Just wanted to report back on my recent trip to the Big Island.
*Kohala Burgers and Tacos- little hole in the wall. My husband had a burger, I had the fish tacos. Both were very good, and prices were fair. Very busy around lunch time- looked to be a local crowd.
*Brown's Beach House (in the Fairmont Orchid resort)- I had the ahi poke (great- perfect combo of sesame oil and ginger) and mahi with crab. The mahi was not that special. My husband had the tenderloin and enjoyed it. We shared two desserts- the chocolate mousse and the creme brûlée duo (coconut and passion fruit). The creme brûlée was the standout of the two. Prices were high, but not more than we expected for the location. Service was excellent.
*Lava Java- we went to the Waikoloa village location (there is also one in Kona). Nice breakfast and very good Kona coffee.
*Puka Puka in Hilo- another great hole in the wall, near the farmers market in Hilo. My husband had the lamb pita and I had the fried ahi with curried rice. Both came with a nice salad. Very reasonable- around $25 for the whole meal.
*Cafe Pesto in Hilo- we ended up here because of timing of getting back across the island. We did not enjoy it; food pairings were odd (ex: shrimp with mashed potatoes) and the food was not special. We don't recommend.
*Sushi Shiono in Kona- a nice combination of offerings for those who love sushi (me) and those who are just humoring their traveling companions (my husband). Prices were fair, and fish was fresh. They're also open a bit later than some other sushi places in the area, which is why we ended up here. Not a destination meal, but was good.
*Manta (in Mauna Lani Resort)- food was excellent- for me, the best we had on the island- but service was not great, and we were rushed through our meal. No space in-between courses- the main course was brought out while we were still finishing our salads. I had ordered the soufflé for dessert, but our waitress didn't ask my husband what he wanted until just a few minutes before my soufflé was brought out- his came out 10 minutes later. His dessert was an ice cream mud pie- the one dish worth skipping that meal. It was too bad that the service didn't measure up to the excellent food (and the high prices they charged). I hope that ours was a singular experience, and I still do recommend Manta while on the Big Island.