Places to Eat

A Taste of Paradise: 12 Best Restaurants in Kona Hawaii

A waiting staff serving pastry dishes on a white ceramic plates
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Savour ocean-fresh delights and island-inspired cuisine at the best restaurants in Kona Hawaii, offering a delectable journey for every palate.

Kona, a picturesque coastal town on the Big Island of Hawaii, is not only celebrated for its stunning sunsets and volcanic landscapes but also for its vibrant culinary scene. 

Nestled amidst the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean, Kona offers a diverse assemblage of dining options that showcases the rich flavours of the region. 

Kona, Hawaii, is not just a tropical paradise for beach lovers; it's also a culinary haven that boasts a range of dining experiences to satisfy all tastes. From upscale oceanfront dining to casual local eateries, these eateries in Kona offer a diverse tapestry of flavours that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the islands. 

Whether you're a seafood aficionado, a fan of fusion cuisine, or simply seeking a taste of authentic Hawaiian dishes, Kona's vibrant food scene is sure to leave you with memories as delightful as its landscapes.

From fresh seafood to Hawaiian fusion cuisine, these 12 best restaurants in Kona promise a gastronomic adventure that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

1. Merriman's

Merriman's, led by renowned chef Peter Merriman, is a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement in Hawaii. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant offers a menu that pays homage to Hawaiian traditions while incorporating contemporary flavours.

Diners can enjoy dishes like macadamia nut-crusted fish and grass-fed beef while overlooking the mesmerizing Pacific Ocean.

The menu at Merriman's Kona is a reflection of the diverse and vibrant culinary landscape of Hawaii. The restaurant takes advantage of the island's abundant resources, including fresh seafood, tropical fruits, locally grown vegetables, and high-quality meats.

Dishes are crafted with a combination of traditional Hawaiian flavours and contemporary techniques, resulting in a fusion of tastes that appeal to both locals and visitors.

Merriman's is Chef Peter Merriman’s flagship restaurant in Hawaii.
Source : merrimanshawaii

One of the best restaurants in Kona Big Island, Merriman's standout feature is its commitment to sustainability. It prioritizes ingredients that are procured from nearby farms.

This not only ensures the freshest possible flavours but also supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting ingredients long distances.

Visiting Merriman's Kona allows patrons to indulge in a sensory journey through the flavours, aromas, and stunning landscapes that define Hawaii.

It further encapsulates the essence of the Hawaiian islands, celebrating their unique food culture and natural beauty while maintaining a high standard of culinary excellence.

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2. Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge

Situated within the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge is a haven for seafood lovers. The restaurant boasts a stunning oceanfront setting and an innovative menu that features fresh catch and sushi creations crafted with artistic precision.

Renowned for its commitment to sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients, Ulu Ocean Grill crafts a menu that celebrates the bounty of the surrounding land and sea.

The restaurant's Pacific Rim influence is reflected in dishes that harmoniously fuse Asian and Hawaiian flavours, resulting in a symphony of tastes that captivates both locals and tourists.

A delicious acai bowl featuring local honey, bananas and berries.
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Big Island best restaurants The Sushi Lounge is a testament to the restaurant's dedication to innovation, offering a delectable array of expertly crafted sushi creations. 

With an emphasis on the freshest seafood and creative ingredient combinations, the Sushi Lounge adds a modern twist to traditional Japanese fare.

The oceanfront location is a sensory delight, providing breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean that complement the culinary artistry. The ambience is both refined and relaxed, making it an ideal spot for romantic dinners, celebratory occasions, or simply indulging in the pleasures of exceptional cuisine.

Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge stands as a testament to the Big Island's rich culinary heritage and the Four Seasons' dedication to delivering world-class experiences.

It's a haven where delectable flavours, stunning vistas, and warm hospitality converge, offering a true taste of paradise for those seeking an unforgettable dining adventure on Hawaii's majestic shores.

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3. Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill

One of the best restaurants on the big island, Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill is a culinary gem that sums up the spirit of Hawaiian cuisine in a warm and inviting atmosphere. 

Located on the scenic island, this restaurant is a beloved establishment known for its fusion of fresh ingredients, creative dishes, and a strong sense of ohana (family) hospitality.

Book a table at Jackie Rey's to enjoy his nightly fish special.
Source : facebook

At Jackie Rey's, guests are treated to a menu that celebrates the bounty of the island. From locally caught seafood, like tender ahi and succulent shrimp, to mouthwatering steaks and vibrant salads, the culinary offerings embody the flavours of Hawaii.

The restaurant's commitment to sourcing from local farmers and fishermen ensures a farm-to-table experience that is both delicious and sustainable.

The inviting ambience at Jackie Rey's is a reflection of the Hawaiian concept of ohana, where patrons are welcomed like family. The cozy interior and friendly staff create an atmosphere that encourages camaraderie and relaxation, making every visit a memorable dining experience.

In essence, Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill on the Big Island is more than just a restaurant – it's a culinary haven where guests can savour the taste of the island while basking in the genuine warmth of Hawaiian hospitality.

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4. Sam Choy's Kai Lanai

Sam Choy, a beloved figure in Polynesian cuisine, brings his culinary expertise to his restaurant Sam Choy's Kai Lanai. Offering stunning ocean views and a menu inspired by the local flavours of the islands, this restaurant serves up dishes that celebrate Hawaii's diverse cultural influences.

Renowned chef Sam Choy's vision comes to life in every dish, as he artfully blends traditional Hawaiian ingredients with contemporary culinary techniques.

The menu boasts a vibrant array of seafood, locally-sourced produce, and island-inspired creations, all expertly crafted to tantalize the taste buds and offer a true taste of Hawaii.

A fine dinner served by chef Sam Choy
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The Kai Lanai's aura is equally captivating, with open-air seating that allows guests to bask in the island's gentle breezes and panoramic views. From its charming location, diners can savour the sunset over the Pacific Ocean while indulging in innovative dishes that reflect the spirit of Hawaii's rich culinary heritage.

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai is more than just a restaurant; it's a celebration of Hawaiian culture, flavours, and hospitality. Its fusion of delicious cuisine and breathtaking surroundings creates an unforgettable dining experience that embodies the magic of the Big Island.

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5. Huggo's

A Kona institution for over 50 years, Huggo's is known for its waterfront dining experience and impressive menu that showcases fresh seafood and Pacific Rim cuisine.

The restaurant's legendary Mai Tai and the sound of waves crashing create an unforgettable dining ambience.

Come over to Huggo's for a jucicy prime ribs.
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Huggo's is among the perfect restaurants in Kailua Kona on the island of Hawaii, with oceanfront dining that abbreviates the spirit of the Hawaiian paradise. 

Nestled along the picturesque coastline, this restaurant offers an exceptional culinary experience that marries the vibrant taste of the Pacific with the serene beauty of its surroundings.

With its laid-back yet elegant ambience, Huggo captures the essence of Hawaiian hospitality and tropical relaxation. The open-air seating allows diners to relish in the soothing ocean breeze while savouring a delectable arrangement of seafood and island-inspired dishes.

From succulent grilled fish to tantalizing pupus (appetizers), the menu pays homage to the island's rich culinary heritage.

As the sun dips below the horizon, Huggo's transforms into a romantic retreat, where patrons can enjoy a mesmerizing sunset view while sipping on signature cocktails.

The friendly staff and warm atmosphere complete the experience, making it a favourite among both locals and visitors seeking an authentic taste of Kailua-Kona's coastal charm.

In summary, Huggo's in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, stands as more than just a restaurant; it's a sensory journey that combines exquisite flavours, breathtaking views, and the aloha spirit, creating lasting memories for all who step onto its sandy shores.

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6. Kona Brewing Company

Combining great food with craft beer, Kona Brewing Company is a popular spot for those seeking a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience. The menu features pub-style fare and an array of beers brewed on-site, making it a favoured place among locals and visitors alike.

Renowned for its island-inspired ales and lagers, Kona Brewing embodies the spirit of the Hawaiian islands in every brew.

The company's commitment to quality is reflected in its use of locally sourced ingredients, including tropical fruits and pure Hawaiian water. This approach not only ensures a distinct and refreshing taste profile but also promotes sustainability by supporting local agriculture.

Kona Brewing Company Pub & Brewery
Source : tripadvisor

Indulge in culinary excellence at the best places to eat in Kona Hawaii, where the relish of paradise comes alive in every dish for a fair price.

Kona Brewing Company's flagship beer, the "Longboard Island Lager," captures the essence of laid-back island life. The brewery's portfolio also features creative concoctions like the "Big Wave Golden Ale" and the "Pipeline Porter," which pay homage to Hawaii's natural wonders and vibrant surf culture.

Beyond its delicious brews, Kona Brewing embraces environmental responsibility through various initiatives such as using solar power at its facilities and promoting eco-friendly practices.

The company's dedication to both crafting exceptional beers and preserving the beauty of Hawaii has made Kona Brewing Company a beloved choice among beer enthusiasts seeking a taste of the Hawaiian aloha spirit.

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7. Da Poke Shack

Yield in the vibrant taste of Hawaii at Da Poke Shack, a must-visit restaurant on the Big Island, serving exquisite and authentic poke bowls. This casual eatery is famous for its fresh and flavorful seafood dishes, allowing you to customize your bowl to your preferences.

With a commitment to using the freshest locally sourced ingredients, this humble enterprise has earned a reputation that stretches far beyond its unassuming appearance.

Poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish of marinated raw fish, takes centre stage at Da Poke Shack. The skilled chefs expertly craft each bowl, infusing it with a symphony of taste that pays homage to the island's rich culinary heritage.

From classic ahi tuna to inventive combinations, the menu offers a delightful list of choices to please any palate.

Da Poke Shack Kailua-Kona
Source : dapokeshack

What sets Da Poke Shack apart is not just the exceptional taste, but also the warm and inviting atmosphere that welcomes both locals and visitors. Its laid-back atmosphere captures the essence of Hawaiian culture, inviting patrons to savour their meals with a sense of relaxation and appreciation.

Beyond the food, Da Poke Shack's commitment to sustainability is evident in its eco-friendly practices and support of local fishermen. This dedication to preserving the environment and community echoes the spirit of the Big Island itself.

In summary, Da Poke Shack stands as a testament to the Big Island's culinary richness, blending tradition with innovation to offer an unforgettable poke experience that captures the heart and flavours of the Aloha state.

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8. Rebel Kitchen

Rebel Kitchen, a culinary gem on Big Island, Hawaii, offers the best dining experience with innovative dishes that celebrate local tang. It focuses on wholesome, health-conscious dining with an emphasis on plant-based options and locally sourced ingredients.

The restaurant offers a range of dishes that are as nourishing as they are delicious.

Nestled within the lush landscapes and overlooking the cerulean waters of the Pacific Ocean, Rebel Kitchen is a haven for those who yearn for a genuine connection with nature.

Similarly, the ethereal beauty of the island serves as a backdrop to the kitchen's innovative culinary offerings, which draw inspiration from both traditional Hawaiian cuisine and modern gluttonous trends.

Try Rebel Kitchen's veggie fix that nourishes your body and your soul.
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Visitors to Rebel Kitchen are invited to savour an assemblage of locally sourced ingredients that showcase the island's bounty. From delectable seafood caught just off the coast to vibrant tropical fruits grown in the island's fertile soil, each dish tells a story of sustainability and respect for the land.

Whether you're drawn by the breathtaking vistas, the mouthwatering tang, or the sense of liberation it embodies, Rebel Kitchen on the Big Island is a place where both the body and soul find nourishment in the midst of paradise.

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9. Ultimate Burger

Savor Hawaii's essence at Ultimate Burger - the Big Island's culinary gem, where flavours bloom and paradise meets the palate from prices ranging from $5 - $12.

This gourmet haven seamlessly blends the tropical essence with the timeless appeal of a classic burger joint. Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the Big Island's natural beauty, Ultimate Burger beckons both locals and tourists with its inviting offerings.

Each bite at Ultimate Burger is a symphony of flavours, where meticulously sourced, locally grown ingredients fuse to create unparalleled taste experiences. The menu boasts an array of mouthwatering burgers, ranging from the traditional to the uniquely Hawaiian.

Imagine sinking your teeth into a juicy, grass-fed beef patty adorned with fresh pineapple, tangy lilikoi (passion fruit) sauce, and locally harvested avocado. The vibrant ingredients mirror the island's rich culture and diverse agriculture.

Ultimate Burger Kona, Big Island
Source : facebook

Ultimate Burger isn't just a place to eat; it's an experience. The laid-back, welcoming atmosphere and open-air dining spaces amplify the sense of being immersed in Hawaii's captivating atmosphere.

The facility's commitment to sustainability and community engagement is palpable through its partnerships with local farmers and dedication to eco-friendly practices.

For those seeking a taste of the Big Island's culinary identity in burger form, Ultimate Burger stands as a must-visit destination. It abridges the essence of Hawaii's flourishing landscapes and vibrant taste, creating a memorable dining escapade that lingers long after the last bite.

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10. Kona Inn Restaurant

A historic landmark, Kona Inn Restaurant offers oceanfront dining and a classic menu that combines Hawaiian taste with continental cuisine. This restaurant's timeless charm and breathtaking views make it preferred for both special occasions and everyday dining.

The Kona Inn Restaurant, nestled in the heart of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a cherished culinary haven that seamlessly blends history, stunning views, and delectable cuisine.

Since its inception in the 1920s, the restaurant has stood as a symbol of Hawaiian hospitality and a focal point for both locals and tourists alike.

Perched along the picturesque coastline, the Kona Inn Restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, captivating patrons with mesmerizing sunsets and the soothing sound of waves.

Its historic significance is palpable, having hosted notable figures and celebrities over the years.

Enjoy Hawaiian chicken with a vista view at  Kona Inn Restaurant
Source : instagram

The restaurant's menu is a delightful journey through Hawaiian relish and global influences. With a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, diners can savour an array of seafood delicacies, tropical fruits, and island-inspired dishes.

From macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi to traditional poi, the culinary offerings reflect the essence of Hawaiian culture.

The Kona Inn Restaurant not only satisfies appetites but also invites visitors to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Hawaiian heritage.

Its blend of history, oceanfront charm, and exquisite cuisine make it an enduring destination for those seeking an authentic and unforgettable dining experience on Hawaii's enchanting shores.

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11. Don the Beachcomber

For a touch of Polynesian-inspired dining, Don the Beachcomber is a must-visit. Known for its tropical cocktails and flavorful dishes, this restaurant transports you to a bygone era of tiki culture while celebrating Hawaiian ingredients.

This facility captures the essence of Donn Beach's original concept, transporting patrons to a realm of exoticism and relaxation.

Nestled amidst the lush landscapes of the Big Island, this tiki bar and restaurant immerses visitors in a Polynesian-inspired paradise.

The décor features bamboo accents, tiki carvings, and vibrant tropical flora, creating an aura that evokes the spirit of the South Pacific.

Enjoy classic island style seafood and drinks at Don the Beachcomber restaurant
Source : tripadvisor

Wallow in Big Island's finest at Don the Beachcomber. Tropical flavours and island vibes come together for an unforgettable dining experience for $30 & under. 

At the heart of the experience are the meticulously crafted cocktails, paying tribute to Donn Beach's ingenuity.

Classic drinks like the Zombie and the Navy Grog are artfully prepared, showcasing a blend of premium rums, fresh juices, and secret infusions that tantalize the taste buds.

Moreover, these libations are complemented by a menu that showcases a fusion of Island flavours and Asian influences, further enriching the sensory journey.

To summarize, with its dedication to preserving Donn Beach's legacy while infusing contemporary twists, this establishment continues to be a beloved destination where the spirit of adventure and the enchantment of the tropics converge in an unforgettable experience.

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12. Papa Kona Restaurant & Bar

Settled along the sun-kissed shores of the Big Island, Papa Kona Restaurant & Bar stands as a culinary gem in the heart of Hawaii's tropical paradise.

With a blend of island charm and epicurean innovation, Papa Kona offers an unforgettable dining experience that captures the essence of Hawaiian culture and cuisine.

Overlooking the glistening Pacific Ocean, the restaurant's inviting ambience sets the stage for a memorable journey through flavours. Freshly caught seafood takes centre stage, artfully prepared with a fusion of traditional Hawaiian ingredients and modern culinary techniques.

From poke bowls bursting with vibrant colours to perfectly seared ahi tuna, each dish is a testament to the island's remuneration.

Enjoy your favorite cuisine by the ocean at Papa Kona Restaurant & Bar
Source : facebook

Yet, Papa Kona is more than just a restaurant; it's a cultural hub. Local artwork adorns the walls, depicting the island's rich heritage, while live music infuses the air with melodies that echo the rhythm of the ocean waves.

The bar, a spirited extension of the establishment, serves up handcrafted cocktails inspired by tropical fruits and local spirits, inviting patrons to unwind and savour the moment.

Whether you're a visitor seeking an authentic taste of Hawaii or a local looking for a new favourite haunt, Papa Kona Restaurant & Bar manifests the spirit of aloha, where good food, good company, and the breathtaking backdrop of the Big Island converge into an enchanting experience.