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3 Incredible Big Island Restaurants (Hawaii)


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Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner — the Big Island of Hawaii has you covered with some great options. Here are my top 3 picks:

In This Hawaii Article You Will Discover:

  • Where to Enjoy Breakfast with a View
  • The Island’s Best Sandwich
  • How to Dine With Manta Rays

Oahu and Maui may have more variety and notoriety when it comes to food and beverage, but don’t let anyone tell you Hawaii’s Big Island lacks quality eats. If you’re Hawaii-bound, make sure to check out these 3 restaurants on the Big Island:

Breakfast: The Coffee Shack (Captain Cook)

The friendly, rustic Coffee Shack – located between Mile Markers 108 and 109 on Highway 11 in the town of Captain Cook — could make this list for its view alone. Perched cliffside at about 1,400 feet of elevation, diners are treated to a panoramic vista of Hawaii’s lush-and-colourful flora, the boundless Pacific Ocean and views of a plantation that produces the actual coffee they sip (right below the restaurant). Serving only 100 per cent Kona Coffee (of course), as well as fresh baked goods (the Luau bread is delicious), hearty breakfasts (yummy Eggs Benedict) and lunches (sandwiches, salads and pizza), The Coffee Shack is a must-stop en route to Volcanoes National Park or after snorkeling at Two Steps/Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. Open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Lunch: Lighthouse Delicatessen (Hawi)

If you’re at all similar to me, you like a good sandwich. And you LOVE a great sandwich. Welcome to Lighthouse Delicatessen, in Hawi, tucked away alongside Highway 270 on the North Kohala Coast. This place is easy to miss — I almost did — but it’s a shame if you do. Their “food-ilosophy” is to source high-quality ingredients, support local Hawaiian farmers, use only environmentally friendly and biodegradable cleaning products and craft unforgettable fare. Their sandwiches are to die for. I wolfed down a turkey on thick-cut sourdough, complete with homemade stuffing and sweet-tart cranberry sauce. It was shockingly good — and the staff will treat you like an old friend from the moment you walk in the door. In the evening, it is also a popular pub, with craft beer on tap.

Dinner: Rays on the Bay (Keauhou Bay)

Much like The Coffee Shack, Rays on the Bay — located in the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa — could justify its presence on this list based on view alone, although it’s a vista of a different kind. Thanks to the omnipresent lights shining into the ocean each evening — which trick plankton into floating to the surface — patrons are treated to a manta ray ballet every night. Best viewed after the Manta Ray Night Snorkel Boats have departed (around 8:30 p.m.), ethereal, massive mantas flip and tumble in the light, streaking across the surface in full view of onlookers as they feed on microscopic plankton. (I saw more at dinner than I did during my actual night-snorkel.) Of course, the locavore-style food is great (I liked the Ahi & Avocado Poke), the craft beer is cold and live music plays nightly. Reservations are recommended for the Dining Room; the Pub side is easy to get a table at, and offers the same menu.

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

3 comments… add one
  • Leonardo Caetano May 10, 2018 Link

    Hawaii is one of the most enchanting cities in this country… I love walking around in the summer.

  • David Webb Sep 19, 2013 Link

    Well, Kailua has a few pubs and bars, but it’s pretty quiet. Just the way I like it!

  • Tom H. Aug 6, 2013 Link

    I heard the Big Island’s restaurants close down early. Not much nightlife. True?

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