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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Open on Saturday evening only, Hakone restaurant offers an excellent steak-and-seafood buffet featuring assorted sushi, daily catch, shrimp and veggie tempura, and grilled teriyaki steak. There's also a limited à la carte menu. The restaurant doesn't offer ocean views, but the upscale setting features Asian decor, fountains, shoji screens, and linen tablecloths. Be sure to try the signature martini—a hibiscus sake made with Sprite and a little cranberry juice. Yum. www.princeresortshawaii.com. Credit cards accepted. Closed Sun.--Fri. No lunch.
The Hawaii location of the popular Monterey, California, restaurant has an expansive menu, with inventive fresh-fish specials alongside the fish-and-chips and clam chowder that the original restaurant is known for. The owners spent serious time and money renovating the old and funky Ocean View Inn, and the restaurant itself is lovely—lots of koa wood, Hawaiian art, and an open-air floor plan that takes advantage of the Kailua Bay view. The food is decent, but may not feel worth the price. The wine list is comprehensive, and there are frequent bottle specials, so a money-saving option is to come for wine and appetizers with a view. Ask your greeter for a card that will get you a free appetizer or small discount off your meal. www.fishhopper.com/kona/. Credit cards accepted.
The "original home of the mai tai," Don the Beachcomber includes a cool mai tai bar (bar service is slow, so sit back and enjoy the view) and has recently become a popular local spot for lunch, thanks to fresh ono sandwiches and addictive sweet-potato fries. Dinners are priced like those at the Kohala Coast resort restaurants (high), but the location offers the absolute best view in town of Kailua Bay. Try any of the nightly seafood specials or the Huli Huli Chicken, but the Paniolo prime rib is the star attraction, slow roasted for flavor and tenderness. Save room for the Molten Lava Cake. www.royalkona.com/Dining.cfm. Credit cards accepted.
Visitors enjoy stopping here for breakfast or lunch after a morning of snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay, and for good reason: the views of the Honaunau coast from this roadside restaurant in South Kona are stunning. Breads are all homemade, and you get to choose your favorite when ordering a generously sized sandwich brimming with Black Forest ham and the like. If you're in the mood for a Hawaiian smoothie, iced honey-mocha latte, or homemade luau bread, it's worth the detour, even though the parking lot can be tricky to maneuver. www.coffeeshack.com. Credit cards accepted. No dinner.
This open-air venue has high ceilings and a lanai that overlooks the pool and beach. American bistro-style dishes showcase the bounty of Big Island ingredients, including fresh Kona shrimp and lobster (raised at the Natural Energy Lab), seasonal fresh oysters, and specially prepared seafood. Although the restaurant is closed on Friday and Saturday, be sure to venture to the nearby Ocean Terrace on Friday for the hotel's "Let's Go Crabbing" night, a splendid buffet with everything from steamed Manilla clams and soft-shell crab tempura to crab-and-corn bisque and a full salad bar. www.princeresortshawaii.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch. Closed Fri. and Sat.
This cool little spot near Costco features beautiful tropical woodworking by Dave Weaver, who also serves up his own ceviche concoctions, highlighted by the Taapuna, with fresh ono and coconut milk. Order the sampler plate and you'll get to try four different ceviches, all served with chips and homemade bread baked daily by Dave's wife, April. Dave likes to play guitar and tell stories about surfing, Costa Rica, and music. Relax here after a day at the beach, and enjoy the view of Pine Trees surf spot below.
This landmark restaurant near the ocean showcases the inventive cuisine of Chef Allen Hess, who previously worked at the famed Merriman's restaurant in Waimea. The progressive menu—divided into the categories of Farmer, Fisherman, and Rancher—draws its influences from locally grown and raised products including grass-fed beef, lamb, fresh catch, shellfish, and homemade sausage and bacon. For appetizers, try the goat tacos served in a crispy bao bun. The Hawaii ranchers tenderloin is a good bet for a main course, as is the furikaki crusted ono served tataki style. Each table has its own iPad that features a wine list to peruse by touchscreen. Adjacent to the restaurant, the newly unveiled The Lounge at the CanoeHouse presents chef's bites, desserts, and premium cocktails from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. www.maunalani.com. Credit cards accepted. No lunch.
Established in 1948, this family-owned restaurant is famous for its tasty loco moco, prepared in more than a three dozen ways, and its dirt-cheap breakfast and lunch specials. (You can stuff yourself for $3 if you order right.) The word "restaurant," or even "café," is used liberally here—you order at a window and eat on one of the outdoor benches provided—but you come here for the food and prices, not the ambience. Credit cards accepted. Closed Sun.
Okay, it's a chain, and a chain that centers on an old Tom Hanks movie, no less. However, it has one of the nicest oceanfront patios in Kailua-Kona, and the food's not bad, providing you know what to order. Anything with popcorn shrimp in it is a good bet, and the pear and berry salad (a combination of chicken, strawberries, pears, and glazed pecans) is the perfect size for lunch. Breakfast is served on weekends only. www.bubbagump.com. Credit cards accepted.
This tiny, traditional trattoria serves solid, family-style Italian food and excellent pizzas at very good prices. The atmosphere is similar to hundreds of Italian restaurants on the U.S. mainland—the tablecloths are checkered, the candles are in Chianti bottles, there's spaghetti on the menu, and it always feels a little hot and greasy inside. But you can't beat the location in downtown Kailua-Kona, right across the street from the ocean. www.bostonbasils.com. Credit cards accepted.
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Oahu: Hau Tree Lanai
Maui: Mama's Fish House
Kauai: The Beach House
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