If you’re planning on paying a visit to Hilo, but are unsure on what you’ll eat once you arrive, then you’re in luck, as the city’s restaurant scene has improved dramatically in recent years, with more food trucks and local food spots opening up alongside the nicer restaurants found throughout the city.
So, when it comes to picking somewhere to eat in Hilo, you’re definitely spoilt for choice.
But, since there is so much choice, it can often be hard to decide which restaurant you should visit.
If you’re looking for a detailed guide to some of the best restaurants to eat at during your time in Hilo, Hawaii, then this guide will be able to help you.
So, if you want to know more about some of the best restaurants on the east side of Hawaii, then keep reading, and you’ll discover plenty of incredible restaurants!
Tastiest Places To Eat In Hilo, Hawaii
In no particular order, here is our guide to some of the best and most delicious restaurants to eat at during your time in Hilo, Hawaii.
The Seaside Restaurant And Aqua Farm
One of the best things about eating food in Hawaii, especially seafood, is just how fresh all of the ingredients are, with many of the fish used in dishes on the island being caught just off the coast, which means that your fish will be fresher, and full of flavor.
If you’re really looking for fresh seafood during your time in Hilo, then a visit to The Seaside Restaurant And Aqua Farm is certainly going to be in order, as it doesn’t get any fresher than this!
Found right next to some of the incredible lagoons amongst the beaches of Hilo, this restaurant is family owned and has been serving delicious seafood to the people of Hilo for generations, so you know it’s definitely delicious.
If you want some recommendations on what to try, then we’d definitely recommend trying out their shrimp scampi, blackened ahi salad, Mahi Mahi, or their furikake salmon a go!
Moon And Turtle
If you consider yourself something of a foodie, and have already begun doing research into the places you should eat in Hilo before this, then there’s a good chance you will have already seen the Moon And Turtle mentioned plenty of times before, and for good reason too.
The Moon And Turtle is popular amongst locals and tourists alike for its incredible spin on familiar comfort foods using some of the best local ingredients, as well as some of the town’s most beloved dishes too.
If you’re a big fan of Pan Asian fusion cuisine, seafood, or just spicy and bold flavors in general, then you’re certainly going to leave satisfied after a meal at the Moon And Turtle, as they cook some of the best dishes in the city.
Our recommended dishes include the garlic butter belly, the wild boar fried rice, the mushroom risotto, and the smoked ahi salmon too!
Two Ladies Kitchen
Another spot that finds itself being popular with both visitors and locals alike is the incredible Two Ladies Kitchen, which is home to one of the island’s favorite dishes: Mochi!
Although it’s not your typical “sit down and eat” type of restaurant, the popularity of this specialty food place is undeniable, and on most days you will see a rather extensive queue full of people waiting to get their hands on some delicious mochi.
The packaging they use for the mochi is super unique too, which makes it perfect as a souvenir or gift, and the flavors of mochi that they create are sometimes rather unusual too, so it’s definitely a place to visit if you’re already a fan of mochi.
Hilo Bay Café
If you’re looking for a slightly more upscale restaurant to savor some of the incredible tastes of Hilo, then Hilo Bay Café is widely considered to be one of the best places to do so.
Fronting Hilo Bay, and found near to Liliuokalani Garden, this café is one of the favorite places to eat for locals, which means you know that it’s delicious!
This upscale café has everything you could ever want, with amazing cocktails, incredible appetizers, and the perfect combination of Hawaiian and Japanese fusion cuisine too.
There’s even a sushi bar to indulge in as well. This café is well-regarded for its incredible service too, so you should have no issues with the waiting staff during your visit.
However, it’s not just the food and the incredible service that makes this place so special, but the location too. So, if you’re looking for a more upscale eatery that is both delicious and beautiful, then why not try out Hilo Bay Café?
One of the most important things you should do during your visit to Hilo, and even Hawaii in general, is to try and embrace as much of the local culture as possible, and if you’re looking for one of the best eateries to do that, then there’s a good chance that you will end up spending some time in Pineapples!
This restaurant has an incredible atmosphere and vibe to its venue, with the more open and outdoor environment giving it a relaxed feeling, and the bar scene here is incredible fun too, which is exactly why it is so loved by both locals and tourists.
You can’t forget the food either, which is excellent too, and is full of all of the usual local favorites, so you can really get a taste of Hilo as you listen to some live music.
Hawaiian Style Café
If you find yourself being particularly hungry during your time in Hilo, and you want to find somewhere that is going to serve large and plentiful portions, then you should definitely seek out the Hawaiian Style Café, as they’re known for their especially large dishes.
Whilst it might be easy to order some of the dishes you recognize from home, one of the best parts about visiting somewhere as unique as Hawaii is to sample some of the dishes that are loved by the locals, and as long as you arrive here hungry, there will be plenty of food for you to eat.
If you’re planning a visit to the Hawaiian Style Café, then definitely make room for the incredible breakfast specials, as well as their amazing local poke bowls!
Suisan Fish Market
If your schedule during your visit to Hilo is particularly packed, then you’re not going to want to spend too much time sitting around eating food, and trying to align all of your reservations and bookings can be stressful, which is exactly why a visit to Suisan Fish Market is the perfect way to enjoy a taste of the local cuisine without having to stop for too long.
Located near to Liliuokalani Garden, this take-out restaurant is perfect if you’re looking for food to take with you on a picnic, and as you can tell from the name, a lot of their incredible poke bowls include some of the amazing seafood specialties.
Or if you’d prefer, you can also place an order for some fresh fish to cook for yourself later in the day!
So, if you’re a seafood lover, then a visit to the Suisan Fish Market is certainly worth your time during your trip to Hilo.
Sometimes, when it comes to finding a great restaurant, it’s not all about the quality of the food or the service, it’s about the type of place you’re eating in, and the atmosphere inside.
Thankfully, Jackie Reys’ has all of these amazing qualities and more, so if you’re looking for that classic fine dining restaurant experience during your visit to Hilo, then it’s definitely going to be worth paying a visit here.
The menu is packed full of delicious food, and the service here is second to none, which is why so many people will recommend Jackie Rey’s to you if you’re looking for somewhere to eat, plus the old-style architecture of the building will really help to cement this as one of the memorable eating experiences you have during your time in Hilo.
So, if you want a great all-round eating experience, then check out Jackie Rey’s!
Nothing quite says vacation like eating food on the waterfront in Hilo, and if you’re wondering what restaurants in the vicinity are worth eating in, then look no further than the amazing Café Pesto, which has been a mainstay of the waterfront of Hilo for sometime now, and is full of incredible dishes just waiting for you to try.
If you’re a fan of mediterranean and Italian-inspired cuisine, then Café Pesto is certainly going to get your mouth watering, with incredible pastas found all over the menu, as well as delicious entrees and incredible desserts too, it soon becomes easy to understand why so many people like this restaurant.
There’s also a good amount of seafood on the menu here too, and since you’re so close to the sea, you can be sure that it’s fresh too.
The Booch Bar
One of the nightmare scenarios for anyone going on vacation is being unable to find a restaurant that is able to cater to their dietary needs or requirements.
Thankfully, you shouldn’t have this problem during your visit to Hilo, as The Booch Bar will be able to serve you delicious food that will accommodate your dietary needs without compromising on taste.
So, no matter whether you’re following a Paleo diet, or you’re Vegetarian, Vegan, or Gluten-Free, The Booch Bar will be able to ensure that you’re not stressing about finding something suitable to eat during your time here.
Another benefit about this incredible restaurant is that a lot of the dishes are super healthy too, so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating out either!
Poke N Sides
If you’re looking to sample some delicious local Hawaiian food that is made with locally sourced and fresh ingredients whilst remaining relatively cheap, then you should make your way on over to the food court area of the Hilo Farmers market, where you will discover the incredible Poke N Sides, which will satisfy all of your cravings!
Each of their dishes is made fresh on a daily basis, and they all use locally grown and sourced ingredients, so you can be sure that your choice of dish is bursting with freshness and flavor.
So, if you were planning on visiting the Farmer’s Market at some point during your trip to Hilo, then make sure you have room in your stomach for a visit to Poke N Sides too!
If you enjoy eating in a sleek and modern looking restaurant, and you’re also a big fan of Japanese cuisine, then why not make a point of eating at Miyo’s Restaurant?
The menu here is amazing, and includes a wide variety of dishes, including bento boxes, as well as tempura, and a whole host of other classic Japanese dishes.
Whether you decide to eat your food in the restaurant, or take it away to enjoy elsewhere is entirely up to you, and it’s this versatility that makes Miyo’s so universally loved by both locals and tourists in Hilo.
So whether you try some of the sushi combinations, one of the many bento boxes, or one of the incredible daily special dishes, you’re sure to find good food here!
Ola Brew Co
If you’re a big fan of locally brewed beers, then a visit to Ola Brew Co should definitely be on a list of things to do when you visit Hilo, and you can sample their wide range of craft beers, ciders, and even hard teas straight from the tap.
However, this isn’t the only good thing on offer at Ola Brew Co, as they also have some incredible appetizers, entrees, and delicious local foods to choose from too, including coconut shrimp, Dan Dan gnocchi, or the infamous Ola Burger!
If you’re looking for great bento-style food on a budget in Hilo, then Café 100 is the place to visit, and it’s an especially good destination if you’re a fan of all things Loco Moco too, as this amazing eatery is in abundance.
So, for all sorts of different local food that are bursting with flavor, including Loco Moco, then you should absolutely make a point of visiting Café 100 during your time in Hilo.
If you’re going off the local’s opinion to find some of the most popular restaurants in Hilo, then you will definitely hear Kuhio Grill mentioned quite frequently, as it’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike, who all appreciate the incredible local dishes which are all sold for a reasonable price.
Whether you decide to go for the vegetable udon temperature, the chicken katsu, the lau lau, or the loco moco, you’ll be sure to enjoy your food at Kuhio Grill.
Although it might just appear to be your typical run of the mill styled diner upon first appearances, Pond’s Restaurant is a staple of Reed’s Bay in Hilo, especially if you’re looking for somewhere with a great brunch menu, although their lunch and dinner time menus are just as good too.
All of the best local dishes can be found on the menu, and the selection of seafood available is also particularly impressive too, and there’s even a great drinks menu to help accompany all of the great food.
New Chiang Mai Thai
What many people don’t realize about Hilo before they arrive is that there’s a rather fierce marketplace for Thai restaurants in the area, so with a host of rival restaurants, it’s important that a restaurant like New Chiang Mai Thai gets it right everytime, which is why so many people enjoy eating there.
This restaurant likes to include much of the Thai style and incorporate western flavors and ingredients in with it, and will even cook it to your spice preference, but we’ve noticed that even the medium spice from here is still pretty hot!
Ken’s House Of Pancakes
If you’re looking for amazing breakfast food to get your day started off right in Hilo, or you’re just really craving some incredible pancakes, then look no further than Ken’s House of Pancakes, which is a favorite amongst visitors and locals to Hilo for filling portion sizes and good service.
The breakfast menu is particularly extensive, but there’s also a load of fantastic daily specials that you should try if you happen to visit too!
Wilson’s By The Bay
Looking to try some shaved ice during your time in Hilo? If you find your way to the side street, which is right in the middle of downtown, then you’ll stumble across Wilson’s By The Bay, a delicious eatery which focuses entirely on serving amazing shaved ice.
The best thing about the shaved ice from Wilson’s By The Bay is that they partner it with what many people consider to be unusual flavor partnerships, such as Li Hing Mui, Hawaii Rainbow, alongside a wide range of delicious tropical flavors too.
If you’re trying to find a decent patisserie in Hilo, then you might initially think it will be a struggle, however, found right in the heart of Hilo’s downtown area, just off Furneaux Avenue is Moonstruck, a sweet patisserie that has all of the baked goods of your dreams!
This patisserie quickly becomes a firm favorite of anyone who tries it, and with offerings such as the lilikoi pineapple rock bun, raspberry lattice bars, lilikoi cheesecake, and everyone’s favorite chocolate croissants, this patisserie is one eatery in Hilo that everyone will be able to enjoy!
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of some of the best places to find good food in Hilo, on the east side of Hawaii. There’s a wide variety of restaurants and eateries here, so hopefully you’ll be able to discover something you enjoy. Thanks for reading!
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