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Big Island restaurants/hotels?

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In July, I'm spending two days in the Volcano area (running the Kilauea marathon). Which of the B&Bs in Volcano Village are interesting? What are costs like? Any decent eating?

I'd also like a night in Hilo. Are there any good restaurants that will show me current island food trends? Any interesting places to stay in Hilo?

I could fly SF to Kona direct, bypassing Hilo. Or I could transfer from Honolulu to Hilo and spend the night there. I was born on the Big Island, so I'd really prefer Hilo to the tourist side of the island. Thanks for any advice you can share.

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Tsunami's in Hilo is the place to eat....

250 Keawe St, Hilo, (across from Spencers Gym)

(808) 961-6789.

Everytime I go home to Hilo, this is the only place I HAVE to eat at.

They have an extensive donburi menu, among other things, and thier food is great and pretty good prices. You can also order any sushi from Ocean Seafood (sushi restaurant) across the street (same owners).

Also, if you want some Hawaiian and local foods like good laulau, I like Kuhio Grille.

111 E Puainako St, Hilo (behind the Prince Kuhio Mall in Hilo, by KFC)

(808) 959-2336

If youre in Volcano, you can stop by Volcano Winery and sample some wine too :biggrin: .

As far as B&B's in Volcano go, I only know of the one my mom's friend runs. It is a fairly plain and casual place, but they have a furo (hot bath), though its indoors. I'll have to go find out the name of the place though.

Since Im from the Big Island (Hilo side), I also totally prefer Hilo over Kona.

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Back from Hilo/Volcano with some eating notes:


Nori’s for lunch. This is a local fave. From my table in the entry hall, I counted 21 people waiting for a table. And more waiting for takeout. Saimin (fish-based noodle soup) with silky wonton, served with a stick of grilled teriyaki chicken on the side was perfect for a rainy day. What a minute…it rains every day in Hilo.

Kaikodo was highly recommended, but it appears to have gone down. There’s the typical note on the door: Closed for Renovations, then a number to call if you have a gift certificate.

Nihon. This Japanese restaurant is at the end of beautiful Liliokalani Park, in a tsunami resistant building, up on the second floor. Great view of Hilo across the bay and the slopes of Mauna Kea rising behind the old town. It’s next to a public fish auction where one morning I saw pallets of monstrous, uncut, fresh ahi, ready for the markets and Japan. Taste it at Nihon before the rest of the world? The sushi bar serves up the usual suspects, but talk to the locals and you’ll be steered off the menu to the best stuff. That’s how I discovered marlin sashimi. Wow. And after grazing through the local waters, Nihon’s dessert tops ‘em all: simple, palate cleansing shave ice.


This is a little village with lots of B& Bs hidden in the forest, across the road from the Volcano National Park. On the one little road, there are 3 very good restaurants. Thai- Thai’s menu reads like Thai menus all over the mainland, but what you get here is pretty special. I ordered tofu with thai basil, thinking of the usual juices, basil, and tofu with rice on the side. Wrong. The plate was heaped with perfect, small-farm vegetables. Tiny sweet florets of broccoli, julienned haricot verts that really tasted like beans, cabbage that was deep green and crunched and tasted like dream cabbage. Even the sprigs of thai basil were far more fragrant than I’ve found in California Thai houses. Beers were more than Singha. Local brew Kona Pale Ale was good, but Mehana Brewing’s Volcano Red (from Hilo) was smokey and better.

Kilauea Lodge. What a pretty place: high ceilings, koa wood tables, a fireplace, Hawaiian wood floors. Unpretentious, high quality cooking at reasonable prices. $28/ three courses: a bowl of deeply flavored, clear duck soup dotted with local farm vegetables. A salad made of of the littlest lettuce heads. Not the bitter, weedy type of greens you find in California farm mixes. These were like miniature limestone lettuces, colored red and green, moistened with a berry/papaya seed dressing. Main: a huge steak of ono (local fish), sautéed so the inside was just a few seconds from raw. Simple butter, wine, capers drizzled over. Very appropriate to the casual but elegant setting.

Lots of other good meals, a few mediocre ones. The Big Island is more than the moneyed hotels and golf courses on the Kona/Kohala coast. It’s quieter, friendlier, and greener on the other side of the island. (Thank you, locals. I’ll let you tell the next adventurous gourmand where to find the best breakfast and coffee: fried rice, eggs with orangey yolks, and wood-grilled Portuguese sausage.)

Edited by crosparantoux (log)

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I just spent almost two weeks in the Hilo/Volcano/Puna areas for work, and I think the best eats I found were at the farmer's markets. Both the Hilo and Puna markets (not the small one in the town of Pahoa, but the big farmer's/craft market alongside Hwy 130 on Sat and Sun) had a lot of prepared foods, such as Vietnamese salad rolls, papaya salads, rice noodle salads, roast chickens, desserts, etc. I was in heaven at the Vietnamese food stalls, and I enjoyed the chance to try unfamilar Asian/South Pacific items from other without breaking the budget (such as the coconut glazed mochi puffs for $1). I also have a thing for roadside stands, and I bought quite a bit of tasty stuff out of the back of people's trucks on the side of the road, ie tamales and spanish rice. I was really happy to find such delicious, inexpensive food in Hawaii.

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