Locally Sourced Flavor: Big Island Cuisine


thinklocalbuylocalTwo of my personal motto’s are “Buy Local” and “Put your money where your soul is”. To that end, I want to give you “the dish” on our local flavor by providing a partial list of the best locally sourced Big Island cuisine.

A few people coming to the island asked where they could go to enjoy Big Island cuisine and support our local businesses, so I asked my Facebook fans to chime in.

I hope their answers will help tourists (and locals!) find these fantastic restaurants that are serving it up local, fresh, seasonal and ONO. Thanks to my fans for their suggestions on local restaurants doing it RIGHT .

Here is the list of what they suggested:

Ansilla R.- Kaya’s Store and The Coffee Shack. (Kaya’s serves organic and gluten free pastries and breakfast items. The Coffee Shack has the BIGGEST sandwiches on fresh made bread and their lilikoi cheesecake is a taste sensation.)

EatLocalBigIslandLisa P. and Julie Z.-Java on the Rock-they grow, roast and serve their own Kona coffee and make their pastries in house and use locally sourced fresh fruit. BEST coffee!

Claire B.- Kimagure at Kona Marketplace is so awesome! Japan-LA-Hawaii Fusion- Yummy!

Jessica m.- Jackie Rey’s of course! Best restaurant that side of island! (Jackie Rey’s ALWAYS has a nightly special that is fresh caught and expertly prepared..yum!)

Also, Merriman’s in Waimea. (Merriman’s is SOO local they offer culinary scholarships to local students who wish to become chefs in Hawaii!)

Colleen L.- Hana Hou Bakery, Naalehu ~ the best home made and pies to die for.

Lucy O.- Grilled and dry fish at The Fish House, brand new right across the street from the Korner Pocket. The best fish ever!!! All homemade fresh caught and delicious!!!

Gary D.- Village Burger in Parker Ranch Shopping Center has to be on any list. Amazing, local grown beef, plus a mouth-watering taro burger and Portobello mushroom burger. Oh and don’t forget the hand cut fries and ono milkshakes!!

Jolene F-Lotus Cafe, Umeke’s and Annie’s Burgers too! (Annie’s was voted BEST burger in West Hawaii in 2011 and 2012)

Rene S.- Umeke’s and Holuakoa cafe!! Both excellent!!  (Holuakoa is a Slow Food establishment committed to “a food system that is based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability, and social justice.”)

Holukoa Bakery

RainForest Weddings- Gill’s Lanai, Kapa’au (This is near Hawi) Yelp comment: “What a roadside stand this is! Fish tacos to die for: fresh fried Onto, corn tortillas, fresh chips with salsa and plenty of shredded cabbage And salsa Verde to dress the messy goodness. Their smoothies are a treat after zip lining at Kohala Zip lines too!”

If you have more suggestions, please leave ’em here or drop by my  365 Things to Do in Kona” Facebook page  and I will continue to add to this list! Mahalo!

Lots of extra add ons from local cuisine fans:

Fern G. –Blue Dragon Restaurant and Spa-The chef is one of the best in the nation and the food is locally sourced from the family’s own orchard and farm in North Kohala and they are right down the street from the harbor where they get their fresh fish.


Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • Colleen says:

    Appreciate your list. Checked out a few links and some are broken or out of date. :0( But hope to visit a few of these places ‘next time.’ Thanks for the post.