Hawaii’s Big Island is famous for its abundance of seafood due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and it’s a favorite location of local fishermen daily gathering the freshest catch.
My boyfriend and I have enjoyed many trips to Hawaii, taking in all the delicious native fish like Ahi, Hapu’upu’u, Mahi Mahi, Opah and Uku cooked up by local restaurants – truly some of the best quality seafood we’ve ever had!
In order to share this incredible culinary experience with others heading to Big Island in search of fresh catches, I’ve put together this article outlining my picks for the best seafood places on the island. Based on variety of offerings, specialty dishes, prices and locations, here are my top recommendations for where you can indulge in delicious Hawaiian seafood.
Let’s dive into these amazing restaurants!
Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill
Umeke means ‘bowl’ in Hawaiian, and this restaurant serves fresh Big Island fish entrees in bowls, much like poke. Head Chef Nakoa Pabre prepares uniquely flavorful seafood meals that guests can assemble themselves, based on their liking.
Their extensive menu has a variety of pupus, seafood mains, poke, and fresh fish stations. Try their Fish Tacos, Fish and Chips, Panko Crusted Lau Lau, Grilled Kona Shrimp, and house special seafood pasta, which are crowd favorites and incredibly delicious.
Also, try the variety of Poke flavors, with great vegan and gluten-free bowls, served over white rice with a special sauce.
We always go to Umekes on Big Island for their casual atmosphere and authentic Hawaiian seafood. Of course, you’ll love the food here, too, since they’re one of the best seafood places on Big Island.
- They have excellent appetizers like Poke Nachos, Bullet Fries, and Crab Cakes.
- Prices are pretty reasonable, and the food has big portions.
- There’s ample parking space in a lot outside.
Address: 74-5599 Pawai Pl, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI.
You might also like: The best fish tacos in Kona (Big Island)
Quinn’s Almost by the Sea
Located across the street from the Kona Marriott, Quinn’s is a local favorite spot for casual dining and seafood classics like fish and chips. The area around Quinn’s is lively with assorted beach bars, shops, and live music stands, so get their outdoor seating and enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
Quinn’s menu is extensive and has a great variety for kids, so many families come here, making it crowded most nights.
Try their crispy onion rings and calamari strips for starters, followed by the house special Fish and Chips, with a choice of Mahi Mahi, Ono, and Ahi. We loved their seafood entrees which were fresh and flavorful.
They also have non-seafood options like ribeye steak, chicken breast filets, kalbi ribs, and more if you’re craving something different but classic.
You’ll love the food and atmosphere at Quinn’s since they’re one of the best seafood places on Big Island.
- The restaurant has live music every night.
- Quinn’s is close to the ocean, so you can walk there after your meal.
- There’s limited parking, so consider walking or getting a cab.
Address: 75-5655 Palani Rd Ste A, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI.
Huggo’s on the Big Island is an excellent place for seafood, coupled with gorgeous views of the bay and nearby towns. However, there’s usually a long line outside the restaurant, so getting reservations beforehand is recommended.
Their menu is somewhat small, with delicious options for appetizers and seafood mains. Try the Seafood Chowder made from fresh Island fish, shrimps, and clams, and the Fritto Misto with calamari and shrimp, both favorites at Huggo’s and very flavorsome.
I had their Big Island Sizzling Shrimp with garlic butter herbs, and my boyfriend had the Hook, Line, and Sinker dish featuring a Chef’s special fish. We loved our entrees for their rich seasoning plus generous portions.
They also have a selection of delectable pasta and steaks if you want some variety with the seafood.
Everything at Huggo’s was excellent, from the food to service and views; no wonder they’re the best seafood on Big Island.
- Their menu has great vegan and gluten-free options.
- Get their waterfront tables and enjoy a gorgeous sunset meal.
- Their house special desserts are delicious.
Address: 75-5828 Kahakai Rd Ste B, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI.
Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill
Run by American couple Angela and Paul, Jackie Rey’s is an excellent place to eat for a lively atmosphere, cozy seating, and terrific seafood. Locals love the food and ambiance here so much that they now have a branch in Hilo, which is just as great.
Jackie Rey’s is also a tourist favorite and usually crowded, so get reservations. We went on our hotel manager’s suggestion and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of seafood and service here.
From their extensive menu, you want to start with the Mac Nu Ahi Tartare, warm rosemary bread, lemongrass Caesar salad, and Korean crispy ribs, all made fresh and delicious!
For mains, get the Mochiko Crusted Fresh Catch with Molokai Sweet Potatoes, the fish is melt-in-your-mouth soft, and the purple potato mash is very creamy. My boyfriend loves their Seafood Trio of fresh catch, crab cakes, and shrimp kabob, and I get the Chorizo Crusted Mahi Mahi, which tastes fresh and flavorful.
You’ll love the vibe of Jackie Rey’s Seafood & Grill, one of Big Island’s best seafood places.
- Their menu also has terrific steaks, pasta, and a variety of salads.
- Service is excellent, and the waitstaff will get you an empty table soon.
- For a large seafood entree, prices are reasonable at nearly $30 per person.
Address: 75-5995 Kuakini Hwy Ste 1, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI.
Wrap Up: Best Seafood In Hawaii Big Island
If you visit Hawaii for great food, don’t miss Big Island, which serves amazing seafood on the many joints dotting the island. We’ve been going to Big Island yearly for local seafood, and the taste never disappoints!
Since fishing is also a major means of income for the locals, it’s beneficial to eat at local joints instead of at resorts and fast food chains. This way, you support their economy and get a terrific meal at an affordable price.
But no matter what makes you stop at Big Island for the food, you won’t be disappointed and keep coming back for the best seafood in Hawaii!
Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by Brigitte