Travel

Top 10 Restaurants On The Big Island, Hawaii

If you’re embarking on a journey to the Big Island, prepare yourself for incredible things to do, see and eat! Get ready for 10 incredible dining experiences full of Aloha! From amazing waterfront venues to inexpensive Hawaiian joints full of island flavor, here are the top 10 restaurants you must try on the Big Island!

1. Huggo’s & Huggo’s On The Rocks

In the heart of Kona-Kailua, on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii, are two awesome sister restaurants called Huggo’s and Huggo’s On The Rocks. But make no mistake, there’s no competition between the two; each just has a bit of a different vibe. Huggo’s opened in 1969 with the motto “good food and good fun”. It was one of the first local restaurants to open communication between the fishermen to ensure the freshest catch would end up on their menu.

Today, Huggo’s is one of the most famous restaurants on the Big Island thanks to its scenic waterfront views, yummy food and cocktails, and awesome crew. An added bonus on Friday and Saturday nights is Huggo’s live local entertainment. The menu focuses mostly on fresh just-caught seafood.

In 1998, the lot adjacent to Huggo’s was purchased by the owners, and would become Huggo’s On The Rocks, a more laid back dining experience compared the the original. The menu is filled with island style food as well as casual treats like burgers and sandwiches. No matter which restaurant you decide to dine at, you won’t be disappointed by the sweeping views and delicious food.

Must Try From The Menu:

Oneo Bay Benedict – A fresh seafood take on a classic!

2. Rays By The Bays

Rays On The Bay Kona Hawaii
Image: Rays on the bay kona

Rays By The Bay is a breath taking restaurant situated inside the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. With exceptional panoramic views and incredible ambiance, a dinner while watching the sun set at Rays By The Bay is the best place to end your evening. Every night at around the same time, boats will float towards the bay for nighttime manta ray diving. The lights from the boats, sun setting, and live local music will make you never want to leave.

Rays By The Bay Kona Hawaii
Image: Rays by the bay Kona

Must Try From The Menu:

The Sashimi Sampler and The Ahi Poke Stack. Pair your fresh seafood with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

3. Kona Joe’s Coffee Farm

Kona Joe’s coffee farm was truly an experience. The story of Kona Joe’s coffee farm is like something from a story book. One day Joe was walking along the beach in Kona and heard a voice tell him to stay; it was a dolphin! Joe began to visit this dolphin daily, and one night by the light of the moon, he saw Dipa-Tiare, his beautiful wife, and they began a coffee farm together.

When you arrive at Kona Joe’s Coffee farm, you immediately notice sweeping views of the coffee plants and ocean. We arrived in the morning hours for a few coffees, and considering ourselves coffee connoisseurs, were expecting the best here. Well we weren’t disappointed! The chef himself came out and spoke to us about their amazing private dinner services, and was kind enough to offer us a delectable taste of his appetizers for no charge! Then he took a photograph of us, and we knew someday we’d have to come back and enjoy that lovely coffee with the chef’s delicious creations.

Must Try From The Menu:

Coffee Lover’s Basket- Includes 4 Kona coffees and snacks

4. Seiji’s Sushi

Owned by a lovely Japanese couple, Seiji’s Sushi is a hole in the wall type of joint; not exactly something easy to come across. Located on Alii Drive, we were out to find a real authentic sushi restaurant, and we stumbled upon Seiji’s Sushi. To our delight, this would become our absolutely favorite sushi restaurant of all time.

To say the sashimi is fresh would be an understatement. The flavors and preparations left us speechless, as we’d never experienced sushi like this on the west coast. The owners of the restaurant prepared the sushi in front of us, and when we told them we had recently gotten married they pulled one of their most expensive sakes off a tall shelf, and poured it into a few ochokos. The hospitality paired with the most incredibly fresh sushi of our lives makes Seiji’s Sushi a must visit restaurant.

Must Try From The Menu:

Sashimi Rice Bowl – Pair with Sake

5. Volcano House Restaurant

The views on the Big Island are to die for- and the view from the Volcano House Restaurant is truly one of a kind! Where else, other than the Volcano House Restaurant are you able to enjoy a meal while viewing the Kilauea caldera and the Halema’uma’u Crater?

Must Try From The Menu:

Lunch Menu- Kalua Pork Pizza

6. Ulu Ocean Grill And Sushi Lounge

Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge at the Four Seasons Resort in Kona is an award winning restaurant, serving fresh seafood as 75% of their menu. With outdoor waterfront dining, and a panoramic view of the ocean all you need to do is relax and enjoy the scrumptious seafood.

This resort also includes the Beach Tree Restaurant and Lounge, which also deserves to be on our list. The Beach Tree is more of a “barefoot elegance” type of vibe, with available dining on the sand or just steps away from the water. Feels like a beach club, serves up incredible Californian cuisine with an Italian twist.

Must Try From The Menu:

Kona Crudo – Pair with a glass of Riesling white wine

7. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

L&L Hawaiian BBQ Kona Hawaii
Image: Pinterest

Even though L&L Hawaiian Barbecue can be viewed as more of a “fast food joint” by some, this place serves up some of the best plate lunches we’ve tried. When traveling around the island, stop by an L&L and enjoy friendly quick service and delicious food at a super affordable price.

Must Try From The Menu:

Plate Lunch- White rice, macaroni salad, fresh catch, chicken entree, and alternative protein.

8. Keei Cafe

Situated in Kealakekua, the Keei Cafe is a rare find. The menu mainly consists of Latin-American style cuisine, and the restaurant offers outdoor seating, beautiful ocean views at sunset, and local art on the walls. As an added bonus, Keei Cafe also features live music. A quick tip: sometimes closed at strange hours, also can be super busy- call ahead for reservations.

Must Try From The Menu:

Lilikoi Cheesecake paired with Hawaiian Ginger Lemonade

9. Brown’s Beach House The Fairmont Orchid

Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid offers fine dining with a spectacular oceanfront setting. This four diamond restaurant features live Hawaiian music nightly.

Must Try From The Menu:

King Crab Crusted Kampachi paired with Mai Tai

10. Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai Hawaii
Image: Great Chefs

Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai is another one of our favorite spots on the Big Island. You’ve probably realized by now that something most of these restaurants has in common is the ocean view. Well Sam Choy’s is no different. It features a 230 degree view of the Pacific Ocean, and serves up delicious island cooking.

Must Try From The Menu:

Kona Style Chicken Wings & Calamari