The Best Restaurants on The Big Island

Hawaii Island, a/k/a the Big Island, has a wide variety of “must try” flavors and dishes that reflect the island’s diverse climates and  ethnicities; we’ve divided our picks from the hundreds of dining options by region. Many say the drive to Hilo for mochi (rice flour-based treats) from Two Ladies Kitchen is worth it from Kona, while Umeke’s Fish Market in Kona  draws poke lovers from the entire island. If you love crustaceans, look for Kona Cold Lobsters on menus; they’re raised near the Kona airport in the same pure water that also produces succulent abalone.

You’ve doubtless heard of Kona coffee, but don’t forget to try fiddlehead ferns and tea grown near Volcano, macadamia nuts, heart of palm and papaya from lush orchards near Hilo, taro from Waipi‘o Valley, or brilliant-red strawberries and crisp salad greens from misty Waimea, where cattle and sheep ranches produce excellent proteins for the local market. Waimea is also the birthplace of the Merriman’s restaurant empire, which chef Peter Merriman launched by making the most of the locally farmed flora and fauna as well as fresh seafood. If we missed your favorite let us know.

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