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bookluvingbabe

Kona, HI

46 posts in this topic

Mr. BLB and I will be in Kona for 7 days in Feb. with his parents. They go every year, he's been once and I'm a Hawaii virgin.

I see lots of fish in my future.

Any places that are not to miss?

I don't want to rock the boat in their routine too much but I also want to be able to claim some portion of the trip as mine.

Thanks!

Jennifer

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I was also in Kona this past Feb. Go you for starting that research!

I was also with In Laws, who didn't place such a high priority on eating as I did (ie sandwich from the hotel poolside bar was fine with them for dinner). The other constraint we ran up against is that dining is VERY expensive (ie, entrees at $30 and up for places that would probably be half that here) due to the high tourist traffic. You know you're in trouble when the guidebook mentions BK and Costco as more moderate dining options...

That being said, I had good meals at Cafe Pesto and the Kawaihea Harbor Grill in Kawaihea (about 20 mins. north of the Hilton Waikaloa Village, where we were staying) and some excellent (and pricey) sushi at Atami on the Hotel grounds. We also ate 2x (!) at the Kona Brewing company- just plain good beer and straightforward, well-prepared American/hawaiian fusion. All of these places should be findable on Google.

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we were on the big island last month, and in the right place at the right time to experience the two biggest quakes they have had there in 30 years -- nothing destructive but enough to get you up in the morning.

i would head for waimea, which isn't that far from kona, maybe a half an hour drive, depending on exactly where you are staying.

across the street from each other, the two restaurants worth the trip in waimea are merrimann's and daniel thiebaut. their menus look similar, but the cooking is quite different. merrimann's is more like the kind of modern american cooking you might find in the pacific northwest; thiebaut springs from french, his sauces can be brooding, a bit mysterious, which goes well with the mist that usually envelops the town by dark. we had great meals at both.

my wife was especially fond of locally raised lamb at merrimann's and i had sushi-style fish (don't remember what kind, maybe opah) that was as good as it gets. we started with an appetizer platter that included a local goat cheese quesadilla. steak, i believe from the nearby parker ranch, is a standout at thibault. an appetizer of crab cakes was superlative there (as it is at cafe pesto, which is more informal and also has an outpost in hilo. there's a whole lot of fusion going on, but it provides reliable nourishment for the body and soul. we prefer the wetter side of the island, although you probably also have some rain in your future, which is nothing to worry about). i started at thibault with a seafood mousse purse, and it was supremely good. at least in july, they were selling local strawberries from a stand outside the restaurant and they made their way into some fine desserts.

these two restaurants probably are not perfect, but i don't think we hit one bad note at either. go with whatever you like, and you probably can't go too far astray. big dinners for two with wine and drinks is in the $150 range. look for coupons for a free dessert at thibault, which is also open for lunch; not sure about merrimann's.

merrimann's dining room is open and brighter, one big room, somewhat more formal, with some beautiful people hanging out; thibault is a dark collection of rooms in an old house, a better bet for finding a no-nonsense, supremely happy hawaiian waitress. you don't often stumble upon places this good on vacation.

there is also a good wine shop about half a mile further on the left on the main drag through waimea, the best we found on the island, with bottles you don't regularly see around here.

if you get over to hilo, which is about a half hour drive from the volcanic park, a visit to the farmers market is worthwhile. i think it is open on wednesdays and saturdays and you will see a lot of asian ingredients. they even grow tomatoes on the big island, and this is the perfect spot for fragrant flowers.

actually, just thinking about these restaurants makes me want to return next month, and i can use the excuse of going to contest my speeding ticket.

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I will be traveling to Honolulu in November and I will have the opportunity to try the best that this city has to offer. I am looking to have a big blow out dinner at some point. Where would you recommend? Price is not a consideration.

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Indigo for very nice Pacific Rim food. The staff there is fantastic and have helped me arrange a large work dinner in their private room. Alan Wong's is another great place for upscale local. Kanak Attack for great downscale local. Island Manapua Factory for the best manapua and Chinese food. La Mariana Yacht Club for local-style drinks. The Waiola store for shave ice (with li hing mui, ice cream AND azuki). Leonard's for malasadas. And if you see a roadside stand with huli-huli chicken (a hundred rotisserie-style grilling chickens ) stop and pick up a great picnic.

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I will be traveling to Honolulu in November and I will have the opportunity to try the best that this city has to offer.  I am looking to have a big blow out dinner at some point.  Where would you recommend?  Price is not a consideration.

If you make the road trip up the eastern shore to the North shore, be sure to stop at the shrimp truck. One of the best meals in the world. Period. No kidding. Beats the pants off anything fancy in Honolulu. Garlic shrimp.

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I always make sure to grab lunch at a Raman shop when I am in Honolulu. make sure you find one filled with Japanese.

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I always make sure to grab lunch at a Raman shop when I am in Honolulu.  make sure you find one filled with Japanese.

Ezogiku has fantastic ramen.

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I've been trying to remember the name of the killer Chinese restaurant I always try to hit when I go back but I'm blanking on it. It is on Kapahulu Ave a couple of blocks up from the beach in the same building complex that Sam Choy's (449 Kapahulu) Diamond Head Restaurant is in. Skip Sam Choy's and go to the Chinese place. The last 3 times I was there they had half the restaurant blocked off for big Chinese wedding banquets. The waiters would sneak me stuff from the wedding menu. If you really want to hit Sam Choy's, go to his lunch place near the airport instead.

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Oodles of Noodles would definitely be on my list. Cafe Sibu is very tasty Indonesian. Manago in the old Captain Cook Hotel is (I think) still owned by the Manago family and has great casual local food.

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Try La Mer...from my dining experience in Honolulu so far (X-mas in Hawaii for the past 8 years), it is the best French restaurant.

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If you really want to hit Sam Choy's, go to his lunch place near the airport instead.

I don't think it was worth the cab fare from Waikiki Beach.

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I don't think it was worth the cab fare from Waikiki Beach.

I went there with some fishermen for breakfast a couple of times and the corned beef hash and loco moco plates are wonderful. But I never had to pay cab fare.

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So I have never been to hawaii, so is there some special dish that I should not miss while I am there?  And please do not say spam.

Plate lunch is the signature dish. Some form of protein -- teriyaki, katsu -- with one scoop of salad (typical macaroni and mayo-based dressing -- I skip and get extra rice) and two scoops of rice. Can be had in many local drive ins (L&L, Rainbow, Yummy's Korean BBQ), from trucks, and even a local fast food chain (Zippy's -- but skip that). If you are hungry, get the loco moco.

You could also get some poi (taro paste -- can be found straight which is sort of like lavendar wallpaper paste or incorporated into rolls or pancakes which can be very tasty), lau lau (butterfish, pork butt and chicken wrapped in ti leaves and steamed), and kalua pork (think Hawaiian version of smoked pork barbecue) for local flavor. If you like seafood get some tako poke (an octopus ceviche kind of thing).

Don't worry about looking for spam, you'll wind up eating it one way or the other. Hmmm...what is this meat in my fried rice, in my wontons, etc.

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Mr. mktye is escorting some VIPs around the Honolulu area next week and, to add insult to injury (the injury being that he is going to Hawaii without me :lol: ), he has asked me to find some places for them to dine while they're there.

The suggestions already posted in this thread have taken care of most of the meals, but I am stuck on the first night they are in town. Their flight gets in around 6:30 and they are staying at the west (or would that be north?) end of Waikiki near the Hilton. They don't really want to venture too far from the hotel on that first night, prefer something within easy walking distance, open late and not too fancy. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!

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Mr. mktye is escorting some VIPs around the Honolulu area next week and, to add insult to injury (the injury being that he is going to Hawaii without me :lol: ), he has asked me to find some places for them to dine while they're there.

The suggestions already posted in this thread have taken care of most of the meals, but I am stuck on the first night they are in town.  Their flight gets in around 6:30 and they are staying at the west (or would that be north?) end of Waikiki near the Hilton.  They don't really want to venture too far from the hotel on that first night, prefer something within easy walking distance, open late and not too fancy.  Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!

Forget north or west, that is the Ewa (pronounced eva) side of town (closer to Ewa Beach then the east side referred to as Diamond Head side, towards the mountains is mauka).

How are these folks with jet lag and eating late? 6:30pm local time is 12:30am EST. That's the time I'd hit a noodle joint and pass out. There are a bunch of places right in the Hilton complex that might make for best bets -- Hanajuban is their noodle shop and Bali by the Sea is the fancy Pacific Rim restaurant. I don't go to that area often, but I recall a number of small noodle shops and a variety of small Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai places on the main drag just outside the hotel. I believe there is also a Keo's -- local landmark Thai place -- right near there.

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Forget north or west, that is the Ewa (pronounced eva) side of town (closer to Ewa Beach then the east side referred to as Diamond Head side, towards the mountains is mauka). 

How are these folks with jet lag and eating late?  6:30pm local time is 12:30am EST.  That's the time I'd hit a noodle joint and pass out.  There are a bunch of places right in the Hilton complex that might make for best bets -- Hanajuban is their noodle shop and Bali by the Sea is the fancy Pacific Rim restaurant.  I don't go to that area often, but I recall a number of small noodle shops and a variety of small Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai places on the main drag just outside the hotel.  I believe there is also a Keo's -- local landmark Thai place -- right near there.

If you want Korean, there is a restaurant in the Waikiki Resort Hotel (5 mins walking distance from Hilton). The Japanese noodle places are all over the strip (get the shio ramen or the miso ramen)...many of them are chain restaurants with frequent "eater" cards (I think eat 10 get one free. The Surf Room at the Royal Hawaiian has a seafood buffet that's decent. Hy's steak house is also nearby.

Although NOT near Hilton, you should recommend a visit to Chef Mavro's. It is about 5 minutes by car.

Michel's or Michelle's (I think the later) has a spectacular view...sunsets are Michel's are inspiring. Dishes are not as memorable, but worth the visit just for the atmosphere.

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Thanks laniloa and crazeegirl for the location-specific replies. They have been very helpful in planning a dining itinerary for my husband's trip. :lol:

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Thanks laniloa and crazeegirl for the location-specific replies.  They have been very helpful in planning a dining itinerary for my husband's trip. :lol:

Be sure to give him your shopping list of things to bring you!

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I went to Hawaii a couple of years ago with my roommates who are Hawaiian natives. Here are the local eats you should definitely check out if you are interested must try eats.

Rainbow Drive In- Plate lunches with Rice, Meat, and Macaroni Salad.

Zippy's- Considered the best Chili

Cheeseburger Paradise- Yummy Burgers and you have a choice of many toppings!

Waiola Shaved Ice- THE BEST shaved ice I have ever had. The ice is the texture of fresh powdered snow.

Mc D's- Breakfast menu- Portuguese sausage with rice and scrambled eggs. Yeah it's weird but it tastes great and where else can you get this in the US? I loved the sausage so much I brought some back to the states.

ABC Store- Spam Masubi

Snacks (store)- Sour Patch Kids with li hing, Dried Cherries with li hing, Hurricane Popcorn- popcorn with Furikake and Rice Crackers, mochi cracker with furikake, corn flake cookies, of course Mauna Loa mac nuts- Chocolate Toffee Covered Macs, Kona Coffee Coated Mac Nuts, and Hawaiian Host- Macnut Crunch, Toffee Macs.

Oh man... my mouth is watering. I have a major Hawaiian food craving now.

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