The Big Island, or Hawaii Island, is a must-see when visiting Hawaii. Its small population and breathtaking scenery make it a quiet getaway. Restaurants source local ingredients and infuse them with culture. Do not miss The Big Island, including Kona, when you hop on a plane and visit, and make sure you get a tour of the black-sand beaches.
Big Jake’s Island BBQ
Sam Choy knows I love good barbecue, so I’m glad he took me here. Big Jake set down his smoker in 1997, and customers have flocked to it ever since. This modest but mighty spot is known for its Southern smoked meats and Hawaiian keawe mesquite. You’ll enjoy eating outdoors while dining on brisket, ribs and chicken.
If you haven’t tried poke yet, you definitely need to at Umeke’s. Nakoa Pabre’s flavor combinations will amaze you and make you think of tuna in a different way. He uses fresh ingredients like avocado, fern salad and fruit to create unbelievable dishes.
Kaaloa's Super J’s
Super J’s is truly a hidden local gem. It can be found right off the road and is run by a wonderful family. Eat like a Kona native and pick the juicy pork lau lau, made fresh on the premises daily with pork and spices steamed in banana leaves.
The Sheraton Kona’s Luau
I had an amazing stay at the Sheraton, and they gave me the inside scoop on their luau. The food is fresh, from the imu pit to the plate, and the entertainment will heighten your Hawaiian vacation. You and your family will have the time of your lives at this luau.
Broke da Mouth Grindz
The name is a mouthful, but not as much as the food. Chef Robin Ganir is a Hawaii native who, after gaining experience working in Chef Sam Choy’s kitchen, went off to do his own thing in Kona. His furikake fried chicken, made with the famous Japanese powdered seasoning, is a hit with his garlic shrimp and purple potato salad.
Seaside Restaurant and Aqua Farm
Captain Colin Nakagawa decided to take matters into his own hands when it came to fish at his restaurant in Hilo. Not only is the Seaside Restaurant a fantastic destination for all things seafood, but they also raise seven different kinds of fish on the premises. The desserts like their sweet-potato bread pudding knock it out of the park as well.
Holuakoa Cafe in Holualoa is the perfect go-to for a romantic dinner or a cup of coffee. The beautiful outdoor ambience is ideal for everything in between. Their relationships with local farmers are their top priority, and it’s evident from the colorful food. Dinner favorites are their grilled beef tenderloin, red wine-braised beef brisket and pork trotters.