The Big Island

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From the century-old Suisan Fish Market in Hilo to the sparkling five-star dining rooms along the Kohala Coast, restaurants on the Big Island celebrate Hawaii’s seafood tradition. Chefs fuse their recipes with culinary influences from the multi-ethnic local population, creating a cuisine that is unique to Hawaii and full of surprises and satisfaction for your taste buds.

Top Restaurants in The Big Island

CanoeHouse

The acclaimed CanoeHouse boasts a koa-decorated, open-air dining room right beside the ocean. Hawaii-born chef de cuisine Dee Ann Tsurumaki, whose recent tenure at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong elevated its signature restaurant Felix to one of the world's top 50, focuses her menu on Asian and Pacific Rim cuisine. Distinct offerings include Singaporean sweet-sour chilli prawns and scallops and Mongolian BBQ rack of lamb. Creatively presented, the dishes complement the restaurant's stunning location.

68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, HI, 808-881-7911, http://www.maunalani.com
Tags: expensive

Hilo Bay Café

It may be located in a nondescript mini mall, but self-taught chef Joshua Kettner’s café is worth seeking out for scrumptious standards like slow-cooked pork ribs, lobster salad and molton chocolate lava cake.

315 Makaala St., HI, 808-935-4939
Tags: family | moderate | comfort food

Huggo's on the Rocks

Few Kona restaurants have a waterfront view as appealing as that of this open-air eatery, the light version of the more upscale Huggo's restaurant next door. Lunch fare includes juicy burgers made with Angus beef and generously stacked sandwiches. If you're looking for a casual place to watch the sunset over cocktails and appetizers, this is it.

75-5828 Kahakai Rd., HI, 808-329-1493, www.hugos.com
Tags: moderate | great value | waterfront

Merriman's

Located in the upcountry near Parker Ranch, this well-appointed dining room opened by Peter Merriman, a pioneer of Hawaii Regional cuisine, offers delectable entrees from the turf as well as the surf. The restaurant prides itself on using high-quality, fresh, locally grown ingredients, so the menu changes with the farmers' growing seasons. The gourmet vegetarian dishes are as popular as the prime rib and fresh seafood - you can expect a full dining room at lunch and dinner.

65-1227 Opelo Rd., HI, 808-885-6822, http://www.merrimanshawaii.com
Tags: expensive

Miyo's

Overlooking the Waiakea river, this humble, family-run Japanese restaurant, with its wooden tables and sliding rice paper doors, serves simple, delicious dishes like grilled salmon over salad, tonkatsu, and miso butter fish.

400 Hualani St., HI, 808-935-2273
Tags: budget | great value | japanese

Nori's Saimin and Snacks

This hidden treasure of a noodle shop is located down a non-descript driveway across from the Hilo Lanes bowling alley. Many consider it to serve the island's best saimin, a local food staple of noodles in a flavorful broth. Besides more than a dozen noodle soup options, Nori's also prepares every variety of plate lunch, a great opportunity to sample island favorites from teri beef to kalbi ribs to grilled ahi. Save room for haupia and chocolate mochi cookies.

688 Kinoole St., HI, 808-935-9133
Tags: budget

Romano's Macaroni Grill

The latest addition to the Queens' MarketPlace at Waikoloa Beach Resort is Romano's Macaroni Grill. The Tuscan-inspired, family-friendly chain restaurant wins over diners with its exhibition-style kitchen and extensive array of menu options. Tasty Italian food is hard to come by in the islands, which is why residents flock here to enjoy classic pasta dishes, brick oven pizzas, and flavorful antipasti. The food is fresh and affordable, and take-out is also available.

201 Waikoloa Beach Dr, HI, www.macaronigrill.com
Tags: family | moderate | italian

Roy's Waikaloa Bar and Grill

Hawaii’s most famous chef opened a new location of his namesake chain when, and it doesn’t disappoint. Favorites such as his signature Blackened Island Ahi (tuna) and Ahi Poke are served in a casual, open-air venue.

250 Waikoloa Beach Dr., HI, 808-886-4321, www.roysrestaurant.com
Tags: moderate | seafood | notable chef | editor pick | great value

Simply Natural

A welcome stop on the way to or from Waipio Valley, this natural foods deli makes delicious smoothies and sandwiches with fresh, healthy ingredients. Customer favorites include the homemade baked goods, egg salad sandwiches (made with organic, free-range eggs), turkey melts (made with organic, free-range turkey), taro-banana pancakes, and organic iced chai tea. The small seating area has grown to accommodate 47, and there is live music on the first, second, and fourth Friday of the month.

45-3625 Mamane St., HI, 808-775-0119, www.hawaiisimplynatural.com
Tags: budget | great value | organic

Tex's Drive-In

Driving along the Hamakua Coast? Stop here to refuel with Tex’s famous supersized malasadas (Portugese donuts) infused with Guava jam, chocolate pudding and chantilly cream. Also recommended: their plate lunches (salty meat served with a scoop of rice and macaroni salad).

45-690 Pkalana St., HI, 808-775-0598
Tags: family | budget | comfort food

The Coffee Shack

A hole-in-the-wall local favorite, come for the Kona coffee and casual fare on a cliff-top lanai with smashing views of Kealakekua Bay below.

83-5799 Mamalahoa Hwy., HI, 808-328-9555, www.coffeeshack.com
Tags: views | local favorite | cafe

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