Finding restaurants to try when I travel is one of my favorite things. I love researching local restaurants, I try to eat at local spots as much as possible and chain restaurants only if I have to. Hawai’i Island was no different. I had a list of at least 10 places, all with vegetarian options for my sister, and we ate at one of the places on my list. That’s right, most of my extensive research was out the window! Why you ask? Well, because catching every Hawaiian sunset is essential to my sister and me, and I underestimated the distance from the condo we were staying at and Kona town which is where most of the restaurants I found where located. So, I was left scrambling every day to find something close to where we were staying. Needless to say Yelp! was my friend during this trip, some of the choices were winners, and one was eh. We were only on Hawai’i for 2 full days and 2 half days, without further ado here is where we ate at while on Hawai’i.
Did you know Tommy Bahama had a restaurant? I certainly didn’t. This was the first place I found close enough to us, so we decided to try it for our first dinner on the island. The menu is small and not entirely vegetarian-friendly, sorry Ash! Luckily for me, Ashley found something to get. I ended up getting the classic Caesar salad, which had Hirayama Farm Whole Leaf Baby Romaine Hearts, Grana Padano and rustic croutons. It was small but delicious! I love a good Caesar salad, and this one made the top 5, easily. I also got a side of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes that were pretty good and a frozen Mai Tai. I’ve never had a frozen Mai Tai before, but I have to say, I’m a fan! Our waitress was incredibly friendly, I wish I could remember her name, and a great salesperson because she sold us all on desserts. Ash and I split the Malted Chocolate Pie, which is a chocolate cookie crust, a delicious mocha mousse and English toffee crumble. This dessert was divine! It was so rich and full of chocolate. Ash and I did our best to finish the whole thing but were a few bites shy of finishing it. Overall, I would say this was an excellent first meal, the prices are a bit high, but that is to be expected on any of the islands. I would come here again.
Address: 68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr., Kamuela, HI
This is the only place on my list that we actually made it to. Ken’s has been opened since 1971. They have won numerous awards over the years, most notably they have won “Best Breakfast” every year since 1997! The menu here is extensive, and the portions are enormous. You can get anything on the menu at any time of the day. I love a good Loco Moco, Ken’s has 9 different versions. I went with the Keiki Moco, which is a smaller portion of the traditional Loco Moco and I got my egg scrambled. The Loco Moco was delicious! The beef patty was cooked perfectly and seasoned well, the gravy was so good, and the rice was perfectly cooked at the bottom. I also got an Iced Vietnamese Style Coffee, which is their island style blend coffee with condensed milk. It was pretty good, the iced coffee was a good blend, not too acidic. It didn’t blow my mind, but I would get it again. If you find yourself in Hilo, go to Ken’s!
Address: 1730 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, HI
Was an on the whim find, again not very vegetarian-friendly for dinner, but it was close to the condo, and the menu looked decent. I ended up with a Caesar Salad minus the anchovies and a Mai Tai. The Caesar was bigger than the one at Tommy Bahama’s but wasn’t as good. The Mai Tai was just okay. Overall, I think this was a miss for all of us.
Address: 250 Waikoloa Beach Dr., Kamuela, HI
Los Tres Mex
Was our last dinner on the island, it’s just a little stand that is cash only. There were 2 ladies back there cranking out all the food. I got the 2 enchiladas, you have the option of getting those in beef, chicken, pork or cheese and it comes with rice and beans, or you can get all rice or all beans. I chose beef for my enchiladas and stuck with the rice and beans. We took it back to the condo, since we were maybe 15 minutes away, and we all needed to start packing, so it made it easier to take it to go. Everything was delicious! I really enjoyed this meal, and there was a lot of food for a decent price. I would highly recommend trying Los Tres Mex if you find yourself in Waikoloa.
Address: 68-1845 Waikoloa Rd., Waikoloa, HI
On the 3rd day, we stopped at Costco for lunch. The 4th day before we headed to the airport for Maui I wasn’t feeling well, so my parents and sister just went to the local Starbucks for breakfast. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to use more of the restaurants on my list, but I have a feeling this isn’t going to be our only trip to the Big Island, so I’ll save them for another visit, and I don’t think Ash and I did half bad finding places on a whim.
Have you visited the Big Island? What restaurants do I need to add to my list for next time? Let me know in the comments below!