Where to Find the Best Lunch on the Big Island

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 @HawaiiIslander on Instagram to share the love.

Feature Photo: Umekes Facebook

Big Island Lunch Map

Best Lunch in Kona

Kona Brewing Co-Big Island-Lunch-@konabrewingco-800x450
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. 

Umekes Big Island Lunch
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

Big Island Brewhaus-Lunch-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of Big Island Brewhaus

Big Island Brewhaus

There are lots of microbreweries popping up on the islands lately, and Big Island Brewhaus is one of the best. The food here is just as tasty as the beers — the menu of Mexican-style dishes and standard pub fare is made from locally sourced ingredients. Open daily 11pm to 8pm. 

Cafe Pesto
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. 

Merrimans Big Island Dinner
Photo: Merrimans Facebook


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

Volcano House​
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.

Big Island Lunch Map

Clean Plate Club

Clean Plate Club

The job of delivering the best possible content for our restaurant recommendations can not be left to one person. Click here to meet the team behind the Bay Area Clean Plate Club.
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