Just got back from my first visit to the Big Island. We started out on the Hilo side and then finished our trip in the Kona area. My thanks to all those who have posted info on this board in the past - I mined this area for much of my itinerary.
Heres what we tried in Hilo:
Kuhio Grill. Straight forward local food. Covered outside seating with a nice view of the shopping center parking lot. We had the ahi belly and the pork lau-lau.
The ahi belly had a mild teryaki flavor and the richness associated with belly. The pork lau-lau was a bit dry/stringy but I think thats the style - some lemon slices are included with the pork before being wrapped with taro leaves - enjoyed the velvety texture of the taro leaves. Its a bit like pulled pork - use
the hot sauce on the table to make it more interesting.
Good value. $8-9.
Dottys. By Macys in North End of Prince Kuhio Plaza.
A pleasant restaurant inside the mall - not fancy but comfortable. I had the loco moco with portugese sausage instead of hamburger. The brown gravy was tasty and the egg perfectly cooked. I picked up one of the best free maps of the Island at the register - well detailed - very useful.
Seaside Restaurant & Aquafarm
The view out onto the lagoon at sunset is better than the food. I tried the mullet steamed with lemon and my SO had the aholehole. Neither was worth the trouble of dealing with all the tiny bones - the meat just wasnt very sweet/juicy/moist. The aholehole was deep fried. Overheard some folks next to us say that there steaks were good but the clams were a bit tough.
Noris Saimin & Snacks.
A bit hard to find - set back off the street - across from the Bowling Alley. This place had framed pictures of Ming Tsai and also one of the Iron Chefs as they came to eat so I was anticipating something good. My SO ordered the
saimin special - in the Tokyo(?) style - firmer noodles we were told.....it wasnt all that specail. The broth was pretty one dimensional - salty. The special meant it got vegetables ( 2 pieces of napa cabbage) and 2 (?) chicken skewers that were pretty tasty. I wanted to order the cold buckwheat
noodles but they were out of them (at 6pm) so I went for the Korean plate.This turned out to be a blessing - it was delicious and a good value. Korean style grilled chicken, beef & short ribs, salad, rice, soup w/ a wonton and kim chee - all for under $8.75, I think. And it was very tasty.
Two Ladies Kitchen.
if you are a mochi fan - this place is worth a visit. they make each one after you order....we tried the fresh strawberry variety....a fresh strawberry is covered with a sweet bean paste and then a thin layer of mochi covers it all.
Each order comes in a very nice package in typical Japanese fashion.
OKeefe & Sons Bakery.
they had a stand at the Hilo Farmers Market but we walked over to the bakery.....ordered a loaf of the 9 grain bread and looked forward to making some nice sandwiches with the bounty from the Farmers Market. We were disappointed - a very light & airy bread with lots of small holes in it - not like any other 9 grain bread Ive encountered and certainly nothing like the
great breads were used to having back home in the SF Bay Area.
Suisan Fish Market.
No more fish auction but they have a nice selection of poke - could make a nice picnic around this.
Volcano NP area
Volcano House. the lunch buffet looked rather pedestrian. If you must, go next door to the snack bar and you can enjoy the same view.
Thai Thai Restaurant
just outside the Park in the little town of Volcano. Heard from some others that they enjoyed their meal at this little Thai outpost.
North of Hilo.....
Whats Shakin just North of Hilo on Hwy 19.
Shakes made with local fruit. Nachos, sandwiches & other organic/natural snacks. Lots of tchotchkes (sp) for sale.
Texs Drive-In. Hwy 19 . .... Honokaa
They are known for their malassadas so thats what we tried. One each of the different fillings. Chocolate, Jelly & Custard. Sad to say that they didnt have the papaya filling or guava? Generously filled and yummy. Made fresh all through the day. Worth a stop.
Merrimans Opelo Plaza.
We had snacked on Texs malassadas so I wasnt hungry enough to have lunch but my SO was up for lunch so I nursed an ice tea while she had a good maui onion soup with a warmed housemade roll and a very nice salad with perfectly ripe tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes are no small thing on the Island. This place lived up to its reputation - nice service and good ingredients.