Where is all that good food at?
When I first moved to the Big Island from Portland, Oregon in 2018 I wondered, “where is all that good food at?” An Island that grows a splendid variety of fruits, vegetables, and livestock must have an amazing food scene, right? It took me some time to answer that question but I can assure you without a doubt that the answer is YES! The Big Island does have an abundance of culinary delights. For Part 1 of my Big Island for Foodies blog, I see no better place to start than in the beautiful mountain town of Kamuela (Waimea). From its lovely farmers markets, to its breweries, pizza parlors, coffee shops and gourmet restaurants, Kamuela has something for the foodie in all of us. Come and see!
A google search will yield over forty results for restaurants in Waimea. We will start where all good food starts, on the farm.
I invite you to journey with me to Waimea on Wednesdays and step back in time to the historic Pukalani Stables on the famed Parker Ranch. At the Midweek Farmers Market you can peruse their selection of local foods and produce while mingling with featured local artists, farmers and artisans. You will find this thriving market every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at 67-139 Pukalani Road, Waimea/Kamuela.
If you are instead passing through Waimea on a Saturday, don’t miss the Waimea Town Market held at the Parker School every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to Noon. You will be treated to over 50 vendors, live music and a vast array of food, arts, and crafts.
Where to Eat & Drink
If all that market shopping makes you thirsty, take respite at the Big Island Brewhaus. Here you will delight in sampling their ever-evolving and unique tap list. If you’ve brought along a designated driver, chew on the big bold flavors of their Golden Sabbath. This Belgian style Abbey Ale registers a generous 8.5% abv on the alcohol Richter scale. For those with lighter tastes try their Italian or Czech style Pilsner. And of course, there’s ample choices for all you hop lovers out there. Your IBU cravings will be thoroughly satisfied by the over-the-top Hoptopious IPA, straight shooting Overboard IPA, or my personal favorite, Red Giant IPA, a perfect blend of rich malty goodness with a crisp hop finish. Did I mention they also had margaritas?
The flavor you will find running through all of Big Island Brewhaus’s menu items is fresh, fresh and fresh. Locally sourced ingredients are found in everything from Mexican classics like the Famous Green Chile Stew to the Cheeseburger. Fresh Fish Tacos and Rockies Fish Bites bring the sea to your table while the vegetarians in your crew can enjoy the Falafel Sandwich, Roasted Kabocha Squash and Kekela Greens. Check their live music schedule on the patio and bring a hoodie or long sleeve shirt as most of their seating is outdoors. Waimea can get chilly without warning.
I put these two seemingly different restaurants together because they share the same owners, staff and storefront at 65-1227 Opelo Rd, Waimea, HI 96743.
Pau Pizza is open from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For breakfast, check out their basic but tasty breakfast burrito. Grab one of their three featured slices for a quick snack or build your own whole pie for lunch or dinner. My favorites are their specialties like the Whole Hog with pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon or the Herbivore featuring Waimea spinach, artichoke hearts, black olives, and bell peppers. What keeps me coming back for more is their delicious sourdough crust and savory tomato sauce. Not to mention the cadre of fresh, fresh, fresh and local ingredients. If you’re lucky enough to find one of their desserts in the grab and go coolers up front you are in for a treat among treats. My favorite is the Lilikoi Curd Panna cotta. The thick rich and creamy base hits the tangy lilikoi curd for a splendid rush of yummy goodness not to be missed! Also available are cold drinks, beer, wine and cocktails. Seating is outdoors so once again, don’t forget to layer up.
Taco Rosa is open Tuesday through Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. but, please, don’t even go here because I want all of the lovely tastiness for myself! Nothing says love to me like tacos. Hand-made tortillas, braised beef, slow roasted pork, pulled chicken, roasted poblanos, cheese, PURE LOVE! Just try not to hurt yourself. For an extra dose of delight, wash it all down with their house-made fermented Tapache or Agua de Jamaica. If half your group wants pizza and the other half tacos, everyone will be happy with this stop right along Kawaihae Road.
Where else can I get a big plate of Spaghetti and Meatballs while my wife orders a beautifully crafted Sushi roll? There is only one place I know, The Redwater Café. It is that eclectic mix that keeps me returning over and over to the Redwater Café. You can tell immediately upon entering the restaurant that a unique and varied dining experience awaits you. The walls are adorned with art from all over the world, lots of old wood abounds, and every seating option is different — from patio, to booth to old dining room table. Chef David Abrahams never disappoints. Daily specials are plentiful and the menu changes periodically. There is no reason to rush here, just order one of the many beverage options, kick back, relax and enjoy your surroundings. Eventually, your meal will come and joy will fill your heart. Serving Tuesday – Friday 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday Noon to 9:00 p.m. Bar open until 10:00 p.m. Located at 65-1299 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743. Call 808-885-9299 or go to their website for reservations.
Mahalo for Reading!
Mahalo for checking out my blog, look for more additions soon. If you’re interested in Big Island food, or want to chat about Hawaii Real Estate, I would love to talk with you. Please reach out at my contact information below.