Favorite Big Island Restaurants

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The Big Island Hawaii is blessed with all the right culinary resources. The freshest fish and abundant and flavourful fruits and vegetables are right at their doorstop. So there’s no wonder this tropical destination is home to some pretty amazing restaurants. I thought I would share a few of our favorite Big Island restaurants from our recent visit.

 Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

Jackie Reys

Located at 75-5995 Kuakini Highway, just off the main strip in Kailua-Kona, we visited Jackie Rey’s for dinner on two different occasions because the food was so good. You would be hard pressed to find a better prepared fish dish on the island. Not only did it look great, it tasted phenomenal. Locally caught fish perfectly cooked and presented with absolutely delicious sauces like lime, ginger and wasabi or mango beurre blanc. A fun and lively restaurant that is a must visit when on the Big Island.

Jackie Reys InteriorJackie Reys FoodJackie Reys Fish

Huggo’s on the Rocks


If you looking for a casual restaurant with beautiful sunsets, great live music and tasty food, Huggo’s on the Rocks is for you. Huggo’s on the Beach might be a more appropriate name with the sound of the surf, sand floors and warm island breezes.  Another restaurant we made a return visit to, they serve excellent island fare like fish tacos, fresh shell fish and delicious ribs and steaks. Located on the main strip at 75-5828 Kahakai Road, in Kailua-Kona, it’s a great spot to arrive early for a few cocktails before dinner and to watch the sun go down. Happy hour starts at 3:00pm.

Huggos Fish TacosHuggos Music

Kona Brewing Company Pub & Brewery

Kona Brewing

When I can combine an afternoon brewery tour with lots of free samples, with an evening of great food and live music, I’m pretty much knocking on heaven’s door.  And when the beer is as outstanding as the lineup from Kona Brewing Company, all lovers of that magical combination of malt, yeast and hops need to make this restaurant and brewery a must stop when visiting the Big Island.


Located at 75-5629 Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona, among other tasty pub fare, this restaurant serves amazing hand tossed pizzas with a crust made from the spent grains used in the brewing process. Now that’s a tasty and renewable resource! A really fun place with a huge patio and outdoor stage. Highly recommended.

Kona BeerKona Brewing Pizza

Naung Mai Thai Kitchen

Naung Mai

If you decide while visiting the Big Island to head over to the east coast (and I suggest that you do), the town of Hilo is home to some fantastic restaurants too. Thai cuisine is very popular on the Big Island, and we were really happy that we checked out Naung Mai Thai Kitchen.

Naung Mai ThaiNaung Mai Pad Thai

Located at 86 Kilauea Avenue in Hilo, this Thai restaurant serves traditional Thai dishes in a colourful and comfortable little space. Servings are huge and very affordable, and the ingredients are fresh and very flavourful. The Green Papaya Salad is amazing, as is the Pad Thai and Curry dishes. On our visit, the special was a Crab Curry that was mind-blowingly delicious. Highly recommended.

Naung Mai Curry

Cafe Pesto

Cafe Pesto

Located at 308 Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo, Cafe Pesto is a bright and stylish restaurant that serves wonderful food. From crab cakes and calamari, to fresh fish, organic salads and wood-fired pizzas and calzones, Cafe Pesto is a great choice for lunch or dinner when visiting Hilo.

Cafe Pesto SaladCafe Pesto Calzones

On our visit, we had the Seared Poke salad featuring sesame marinated fresh island fish served with spinach, green onions, pickled ginger, and grilled pineapple and the sounded so interesting I had to try it – Onomea Calzone with sesame seared fresh fish and julienned sweet pepper and snow peas. Delicious! They serve creative and tasty island inspired cocktails too. Well worth the trip to Hilo. For now, back to the cage.