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

Brittany has lived on the Big Island of Hawaii for most of her life and enjoys writing meaningful content that is helpful to others.

Kona Brewery is one of my favorite restaurants on the Big Island. It supplies beer to places all over the world. My personal favorite is the lilikoi flavored Wailua Wheat.

Kona Brewery is one of my favorite restaurants on the Big Island. It supplies beer to places all over the world. My personal favorite is the lilikoi flavored Wailua Wheat.

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 is in no particular order; it's 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.

Great Places to Eat and Drink on the Big Island

  • Kona Brewing Co.
  • Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill
  • Ken's House of Pancakes
  • Roy's
  • Hawaiian Style Cafe
  • Big Island Grill
Kona Brew has big tables outside for large groups.

Kona Brew has big tables outside for large groups.

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 the 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.

Visit their website to learn more.

Blackened Ahi on a bed of mashed purple sweet potatoes.

Blackened Ahi on a bed of mashed purple sweet potatoes.

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 that 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 and other menu highlights, read some of these reviews of Jackie Rey's.

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.

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 Dwayne "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.

Roy's

  • Phone: 808-886-4321

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, check out these reviews of the establishment.

The Hawaiian Style Cafe may look small, but its helpings are quite the opposite.

The Hawaiian Style Cafe may look small, but its helpings are quite the opposite.

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 check out Hawaiian Style Cafe's Yelp page.

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 they also serve steak for those of you who are a little picky.

For more information, visit their Yelp page.

Your Map

More About the Big Island

  • Best Food on the Big Island of Hawaii
    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
  • Best Beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii
    This article will help you find the best place to snorkel, surf, play volleyball or build a sandcastle on your vacation in Hawaii as well as help you get there with maps. Enjoy your vacation to one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
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  • Best Hotels and Resorts on the Big Island of Hawaii
    This guide will help you to choose the best hotel for your trip to the Big Island depending on what you will be doing in Hawaii. From Kona, to Waikoloa, to Hilo, this guide will help you find a temporary home on the island.

Comments

Claudia on May 11, 2019:

Hi any good place you would recommend to eat fresh salad in Big Island? Thank you

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on January 28, 2012:

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

shannon on January 28, 2012:

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

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on December 02, 2011:

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.

Derdriu on December 02, 2011:

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

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on November 21, 2011:

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

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on November 21, 2011:

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!

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on November 19, 2011:

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

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on November 19, 2011:

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!

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on November 18, 2011:

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

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on November 18, 2011:

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.

The Evolista from Los Angeles on November 18, 2011:

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?

Brittany Kennedy (author) from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on November 18, 2011:

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.

hush4444 from Hawaii on November 18, 2011:

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!