Hilo, a charming town on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a paradise for food lovers. With its unique blend of traditional Hawaiian cuisine and innovative culinary creations, Hilo offers a gastronomic journey that is as diverse as it is delicious. From fresh seafood caught in the Pacific Ocean to locally grown tropical fruits and vegetables, the food scene in Hilo is a testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources. This post will take you on a culinary tour of Hilo, highlighting some of the town’s best restaurants and eateries that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
The Culinary Styles Of Hilo
When it comes to culinary delights, Hilo has something for everyone. This picturesque town on the Big Island of Hawaii is famous for its fresh seafood, and there’s no shortage of incredible sushi spots and seafood restaurants to choose from. But that’s not all Hilo has to offer. For those seeking an authentic taste of the island, there are plenty of poke shops and food trucks serving up local specialties like kalua pork and loco moco.
And if you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale, Hilo has a thriving fine dining scene with innovative chefs who draw inspiration from the island’s bounty. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a multi-course meal, Hilo has got you covered. And below, you will find a list of some of the best places to eat in Hilo.
The Seaside Restaurant And Aqua Farm
Nestled right off the lagoons in the beach areas of Hilo, The Seaside Restaurant and Aqua Farm offers a dining experience that is as fresh as it gets. This family-owned restaurant has been serving the Hilo community for many generations, earning a reputation for its exceptional seafood dishes. The restaurant’s unassuming exterior belies the culinary delights that await within.
The Seaside Restaurant’s menu is a testament to the bountiful seafood of the Hawaiian waters. From their succulent Mahi Mahi to the crispy fried Aholehole, each dish is a celebration of the ocean’s bounty. The shrimp scampi is a crowd favorite, featuring succulent shrimp cooked in a rich, garlicky sauce. The furikake salmon, coated in a savory Japanese seasoning, and the blackened ahi salad, featuring perfectly seared tuna, are other must-try dishes.
Moon And Turtle
Moon and Turtle is a foodie’s paradise in Hilo. This restaurant is renowned for its innovative approach to local cuisine, transforming basic and popular local ingredients into extraordinary culinary creations. The chef’s unique spin on comfort foods and local favorites has made Moon and Turtle one of the best restaurants in Hilo to experience farm-to-table dining at its finest.
The cuisine at Moon and Turtle is a delightful fusion of local seafood and Pan-Asian flavors. Each dish is a symphony of bold, spicy, and nuanced flavors, thanks to their inventive sauces and locally sourced ingredients. The Smoked Ahi Sashimi is a standout, featuring delicately smoked fish that melts in your mouth. The Mushroom Risotto is a comforting dish with a local twist, while the Garlic Butter Belly and Wild Boar Fried Rice showcase the restaurant’s knack for reinventing traditional dishes.
Located in the heart of downtown Hilo, Pineapples is a popular restaurant that offers a vibrant dining experience. With its open-style venue, fun bar scene, and live music, Pineapples is a favorite spot among locals and tourists alike. The restaurant’s indoor/outdoor environment perfectly captures Hilo’s laid-back, tropical vibe, making it a great place to unwind and enjoy some bistro-style food with local flavors.
Pineapples’ menu is as diverse as it is delicious. Their fish and chips are a crowd-pleaser, featuring fresh, locally caught fish coated in a crispy batter and served with a side of fries. The hamburger is another must-try, made with locally sourced beef and served with all the classic fixings. Other local favorite foods from the area are also featured on the menu, ensuring there’s something for everyone at Pineapples.
Two Ladies Kitchen
Two Ladies Kitchen is a sweet spot in Hilo that has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike. This specialty food place is renowned for its mochi, a traditional Japanese dessert made from sticky rice. While it’s not a sit-down eating venue, Two Ladies Kitchen is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. The place is often bustling with customers, and there’s usually a line out the door – a testament to the popularity of their delicious and unique mochi.
While mochi is a common dessert in many parts of the world, the ones at Two Ladies Kitchen are truly special. They offer a variety of mochi flavors, each one as delightful as the next. The mochi here is mostly for takeout and is packaged beautifully, making them perfect for gifts or souvenirs. Whether you’re a mochi fan or trying it for the first time, a visit to Two Ladies Kitchen is sure to be a sweet experience.
Hilo Bay Café
Situated near the picturesque Liliuokalani Garden and fronting the serene Hilo Bay, Hilo Bay Café offers a dining experience that is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the palate. This local favorite is known for its fine dining offerings, craft cocktails, and a sushi bar that serves up some of the freshest seafood in town. The restaurant’s setting is gorgeous, and the service is attentive, making it a perfect spot for a casual yet upscale dining experience.
Hilo Bay Café is a delightful blend of Japanese and Hawaiian fusion food. Each dish is meticulously prepared and presented, reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to quality and taste. The craft cocktails are a must-try, each one a unique blend of flavors that perfectly complements the food. Whether you’re seated indoors or enjoying the view of Hilo Bay from their outdoor seating area, a meal at Hilo Bay Café is sure to be a memorable one.
Hawaiian Style Café
If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy hearty portions of local Hawaiian-style food, look no further than the Hawaiian Style Café. This restaurant is a local favorite, known for its generous servings that are sure to satisfy even the biggest appetites. The café’s laid-back atmosphere and friendly service make it a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal.
The menu at Hawaiian Style Café is a celebration of local flavors. From their poke bowls, which feature fresh fish and a variety of toppings, to their breakfast specials, each dish is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Hawaii. The café encourages its patrons to try something new from the menu, promising a plateful of amazing food that is as satisfying as it is delicious.
Suisan Fish Market
For a unique dining experience in Hilo, head over to the Suisan Fish Market. This place is more of a takeout-style food spot, perfect for grabbing a quick meal to enjoy at the nearby Liliuokalani Garden. The market is known for its poke bowls, which feature fresh fish or other seafood specialties, making it a favorite among seafood lovers.
At Suisan Fish Market, you can also order fresh fish for cooking later, offering a taste of the sea right in your own kitchen. The poke bowls are a must-try, offering a delicious combination of fresh seafood, rice, and various toppings. Whether you’re a local looking for a quick lunch or a tourist wanting to sample the local cuisine, Suisan Fish Market is a great place to get a taste of Hilo’s seafood offerings.
Jackie Rey’s is a classic restaurant in Hilo that offers a fine dining experience coupled with a fantastic happy hour. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful old-style building, adding to its charm and appeal. Jackie Rey’s is known for its delicious entrees, friendly service, and a selection of appetizing appetizers, locally known as pupus.
The menu at Jackie Rey’s features various dishes catering to different tastes. The trio combo, pork chop, crab cake, and local mahi mahi come highly recommended. The restaurant also offers a slew of delicious desserts to round off your meal. Whether you’re there for the happy hour or a full-course meal, Jackie Rey’s promises an enjoyable dining experience.
Located on the waterfront area, Café Pesto is a staple in Hilo’s dining scene. The restaurant serves a variety of Italian-inspired and Mediterranean cuisine, incorporating local ingredients, fruits, and vegetables. The bistro-style food and service at Café Pesto make it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
The menu at Café Pesto is diverse, featuring dishes like crab cakes, pizza, hamburgers, and salmon fettuccine alfredo. All their pasta dishes are amazingly delicious and worth trying. With its wide variety of dishes and beautiful waterfront location, Café Pesto offers a dining experience that is as delightful as it is unique.
Explore The Hilo’s Culinary Delights For Yourself!
Hilo’s culinary scene is a foodie’s paradise, offering diverse dining options that cater to different tastes and preferences. From fresh seafood at The Seaside Restaurant and Aqua Farm to the innovative dishes at Moon and Turtle, the hearty meals at Hawaiian Style Café, and the healthy options at The Booch Bar, there’s something for everyone in Hilo. So whether you’re a local or a tourist, make sure to explore Hilo’s culinary delights and experience the unique flavors of this Hawaiian town!