10 Best Restaurants in Kona: Where to Eat on Hawaii’s Big Island

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Restaurants in Kona -
The garlic furikake chicken at Broke Da Mouth Grindz. Photo credit: Adina Keeling

Aloha and welcome to paradise. The Big Island of Hawaii is all beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and otherworldly rock formations. Here, you can find powerful waterfalls, laid-back beach towns, snow-covered (!) and black sand beaches, all a short drive from one another.

Cuisine on the Big Island is just as heavenly as its many landscapes. Hawaiian food is a unique blend of Asian, Polynesian, and European cuisine, and many of the restaurants on the Big Island take this blend to the next level by adding their own take on Hawaiian staples.

To help you plan your next Hawaiian dining experience, here’s our list of the best restaurants in Kona on the Big Island.

Restaurants in Kona - Ube Mud Pie at Broke Da Mouth Grindz
The ube mud pie at Broke Da Mouth Grindz. Photo credit: Adina Keeling

1. Broke Da Mouth Grindz

Broke Da Mouth Grindz is a local favorite serving large Hawaiian and Filipino dishes. Its garlic furikake chicken is the restaurant’s most popular dish, but the garlic shrimp and pork adobo is also a must-try.

The menu bursts with burgers, bi bim bap, pork fat adobo fries, sweet potato salad, and more. Be sure to save a little (or a lot) of room for its mud pies. I highly recommend the Ube ice cream mud pie.

The restaurant is located in a small shopping center. There’s parking right in front of the restaurant, but you can also order food for takeout.

2. Huggo’s

Enjoy live music and good food at Huggo’s. This award-winning restaurant sits on a beautiful open-air lanai, or porch, overlooking the water. The food is cooked with local ingredients and fish is caught only hours before being served.

Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the Grilled Chicken with Tamarind-Orange Glaze, the Crab-Crusted Ono, and the Teriyaki Steak. Favorite dessert items include Huggo’s Ginger Creme Brulee or Hualalai Ice Cream Pie.

If you’re looking for a more casual lunch and dinner spot, head next door to Huggo’s On the Rocks. If craft cocktails and live music are more your style, visit Huggo’s bar, hBAR. Here, you’ll find specialty drinks made with lychee juice, hibiscus simple syrup, coconut sochu, and other tropical juices and liqueurs

3. Foster’s Kitchen

There’s something for everyone at Foster’s Kitchen. The restaurant boasts two locations, one in Waikoloa and one in Kailua Kona, on Ali’i Drive. Dishes are made with local ingredients, and range from burgers to poke to fish tacos. Appetizers include calamari, firecracker wings, and pimento cheese.

The restaurant also has a hefty wine and draft beer selection. And if that’s not your style, try one of the signature cocktails, including Botanists’s Cucumber, Hibiscus Heat, and the Island Style Mai Tai.

Restaurants in Kona - French Toast and Chorizo Scramble at the Coffee Shack
The French Toast and the Chorizo Scramble at the Coffee Shack. Photo credit: Adina Keeling

4. The Coffee Shack

If you’re craving a filling brunch along with a steaming cup of Kona coffee, you’ve come to the right place. The Coffee Shack is a breakfast and lunch spot with an inviting ambiance. It boasts a large porch with a stunning coastline and ocean views. This porch is equally popular among the small green geckos that crawl along the wooden railings and make for adorable brunch companions.

The Coffee Shack is known for its sandwiches, pizzas, omelets, and eggs benedict. If you have a sweet tooth, try the french toast or the homemade desserts, such as the lemon coconut bar, lillikoi cheesecake, or coconut cream pie. In addition to coffee drinks, the Coffee Shack offers wine, mimosas, and brews from Kona Brewing Company.

5. Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill is a casual, fine-dining restaurant with one location in Kona and another in Hilo. This Hawaiian eatery serves up fresh seafood, creamy pasta dishes, mushroom risotto, Kona Bouillabaisse, and more. Start your meal with a pupu, or appetizer, such as rosemary bread, kalua pork spring rolls, or homemade crab cakes.

Happy hour is from 4-5. During that time, you can get heavily discounted Lilikoi Martinis, Hawaiian Margaritas and a Mai Tais. There are also appetizers and main course deals during happy hour. To guarantee a spot at Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill, make a reservation here.

6. Ulu Ocean Grill

Enjoy oceanfront outdoor seating at Ulu Ocean Grill. This Hawaiian-Asian fusion restaurant is a part of the Four Seasons Resort in Kailua-Kona and sits right on the beach. Open to all, the restaurant boasts an a la carte breakfast menu and a dinner menu.

Signature dishes include broiled king crab leg, Hawaiian ahi poke, local snapper, and BBQ octopus. The restaurant also features a sushi lounge with sashimi, nigiri sushi, and maki sushi. The desserts here are just as irresistible. Try the chocolate banana mousse, the chocolate coffee financier with macadamia nut cremeux, or the pineapple upside-down cake. Make your reservation here.

Restaurants in Kona - Chef’s daily poke creations with seaweed salad at Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill
Chef’s daily poke creations with seaweed salad at Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill. Photo credit: Adina Keeling

7. Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill

If you’re craving seafood, make a reservation at Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill. With outdoor and indoor seating, this casual seafood restaurant specializes in poke bowls made with Hawaiian ahi. Poke is served with avocado, Hawaiian chili pepper, sweet shoyu glaze or furikake flakes, depending on the dish.

The fresh catch sandwich and the fish tacos are also a great choice. As an appetizer, order the bulleh fries with both garlic and spicy aioli. Pineapple Aperol Spritz, a cucumber vodka soda, and a slushi Negroni, just to name a few.

8. Sushi Shiono

Sushi Shiono is a Japanese-Hawaiian fusion restaurant made with fresh local fish, including ahi, ono, and butterfish. This restaurant has three different locations in Kailua Kona. Shiono Kona’s flagship restaurant is located in Ali‘i Sunset Plaza and boasts chic indoor and patio seating. There’s another location in Brewery Block and a take-out counter in KTA Super Stores.

With a long list of appetizers and an even longer list of sushi options, Sushi Shiono will fulfill all your seafood cravings. If you’re indecisive, order a dinner combination plate, which comes with a variety of fish, rolls or sides. Pair your meal with sake, shochu, wine, or local beer.

9. Da Poke Shack

Popular among tourists and locals alike,Da Poke Shack is the place for poke lovers. Choose between poke bowls and poke platters, made with fresh fish and served with rice and the side dishes of your choice. Side dishes include calamari, potato salad, kim chee, spicy crab salad, and edamame.

In addition to poke, this restaurant serves a variety of other Hawaiian classics, including lau lau, kalua pork, and kahuna. Da Poke Shack features a tiny storefront with two open-air picnic tables, the restaurant’s only seating option, so most customers enjoy their food at home or on the beach.

Restaurants in Kona - Thai Steak salad at Rebel Kitchen
The Thai Steak salad at Rebel Kitchen. Photo credit: Adina Keeling

10. Rebel Kitchen

Rebel Kitchen serves up American classics with a Hawaiian twist. Burgers, sandwiches and salads are all on the menu here, served with flavorful Hawaiian sauces. Try the nacho steak fries or the chicken fajita wontons as an appetizer. The lilikoi lemonade is also a must-try.

This quirky eatery features local art, which restaurant patrons may purchase. The restaurant also has its own Hawaiian-style ketchup, mustard, and hot sauces available for sale.

11. Fish Hopper Kona

Located in the heart of Kailua-Kona, Fish Hopper Kona is a casual seafood and steak eatery overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant has separate breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, as well as a three-course meal menu available Monday through Thursday.

Popular menu items include the clam chowder, the kalua pork, and the Land & Sea Burger. Specialty drinks include the Bucket of Fire and Volcano drink, which arrives flaming, as well as the Ultimate Seafood Bloody Mary, garnished with a crab cake slider dungeness crab meat, and an oyster.

Adina Keeling is a freelance travel writer from San Diego, CA. She worked in local news for a year until her wanderlust drew her to Costa Rica, where she is now based while freelancing and traveling the world. She has lived in three different countries and traveled to 27. An avid solo traveler, Adina wants to empower other women to safely travel alone.
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One response

  1. You have to try the Hawaiian Style Poke from Harbor House in Kailua-Kona!

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