Looking for some dining ideas on the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island? I recommend trying out a mix of high-end fare and inexpensive local joints. Here are five restaurants sure to leave your palate pleased:
Surf, Sand and Stars dinner buffet at Pahui’a: Offered on Saturday nights at the Four Seasons Hualalai’s Pahui’a restaurant, this upscale dinner buffet provides a huge selection of food and an awesome view of sunset over the Pacific. Make reservations in advance and ask for an outdoor table to ensure the best views (be aware that it can get pretty windy outside, so dress accordingly). And for goodness sake, save room for the dessert buffet, which includes a delectable souffle bar. After dinner, take some time to walk around the Four Seasons’ beautiful grounds. (Note that due to tsunami damage, the resort is closed until April 30, 2011).
Big Island Grill: Located in downtown Kailua-Kona, this inexpensive establishment is a great and hearty breakfast option (portions are huge!). Choose a Hawaiian favorite like loco moco, or opt for a traditional breakfast with an island spin, like the macadamia nut french toast with coconut syrup. Their Kona coffee’s quite tasty too!
Brown’s Beach House: This is the Fairmont Orchid’s “high-end” restaurant, and while the menu doesn’t offer any big surprises, the gorgeous setting and attentive service set this eatery apart. When you make your reservation, ask to be be seated outside and time your meal so that it takes place during the sunset. If you’re looking for a romantic evening, Brown’s is a good choice (the local band playing Hawaiian music helps add to the ambiance).
Village Burger: This Waimea-based restaurant is a perfect place to grab lunch while you’re exploring the northwest side of the Big Island. I love that they use local, pasture-raised beef, and there are meatless options for your vegetarian friends. Prices are pretty wallet-friendly as well.
Ba-Le Kona: I love Vietnamese food, and this hole-in-the-wall spot in Kailua-Kona did not disappoint. Ba-Le is part of a Hawaiian chain, and their menu has all the old standards–banh mi, pho, etc. I recommend the white fish curry if you’re dining in, or grabbing a couple banh mi sandwiches to go prior to hitting beaches on the Kohala Coast (at my favorite beaches Mauna Kea and Hapuna, the only available food is at high-priced hotel eateries).