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3 of the Best Restaurants To Try in Kona if Eating Well Is on Your Big Island Itinerary

These Big Island restaurants left one Owner craving seconds

Jessica M
Shot of beautifully plated Hawaiian foods, Big Island, Hawaii.

My idea of a great vacation involves chatting up locals to discover the best local restaurants and must-try regional dishes — even if it means eating something that I can't recognize.

"I enjoy great food all the time, but on vacation, it feels special."

— Jessica M., Hilton Grand Vacations Owner

So, while on a Big Island vacation with one of my best friends, we asked around and got tons of leads on the top places to eat in Kona, where we were staying at Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations

We tried a new restaurant each day and every single one exceeded our expectations, but here are the top three. 

Three of the Best Restaurants in Kona

Hale I'a Da Fish House

The locals call it Da Fish House, and I was so obsessed with it that I ate the food for three days. Thankfully, we got a tip from a local about this place, not just because it was terrific, but because at a glance, it's not apparent that it's a restaurant. While you can buy fresh fish from this unassuming market, you can also order prepared foods. 

Overhead shot tuna poke bowl on the Big Island, Hawaii.    

I tried two different kinds of poke and a seaweed salad on sticky rice, and I could not stop talking about it. It was the first time I had seaweed salad, and it was delightful. Similarly, both kinds of poke were outstanding. 

My favorite part was how the flavors melded with the poke, and the combination of salad and sticky rice was incredible. 

The portions were large, but thanks to our in-suite kitchen, I kept the leftovers in our refrigerator — and proceeded to eat them for three days. Even still, I was sad when I'd finished them. I would have gone back again, but there were so many good places to try. 

Island Ono Loa Grill

We stumbled across this place courtesy of Yelp, and the reviewers of Yelp were spot on. 

I discovered "Loco Moco" was a local favorite and specialty, so, of course, I ordered it despite not knowing what it was. This delightful combination of rice, egg, meat and gravy was delicious. Although I'm not usually a macaroni salad kind of person, I gave the house-made macaroni salad a try since it had rave reviews. It was amazing, and I had zero regrets. 

Taking the advice of a server, who said the Loco Moco reheated well, I ordered the double portion to have leftovers, and it was the absolute right decision.

Shot overlooking the water through palm tree prawns, Big Island, Hawaii.    

My friend and I also got the Macadamia Nut Pesto Goat Cheese Salad, and it was honestly one of the best salads that I've ever eaten in my life. We actually went there a couple of times to get the salad to take back to Kings' Land to enjoy later.

This little gem is tucked away with a bunch of stores and restaurants. However, we did take out due to the pandemic and grabbed a nearby table overlooking the water.

It was an ideal way to enjoy our meal, and I'd do the same thing in a post-pandemic world because if you can eat fantastic food overlooking the Pacific in Hawaii, that seems like the only right decision.

Kohala Burger & Taco

The local consensus was that we had to go to Kohala Burger & Taco for fish tacos, and we gladly followed through on their advice. It came so highly recommended that we didn't give up when we mixed up our days (because, vacation), showing up on a day they were closed. 

And it was well worth the second trip. We tried the fish tacos of the day and as you can imagine, they were outstanding. The dish's different elements came together beautifully — the fish's freshness and the flavors were nearly perfect. We both ordered our first-ever Dole Whip to top off our meal and found them quite tasty. 

There's so much good food in Hawaii, and you can't go wrong — no matter what you choose. However, going back to these Kona restaurants will be at the top of my list next time I'm on the Big Island. 

Read “Embrace Aloha: Fun Things Worth Doing on Your Next Vacation to Hawaii” for more of Jessica’s Big Island adventures.

 

Hilton Grand Vacations Explorer, Jessica M.

Jessica M

Returning Explorer and Owner since 2019, Jessica says, “based on the way I traveled, vacation ownership just made sense." She enjoys the opportunity to use her ClubPoints to travel with family and friends, but you'll also find her flying solo. 

She says, "I love inspiring people to travel, and I'm excited to help young, single people think about vacation ownership and traveling in different ways than is often presented." Always one for adventure, you can find her off the beaten path to experience local culture, try regional foods or on the water enjoying watersports of all kinds. 

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