Restaurants & Bars

1/2005 Big Island Report

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Restaurants & Bars 4

1/2005 Big Island Report

jjb | Jan 26, 2005 11:28 AM

I did not take any notes while I was visiting the Big Island, so this is from memory; hope someone out there finds this info valuable if planning to visit Hawaii.

Costco (Kona) food is exactly what you would see on the mainland. This has its pluses and minuses.

Jameson’s (Kona): Excellent location right on the water. The fish is fresh. And that ends the pleasant things about this place. The starch choices and vegetables are standard packaged fare; the wait staff seems comprised of creepy non-native men in their 40s and it is expensive. $30+ an entrée I expect more than stale garlic toast and steamed broccoli accompaniment. Avoid.

Kona Brewery (Kona): Excellent beer, pizza and outdoor seating. Various pizzas were excellent. Coconut milk stout and Kona coffee stout were the two specialty taps when I was there. Highly recommended, very kid friendly. There was a wait when we were there but we were seated fairly promptly.

Hilo Farmer’s Market (Hilo): Really wonderful. I was there on a Wednesday and the surrounding blocks were filled with vendors; I hear there is a smaller version of it other weekdays. Lots of fruit I wasn’t familiar with and the vendors were willing to hand out samples. Good locally made goat cheese and I experienced my first durian fruit.

Ocean Sushi (Hilo): The atmosphere was nothing special but the food made up for it. Had several of the rolls that were all excellent, as well as a pork dish and something else. Decent prices. Definitely worth a stop.

There were several other very charming-looking restaurants in Hilo that intrigued me, but we only had one day planned for that side of the island.

Suisan (Hilo): Retail fish market. Check it out if you are looking for fresh fish to cook on your own. Lot s of different fish, clams, crabs, etc. Abalone @ $40 each. Several flavors of poke and dried fish available in a deli-type counter.

Several pickups along the roadside in and around Hilo were selling ahi but since we boght fish as Suisan we didn't partake.

Roy’s (Waikoloa): A lot of fun. My first visit to a Roy’s and I would rate it as excellent but not exceptional. Service was extremely professional and polished. The two recommended appetizers didn’t disappoint, a seared ahi and the shortribs. Salads were very fresh and bright. I wish I could remember better descriptions of the entrees at our table, but in sum they included grilled shrimp, grilled scallops, and macnut mahi which were all very, very good. One entrée was a fish in a truffled tomato coulis that was the best of the bunch, excellent. The signature molten chocolate dessert was excellent. Entrees were priced at $30+ but worth it (especially when compared to Jameson’s). FYI new remodel recently completed but bathrooms still under remodel as of 01/2005. There are some outdoor tables; I would have requested one with my reservation had I known this ahead of time.

Kaiwe Café (Volcano): Very casual and excellent at what they do: casual pizza and pasta with some other entrees mixed in. We stopped in around 8:30 after an evening hike to the lava flow and it hit the spot perfectly. Pastas were all exactly how I cook at home and how I like: heavily seasoned with garlic and pepper flakes. Linguini with clams, puttanesca, shrimp Diablo, Caesar salad, pizza margherita were all spot-on. Not blow-you-away exceptional but excellent at what they’re aiming for. Great wine and beer selection. Claim to be open till 9 but when I called the night previous to confirm they said they were closing early because there were no customers. We were the last table seated for the night at 8:30. Closed Wednesdays and I don’t think they’re open for lunch.

I didn’t make it to the Hawaiian Style in Waimea but have had excellent breakfast there on a previous visit.

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