Can You Be a Foodie on the Big Island?

With over 4,000 square miles, multiple climate zones, and a diverse population, I find myself traveling the island and looking for unique food experiences. Having traveled to the Big Island starting at the of age 10, I’ve come to know the island and its challenges. Finding healthy, tasty food on the Big Island is indeed one of those challenges.

I may be biased because I grew up in California, where you can be a foodie on a tight budget. And with full disclosure, my husband is a chef, making it even harder to enjoy eating out and finding delicious culinary experiences.

Dining on the Big Island

The Big Island is known for its white and black sand beaches, but it’s not known as a food paradise. With COVID-19 affecting tourism, we have seen many restaurants close their doors while others are trying to adapt to takeout.

As a positive person, I try to say nothing is impossible. I am always looking for a new restaurant and a unique culinary experience. I have enjoyed eating at some of the top restaurants like Canoe House, Merriman’s, Manta, Meridia, Tammy Bahamas, and Browns Beach House. I have not found a high-end restaurant I would genuinely recommend. Yes, they have good food; yes, I would go again. Yet I have not found one that truly delights my taste buds.

To be honest, I am much more particular when it comes to dinner options and the price tag that comes with them. I, however, have found some great lunch spots that I would recommend.

poke photo

Best Big Island Lunch Spots

A couple of them are:


  • Original Thai
  • Sushi Shiono
  • Big Island Pizza
  • Ba-le (Vietnamese)

Waimea/Waikoloa Area

  • Racha Thai
  • Dano’s Diner (Turkish)
  • Da Fish House and Fish Wagon
  • Kawaihae (Local Fish)


  • Lucy’s Taqueria (Mexican)
  • Pineapples (New American)

What Are Your Favorite Big Island Restaurants?

I know there are restaurants I’m missing from this list. I also know the best restaurants can be those “hole in the wall” restaurants that are hard to find. Have you found the one you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it. Aloha!

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January 14, 2021

Have you ever had breakfast at the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea, Big Island. Mac nut pancakes that hang off the large plate.
And there’s a hole in the wall on the road to Hawi. It’s directly across the street from the King Kamehameha statue. Can’t miss it. Go for the Hawaiian Kaluha Pork Pizza.
When we lived in CA we would go to Hawaii twice a year. Two years ago we moved to VA and been back in over a year. Thanks Covid! We miss it so much. We always stay at Halii Kai and wish we could afford to buy a place there. Maybe with a winning lottery ticket.

Kimberly Baxter

January 14, 2021

Kaleo’s in Pahoa! The tempura ahi appetizer and the coconut curry seafood dish… Sooo good! And a much more chill and relaxed vibe and cheaper than the big resort restaurants.

Captain Ron

January 15, 2021

There are lots of good restaurants in Kona;
I love ‘Foster’s’ they have great gluten free fish & chips that comes with a delicious coleslaw. And their stuff mushrooms are so good.
‘Fisher Hopper’ has fantastic Macadamia crusted Mahi Mahi & mango salsa with sweet purple mash potatoes. Or the Monchong fish & risotto is really great.
I have had Kalua pork at a number of Kona establishments either Hawaiian plate style or on top of gluten free pizza crust super tasty always a hit!

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