Hilo Bay Cafe

4.5
1117 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Fusion / Eclectic

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About

Contemporary restaurant with emphasis on innovative cuisine using fresh, local, and organic ingredients--a Hilo town favorite gathering place. Full food and beverage service with indoor and outdoor lanai seating and large room for special events. From nearly every seat, the restaurant has expansive views of Hilo bay, Mauna Kea, Hilo town, and the ocean. Full bar, original recipes, artisan sushi, and keiki menu. Large parties are welcome. Come as you are or come as your best dressed self--we appreciate both! Reservations recommended.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Fusion / Eclectic, Organic, Hawaii Regional Cuisine
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Hours of operation
Monday thru Thursday 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 11:00 am to 9:30 pm
Sunday CLOSED
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Phone number
(808) 935-4939
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Joshua Ketner
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Private party facilities
Our bay front location offers a private dining space for hosting special occasions, luncheons, business meetings, family gatherings, receptions, reunions, holiday celebrations, and more. The space has a private lanai with ocean, mountain, and bay views. Full food and beverage services are available for cocktail and pupu parties, banquets, fully plated meals, and more. Choose from our Event menus or request special accommodations to match your budget and preferences.
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Catering
We are currently not offering off-premise catering.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Kamehameha Street
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Parking details
Our private parking offers quick, comfortable access to the restaurant. Covered handicap stalls available only a short distance from elevator.
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Public transit
Banyan Drive pick-up and drop-off site for public transportation. Available Monday through Saturday from early morning until 4 pm.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1117 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful location. Beautiful view. Great food

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OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice place to relax and eat. Pricey but enjoyable and tasty.

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MH
London
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Booked for valentines about two weeks in advance. We were seated in a very unattractive overflow area and served by a server who should not have been allowed to deal with the public. She was aggressive and really unpleasant. We complained Would never go back.

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JB
Hawaii
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service. Music system volume a little too high

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SS
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

With limited restaurants in the area, this was a nice place that sits on the Bay. Food was good as well as service. Nothing especially grand. Beautiful Bay Scenery had we be sat on deck. We sat in a very gloomy room with no real decor to speak of.

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TM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love the beautiful view of Hilo dining outside. I definitely would return to try more dishes. The option to have entrees prepared and accommodate dietary restrictions is plus! I loved the fact that the food tasted fresh and cooked perfection. My favorite dessert is the Ube Coconut for Donuts freshly made melts in your mouth. Service was well-timed and friendly, and relaxed. One of top favorite restaurants on my list!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely time with friends celebrating our last night in Hilo.

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GM
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We come every year this year we made four trips over 10 days

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DN
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent.....Food was great, service by Eddie was highly professional and caring.

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RM
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 4ambience 1

Food was terrific; we had a reservation and the restaurant was not crowded (6pm on a Monday night) - but we still got seated at a table with two seats that looked like chairs from a den - so the dining table was practically neck-High. Also our server did not ask what drinks we wanted - so we just had water. (Outside of forgetting to ask for drinks, she was great.).

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L
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 3

Surprised I got a reservation on a Saturday at 7:00 on short notice. There were many empty tables. We have been here before a few years ago and it was packed. My short ribs were tough, and my husbands steak was on par with what we buy at our local supermarket. The prices were too high for the quality of food. Service was okay, but the server seemed like she wanted to be elsewhere. Probably not making enough on tips. We will not be returning.

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H
Hawaii
4 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hilo Bay is cool to view from this delish restaurant. One of the best restaurants in Hilo.

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OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Hilo bay cafe has been the best restaurant in town since it opened. Unfortunately the level has been gradually sliding down. The service and the food remain had a pretty good level but the setting has degraded. The dining room is rather mediocre and not conducive to what could be “a special dinner out”. We went for ours wedding anniversary which I mentioned with my reservation but that wasn’t acknowledged.

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RB
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 5

Portion sizes were MUCH too small! The appetizer was larger than the main. Frankly it was ridiculous. If it costs 3 people $200 to eat dinner I don’t expect to come home hungry.
I won’t be back if I’m footing the bill. If invited by others, I’ll eat first!

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SW
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

One of the best in Hilo. The setting is very nice, the interior upscale.
The food is creative and of high quality.
Ask to sit outside, and avoid the room off on the far east end of the building, as it lacks the character of the rest of the restaurant, and was very noisy. Unfortunately, that was the location of our table, as we were 15 minutes late for our reservation.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

We frequent Hilo Bay Cafe and this visit wasn't up to its normal standard. The grilled cauliflower was a little overcooked (soft) and the sauce did not have its normal flavor. The peppered beef carpaccio was delicious as usual. We were kind of disappointed with our seating because we requested the outside area. The waitress was great tho.

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LH
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always amazing, great scenery, fantastic food. Love the cauliflower appetizer and the lilikoi passion iced tea. Usually get the daily special as my entree. If you like sushi definitely get the chirashi. If you prefer salad, the crab cake salad is the crowd favorite. Also an excellent location to have small events and business lunches.

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RH
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Our male server was cold and preoccupied. When I asked for a photo of our table, he grudgingly took the shot without looking. We were not prepared. I am unable to share it with my group.

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OT
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was outstanding. The noise was totally beyond your control. It was a loud patron at a table close by.

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H
Hawaii
5 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely service & delish dishes

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NF
1 review
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful place! Food, service and ambiance was grand. Highly recommended

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MS
Hawaii
2 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had reservations but had to wait an extra half hour because we requested outdoor seating and the groups currently outside were taking longer than usual to leave. Staff apologetically informed us of this periodically during our wait. Once seated, we had to wait longer than normal for the server to take our order. After that point everything was smooth sailing and wonderful. The food was fantastic and service was friendly. I recommend the cauliflower appetizer. It sounds boring but it's delicious. House made coconut limeade is to die for. Nice selection of intriguing cocktails. Tasty vegetarian options. Something for everyone and, so far, everything we've had is yummy. Portions are somewhat smaller (which is a good thing), so order appetizers if you're really hungry. This might be our new go-to spot!

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BC
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We sat on the lanai as the weather was perfect. Service was excellent. It was a girlfriend lunch and we were allowed to stay and talk with no pressure to leave. My only complaint is the fresh ahi fish and chips, the ahi was overdone.

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b
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

One of our favorite appetizers to have at HBC was their poke. They totally changed the recipe. Yuck!!! Also, one of the waiters (not our waiter, but someone helping to serve), dropped 2 ramekins of ketchup right before serving our food. Luckily, it didn't make it onto our clothing. But the fact that it took him 3 times to clean up the spill and we had to ask him for ketchup (for our fries) was a bit uncomfortable. Lately, it's been a hit or miss having a meal there. :-(

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NG
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Great food & great atmosphere but our service wasn’t as expected.

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AG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is a tiny bit fancy, but not stuffy. The menu items are consistently tasty, but pay attention to the specials, as they're really lovely. I do recommend getting a reservation, as they might not be able to seat you otherwise.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

My family loves this place although the etouffé was not the greatest, was very bland though the mussles in it were good. The onion rings are always great as was the mahi fish and chips, drinks, and the rainbow roll.

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HB
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A perfect lunch with out of town guests. Excellent food, service and views.

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FM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

food came out at different times. 1/2 of our table's food was "taken " for another table. Some fries very well done.

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AC
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

We are local Hilo residents and have been to Hilo Bay Cafe many times. We were able to score a last minute lanai seating on New Year's Eve which was awesome to see the early fireworks folks were setting off. I assume that they must've been slammed for the holiday or had limited staff on duty because although we were seated on time, we waited nearly a half hour before anyone acknowledged us with an order. Then we waited another 45 minutes for our food which came room temperature at best, so almost cold. We splurged for steaks ($40) and it wasn't even hot! We also had to wait another 10-15 minutes for a refill on a coke. We were happy to sit in a lovely setting with the fireworks, but didn't anticipate having a 2.5 hour dinner.

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MG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 1

Terrible slow service. It was 45 min before our waiter even came to the table after we sat down. My salad appetizer arrived before our drink order and at 7pm they had already run out of dishes. When the food finally arrived it was good, but hard to enjoy because it took so long and the service was so awful. Couldn’t wait to leave so I didn’t even finish my meal.

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AM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

'Cmon!... the kitchen out of Tenderloin on New Year's Eve?! That's almost unforgivable, except that when they DO have it, it's incredible... which is probably why they didn't have any more.

The alternative menu choices were all first-rate anyway, so other than my one complaint the evening was an excellent experience. Thank you once again, Hilo Bay cafe!

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MP
Hawaii
14 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always enjoy the food and service by Chef Roy at the sushi bar. It’s a special treat to have the master create special dishes with the freshest fish on island.

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AY
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great food & service. Been a regular here for pau hana Friday’s for years.

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JK
Hawaii
9 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

There was a glitch in the system where we didn't receive our main dishes in a timely manner. Our server was honest about it and owned up, not like Sam Choys in Kona. She gave us complimentary edamame appetizers x 2 and desserts.

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C
Seattle
15 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a delicious and well prepared menu to choose from and a very attentive staff make this one of our favorites. Few places on the mainland we go to hit all the marks like this.

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JG
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Been to Hilo Bay Cafe many times and it never disappoints. Staff has always been friendly and always seem to accommodate my requests, no matter how odd they may be. Highly recommend for locals and visitors.

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OT
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Amazing time at our 2nd annual end of year dinner!

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MM
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

This is an excellent restaurant overall with a stunning view and lovely ambience but service could be a little bit more attentive and the music was a bit loud this time.

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JK
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent as well as the service. Our friends arrived that morning from Japan direct into Kona
and we took the long route to Hilo via South Point. We knew they would be tired but since they had only one night in Hilo we decided HBC was the place to take them for dinner. It was a hit! We had three entrees
and a salad that we shared among the four of us. We got to sample different dishes and nothing was so heavy we were full and very satisfied. Our friends are from Kanazawa known for their fresh seafood. They
enjoyed the chirashizushi and the tenderloin fillet steak from Kulana Foods. I usually order a dessert but
I was full so had to pass this time. All in all it was a very enjoyable time. They have already requested to be
taken back to HBC when they next visit. Thanks HBC you never disappoint.

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