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Diners' Choice: Neighborhood gem restaurants in Hawaii / Big Island

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OpenTable
Updated May 05, 2024

Looking for the best restaurants that are the best neighborhood gems in Hawaii / Big Island? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of Merriman's – Waimea – Big Island restaurant
4.9
4.9 (9090)
$31 to $50
Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Kamuela
About the restaurant
Located in the heart of the Big Islands farm community is Peter Merriman's original restaurant; Merriman's Waimea. Chef/Owner Peter Merriman is one of the founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and uses 90% or more of local produce, fish and beef. All dishes are handcrafted to highlight the natural flavors of each menu item. Our award winning wine list has selections for all to enjoy. Merriman's knowledgeable and friendly staff will guide you through a culinary experience you will not forget. We look forward to serving you!
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Great food and great service! We will be back!
A photo of Keei Cafe restaurant
4.8
4.8 (753)
$30 and under
Seafood
Kailua-Kona
About the restaurant
In 1995 with a vision to open a small family "Coffee Cafe" Owner Bob Miyashiro and his wife Gina open the original Keei Cafe in a old former Fish Market in Honaunau, Hawaii on the Big Island. Finally after borrowing enough from their father, Brothers Bob and Dennis along with Sister Joyce the new Keei Cafe was Born in Hokukano. Again with the Brazilian touch for food friendly colors and using local woods, Gina helped create the decor that surrounds the "New" Keei Cafe at Hokukano. Opened in early 2005, the new Cafe features local artist painting and carvings on the walls. Koa table help make the Cafe have a warm and welcome feel perfect for families or guests looking for a resort type meal with a upcounty price. Family owned and operated with the additon of Gina's sister and Brother in Law, Chef Zeze and Batista, in the kitchen to use the freshes local ingredients to prepare creavtive and and delicious menu items with nightly specials. Please come to experience the flavors!
Top review
SarahHvip
Dined on May 12, 2024
Wonderful family restaurant with local dishes. The duck and rabbit are always popular with our out-of-town visitors. Pasta dishes are also excellent!
A photo of Kenichi Pacific restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1442)
$31 to $50
Japanese
Kailua-Kona
About the restaurant
Kenichi Pacific will wow you with its highly praised Japanese Pan-Asian cuisine and sushi, and its contemporary ambiance. In a relaxed, elegant setting, Kenichi offers unforgettable original dishes, such as the Duck Confit, a Chinese five-spice cured duck leg served with russett potatoes and wild mushrooms in a delicious balsamic reduction sauce. The Ono tataki grilled rare, stands out as well, with mashed yams, green beans, Japanese mushrooms and a ponzu emulsion. Another must try is the Dynamite Shrimp, tempura shrimp baked with smelt aioli and teriyaki sauce.

The presentation and the flavors are equally superb. Of course, only the freshest fish and seafood are used, so the sushi is impeccable. The molten flourless chocolate cake is achieving legendary status, so save room for a delicious finish!

Top review
foodie
Dined 3 days ago
We both had Diver Scallop Dish. We make an effort to go here when in Kona.
A photo of Pueo's Osteria restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1627)
$50 and over
Italian
Waikoloa
About the restaurant
Welcome to

Pueo’s Osteria, located in Waikoloa Village, is an Italian-inspired, inviting restaurant that provides great food in a delightful environment. The Chef focuses on the finest Italian products paired with seafood, produce and meats from boutique farms (sourced locally whenever possible), including “farm-fresh” products from local farmers’ markets.

The Pueo is a local, indigenous owl which represents the Chef"s focus on dinner and serving food until midnight. Pueo's Osteria caters to locals, visitors and serves late to welcome service industry personnel. Engaging service, approachable pricing, great flavors and a lively atmosphere await at Pueo’s Osteria – food, wine & fun … where the night owls meet.

Top review
Greg
Dined 2 days ago
The meals were both excellent. Hot tasty and well prepared and presented. Service was prompt and kind.
A photo of FORC restaurant
4.6
4.6 (321)
$50 and over
Farm-to-table
Kamuela
About the restaurant
Owned by Chef Allen Hess, FORC brings farm to table in the heart of Waimea. FORC showcases a farm to table aspect by bringing fresh harvests from Farmers, the Ocean and Ranchers. By changing our menu seasonally, we are able to get creative with what Hawai’i has to offer us. Local style brunch items like our FORC signature sandwich, brown butter banana pancakes and our housemade bacon. Hearty seasonal dinner dishes like our Big Island grass fed beef, whole roasted fish, and Chef’s Hawaiian Meal. There are vegetarian, paleo and gluten free options too. Indulge more with special menus like happy hour and holiday menus. Sip on our award winning cocktails or sit down and soak in the best dining atmosphere.
Top review
JackF
Dined 4 days ago
Depending on how much time you have a reservation is a good idea. We had a reservation and were promptly seated. A bus-person immediately brought us water and informed us that our waiter would be with us shortly. Our waiter arrived quickly thereafter to see if we wanted to order anything, we asked for a moment to review the menu. From there everything was well timed with the wine arrival, the appetizer salad we shared, main course and dessert. Our waitress was attentive during the entire time. The food was delicious and excellent.
A photo of Miyo's Restaurant and Izakaya Bar restaurant
4.5
4.5 (168)
$31 to $50
Japanese
Hilo
About the restaurant
A local favorite, Miyo’s Restaurant has served the Hilo area since 1987. Under the direction of it's owner, Louis Pauole, Miyo's Restaurant serves up homestyle Japanese food using quality ingredients and it's beloved recipes created by Miyo herself!

Come and enjoy entrees such as Hot Pots, Curry, Teriyaki, Tempura, Seafood and much more! While you're awaiting your delicious meal, you can also sip on a handcrafted cocktail made by our talented bartenders from our Izakaya Bar - Hilo's newest hot spot! With a full bar, 15 beers on tap, an exclusive evening tapas menu and a cozy, rustic atmosphere, there's something for everyone!


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 5 days ago
As always great food and service. I wish there still had the pickled vegetables to start
A photo of Kuleana Rum Shack restaurant
4.4
4.4 (1002)
$31 to $50
Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Waikoloa
About the restaurant
The Rum Shack offers authentic island cuisine and outstanding, unique cocktails made with Kuleana Rum and other world-class spirits
Top review
LauraHvip
Dined 5 days ago
Great food and service. Cocktail was yummy…. Nice change from overprice resort food and so much better
A photo of Mauka Bar and Grill restaurant
4.4
4.4 (90)
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
Waikoloa
About the restaurant
A Gar and Grill during the day and Steakhouse by night. Amazing food prepared by very experienced chefs with live music nightly and beautiful mountain and sunset views.
Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on May 16, 2024
Best steakhouse meal we have had on the Big Island in a decade or more. Excellent value when compared to top restarants on Kohala Coast and 30% less than comparable in Seattle. We are going back on Sunday!
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A photo of Honu's on the Beach Restaurant restaurant
4.2
4.2 (499)
$30 and under
Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Kailua-Kona
About the restaurant
Three hours of complimentary validated self-parking!

For a premier dining experience in the seaside village of Kailua-Kona, visit Honu’s on the Beach. King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort's signature award-winning restaurant offering delicious Hawaiian regional cuisine. You’ll enjoy dining on a spacious lanai, complete with inviting fire pits and amazing views. Honu’s is the perfect spot to sip a cocktail and enjoy a fabulous meal while the sun sets, filling the sky with gorgeous hues of pink, orange, yellow, and purple. Saturday night features the famous Prime Rib & Seafood Buffet including all you can eat snow crab.

And start your morning with breakfast at Honu’s on the Beach. Choose from a range of tasty a la carte menu items, including American and regional dishes, or indulge yourself in the breakfast buffet, featuring made-to-order omelets, fresh fruit, pancakes, breakfast meats, coffee, tea, and much more.

Brought to you by celebrated local Chef Michael Quanan.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 16, 2024
Awesome restaurant….great food and excellent service….very friendly and attentive staff… highly recommended.
A photo of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar - WAIKOLOA, Hawaii restaurant
4.1
4.1 (1528)
$31 to $50
Seafood
Waikoloa
About the restaurant
We are now open 7 days a week for normal dinner service from 5pm-8:30pm! Sunday and Monday we have our early bird special the doors open at 4:45 and the special is over with at 5:30! Please call us to order 808.886.6286

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Sansei, meaning third generation, is a locally owned contemporary Japanese Restaurant offering new wave sushi. The force behind the food is Chef/Owner Dave "DK" Kodama. An Oahu native, he is fearless when it comes to flavors and one of the most adventurous chefs you will meet. At Sansei he has combined his Japanese heritage with Hawaii's incredible ethnic mix and flavors he experienced in his travels to create a New Wave Sushi. Japanese-inspired Pacific Rim, Contemporary Japanese type of cuisine. Call it whatever you like, what you will taste are the unique combinations of flavors and textures.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 22, 2024
Had a reservation for 6:45,showed up early and was graciously seated early. The drinks were on point and the food was beyond delicious! We highly recommend the lobster and shrimp mashed potatoes as a special side or even as a main. Very delicious!
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