Welcome fellow food lovers!
As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of delicious cuisine, I embarked on the ultimate quest to find the best restaurants in Hilo, Hawaii. After countless island visits with my beloved boyfriend as our taste-test accomplice, we’ve tasted everything from local gems to fusion feasts.
You know that feeling when you finally find that scrumptious meal you’ve been craving? That’s what inspired me to dig deeper into Hilo’s diverse culinary scene – and boy did we discover some mouthwatering delights. From exotic flavor combinations to tried-and-true classics – there’s something for everyone!
I can’t wait to share with you these must-try eateries that showcase the rich culinary heritage of this tropical paradise. No more aimless wandering or uncertainty about where your next delectable dish will be found – say “aloha” to a memorable dining experience!
But fair warning: after trying these tantalizing treats, you might just add “foodie” (and potential gym member) to your list of hobbies.
So grab your forks and napkins; it’s time for an epicurean adventure through Hilo’s top 9 restaurants, especially hand-picked by yours truly! Bon appétit…or should I say “ono kine grinds”!
Ken’s House of Pancakes – Best 24-Hour Restaurant in Hilo
Visitors and locals alike rave about Ken’s House of Pancakes, an American-style diner known for serving tantalizing dishes with a local spin, open 24 hours in Hilo. Prepare your taste buds for a truly memorable experience.
With sizable portions, their famous macadamia nut pancakes, and the sumo-sized Loco Moco are absolute must-tries. Don’t let their extensive menu overwhelm you – rest assured that every choice is delightful. My boyfriend and I opted to share one of their sumo-sized meals, which worked out perfectly.
While dining at Ken’s House of Pancakes, expect:
- Excellent service and a welcoming atmosphere
- Incredible food quality along with your own pot of coffee
- Generous portions at reasonable prices
The reason behind this spot being so popular during breakfast time is apparent – their heavenly pancakes have earned them a reputation as the go-to place for unforgettable morning meals. We can say that Ken’s House is open now and at any time.
Sweet Cane – Best Vegetarian Breakfast and Lunch Spot in Hilo
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or simply seeking delicious, healthy food options, Sweet Cane Cafe should be on your radar during your visit to Hilo. Its refreshing menu boasts unbeatable taste and quality.
Though neither of us are vegetarian, my boyfriend and I make sure to stop by whenever we’re in the area. The freshness of their ingredients is unmatched, making each visit a culinary delight.
Highly recommended: try one of their satisfying smoothie bowls. It’s become our go-to choice – one of us always ends up ordering it during our visits. My personal favorite is the pitaya bowl.
In addition to their main dishes, Sweet Cane Cafe also offers an array of freshly-squeezed drinks such as sugar cane juice and fermented limeade that perfectly complement any meal.
Hawaiian Style Cafe – Best Dinner Restaurant in Hilo
When it comes to enjoying classic Hawaiian comfort foods, look no further than the Hawaiian Style Cafe. Known for their delectable dishes such as Kalua Pork, Loco Moco, and Mac Salad, this cafe offers an authentic local dining experience.
Make sure to arrive hungry because not only are their portions flavorful but also impressively large!
Here’s what makes Hawaiian Style Cafe a must-visit:
- Friendly and attentive staff that ensure an enjoyable meal
- A great selection of traditional Hawaiian-style breakfasts, lunches, and desserts
- While there may be occasional waiting lines due to its popularity, the excellent quality compensates for that
Some might argue that this cafe is on the pricier side. However, considering Hawaii’s overall cost of living and their generous serving sizes, it’s still a great value for money.
In addition to traditional Hawaiian cuisine, you’ll find Korean, Polynesian, and Asian menu items available as well.
Kum Yo’s Okazuya – Best Korean Lunch Spot on the Go
Kum Yo’s Okazuya is a hidden gem that we stumbled upon while in Hilo, conveniently located en route to the airport. This spot turned out to be perfect when we had just a few hours left before our flight and wanted something quick and delicious.
What sets Kum Yo’s apart is their travel-friendly lunch options suitable for those short on time or seeking a tasty meal to fuel up during transit.
Here are some highlights of our experience at Kum Yo’s:
- Excellent food at reasonable prices
- Friendly staff members, despite being a small operation
- Offering superb Korean cuisine with an option to dine-in
Please note that Kum Yo’s only serves breakfast and lunch, so travelers looking for nighttime meals should explore other options in the area. If you need something fast yet satisfying, I highly recommend trying their bentos – they’re ideal for grab-and-go breakfasts or lunches.
Moon and Turtle – Best Seafood Restaurant in Hilo
When it comes to locally-sourced seafood, Moon and Turtle takes center stage. One of the highlights is their frequently changing menu, which means you can enjoy multiple visits during your stay and still discover new dishes each time.
Their unique drinks menu also impresses – no ordinary Mai Tais here; my boyfriend particularly enjoys their lychee cocktail, one of their best sellers.
Moon and Turtle excel at offering creative seafood dishes made with fresh local ingredients. My favorite is their Ahi Salad: tender fish served with a generous dressing, smoky soy sauce, and crisp lettuce.
Reasonable prices make for an enjoyable dining experience without breaking the bank. We typically order a starter, entrée, drinks, and dessert while staying comfortably within our budget.
Key points about Moon and Turtle:
- Locally sourced seafood
- Frequently changing menu keeping things fresh and exciting
- Unique drink options like the lychee cocktail
- Creative seafood dishes showcasing local varieties
- Reasonably priced offerings to suit most budgets
The Booch Bar – Best Health Food Experience in Town
The Booch Bar isn’t just any restaurant – it’s an experience. If you’re a health food enthusiast or have specific dietary requirements, this spot caters specially to your needs with its vibrant atmosphere and warm staff.
Designed for diners who prefer vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or simply healthier options, The Booch Bar does not serve ordinary veggie dishes. Instead, their menu takes a local twist on various health foods offering unique alternatives for all tastes.
We highly recommend trying:
- Golden Ganesha (Golden Milk Latte)
- Chambocha (a kombucha featuring passion fruit notes)
- An assortment of kombucha-based smoothies with spirulina, chia seeds, bee pollen, and goji berries
Moreover, they place special emphasis on fermented foods that have been gaining popularity recently due to their numerous health benefits.
A visit to The Booch Bar is definitely worthwhile for its innovative and delicious offerings!
Key points about The Booch Bar:
- A complete dining experience with attentive staff and lively ambiance
- Catering specifically to healthy food aficionados and diners on special diets
- Unique menu items incorporating local flavors
- Emphasis on fermented foods for added health benefits
Suisan Fish Market – Best Poke in Hilo
For an unforgettable poke experience in Hilo, head straight to Suisan Fish Market. Renowned for their wide variety of poke options, this is the place to try authentic Hawaiian flavors at their finest.
Although you may find lines stretching outside during peak hours, the efficient staff ensures a swift turnover. These queues only serve as a testament to Suisan’s incredible popularity.
During our visits, we’ve sampled the Ahi (their honey-garlic version remains unbeatable), salmon and octopus poke, as well as their delightful lobster salad. No matter what we order or when we visit, freshness always takes center stage.
Pro tip: To enjoy the best Poke selections for lunch without worrying about stock running out due to high demand, arrive early.
Key points about Suisan Fish Market:
- Offers an extensive array of delicious and fresh poke options
- The eatery’s popularity speaks volumes about its quality
- Staff members are efficient and friendly
- Arrive early for lunchtime meals to have access to the most popular offerings
Cafe 100 – Best Loco Moco in Hilo
For a taste of heart-warming, home-cooked comfort food, Cafe 100 is your go-to destination. This dining spot is famous for serving the finest Loco Moco in Hilo, and with claims to be its birthplace, they have every reason to excel at it.
With over 30 varieties of Loco Moco available, you’re bound to find something that suits your palate perfectly.
Here’s why Cafe 100 stands out:
- An authentic local joint frequented by the locals
- Good quality and reasonably priced food offerings
However, if you’re following a strict diet or counting calories, be prepared to set those concerns aside while indulging in their scrumptious servings – after all, you only live once and wouldn’t want to miss out on this fantastic experience!
Key points about Cafe 100:
- Birthplace of the iconic Loco Moco dishes
- Offers more than 30 varieties to choose from
- A true local gem with affordable prices
Reuben’s Mexican Food – Best Casual Mexican Dining in Hilo
If you’re seeking a relaxed dining experience with a spicy twist, Reuben’s Mexican Food is the place to be. Offering delicious combination platters and an à la carte menu, this eatery satisfies cravings for authentic Mexican cuisine.
We usually start with their nachos topped with cheese before diving into our favorite dish: the scrumptious crab enchiladas. Always fresh and flavorful, Reuben’s perfectly combines tasty delights with ultimate comfort food.
Their refreshing margaritas come in various flavors, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the restaurant. Whether you want to share a meal with your family or unwind with friends, Reuben’s provides excellent service at reasonable prices.
Key points about Reuben’s Mexican Food:
- Consistently good quality food
- Excellent service from friendly staff
- Affordable pricing for all budgets
- Ideal for both family outings and hanging out with friends
I hope I would have taken out some of your confusion about where to eat.
Whether you are a vegetarian, on a specialized diet, or someone who loves your hearty cuts of meat slathered in sauce, Hilo’s got you covered.
Enjoy your holidays by choosing from the best of the lot, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Brigitte