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The Foodie's Guide to Kona Eats, by a Local Big Island Car Rental Agency Ohana

Updated: Mar 31

Most of us plan trips to Hawaii to check out the amazing beaches and top-notch views. Maybe catch a luau or two and surf the gnarliest waves, but for some people, a trip to Hawaii means an opportunity to taste some of the world’s best food. If you are a foodie coming to the Big Island to taste your way through Kona you are going to want to read on because I am gonna take you on a majestic journey that will be sure to titillate your taste buds.

Best Poke Spots:

  • Da Poke Shack - is definitely a local favorite. Located on Ali’i Drive, Da Poke Shack often has lines around the corner. All Poke is guaranteed fresh.

  • Pau Hana Poke - another small business with lines out the door, tucked away in Old Industrial above Costco. They also allow online orders if you are in a rush.

  • Pa’akai Poke & Deli - Has a nice selection of Poke and also offers other options like sandwiches if you’re in the mood for something besides Poke. They also offer curbside pick-up.

Best Brunch Spots:

  • Island Lava Java - Located in the heart of downtown Kona off of the infamous Ali’i Drive, Island Lava Java has some of the best coffee, smoothies, and eggs the island has to offer.

  • Papa Kona’s - Beautiful picturesque ocean views that are sure to wow your Instagram followers. Popular dishes include loco moco, eggs benedict, french toast, and some of the best mimosa flavors on the island. Bonus brunch is served until 3 pm on Saturdays and mimosas are only $3.

  • 808 Grindz Cafe - If you are looking for an affordable brunch spot, this is your place. With large portions and big fluffy pancakes made with homemade coconut-vanilla or macadamia-vanilla syrups, these pancakes are an island favorite.

Best Restaurants:

  • Super J’s - If you are looking for authentic Hawaiian food this is the place. Located about 40 minutes from downtown Kona, they have some of the best pork laulau, tropical deserts, and affordable prices.

  • Magic’s Beach Grill - Located right next to Magic Sands Beach, this cute little restaurant has beautiful views of the ocean and a great drink menu. I’d recommend the poke nachos and the hush puppies.

  • Foster’s Kitchen - is a locally owned restaurant located on the top floor in the center of the Coconut Grove Marketplace. If their stuffed chicken doesn’t win you over, then their mouth-watering fish tacos will. They also have a large selection of local beers on tap and delicious hand-crafted cocktails.

  • Kenichi Pacific - is a Japanese restaurant located in the Keahou shopping center. If you love sushi this is the place for you. With lots of options like fresh sashimi, crab, and eel there is something for everyone on the menu. Pro tip: If you are dining on a budget they have a happy hour menu Monday through Friday from 4-6 pm, all sushi is half off during this time.

  • A Bay’s Waikaloa - Another favorite that serves up authentic Hawaiian food with a gorgeous Ocean view. Some crowd favorites are the boneless Kalbi shortribs and the shrimp lumpia. Bonus points it's within walking distance to the beach.

  • Don’s Breezeway Lounger at The Royal Kona Resort - Breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, delicious food, and some of the best Mai Tais the Island has to offer, makes this place a crowd pleaser. Located on the patio of the Royal Kona Resort, all seating is outdoor with a view of the ocean. The fish and chips are very popular here as well as the massive salads. Bonus points you can sometimes see fish and whales from your seat.

Takeout Restaurants:

In a hurry but still want to find some good eats, read on for some great takeout restaurants.

  • Ultimate Burger - located in the Kona Commons shopping center, Ultimate Burger has a large selection of different burgers that even include vegan-friendly options. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced from the Big Island and all entrees are made fresh to order.

  • Fireart Cuisine - is a local Chinese restaurant with affordable prices and delicious entrees. Some of my personal favorites are the walnut shrimp and orange chicken, but if you can’t decide order the taste of three which has a mix of shrimp, chicken, beef, and a mix of broccoli and mushrooms in a savory mushroom soy sauce.

  • Kona Brewing Company - Kona Brewing Company is known for its delicious mix of beers and ales but it also has a great take-out menu. From handmade pizzas to sandwiches, and salads, Kona Brewing Company offers delicious bar food for those in a hurry. If you do have a chance to dine in I’d recommend it, they have beer tours, and fun events and activities throughout the year.

In Kona culinary delights are as abundant as the stunning ocean views. Whether you're savoring fresh seafood with your toes in the sand or exploring the diverse flavors of the island, this charming town offers a dining experience like no other. From local favorites to international cuisine, Kona's restaurants are a testament to the island's rich culture and natural beauty. So, the next time you find yourself on the Big Island, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in the delicious offerings of this tropical paradise. Mahalo for joining us on this culinary journey, and may your future visits to Kona be filled with unforgettable food and memories.

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