Skip to main content

Restaurant Big Island Hawaii

Discovering the Best Restaurants in the Big Island of Hawaii

If you’re dreaming about sun-soaked beaches, lush landscapes, and mouth-watering food, the Big Island of Hawaii is calling your name. This place is a foodie paradise, and we want to take you on a delicious journey across its diverse culinary landscape through local cuisine and what makes the best local restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii truly “the best”. So, grab your virtual fork and let’s dive in!

Best Restaurant in Big Island, Hawaii

The Flavorful East: Hilo’s Hidden Gems

First stop, Hilo! This side of the island is like a treasure chest filled with culinary gems and the best local restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hilo is all about fresh ingredients. Farmers’ markets here are bustling with vibrant fruits and vegetables, and the seafood? Oh man, it’s straight from the Pacific.

Hilo’s food scene is a blend of old-school and modern twists. You’ll find traditional Hawaiian dishes alongside innovative, contemporary cuisine. Think poke bowls loaded with ahi tuna, bursting with flavors from the ocean, or loco moco – a hearty dish with rice, a juicy hamburger patty, fried egg, and rich brown gravy. And let’s not forget about the food trucks! They’re serving up some of the best eats around. Whether it’s a quick bite of spam musubi or a plate of garlic shrimp, you can’t go wrong.

Upcountry Delights: Waimea and Its Surroundings

Next up, Waimea. Now, Waimea is cowboy country – yep, you heard that right! This area is known for its paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) heritage, and it shows in the food of some of the best restaurants in the Big island of Hawaii. Here, we’re talking about grass-fed beef that practically melts in your mouth. The ranches around here produce some of the finest beef you’ll ever taste.

In Waimea, you’ll find cozy, rustic restaurants that serve up dishes like kalua pork, slow-cooked to perfection, or lau lau, where pork is wrapped in taro leaves and steamed until it’s tender and flavorful. These are the kinds of meals that warm your heart and fill your belly.

Coastal Charms: Kona and the West Side

Swinging over to the west side, we hit Kona – the land of sunsets and Mai Tais. Kona is famous for its coffee, but the food here? It’s on another level. Imagine sipping a perfectly brewed cup of Kona coffee while gazing at the ocean. Pure bliss.

Kona’s culinary scene is diverse, offering everything from high-end dining to laid-back beachside grills. With an extensive range of the best restaurants in Big Island, Hawaii, fresh fish is a must-try here. Whether it’s grilled, seared, or raw in a poke bowl, the seafood is always top-notch. And if you’re in the mood for a drink, don’t miss out on the Mai Tais. This classic Hawaiian cocktail, with its blend of rum, lime, orgeat syrup, and orange curaçao, is the perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring.

Local Cuisine and Ingredients: the Secret for the Best Restaurants in Big Island, Hawaii

Sweet Treats: Hawaiian Desserts

Let’s talk sweets for a moment. Hawaiian desserts are a delightful mix of flavors and textures. Ever heard of malasadas? These Portuguese-inspired doughnuts are a Big Island staple. Soft, fluffy, and coated in sugar, they’re often filled with tropical flavors like guava, passion fruit, or coconut cream.

Then there’s haupia, a creamy coconut pudding that’s simply divine. And, of course, the legendary shaved ice – a mountain of finely shaved ice topped with syrups in every flavor imaginable, often served with a scoop of ice cream at the bottom and a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk on top. It’s the perfect way to cool down on a warm Hawaiian day.

Embracing Local Ingredients

One of the best things about dining on the Big Island is the emphasis on local ingredients–something crucial for the best restaurants in the Big island of Hawaii. From the fertile lands of Waimea to the bountiful ocean surrounding the island, the produce and seafood are as fresh as it gets. The taro plant, for example, is a cornerstone of Hawaiian cuisine. It’s used to make poi, a traditional staple that has a unique, slightly sour taste.

And let’s not forget about tropical fruits. Papayas, mangoes, pineapples, and lilikoi (passion fruit) are bursting with flavor. These fruits are often used in dishes or enjoyed fresh, providing a burst of sunshine in every bite.

The Spirit of Aloha in Every Bite

Now, no discussion about Hawaiian food would be complete without mentioning the special ingredient for all the best local restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii: the spirit of Aloha. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the people and the culture. When you dine on the Big Island, you’re experiencing a part of the island’s soul. The warmth and hospitality you feel are as integral to the meal as the ingredients themselves.

Local food in Hawaii is a reflection of its diverse cultural influences. You’ll find a melting pot of flavors here – from Japanese and Filipino to Portuguese and Polynesian. This culinary fusion is what makes Hawaiian food so unique and delicious.

Unique Local Dishes to Try

There are a few dishes that you absolutely must try while on the Big Island (make sure you’re trying them at the best restaurants in the Big island of Hawaii for the true experience). Kalua pork, for instance, is traditionally cooked in an underground oven called an imu. The result is smoky, tender pork that’s incredibly flavorful. Poi, made from pounded taro root, is another must-try. Its texture and flavor might be an acquired taste, but it’s a quintessential part of Hawaiian cuisine.

Don’t miss out on laulau, either. This dish involves wrapping pork or fish in taro leaves and steaming it until tender. It’s a taste of Hawaii in every bite. And of course, there’s poke – cubed raw fish marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings. It’s fresh, healthy, and oh-so-delicious.

Finding the Best Restaurants in Big Island, Hawaii: A Food Lover’s Paradise

So there you have it, folks. The Big Island is more than just a tropical paradise; it’s a food lover’s dream come true. Whether you’re exploring the lush landscapes of Hilo, the ranchlands of Waimea, or the sun-drenched beaches of Kona, there’s a culinary adventure waiting for you.

The next time you find yourself on the Big Island, be sure to savor the flavors at the best local restaurants on the Big Island of Hawaii, embrace the spirit of Aloha, and enjoy every bite. From fresh seafood and grass-fed beef to sweet treats and traditional dishes, the food here is a celebration of the island’s rich culture and natural bounty.