Doug and Glory Restaurant Preferences
Doug & Glory travel extensively looking for new ideas for the Lodge, and enjoy good food. In each place we visit we seek out that special restaurant, or one recommended by friends or guidebooks. Here are our Hilo selections:
Cafe Pesto (downtown Hilo), if you drive around and do a covers count each evening, is obviously the hands down winner in Hilo, and does multiple covers each evening, decore and seating arrangements have evolved over the years and table service and the food are always good and they have a good selection. They also have a branch at Kawaihai on the west side...
Ponds, formerly Harrington's now taken over by Rick and Debbie of Kens, very popular with local diners, is actually the closest to our Lodge of our recommendations. On Kalanianaole near Banyan Drive this long established restaurant has a cocktail bar and dining overlooking the famous "Ice Pond" a natural spring, fed by waters of Mauna Loa mountain. A full bar and reasonable wine selection.
Kens House of Pancakes another favorite, which is the 24 hour 50's style diner right at the main intersection leading to or from the Lodge. It has a huge menu, 24 hour breakfast, massive omelets and every permutation of "Good Ole" American food with a lot of "LOCAL" favorites......If you are VERY hungry try the "SUMO" where they ring a ships bell and all staff cry out "Sumo" in unison as it is served !! It has the BEST coffee in Hilo, bottomless. No alcohol is served or permitted.
Hawaiian Style Cafe....the place for huge servings of local style food....on Manono Street and a recent transplant from their succesful operation in the town of Waimea.
Keaukaha General Store, this excellent and ever evolving store is about 3/4 of a mile before the Lodge as you drive toward us.It opens early and closes around 6:30pm It has great Espresso Coffee, Ice Cream and pastries along with General Store type simple groceries an awesome selection of beverages both alcoholic and non. They also make great custom sandwiches and have Island Staples like Spam Musabi and Chicken Katsu. Its across from the port with a HUGE sign on the wall.
Bears Coffee Shop on Keawe St, one Street back from the Bayfront. Great regular coffee under new ownership and the espressos and breakfast selections are excellent. Try the FRESH papaya followed by the "Big Bad Buster", Ham, cheese and spinach mixed in with eggs in a bowl. For lunch the Tuna stuffed Tomato is hard to beat. Some prefer the Lox and Bagels and waffles with "Fresh fruit only". New owners have redecorated and now take Credit Cards which is good as I do NOT recommend using the ATM which (not owned by Bears) is poorly serviced. They have also cleaned up the bathroom and improved the whole experience.
Hilo Siam Restaurant has been in business 24 years formerly Royal Siam is our favorite for fresh food....decor is pretty plain but food is good and now they also have Korean dishes.
Coconut Grille...near Ponds in the entrance to Seaside Hotel....reasonably priced local fare....be sure to check out the Tsunami height record etched on the window!!
The Seaside Restaurant about a mile past Arnotts on the way to Richardsons Beach Park has evolved nicely over the years and has a great selection or Seafood and Steaks etc...Call before going there as it is closed Monday and sometimes closes early if not many customers. Be sure to say Hi to Sydney the Golden Retriever...from Sydney Australia
Kadota's Before we leave Hilo for Volcano Village we must give honorable mention to one of the FUNKIEST Stores with an unbelievable wine selection. Kadota's is an institution in Hilo.
Located on Hualalai St. a turn inland from Burger King on Kilauea, this store has an incredible selection of wines, liquors, presentation bottles and beers. If you are a REAL wine freak ask to see the climate controlled "Back Room" where Rothschild and Margaux among others all the way up to $400 and $800 a bottle exist side by side with lesser brands in the $100 range.
There is one more special Restaurant located at Volcano Village and that is Kilauea Lodge on the "Old" volcano highway just before arriving at the Volcano National park at about the 25/26 mile marker. Turn in on one of the three highway exits, the Lodge is set back but has a large sign out front. Excellent food by the German chef/owner with a big hearty fireplace/waiting area. Cool at night in Volcano take a Cardigan or light jacket. The Lodge also has accommodations if you don't want to drive 28 miles back to Hilo after good food and wine..
There are literally dozens of "other" restaurants in and around Hilo......but the above selection are our favorites and will keep you busy for the average stay of a few days.