Poke (poh-kay) is a must-try on your island vacation. Here are a few of our favorite places to find this popular classic diced raw fish dish, brought to the islands by Polynesian voyagers centuries ago, and its delicious modern interpretations. Spicy ahi, shoyu ahi, and tako poke are all tasty variations — order a la carte or enjoy a poke bowl.
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.
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Poke near Kona
Hale I'a Da Fish House
Hale I’a Da Fish House is on the northwest coast s serving up poke with aloha. The menu is small but the poke is tasty. We recommend the double poke bowl with kim chee tako and wasabi poke over rice with a side of pickled ginger and seaweed salad. Open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm. Closed Sunday.
Kona Grill House
For 19 years, Bryan Fujikawa operated this business as Sun Dried Specialties, but over the years it evolved to a full-scale restaurant. One thing that hasn’t changed is the delicious food — poke bowls, plate lunches, burgers and homemade desserts. The poke bowls start with two poke options and get more decadent from there. Be sure to save room for the daily homemade treats like the lilikoi cheesecake! Kona Grill House is open Monday to Friday 11am to 6pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill
Umekes serves traditional Hawaiian cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients — as their saying goes, “so fresh it’s off da hook!” We recommend the “Kanaka Poke,” which is the locally-caught fresh fish of the day tossed with ogo (seaweed), Hawaiian salt, chili pepper water and onions in a sweet soy glaze. There’s also a vegan option called “The Aina” with sweet potato, ulu, and onion in their delicious sesame ginger sauce. Open daily 11am to 9pm.
Poke in Kohala and Waikoloa
Lava Lava Beach Club
The Lava Lava Beach Club is serving farm to table food for you to enjoy with your toes in the sand and a mai tai in your hand. This casual beachfront restaurant is a great place for views as you enjoy ahi poke. There’s also a liquid happy hour every day from 3pm to 5pm. Open daily 12pm to 9pm.
Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge
Located in the Four Seasons Resort at Hualalai, this oceanfront restaurant offers exceptional views and a sushi lounge menu separate from the regular dinner and drinks menu. Sip on the Hualalai Black Lava Manhattan while you decide which combinations of nigiri, sashimi and specialty rolls to order. Ulu Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge is open daily 5:30pm to 9pm — reservations are required for dinner.
Poke in Hilo
Poke is the specialty here and you can have it almost anyway you’d like it — poke bowl, Aburi Poke (flame seared Poke), poke cakes, a la carte or by the pound. Try the 3-choice poke bowl, so you can sample various preparations on top of sushi rice with flavorful sides of your choosing. Poke Market is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 3pm. Closed Sunday.
Suisan Fish Market
For more than a century, Suisan Fish Market has been providing the Big Island with locally caught fresh fish. The type of fish, price and availability can change daily, but ahi and mahi mahi are almost always available. Order poke by weight or by the bowl. Options include the “Small Kine” 1-choice bowl, the “2 Choice” bowl and the poke “Plate” that gives you two choices of both poke and sides. Open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday 9am to 3pm. Closed Wednesday and Sunday.