A short 10 days on the big island.
We really liked Hilo but started out with a bad experience at Restaurant Kokaido./ Very stylish, with an interesting room and attractive menu offering. However they have some sort of kitchen problem which meant the courses were extremely slow in appearing and not all of the food was hot.
Ken's Pancakes. Wow! We loved this place, it is open 24hrs and has a huge menu. We went twice and both times the wait staff was fantastic. I had a bowl of Saimin that ranks as one of the best I've ever had. Casual, friendly and affordable.
Up at the volcano we tried Thai Thai and found it to be just okay but nothing to shout about. We tried dinner at the Volcano House and, as at Thai Thai, the food was just okay but the view from the dining room of the caldera made up for shortcomings with the food.
In Kona, the best experience - twice!, was at O's Bistro. Casual and at least $10 less per person than the equivalent on Maui for really superb food. No view . Make a reservation as it ain't that big and then go and enjoy a wonderful meal.
We had a decent lunch at the Kona Inn, and a disappointing lunch at the Fish Hopper .
Dinner at Kenichi found us underwhelmed.
We also did the Vanilla Luncheon at the Hawaiian Vanilla Company. The meal is homemade and you learn about where vanilla comes from = an orchid as it turns out. This was one of our highlights this year. http://www.hawaiianvanilla.com/
Near our condo in Kona was Lava Java. It's on Alii Drive and offers casual, affordable food.