Last month, Mr and Mrs My Vacation Lady spent 6 nights in the Big Island of Hawaii and we checked out a lot of new restaurants that we hadn’t eaten at before.  Our goal was to try more local food- not the typical places that tourists go.  So again, we asked our friends and hotel contacts in the Big Island to help us find some of the more off the beaten trail restaurants- or the ones that they might go to.  Of course we did have to visit a couple of the hotel restaurants too.

Here are some restaurants to try in the Big Island:

HUGE portions at the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea.  We were told the pancakes were as big as your head- and they were.  They were just the appetizer!  First a triple stack of huge pancakes and then your main breakfast came out.  Needless to say, we were stuffed after just the pancakes!  Bring cash with you- they don’t accept credit cards, although they do have an ATM machine in the front of the restaurant.

This restaurant is just down the street from Merriman’s, a Big Island staple for locally sourced regional dishes and the new Red Water Cafe that was recommended too, but we didn’t get to try it out.

Of course if you are going to be in Hawaii, you must try a local breakfast- the Loco Moco which is a huge plate of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy.  There are tons of variations but our friend Noelani ordered one just so that we could take a picture of it at the Fairmont Orchid’s Orchid Court.

Since we were staying on the Kohala Coast at the Fairmont Orchid, most of the restaurants we dined at were in the north west area of the Big Island but we got some great recommendations for more local places in the Kona region as well.

Just about 20 minutes north of the Fairmont Orchid, we tried 2 restaurants recommended to us by the hotel concierge.  She ate at them a number of times so we thought we should check them out.  Both were in the town of Kawaihae- Cafe Pesto and the Seafood Bar.  We had dinner at both.  We ate Hawaiian style Italian food at Cafe Pesto and I have braised ribs and Mr My Vacation Lady ordered a seafood stew at the Seafood Bar.  Both were really nice sized portions and the meals came to about $70 for both of us including salads and dessert.

Some of the Kona area recommendations we received from locals (but didn’t have time to try) were:

In Kailua Kona

  • Privateers Cove Restaurant/Port of Call Public House.  One of our fellow vacationers recommended the Chicken Shnitzel (not exactly what you would consider Hawaiian) but he really enjoyed it and it was only about $20 for a nice sized entree.
  • Umekes Fishmarket Bar and Grill
  • Big Island Grill (we were told to have their mud pies)
  • Broke Da Mouth Grindz– for Filipino inspired cuisine

In South Kona

  • Big Jake’s Island B-B-Q in Captain Cook 
  • Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers in Kealakekua
  • Teshima’s Restaurant also in Kealakekua for their Japanese Bento trays
  • Manago Hotel in Captain Cook  (we were told to try their pork chops!)

The recommended restaurants in Kona are a bit far from the resorts in the Kohala region but if you are going to spend a day down at the City of Refuge or at the Green Sand Beach or South Point, they are worth stopping at before heading back to your resort.

When it comes to Hawaii Honeymoons or Hawaii Vacations, My Vacation Lady has been there, done it and experienced it.  We can help plan your dream honeymoon or vacation to the Hawaiian Islands!