The word Hawaii is pretty much synonymous with paradise, and the Big Island is the epicenter of everything. There’s so much to do on the Big Island, and you’ll definitely spend lots of time on the beach. But don’t forget to dine out. The restaurants here are fantastic!
15 of the Best Restaurants on the Big Island in 2023
So, let’s learn about the best restaurants on the Big Island. Whether you’re looking for casual or elegant, something in-between, or a fusion of both, you’ll find that and more on this gorgeous island.
If you’re writing your itinerary for a Big Island vacation, make sure to add some of the restaurants we’ve listed here. Don’t miss out!
- 65-1227 Opelo Road, Kamuela, HI 96743
Merriman’s is an iconic name in Hawaii, and its Big Island location is found in Waimea. The winner of multiple awards, Merriman’s is an essential part of any Big Island itinerary.
It’s the creation of Chef Peter Merriman, and he prides himself on providing a fresh and delicious menu for his restaurant. Eat at Merriman’s for lunch and dinner.
There’s also a delicious Sunday brunch available. No matter when you go, try to make reservations. If you enjoy wine or cocktails, check out the drinks menu, too.
- 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Kohala Coast, Hawaii 96743
Check out the restaurant at Manta Beach Hotel. It’s perfect when you want to enjoy the outdoor breeze as you enjoy a tasty breakfast. And indeed, breakfast is the meal Manta is best known for.
Visitors love the made-to-order omelets and waffles as well as the delectable pastries, wholesome cereals, and refreshing juices. Or if you prefer, go to Manta for your dinner one night.
No matter what meal you choose, all the ingredients are locally sourced. You’ll adore the fantastic view of the sunset. And if you go on a Wednesday or Saturday, you might get to see a local jazz duo play live.
3. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
- 75-5595 Palani Road, Suite A-6, Lanihau Shopping Center, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love barbecue. And Hawaiian barbecue? Yum is all I can say! This is where L&L Hawaiian Barbecue comes in. This is a wildly popular Big Island culinary destination.
One of the best-known menu options here is the L&L Hawaiian Mix plate. The L&L Hawaiian Mixplate is all about flexibility and choice. You get to choose your size, your sides, and your entree. A refreshing drink is included, too.
And there are plenty of other options, too. The BBQ Short Ribs and Musubi Combo are two of the most popular dishes here. So go and give L&L Hawaiian Barbecue a try.
4. Cafe 100
- 969 Kilauea Avenue Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Get tasty meals in a hurry at Cafe 100. All the locals know and love this eatery, so don’t miss out. Cafe 100 uses the Hawaiian plate-lunch style. Never tried that before?
Don’t leave the Big Island without having a meal at Cafe 100. The vibe is super-welcoming here, and the food is not-to-be-missed. Want some popular dishes?
Check out the Portuguese Sausage, Super Loco, Loco Moco, Double Loco Moco Combo, and Beef Stew Plate. Cafe 100 is way more than just fast food. Make it a part of your Big Island adventures.
5. Cafe Pesto
- 308 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo Bay, Hawaii, 96720-2960
Go ahead and give yourself a memorable treat at Cafe Pesto in Hilo Bay. You can’t do better if pizza is what you’re craving. This restaurant is housed in a historic building that has been meticulously restored.
All the pizzas are made to perfection in a wood-fired oven. You’ll love the large dining room and warm, welcoming staff.
Cafe Pesto has been a local fixture since way back in 1988. A selection of their personal specialty pizzas includes the Smoked Salmon, Sweet Basil Greek, and Southwestern Chicken.
6. Lava Lava Beach Club
- 69-1081 Ku’uali’i Place, Waikoloa, Hawaii 96738
Suppose you’re seeking a laid-back, beachy atmosphere, head over to Lava Lava Beach Club. No need to worry about reservations. The setting at Lava Lava is superb, with its location on 10 acres of beachfront.
Lava Lava Beach Club is part of the Waikoloa Beach Resort.
Is that where you’re staying? Lucky you! Lava Lava Beach Club is there, ready for you to enjoy. Go sit on the beach and partake in deliciously fresh and colorful dishes and drinks. You always feel at home at Lava Lava Beach Club.
7. Hilo Bay Cafe
- 123 Lihiwai Street, Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Take in a spectacular ocean view and the surrounding historic downtown area at Hilo Bay Cafe. You can eat out on the beautiful lanai or inside, within the dining room.
There are lunch, dinner, dessert, and beverage menus here, all of them impressive and full of tasty treats. Do you love sushi? Come and check out the artisan sushi at Hilo Bay Cafe. If you’re planning a trip to this popular local restaurant, try to make a reservation.
This local establishment is quite upscale, and the dishes match its impressive atmosphere. One of the most popular dishes is the traditional Blue Bay Burger.
8. Hana Hou Restaurant
- 95-1148 Naalehu Spur Road, Naalehu, Hawaii 96772
Hana Hou Restaurant is a true local institution. It’s been on the Big Island since 1940! Hana Hou Restaurant is all about comfort food, Hawaiian-style. Vegetarians find this restaurant a great option, as there are vegetarian options available on the menu.
The menu at Hana Hou Restaurant is extensive, with something for everyone. There’s even pizza available, with a great variety to suit your taste. How about trying a Margarita pizza. It features extra cheese and tomato, as well as pesto drizzle.
9. Big Island Grill
- 75-5702 Kuakini Highway, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
Big Island Grill is yet another must-visit restaurant on the Big Island. It’s all about classic Hawaiian food here, with favorites like Kalua pork and loco moco. Big Island Grill’s dining room is casual and inviting, and you always see plenty of locals in this restaurant.
This eatery is easy to find on Kuakini Highway. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you’ll appreciate there are vegetarian and vegan menu options ready to order. Remember, Big Island Grill is a laidback eating spot.
10. Jackie Ray’s Ohana Grill
- 75-5995 Kuakini Highway Suite 1, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
Located near Club Wyndham Kona Hawaiian Resort, Jackie Ray’s Ohana Grill has earned its place on our list of the best Big Island restaurants. Great hospitality and local sourcing of fresh ingredients are touchstones at Jackie ray’s Ohana Grill.
Along with hand-cut filets and homemade desserts, Jackie Ray’s Ohana Grill offers superbly crafted cocktails and an impressive wine list.
In fact, the restaurant has won Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence. If you love fresh seafood, make Jackie Ray’s Ohana Grill part of your itinerary on the Big Island.
11. Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii
- 1 North Kaniku Drive, Waimea, Hawaii 96743
Glorious views and vistas are just one of the not-to-be-missed features of Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii. This is a luxurious restaurant, without question.
Reservations are required, so keep this in mind. You’ll want to book your table as soon as you can. Are you staying at the Fairmont Orchid? That’s where Brown’s Beach House is located.
But even if you have different accommodations, you should visit Brown’s Beach House at least once during your Hawaii adventures. The dishes here are farm-to-table and are legendarily delicious. This is a great place for a meal with an exclusive, romantic vibe.
12. Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
- 72-100 Kaupulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, 96740
How does an elegant meal on the beach sound? If “wonderful” if the answer, the Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is for you. As part of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Beach Tree is unabashedly luxe.
Beach Tree includes a restaurant as well as a Bar and Lounge located feet from the ocean. You can eat beside a glittering pool, too. While Beach Tree is upscale, you don’t have to worry about dressing up.
Beach Tree serves unique cuisine, primarily Californian but with Italian flavors. One of the signature dishes is Kanpachi Crudo. This fresh and colorful creation features toasted corn, Jalapeno, avocado, and cilantro.
Visit Beach Tree on a Sunday evening to enjoy traditional Mediterranean paella. All the ingredients are locally sourced.
13. A-Bay’s Island Grill
- 75-5799 Ali’i Drive, Unit A1/A2, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
A-Bay’s Island Grill on the Main Island is found at Ali’i Sunset Plaza shopping center. Always build up an appetite with retail therapy? This is the place to stop in for a meal. It’s also within convenient driving distance of World Square Shopping Plaza Shopping Center.
This popular local eatery serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe you’ll like to visit for a hearty breakfast before a day of sightseeing on the Main Island.
Some popular breakfast dishes available include Belgium Waffle, Breakfast Sausage Sandwich, and Buttermilk Pancakes. Want something more exotic? Check out the Kalua Hash Loco Moco or Seafood Cake Benedict.
14. Hualalai Grille
- 72-100 Kaupulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
Found at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel, Hualalai Grille is yet another Big Island restaurant you’ve got to experience to believe. There are several signature dishes here, such as the Lobster Tower, Chateaubriand, and Tempeh.
The dining room is directly connected to the outdoors, with enormous doors and windows that are always open. It’s a wrap-around patio, giving you shelter from any errant weather. The view here is spectacular, as the restaurant overlooks the Hualalai Golf Course.
- 75-5828 Kahakai Road, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
Situated on the waterfront, Huggo’s is one of the most popular restaurants on the Big Island. It serves lunch and dinner. Moreover, you can go there for happy hour, too.
There are many well-known and well-loved dishes here, like the Seafood Chowder, Huggo’s Signature Teriyaki Steak, Prime Rib, and Island Fresh Catch. The atmosphere here is chill and fun-filled. It’s nice being so close to the water, too. Find Huggo’s on Kahakai Road, near Ali’i Drive.
Things to Consider
A distinctive part of dining on the Big Island is how well the top restaurants combine elegance and fine cuisine with a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. Unlike many other places, you probably won’t have to dress up much to enjoy the island’s finest food.
You’ll also want to look for ways to incorporate your restaurant visits with your other island excursions. That’s where your itinerary comes in.
You’re going to be on the beach a lot, but make sure you set aside enough time for enjoying local cuisine. Many of the restaurants here are in high-demand, so make reservations as far in advance as possible whenever they’re required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have some frequently asked questions about dining out on the Big Island? We’ve got you covered with the most common ones:
What are the Michelin Star restaurants on Hawaii’s Big Island?
The Michelin Star rating system isn’t active in the state of Hawaii, and that includes the Big Island. However, you may find restaurants with chefs that have earned Michelin stars while working elsewhere.
Even though you won’t find restaurants with Michelin Stars in Hawaii, the state is full of top-notch restaurants.
What are the best restaurants in Kona, Hawaii?
Kona has several fantastic restaurants, but one of the best is Big Island Grill. The atmosphere is casual, but the food is top-notch. Jackie Ray’s Ohana grill is another great choice. Check out the Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Hotel if you want something more elegant.
What are the Big Island local favorites?
Chubby’s Diner is definitely one of the local favorites on the Big Island. It’s casual and welcoming and conveniently located at Hawaii’s Premier Entertainment Center. Another restaurant favored by the locals is Big Island Grill.
What are the best restaurants in Hilo?
There are several great Hilo restaurants. Three of them are Cafe 100, Cafe Pesto, and Hilo Bay Cafe.
What is the best restaurant in Kona with a view?
Without a doubt, Hualalai Grille is one of the best restaurants in Kona with a view. It’s located at the Four Seasons Hotel and features a wrap-around patio and wonderful golf course views.
So, What’s the Best Restaurant on the Big Island?
There are so many outstanding restaurants on the Big Island, and of course, choosing the best restaurant is always a bit subjective. However, regardless of personal preferences, all the restaurants we’ve listed here are excellent.
With that said, many people feel that Merriman’s is the best restaurant on the Big Island. So go check it out while you’re in Hawaii. And if you’ve got time, treat yourself by visiting the other dining spots as well.