Where to Find the Best Lunch on the Big Island

Where to Find the Best Lunch on the Big Island

Picture of Clean Plate Club

Clean Plate Club

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Measuring over 4,000 square miles, the Big Island has a lot of ground to cover. Naturally, you’ll want to spend your mornings and afternoons here outside, so you’ll need a satisfying lunch to keep you fueled up. for your island adventures Here’s a list of our favorite spots for a tasty lunch on the Big Island. 

But wait, there’s more. We’re here to help demystify some of the unusual words you might see on menus like furikake, laulau and lilikoi — and explain which meat is being served and why. And possibly most importantly of all, provide the fun facts on the origins of local dishes

If you’re happy with your meal, tag us @LocalGetaways on Instagram to share the love.

For more suggestions on best restaurants on the Big Island, the best things to do on the Big Island, and the best places to stay on the Big Island, click here.

Feature Photo: Umekes Facebook

Best Lunch in Kona

A hand dips a chip into a bowl of dip beside a can of Kona Light Blonde Ale, perfect for the best lunch. The can's design features two people lounging on a beach with palm trees and an ocean backdrop. Loose chips and a blurred, outdoorsy background complete the scene.
Photo: @konabrewingco

Kona Brewing Co.

This popular, casual pub is serving up hand-tossed pizzas and a wide selection of pupus (appetizers) in addition to standard pub fare. Kona Brew Co. has so many handcrafted beer flavors on tap that it’s probably best to start with a flight for the taste-testing purposes. Open daily from 11am to 9pm. 

Big Island, Restaurants, Best place to eat
Photo: Courtesy of Umekes

Umekes Ali’i Plaza

Umekes serves traditional Hawaiian cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients — as their saying goes, “so fresh it’s off da hook!” They’ve got lau lau (steamed tender pork wrapped in taro leaves and slow cooked) served over rice or you can try their loco moco. Open daily 11am to 9pm.

Best Lunch in Kohala / Waimea

A close-up of a person holding a fork digging into a plate of creamy penne pasta garnished with herbs and bits of what appears to be bacon or ham, arguably the best lunch on the Kohala Coast. Two crispy garlic bread slices are placed on the rim of the white plate.
Photo: Courtesy of Big Island Brewhaus

Big Island Brewhaus

There are lots of microbreweries popping up on the islands lately, but Big Island Brewhaus is no new kid on the block. They’ve been winning awards since they started brewing in 2011, cementing themselves as one of the best in Hawai’i. The food here is just as tasty as the beers — their menu of Mexican-inspired dishes and contemporary pub fare is made fresh daily from locally sourced ingredients. Open daily 11am to 9pm. 

A delicious pizza topped with artichoke hearts, greens, and other ingredients sits on a silver tray. The crust is golden-brown and the toppings look fresh and flavorful. Enjoy the best lunch on the Kohala Coast as you savor every bite in a kitchen setting slightly out of focus.
Photo: Courtesy of Cafe Pesto

Cafe Pesto

This 1912 building was restored to create this beautiful cafe, offering the perfect ambiance for a leisurely lunch. There’s an ohia wood-fired pizza oven in the kitchen and a menu full of the flavors of Hawai’i Regional Cuisine. There are so many tasty choices — coconut calamari, locally sourced salad, award-winning pizza, saffron risotto — how do you choose just one? Cafe Pesto open daily 11am to 8:30pm. 

A plated dish features a grilled steak topped with herb butter, a halved lobster tail garnished with parsley, a charred lemon wedge, and a portion of Romanesco broccoli. The plate rests on a wooden table, making it the best dinner in Hilo, Big Island.


Chef Peter Merriman is one of the godfathers of Hawaii’s farm to table movement, and Merriman’s is leading the way for culinary excellence on the islands. Their lunch menu has all the fixings of a great midday meal — we recommend the Caesar salad to start, followed by the fresh-catch fish sandwich and accompanied by a couple glasses of chardonnay. Currently open Wednesday through Saturday for lunch from 11:30am to 2pm, Saturday and Sunday for brunch from 10:30am to 1pm, and daily for their “Taste of Waimea” Prix Fixe dinner from 5pm to 8:30pm. Reservations required and Merriman’s has multiple locations, so double check your reservation to make sure it’s at the right place.

Best Lunch in Hilo

A rectangular white plate presents the best lunch on the Big Island with three gourmet dishes arranged in a row. On the left, seared tuna with seaweed; in the center, soba noodles topped with sliced scallions and a crispy garnish; on the right, thinly sliced sashimi garnished with cilantro. White flowers decorate the table.
Photo: Volcano House​

Volcano House

1 Crater Rim Dr., Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Located in the unique landscape of Volcanoes National Park, this historical retreat is unlike any other experience in Hawaii. Volcano House was established in 1846 and has welcomed many guests over the years, including Mark Twain and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Overnight guests may enjoy their room service, but if you’re just driving through, stop at Uncle George’s Lounge — it’s open for takeout and grab and go. Open daily from 7am to 8:30pm. 

Did we miss your favorite restaurant? 
Our always-hungry team of foodies have compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite eat@localgetaways.com.

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