The restaurant scene in Hilo has been improving consistently over the past years and there are now many good places to eat. Most restaurants are concentrated in downtown Hilo. Scroll down to see our favorite local restaurants on a map
Our 13 favorite Restaurants in Hilo
We use this page to list our favorite places to eat. Please note that the list is not ordered in any way, and that we count all these restaurants among our favorites!
Hilo Bay Cafe
One of our favorites for dinner/drinks is Hilo Bay Cafe. The fare is Pacific fusion and the majority of their ingredients are locally sourced and organic. Wonderful cocktails, great sushi rolls, plenty of great veggie options but also an incredible pulled pork. Most importantly, the views of Hilo Bay are just stunning! They also do lunch, but if you are in the area and looking for something a little more low-key, I would suggest a visit to Suisan Fish market right next door for a poke bowl.
Suisan Fish Market
The selection at the Suisan Fish Market is impressive and the fish the freshest you’ll find. Even if you’re not a fish fan, you’ll undoubtedly find something tasty.
The best thing to do is take your bowls to go and walk 2 minutes down to the Liliʻuokalani park to enjoy them on one of the picnic tables there. You’ll see kids jumping off the rocks across the bridge at Coconut Island, local groups of fisherman hanging out along the rock wall, and canoe paddlers out practicing in the bay. I could spend hours down there!
Another great spot in Hilo for lunch or dinner (though lunch is much better value) is Cafe Pesto. This is along the old historic Bayfront area in one of the most beautiful buildings along the strip. The food here is also locally sourced and very fresh. My favorite is the wood fired shrimp and thai sweet chili pizza and the crab cake salad. My wife always gets the grilled fish burger with purple potato salad. You can’t go wrong with a lilikoi (passion fruit) martini either.
In the same vein as Cafe Pesto is Jackie Rey’s, just up the street. Beautiful setting, friendly staff, creative dishes and tried and true classics.
Puka Puka Kitchen
For lower-key downtown Hilo, stop in at Puka Puka Kitchen (just a block down from Cafe Pesto). Their opening hours are super limited (11am-2:30pm) and the dining room is tiny but they just get everything right. The ahi don, chicken katsu, and garlic rice are especially good and everything is served with a mountain of fresh and colorful locally sourced salad lightly coated in a dressing that will knock your socks off. They also do fresh bentos to go, which are great if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing and prefer a more relaxed lunch outside under a tree somewhere.
Ken’s House of Pancakes
Ken’s Pancake house is great for breakfast. Ken’s is old as rocks and an absolute icon in Hilo town. The aunties working there have been around for decades, always with the same big smiles and bright flower arrangements in their hair. Portions here are HUGE so it’s a good idea to share. The macadamia nut pancakes and bananas foster French toast are so good, they really deserve their very own postcards.
Sweet Cane Cafe
Sweet Cane Cafe is also fantastic for veggie breakfast or lunch. GREAT coffee, fresh juices and açaí bowls.
Moon and Turtle
Moon and Turtle is perfect for high quality cuisine in a very warm and low key setting.
Miyo’s serves home-style Japanese cuisine featuring locally sourced ingredients. The food is excellent and the atmosphere very relaxed.
Cafe 100 is *the* place to try out a local favorite: the Loco Moco.
A loco moco is a hearty plate filled with steamed rice, a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy (read more about local Hawaiian food). You can also pick up plate lunches here to have some food for on the road.
Hawaiian Style Cafe
Hawaiian Style Cafe has restaurants in Hilo and Waimea. The one in Hilo is located at 681 Manono Street.
Hawaiian style cafe serves homemade Hawaiian food in large portions so make sure that you are hungry before walking through their doors. One of our favorite dishes are their poke bowls (poke is marinated raw fish, delicious!).
Ponds in Hilo
Ponds is a historic local dining restaurant located on the edge of a scenic Koi ponds (hence the name). They use ingredients from local farmers and have live music almost every night. Great atmosphere and price/quality ration for the food.
Kum Yo’s Okazuya (Korean)
Unpretentious Korean restaurant close to the Hilo airport opened for breakfast and lunch. Like the Suisan Fish Market this is a good place to pick up food for on the road. We like Kum Yo’s for their tasty and good value Bentos (a Bento is a single-portion take-out meal with rice or noodles, fish or meat, and pickled and cooked vegetables).
Kum Yo’s Okazuya has no website, so for more information you should have a look at e.g. their Yelp listing.
Map of Hilo Restaurants
All these restaurants are also marked on our map of Hilo. Below the map you can find more details such as address and website for each restaurant.