Kona, Hawaii: Where To Eat

Ewa Sack travels to Big Island, Hawaii, and comes back with some great tips for the culinary traveler.
By Ewa Sack

View from the Beach House

Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’ is paradise. As you arrive, you think you have landed on the moon with the black large lava fields everywhere and once you get to the ocean the magic continues. The big island is not only black rocks and blue water it also has some fabulous restaurants to offer.

Beach House

Living in Seattle, WA, we try to get away to a warm place at least once during the winter time to break up the cold months and Hawaii always feels like paradise.

It is a pretty quick trip just over the Pacific Ocean from Seattle, the duration is 5-6 hours long and Alaska Airlines has a direct flight from Seattle, WA to Kona, HI.

Beach House From Beach

So if you are ever in Kona, HI here are my top 10 place to go out and eat:

Beach House Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel at Hualalai.  If you could only go to one of the place on this list this is the one I would go to.  The food is great, not the best from this list but this place is magical for me, and if can come here during a sunset it is even more magical. See the photo up top, that is the restaurant I am talking about.  I can sit here for hours and just stare out in the sea.  You can come here for lunch or dinner.  The menu is pretty simple.  My favorite salad is the Greek Salad, the Burger is amazing and the Gazpacho Soup is also very good.  You can’t really go wrong here.  They usually have a few specials too.  The restaurant is called “Resident’s” Beach House but it is open to everyone and while you are here walk around the Four Seasons Resort, it is pretty nice. I would recommend reservations.

Beach House Restaurant
72-100 Kaupulehu Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
(808) 325-8000

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi at the Queens shops of Waikoloa.  This place is at a strip mall but it is really good.  It is contemporary sushi and new wave Asian inspired dishes. Here there are a few things to die for.  Their salmon sashimi is fabulous, the Tea Duck Egg Roll are amazing, their award winning Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll are just some of the few things that a really good on the menu, but there is a lot more.  I would make reservations at this place since it always seems to be pretty busy.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi
69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa, HI 96738-5810
(808) 886-6286 

Kenichi Pacific Sushi & Pacific Rim is probably my favorite sushi restaurant that I have been to on Kona.  The menu is great and I don’t think you can go wrong with anything here.  Just order a few of their rolls and some sushi and you will be very happy.

Kenichi Pacific Sushi & Pacific Rim
78-6831 Alii Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740-2440
(808) 322-6400

Holua Koa Gardens & Café is one of my favorite places for food.  Now it is not in Kona but in Holualoa which is about 30-40 minutes drive from Kona, but it is worth it.  Not only will you notice the huge temperature drop but beautiful scenery as you drive there.  Just bring a sweater since it is few degrees colder on the mountain.  This place has it’s own garden so everything is very fresh and the seating is outside.  Everything on the menu is excellent, but especially their tomato salad, they grow them there and they are delicious.  They usually have a few specials and I highly recommend going here.

Holua Koa Gardens & Café
76-5900 Old Government Road
Holualoa, HI 96725-8718
(808) 322-5072

Merriman’s in Waimea, HI not to be confused by the Merriman’s in Waikola is a very nice place.  All the food is absolutely fresh, the décor is very cozy and the staff is very nice. I really enjoy the Opakapaka fish so I would get the Steamed Opakapaka and some of their fresh vegetables.

Merriman’s
65-1227 Opelo Road
Kamuela, HI 96743
(808) 885.6822   

La Bourgogneis a country French cuisine restaurants.  It is in a bland building on a highway, there is no view.  But once you are inside you feel like you are in France.  It is a family owned restaurant, the husband cooks and the wife serves.  It is a very small place around 15 tables. Their specialty is the Cassoulet so I would get that and get a good bottle of wine from a great wine menu.  I would make reservations before I go.

La Bourgogne
77-6400 Nalani Street
Kailua Kona, HI 96740-7955
(808) 329-6711

Brown’s Beach House – This beach side restaurant offers a Pacific Rim Cuisines with a California twist.  Is is a great venue for sunset cocktails with a Hawaiian Duo and a solo Hula Dancer. This place is a the Fairmont Orchid Hotel outside hotel dining right on the water and the food is really good. I would get the Fried Rice, Ahi Poke, and Sea Scallops.

Brown’s Beach House
1 North Kaniku Drive
Kohala Coast, HI 96743
(808) 885-2000

Imari – This restaurant offers Japanese Art cooking demonstrations in a variety of styles from Teppanyaki to Shabushabu.  One of the fines Japanese restaurants in Kona.  I would get the Shabushabu here if you have not had that before. This place is located at the Hilton Hotel.

Imari
69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Waikoloa, HI 96738
(808) 886-1234

Pahu i’a – This is probably number one food place on this list but it is also the most expensive food place on this list.  It is a the Four Seasons Hotel at Hualalai, the restaurant setting is beautiful and view is amazing overlooking the beach and water just like the Residents Beach House but most important the food is delicious.  This is a honeymoon spot.  But make sure you are ready to pay the bill. Reservations are required.

Pahu i’a
72-100 Kaupulehu Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
(808) 325-8000

Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill– This place is owned by Roy Yamaguchi and he served a Pacific Rim cuisine with classic European technisues in this livly, and casual restaurant.  It is always full and pretty lively but the service is excellent and the food is good.

Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill
250 Waikoloa Beach Dr
Waikoloa Resort
Kohala Coast, HI
808-886-4321

Tommy Bahamas Café – I really enjoyed this place.  It is a bar/restaurant in a shopping area and the food was excellent.  All I can remember are those sliders.  They were really good. If you are in the shops of Shops at Mauna Lani stop by here to eat.

Tommy Bahamas Café
68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr
Kohala Coast, HI 96743
(808) 881-8686

While you are there don't miss the turtles on the beach
Or the gorgeous sunsets!

 

7 Comments
  1. So beautiful!! I love Hawaii…of course I’m partial because I lived on Oahu for 3 years in the early 90’s. I love reading anything about these islands that I stumble upon. Thanks for sharing such an informative article!

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