Hawaii is home to many gastronomic treasures that help make our island a unique and diverse place. Our Relocation team recently asked our agents and staff across the island about their favorite local restaurants. Below is a sampling of what they shared.
‘Ono = delicious, tasty, savory, to relish, to savor
Recommended by: Jewel Victorino
After the Nakagawa family’s first restaurant was destroyed by the 1946 tsunami after two decades in business, the family rebuilt the restaurant in its current location on Kalanianaole Street overlooking the ponds across from Carlsmith Beach Park. Seaside serves a wide variety of seafood dishes as well as sushi (see picture above) and other decadent dinner entrees, including an amazingly good paniolo-style prime rib.
Jewel’s Favorite Dish: It’s a toss-up between the Ono with Mac Nut Pesto Sauce and the Chinese Style Steamed Kona Kampachi. For dessert, Jewel recommends the Taro Bread Pudding with Haupia Sauce.
Website: Seaside Restaurant
Recommended by: Michael Pipta
“Kaleo’s is the restaurant that I always take out of town guests to when they are visiting,” says Michael. “The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable, the food is always amazing and the prices are very reasonable. On the weekends there is a band and quite often the owner and the wait staff will break into hula for a true Hawaiian experience!”
Michael’s Favorite Dish: Baby Back Pork Ribs and Lilikoi Cheesecake
Recommended by: Sean Allen
Located in Holualoa village, Holuakoa Cafe has a comfortable atmosphere with a covered outdoor seating area surrounded by trellises of blue jade vine. The food is consistently exceptional as well as the service. A local brunch favorite is the Eggs Benedict.
Sean’s Favorite Dish: Eggs Benedict
Website: Holuakoa Cafe
Recommended by: Jen McGeehan
A slice of Italy in the heart of quaint Honokaa. Jen says “check out the fabulous bar imported from Austria!”
Jen’s Favorite Dish: “Cafe Il Mondo offers great food! My fav is the veggie sandwich on focaccia bread. Also, try the Paauilo pizza. (I am partial since I live in Paauilo!) And, if you don’t imbibe, they have non-alcoholic brews!”
Website: Cafe Il Mondo
Location: Queens Marketplace in Waikoloa Beach Resort
Recommended by: James Batol
James recommends this place as a great lunch spot. Their website describes Charley’s Thai Cuisine as “a place where locals and island visitors can enjoy fragrant, delectable Thai meals. Choose from fresh local fish prepared Thai style or select one of our curries, noodle dishes or combination dishes.”
James’s Favorite Dish: Teriyaki beef with green papaya salad
Website: Charley’s Thai Cuisine
Recommended by: Kevin Lewis
From many years, Miyo’s was located in Waiakea Villas. This local favorite, known for homestyle Japanese cuisine, moved to the Manono Marketplace (across from Big Island Candies) in 2012. You can’t go wrong with their signature noodle dishes.
Kevin’s Favorite Dish: Sesame chicken, rice, salad
Location: Kailua Kona
Recommended by: Kit Carver
Located in downtown Kailua Village just above Kona Pier, Quinn’s is a friendly family restaurant with great food and prices. Taste the difference with fresh local fish sourced from local fisherman.
Kit’s Favorite Dish: Fish and Chips
Website: Quinn’s Almost by the Sea
Recommended by: Jeff Calley
Muy auténtico! Jeff reports that he discovered this little restaurant a few weeks ago while showing property up Hawi. “A discreet little sign gives it away,” he says. “So we decided to give it a try.” The family-run operation has roots in Michoacán and they serve everything in very traditional Mexican style—simple, flavorful and satisfying.
Jeff’s Favorite Dish: Chile Relleno and enchilada combination
Location: Kailua Kona
Recommended by: Cheryl White
This traditional Thai Cuisine restaurant is family owned and operated—Mom is even the Chef! The setting is casual, air-conditioned (a nice respite on warm Kona days) and is within walking distance from downtown. “The daily specials are ono-licious,” Cheryl reports. “As well as every item I’ve tried on their menu thus far…and don’t forget a nice tall chilled glass of Thai Ice tea, yummers!”
Cheryl’s Favorite Dishes: Rama Chicken, Panang Curry, Phad Thai and Green Curry
Website: Original Thai Cuisine
Location: Kailua Kona and Waikoloa Beach Resort
Recommended by: Yours Truly (Blake Howell)
Fosters is a farm-to-table restaurant with special seasonal menu items highlight fresh and available local ingredients. You can enjoy the Kona location oceanfront on Alii Drive or stop in while shopping at the Kings Shops in Waikoloa Beach Resort.
My Favorite Dish: I’m torn between the grilled veggie sandwich and the fish tacos. The tomato bisque and gourmet grilled cheese are awesome too.
Website: Fosters Kitchen
Photo Credits: Mi Ranchito: Jeff Calley; Fosters: Blake Howell; Seaside Restaurant (featured image): Mari Andres