My family and I visited the Big Island for the first time last weekend, staying at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We looked at the menus at the Hapuna and sister Mauna Kea Hotels and found them a bit too expensive for our budget. We did have a car so were able to drive elsewhere to eat.
Our favorite was Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae, excellent salads, pizzas and pastas. My wife thought the smoked salmon fetucinni (sp) alfredo was very good and my grilled free range chicken mushroom rissoto was tasty. The apple crisp ala mode was a nice dessert. Prices were moderate, a good dollar value restaurant.
Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea was a fun and interesting breakfast spot. Huge portions of eggs, breakfast meat and rice, with two enormous pancakes. Pancakes were just ok, but for the price, I think $5.95 it was a very good deal.
Tres Hombres in Kawaiahae was just ok, but again price wise thought it was a good bargain. Not the best Mexican food by any means, but compared with a $30-40 dollar meals at the resort restaurants it was fine.
Arnie's at the Hapuna golf course was a great combination of price and good food. The clubhouse sandwich and cheeseburger were excellent and came with a nice view of the golf course. Others around us were having salads and pastas which looked nicely done. Heard the skirt steak sandwich is a winner there, will have to go back to try it.
My best meal was at the Manago Hotel down in Captain Cook. Great pork chops! Tender, moist and juicy, seasoned just right. Had heard about this place from friends and family over the years and it met all my expectations. The dining room takes you back to the early 1900's. Worth the drive down for lunch in my opinion, extremely casual place.