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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
This restaurant doesn't feel much like a country club—it's simple and not at all fancy, with oak tables filled with local old-timers talking story and chowing down on greasy local favorites. Locals love this spot on Sunday for its large portions and classic breakfasts: ordering the breakfast burger (with fried egg, cheese, and your choice of meat) and a cup of Kona coffee is the way to go. If it's lunchtime, you can't beat the burgers and salads. Breakfast is only served on Sunday. Credit cards accepted. No dinner.
This little eatery brings a whole new meaning to gourmet hamburgers. Village Burger in Parker Ranch Center serves up locally raised, grass-fed, hormone-free beef that is ground fresh, hand-shaped daily at their restaurant, and grilled to perfection right before your eyes. Top your burger (be it ahi, veal, Kahua Ranch wagyu beef, Hamakua mushroom, or Waipio taro) with everything from local avocados, baby greens, and chipotle goat cheese to tomato marmalade. Even the ice cream for their milkshakes is made right in Waimea, and the delicious brioche buns that house these juicy burgers are baked fresh in nearby Hawi. At this place, you really can taste the difference. villageburgerwaimea.com. Credit cards accepted.
Verna's is a favorite among locals who come for the moist homemade burgers and filling plate lunches. The price is right with a burger combo that includes fries and a drink for just $5. If you're hungry for more, try the traditional Hawaiian plate with laulau, beef stew, chicken long rice, lomilomi salmon; or the smoked meat plate (a local specialty) smothered in onions and served with rice and macaroni salad. Whatever you choose, you won't leave hungry. Late-night revelers take note: Verna's is one of the only joints in Hilo that's open 24 hours every day. Credit cards accepted.
Located in the Sports Authority shopping complex (Kona Commons), this excellent burger joint may look like a chain, but it's an independent, locally owned and operated eatery that serves 100% organic, grass-fed Big Island beef. Be sure to order a side of seasoned Big Daddy fries served with house-made aioli dipping sauce.
This breezy, open-air restaurant, located upstairs at the Shops at Mauna Lani, offers an excellent roster of appetizers: don't miss the seared-scallop sliders or the coconut-crusted crab cakes. The chef here has freedom to cook up his own daily specials, and the macadamia-crusted opakapaka (Pacific red snapper) is a standout. Other entrées include rustic chicken pasta and crab-stuffed shrimp. Homemade breads and creamy butters set the stage for a nice meal, which most definitely should include one of Tommy's outstanding martinis, the tastiest and strongest anywhere on the island. Desserts are decadent and meant for sharing. There's live music every evening. www.tommybahama.com. Credit cards accepted.
Oahu: Ocean House Restaurant
Kauai: Plantation Gardens
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