If you’re traveling to Hawaii’s Big Island, you may find yourself asking “Where should I eat on the Big Island?” or “Where can I find the best food on the Big Island?” Well we’re here to help!
There are so many options, and it’s often hard to tell which ones will be worth your time and money.
We’ve tracked down a list of our favorite spots for you to try — from fine dining experiences to hole-in-the-wall gems where the locals eat! From breakfast through dinner, there’s something for everyone in this guide.
Below are our top picks for the best food on the Big Island, broken down by location:
Ulu Ocean Grill, Beach Tree Bar and Lounge, Island Lava Java, Da Poke Shack, Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill, Kona Brewing Company, Huggo’s on the Rocks, Laulima Food Patch, Big Island Grill, and Broke Da Mouth Grindz
Pineapples Hilo, Le Yellow Sub, Hilo Bay Cafe, Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill Hilo, Hula Hulas and Hawaiian Style Cafe Hilo
Island Fish and Chips, Roy’s, Lava Lava Beach Club, and Kuleana Rum Shack
Brown’s Beach House Restaurant, Manta, and Merriman’s
Ning’s Thai Cuisine, Pho ’19, Pahoa Fresh Fish, Pahoa Smoothie Shack
Best Restaurants in Kona
Ulu is our pick for the best fine dining/romantic dinner on the Big Island. The restaurant (located at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai) has fantastic views, and the entire menu is phenomenal.
Everything is presented beautifully and tastes great; it’s a must-try! Their menu features local fish prepared to perfection. If you’re in the mood for seafood, some options include steak, pork, or sushi.
The sunset dinner at this restaurant is one of the best on the island. Be sure to make your reservations in advance as it fills up quickly.
Related: Be sure to check out the best places to watch a sunset while on the Big Island.
Another highlight of Ulu Ocean Grill was the complimentary macadamia nut soufflé dessert.
Located at the Four Seasons Hualalai, Beach Tree is another excellent option for fine dining on the Big Island.
If you’re looking for great food, spectacular views, and an unforgettable dining experience, be sure to book a table at Beach Tree next time you’re in Kona. Also, make sure to book in advance as they fill up quickly.
For a more casual experience, check out the Island Lava Java. The food here is fantastic, and the ocean views are spectacular.
Their menu has great options for everyone, including vegetarian dishes like their vegetarian sandwich served on honey or wheat bread with island ripe tomatoes, roasted garlic, cucumber, avocado, carrot, and macadamia nut pesto.
My favorite time to go to Island Java is breakfast time; their island waffles are to die for, and the eggs benedict was everything.
Island Lava Java is an excellent option if you want a quick bite to eat on the beach.
For takeout or a casual meal, be sure to check out Da Poke Shack. For those who love poke, this is a great place to fill that craving — it’s fresh, delicious, and never frozen.
While not considered a cheap restaurant, Da Poke Shack is affordable and the portions are generous.
For a great meal, you don’t need to break the bank; Da Poke Shack is your spot!
Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill is a more casual restaurant with great food. The fish options are fresh, local, and delicious. If you are not a fish lover, don’t worry; they have plenty of other options on their menu.
The prices here are not cheap, but they aren’t extremely expensive either. The service is fast and efficient, and the food is always fresh and delicious.
If you are looking for a good restaurant with delicious beer, Kona Brewing Company is the place to go. The ambiance is first-class, the food is good, and the prices are affordable.
Their fish tacos are fantastic (although they might be too spicy for some), and so are their salads and pizza.
Their menu has something for everyone. Be sure to try their Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale, or if you are not much of a beer person, their lemonade is also delicious.
The food here is delicious, and the atmosphere is excellent. They have some of the best fresh fish on the island and a drink menu that is to die for. Their Bloody Mary is the best, plus their fish tacos are on point!
Their menu has something for everyone; from hamburgers to seafood, you won’t be disappointed.
If you want a great meal at a great price with an unforgettable view, check out Huggo’s on the Rocks.
While not cheap, the prices here are not expensive either for the quality of food you get.
For a great takeout meal, check out Laulima Food Patch. If you are on the go and want something fast, this is the place to go. Everything from their salads, sandwiches to their many bowls are delicious.
The prices here are also not that expensive, especially given the portions they give you.
Their food is fresh and healthy; a great option if you want to eat clean.
The food here is fantastic, the portions are huge, and the prices are affordable.
Their fish and chips were delicious, as were their burgers and salads. Their portions are so big you’ll be taking half of it home for later!
The service is fast and efficient, but always friendly. If you are looking for a great casual meal at an affordable price, go to Big Island Grill.
Located just off of Kona Airport Road, be sure to check it out next time you’re flying in or out of town.
The food here is cheap and delicious. Their kalua pork and garlic shrimp are a favorite, but you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. The portions are huge, and the prices won’t break your wallet!
For a great meal while traveling, check out Broke Da Mouth Grindz.
Best Restaurants in Hilo
Pineapples Grill and Bar
This top restaurant in Hilo offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have everything from salads to fish tacos and beef tenderloin. If you are looking for a fine dining experience with a great menu, check them out!
Their prices are not incredibly expensive, but they aren’t cheap either. The service is fast and efficient, and the food is always fresh and delicious.
Le Yellow Sub
If you’re looking for the freshest and best sandwiches in Hilo, look no further. Le Yellow Sub offers the best fresh food on the island and a variety of options to choose from. Their prices are cheap, and their portions are huge.
If you are traveling through town, make sure to check them out and bring your appetite!
For a great restaurant with excellent drinks, check out Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill Hilo. The food here is delicious, and the menu has multiple options. While not on the cheap side, the portion sizes and quality of food make up for it.
The atmosphere here is also great; a perfect place for a romantic night out or to catch up with friends.
If you want a great meal, check out Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill next time you’re in Hilo!
Located in the heart of Hilo, Hawaiian Style Cafe is definitely worth checking out. This restaurant is popular amongst locals, and its prices are affordable with large portions.
They offer multiple items on the menu, but I highly recommend going to this restaurant for breakfast. They have some of the best breakfast on the island.
For a great meal in the heart of Hilo, check out Hawaiian Style Cafe.
Located in Hilo, Hula Hulas is an excellent affordable option on the island. They have great food and drinks at a reasonable price.
Best Restaurant in Waikoloa
Island Fish and Chips is a hidden gem. They have an extensive menu with everything from sushi to burgers, making this restaurant perfect for anyone looking for any meal at any time of the day!
Their prices are cheap and their portions are huge, so you’ll always have enough food to eat without spending too much. Their fish options are so fresh and delicious, so be sure to try the fish and chips and fried pineapple while you’re there.
Be sure to check them out next time you’re in Waikoloa!
Located near the beach, Roy’s is perfect for a night out with friends and family. While on the expensive side, the drinks, food, and service are incredible. If you are looking for a romantic night out or a special occasion, this is the place to go.
Located in the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Lava Lava Beach Club is known for its great location, food, drinks, and atmosphere. Located on the beach with perfect sunset views, this restaurant is the ideal spot for a night out with friends and family.
It can be a bit pricey, but this place is famous for its quality of service, atmosphere and experience, so if you’re looking for something special definitely check them out!
They also have a minibar on-site that offers some of the best Mai Tais on the island. You can enjoy your drink while you wait at your table.
Kuleana Rum Shack is known for its great food, drinks, and atmosphere. They have a wide variety of seafood, drinks, and other options on the menu that are all well-priced.
Be sure to stop by Kuleana Rum Shack if you are in Waikoloa and looking for a high-quality meal. Also, definitely try one of their rum drinks!
Best Restaurant in Waimea
Located in the heart of Waimea, Brown’s Beach House Restaurant is definitely worth checking out. They focus on fresh farm-to-table ingredients. The setting is spectacular — right on the water with fantastic sunset views.
Their food is fantastic and goes perfectly with their atmosphere, which includes live music!
Located on the Kohala Coast, Manta is another excellent option on the island. This restaurant has fantastic ocean views, and the food is spectacular.
While more expensive than some other restaurants on the island, it’s worth checking them out if you are on the island. Make sure to make your reservation early as this restaurant books up quickly.
An excellent choice for farm-to-table, Merriman’s is located near Waimea. This restaurant has an extensive menu that is perfect for lunch or dinner. At night you can enjoy live music at their bar area, making this place even more fun.
Their prices are reasonable, making it an excellent option for anyone looking for something affordable without sacrificing quality. I recommend trying their ceviche of the day appetizer and one of their many cocktails, beers, and wines.
Make sure to check them out next time you’re in the area!
Best Restaurant in Pahoa
Located in the heart of Pahoa, Ning’s is a stellar option. This restaurant has authentic Thai food and is reasonably priced. We enjoyed taking our food to-go from here, as it was super convenient to eat at home or on the go.
Another great choice in Pahoa, Pho ’19, is a good option for quick to-go Vietnamese food. It’s a tasty and affordable option worth checking out if you’re in Pahoa.
Located in the heart of Pahoa, this restaurant has some of the best food on the island. This casual spot has fantastic seafood, and its prices are very reasonable for their serving size and quality. Be sure to try their fish and chips while you’re there; it’s some of the best!
Pahoa Smoothie Shack
Pahoa Smoothie Shack is an excellent option for well-priced fresh fruit smoothies, fresh wraps, and other food options. This is a great spot to stop by if you’re in the mood for something sweet and fruity!
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ll answer some additional questions you might have below.
What foods should I eat on the Big Island?
So now that you know where to eat on the Big Island of Hawaii, here are some items you should definitely try:
If you are looking for something healthy and tasty, be sure to try some poke. A Hawaiian favorite, poke is a marinated dish of seafood served as an appetizer or the main dish. Made with fresh ingredients, this meal is delicious and healthy, making it perfect for enjoying all day long.
A Hawaiian favorite, kalua pork is the perfect dish to have while in Hawaii. The pork can be eaten by itself or on top of popular Hawaiian dishes like rice and musubi.
I highly recommend trying this dish while you are in Hawaii!
Another Hawaiian favorite, spam musubi is delicious. This dish consists of a block of rice with a slice of spam on top, and can be eaten for breakfast or lunch since it’s so light.
You can’t go to Hawaii and not have garlic shrimp. Be sure to order some while visiting some of the restaurants listed above. This dish is perfect for anyone who loves seafood or garlic!
Another popular meal on the island, acai bowls are also a healthy option that has quickly gained popularity.
Be sure to check out Basic Cafe and Kona Wave Cafe in Kona for some of the best acai bowls on the island. If you are in Pahoa, be sure to check out Pahoa Smoothie Shack. This one was by far my favorite, and their portions are huge.
Hawaii is known for its great shave ice, and you need to try it while visiting the island. Flavors here are endless and there is something for everyone, no matter what your preferences are.
Mochi is another traditional Hawaiian favorite that you need to try. Made with sticky rice, this dessert is unique and delicious! a popular place to get Mochi on the Big Island is Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo.
If you happen to be in Hilo late and Two Ladies Kitchen is closed, another option is to get your Mochi from the KTA Super Stores. They sell Two Ladies Kitchen mochi, but have limited options.
We got our mochi from both the KTA supermarket and Two ladies Kitchen, and we couldn’t tell the difference.
Malasadas are a famous Portuguese dish made with fried dough. They can be filled with different flavors and custards, with a popular choice being chocolate. You can also get them without the filling, and/or rolled in sugar or powdered sugar.
Be sure to try them because they’re not only tasty, but also affordable! There is a hot malasadas truck in Waimea, and Punalu’u Bake Shop is another great option. Here is a full list of where to get Malasadas on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Want something filling? Loco moco is a popular dish that is made with rice, fried egg, and a hamburger patty. Delicious and affordable, this meal is definitely one of my favorites on this list!
Where do the locals eat on the Big Island?
Da Poke Shack, Cafe 100, Hawaiian Style Cafe, Island Fish and Chips, Cafe Petro and Merriman’s are some popular local favorites.
Which Hawaiian island has the best food?
We think all the islands have something unique to offer when it comes to good food. If we had to pick one, we would have to say Oahu. Oahu has a lot of great options when it comes to food due to it having the big city of Honolulu.
What are some budget-friendly restaurants on the Big Island?
Be sure to check out the below options for cheap eats while on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Chubby’s Diner, Bog Island Grill, Huggo’s, Island lava Java, Island Ono Loa, Pho ’19 , Hula Hulas, L & L Hawaiian Barbecue, Aloha Mix Food Truck Cafe, Big Island Mexican Foods and Hawaiian Style Cafe Hilo.
The Wrap Up: What is the best food on the Big Island?
We hope you find this list helpful when planning your trip to the Big Island. Our choices were in no particular order, and all come highly recommended!
Until Next time, Aloha!
Before you go, be sure to check out some of the below articles related to the Big Island: