen catch. Their legendary poke bowls offer a modern twist on this classic Hawaiian dish. Don’t miss their Ahi Poke Nachos – a fusion of local flavors with a contemporary flair that makes it one of the best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii.

8. Tex Drive-In: Home of the Malasada

For a taste of traditional Portuguese-Hawaiian fusion, head to Tex Drive-In, famous for its malasadas – fluffy, sugar-coated doughnuts without holes. Located in Honokaa, this casual eatery is the perfect pit stop for families. Besides their sweet treats, they serve hearty local meals, making it a hit for both breakfast and lunch.

9. Pahoa Fresh Fish: A Hidden Seafood Gem

In the small town of Pahoa, Pahoa Fresh Fish offers an authentic Hawaiian seafood experience and is one of the best local restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii. This unassuming roadside eatery might be easy to miss, but its fish dishes are unforgettable. Known for its fish, chips, and fresh sashimi, this spot is a true hidden gem where simplicity and freshness reign supreme.

10. The Coffee Shack: A Cliffside Retreat

Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking Kealakekua Bay, The Coffee Shack serves more than just coffee. Their view alone makes them one of the best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii. While Kona coffee is a must-try, the menu lists out the delightful breakfast and lunch options, including fresh sandwiches and homemade pies. Dining here offers a feast for the taste buds and the eyes.

Local Hawaiian Cuisine at Best Restaurants in Big Island Hawaii

The cuisine is a celebration of simplicity and sustainability, featuring ingredients that are as natural as they are nourishing. Poi, a creamy, slightly tangy staple made from taro root, exemplifies the indigenous diet, alongside dishes like laulau, where fish or pork is wrapped in luau leaves and steamed to perfection.

The traditional plate at best local restaurants in Big island, Hawaii, is incomplete without mentioning the revered kalua pig, slow-cooked in an imu, an underground oven, imparting a smoky, succulent, uniquely Hawaiian flavor.

As waves of immigrants from Asia, Europe, and the Americas reached Hawaii’s shores, they brought a kaleidoscope of flavors and cooking techniques, giving rise to the modern Hawaiian cuisine we see today. This contemporary cuisine, known as Hawaii Regional Cuisine, is a fusion of the old and the new, where local ingredients are given a global twist.

Chefs across the islands are reimagining classic dishes, infusing them with Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, and Korean influences. Poke, once a simple fishermen’s snack made with raw fish, sea salt, and crushed kukui nuts, now sees myriad iterations, from the spicy ahi poke bursting with flavors of sesame oil and soy sauce to more avant-garde versions featuring beets or tofu.

The loco moco, a comfort food staple, has evolved into gourmet fare in some of the best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii, featuring locally sourced beef, organic eggs, and artisanal gravies.

Satisfy Your Taste Buds in Hawaii  – Opt for The Best Local Restaurants in  Big Island, Hawaii

As our culinary tour concludes, it’s clear that the best local restaurants in the Big Island, Hawaii, offer a majestic and diverse dining experience as its landscapes. These ten best local restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii are more than just places to eat; they are a journey through the heart of Hawaii’s culinary culture. Each bite tells a story of the island’s rich history, its vibrant present, and its commitment to sustainability and tradition.

As you venture around the islands and try one of the above-listed best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii, let your taste buds lead the way to these unmissable local spots. Embrace the diversity of flavors, the warmth of Hawaiian hospitality, and the joy of sharing meals with loved ones. Remember, in Hawaii, every meal nourishes the body and the soul. Bon appétit, or as we say in Hawaii, ‘Ono loa!

Local Restaurants in Big Island