Best Big Island, Hawaii Food and Restaurants from Kona to Hilo

Hawaii is a unique place with a ton of different food options. If you are planning on visiting the Big Island, make sure to stop by one of these exquisite local favorites. This list in in no particular order; they are just a collection of my favorite places to eat. Scroll to the bottom of this article to see the map and find out which place is closest to your hotel. From pancakes to loco mocos, you will find this list of restaurants helpful when planning your trip.

If you would like to learn more about Hawaiian food culture, the risks involved, and what "local food" is, click here.

If you are planning a trip to the Big Island and want to know some great places to stay and things to do, click here.

Kona Brewery supplies beer to places all over the world.  My personal favorite is the lilikoi flavored Wailua Wheat.
Kona Brewery supplies beer to places all over the world. My personal favorite is the lilikoi flavored Wailua Wheat. | Source
Kona Brew has big tables outside for large groups.
Kona Brew has big tables outside for large groups. | Source

Kona Brewing Co.

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm
Phone: 808-334-2739

You may recognize the name of this restaurant because of their popular beers, but there is much more to it when you sit down in this cozy, Kona Brewery. They serve a variety of dishes including local favorites and pizzas that are original to the restaurant. Sit back under the palm trees while you munch on some delicious sandwiches and sip on Wailua Wheat beer. They also take orders for pick up, so you can bring home some liquid aloha.

To learn more, click here.

Blackened Ahi on a bed of mashed purple sweet potatoes.
Blackened Ahi on a bed of mashed purple sweet potatoes. | Source

Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill

Phone: 808-327-0209

Jackie Rey's is one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Kona. It has a vintage atmosphere that contrasts with their modern menu. They have daily specials which are usually seafood dishes including the macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi and delicious ono.

My absolute favorite dish on the Big Island is the short ribs from Jackie Rey's. They are so tender, they melt in your mouth. Just the thought of that entrée makes my mouth water. Drive down Kuakini Highway until you see an old beach house with an antique car (longboard attached), and you'll know you found it.

For more information, click here.

Malasada filled with Bavarian cream.
Malasada filled with Bavarian cream. | Source
The window where you order at Tex Drive In.
The window where you order at Tex Drive In. | Source

Tex Drive In

Phone: 808-327-1777

Tex Drive In has great food, but I put it on this list because of the malasadas the sell. A malasada is a sweet donut rolled in sugar. Tex has the best and we don't drive through Honoka'a without stopping to pick up a batch. This place is right next to the botanical gardens, so you can take a pleasant walk after you eat.

For more info, click here.

Ken's is always crowded (in a good way)!  There's no questioning why this place is a local favorite.
Ken's is always crowded (in a good way)! There's no questioning why this place is a local favorite. | Source

Ken's House of Pancakes

Hours: Open 24 Hours
Phone: 808-935-8711

As you pass Hilo Bay and drive toward the town, you may notice a quaint little pancake house. You will not want to drive any further when you smell the delicious food coming from Ken's. The place is known for being the only thing open 24 hours and also for its celebrity connection.

Ken's was built in 1971 and has been the home of the Best Breakfast for 14 years. The owner is the uncle to Dwane "The Rock" Johnson and there is a signed photo of him in the diner. This place has some ono grindz. Don't miss out on having the best breakfast at Ken's.

For more info, click here.

Shrimp from Roy's
Shrimp from Roy's | Source

Roy's

Phone: 808-886-4321

You may have seen Roy's in the mainland or other parts of the world now that it has become a chain, but the Roy's in Waikoloa is the original. This waterfront restaurant is the place for people who appreciate fine dining. They serve some of the best seafood dishes on the island including my personal favorite, the mahi mahi.

The dining room is clean and elegant. Although it's kid-friendly, it is a quiet restaurant that is more formal than a lot of other Big Island food places. Overall, Roy's is the best place for an upscale night or a romantic evening.

For more information, click here.

The Hawaiian Style Cafe may look small, but it's helpings are quite the opposite.
The Hawaiian Style Cafe may look small, but it's helpings are quite the opposite. | Source

Hawaiian Style Cafe

Hours: Monday-Sunday 7:30am-1:30pm
Phone: 808-885-4295

Hawaiian Style is a local favorite because of it's unique dishes including katsu loco mocos and spam breakfasts. This small cafe is always crowded and you'll be lucky if you get a seat at the bar, but despite the popularity, this cafe is one of the best on the island. My friends and I would go here and challenge each other to see if we could clean our plates, but more times than not, nobody could. They give generous portions that are great for taking home leftovers. You will enjoy this little cafe in Waimea and all of the wonderful dishes it has to offer.

For more info, click here.

Source

Big Island Grill

Hours: Monday-Saturday 6am to 9pm
Phone: 808-326-1153

Big Island Grill is located in Kailua-Kona. The outside of the restaurant may not convince you to eat there, but if you order the short ribs, you will thank me. BIG has some of the most delicious food on the westside. They serve local favorites including teriyaki beef, loco mocos and kalua pork, but also serve steak for those of you who are a little picky.

For more info, click here.

Your Map

show route and directions
A markerKona Brewing Company -
75-5629 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
[get directions]

B markerJackie Rey's Ohana Grill -
75-5995 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
[get directions]

C markerTex Drive In -
45-690 Pakalana St, Honokaa, HI 96727, USA
[get directions]

D markerKen's House of Pancakes -
1730 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
[get directions]

E markerRoy's -
69-250 Waikoloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa, HI 96738, USA
[get directions]

F markerHawaiian Style Cafe -
65-1290 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
[get directions]

G markerBig Island Grill -
75-5702 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 13 comments

hush4444 profile image

hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

Ooooh, the malasadas at Tex's are incredible! They're like the Krispy Kreme of Hawaii. The Brew Pub has the most delicious pizzas and an amazing variety of beer. Of course, Jackie Rey's a hidden gem - great food and a warm and generous staff and owners. Voted way up and thank you!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Agreed! I thought that locals would appreciate this hub too. Thanks for voting up! I wish I was home so I could have a Tex malasada.


Chasing Riley profile image

Chasing Riley 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Wow! Everything looks delicious! You've got my vote. We just ate at Roy's in Woodland Hills last night and it was fantastic. I love the photos that you chose. Is there a good hub that you know of that details the ins and outs of using photos that you don't own or using Flickr?


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

I love Roy's! Thank you for voting. I don't know of any hubs about that (maybe I should make one). I just go to this site for images: http://search.creativecommons.org/, but I also use the Flickr Commons site. Here is an example of a search: http://www.flickr.com/search/?l=cc&q=hawaii Click on the photo you like and then when the page comes up, right click on the photo. Select "Medium 500" and it will take you to the photo page where you can right click and save to your computer. Make sure that you site them properly (as I did above) with the name of the photographer, comma, creative commons license code (you can find this by clicking on "some rights reserved"), comma, "via Flickr". Then paste the URL of the image in the URL box of the photo capsule.

I hope this helps! Thank you again for reading/commenting.


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Here, I found this hub on how to legally cite them: https://hubpageshelp.com/media/Learning-Center-leg


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

brittanytodd - good start to the 30 in 30. I have never been to Hawaii, but I can always dream. And when I dreamed about it in the past, I had never considered the food angle. You have helped my dreams to expand!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Thank you, HSB! Keep dreaming and maybe one day you'll be able to visit our beautiful island.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

WOW! What a FANTASTIC collection of recommendations! I'll be sending this to all friends to head out that way on vacation. Argh! So many fun places to eat!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Thank you, Simone. Hopefully you will get to try them someday.


Derdriu 5 years ago

Brittany: What an attractive, logical, thorough introduction to the best eats on the Big Island! It is so helpful that you give the hours, information and locations of all of your recommendations. You seamlessly blend a multi-media presentation of clear details, illustrative photos, and practical videos.

Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise, voted up, etc.,

Derdriu


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Derdrie,

Thank you so much. I hope this hub comes in handy for hungry tourists that need to know the best places to eat. I'm happy to hear that the format was readable. Mahalo nui loa.


shannon 4 years ago

Coming to Big Island in June and can't wait to try them out...thanks!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 4 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

You're welcome! Have a great trip and make sure you go to Waipio Valley!

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