Where to Eat and Drink on Hawaii’s Big Island
Aug 24, 2022 at 8:00 AM in Where to Eat by
The Big Island of Hawaii (its official name is literally just “Hawaii,” so its nickname helps avoid some confusion) is twice as big as all the other Hawaiian islands combined, but also the youngest of all the islands. Thanks to its size, the island features a huge range of things to do, from exploring snow-capped mountains (yes, you can find snow in Hawaii!) to hiking through rainforest-covered valleys to, of course, soaking in the sun on one of the island’s beaches.
The Big Island also, of course, offers a big selection of options when it comes to places to dine and drink on the island. Here’s where to go to taste and experience some of Hawaii’s best.
1. Merriman’s Big Island focuses on Hawaiian regional cuisine, sourcing its ingredients from local farmers and ranchers and then introducing you to those local flavors with every dish
Merriman’s has several locations throughout the state, but the Big Island outpost serves brunch on the weekend, lunch part of the week and dinner every day. Try the three-course prix fixe menu for a full taste of all the flavors the island has to offer.
2. For a more casual experience, try Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill either the Kona or Hilo location (though the Kona outpost is the original)
The large dinner menu includes a range of chef specialities, including a seafood trio with a fresh catch o’ the day, crab cake, shrimp kabob and Molokai sweet potatoes; a Kona bouillabaisse; and guava barbecue-glazed baby back ribs.
For quick take-out and local specialties by the beach, try Kona’s Da Poke Shack. Choose from a variety of fresh poke bowls and plates made from yellowfin tuna and other seafood options (and make sure to get there early, because the eatery frequently sells out!).
Always love to try the local brews, no matter where you travel? Then you’ll want to stop in to the pub at Kona Brewing Co., where you can taste the local brews, enjoy some live music on the weekends, take a brewery tour if you're lucky and, of course, enjoy some casual eats. The menu includes hand-tossed pizzas, tacos, salads and pupus (a Hawaiian word you’ll spot on many menus here that basically means an appetizer).
L&L may be a chain, but it’s definitely one you have to try if you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time. The regional plate lunch concept (also called the state food of Hawaii) is casual and maybe underrated, but definitely delicious and essentially the local take on comfort food, derived from historic laborer meals that were quick, easy and affordable. L&L’s plate lunches include two services of rice, one serving of macaroni salad, plus your choice of a protein, whether that be fresh seafood, chicken or something else.
Still need extra help planning your trip to the Big Island? Check out Discovery Map’s guide to all things to do and see on the island, with extra tips for where to stay, where to shop and more.