Discovering the Finest Dining on Hawai’i’s Big Island

Sunset over the ocean

The Big Island of Hawai’i offers a variety of upscale dining experiences, showcasing both local flavors and international cuisines. These restaurants are spread out from Kona to Waimea and along the Kohala Coast resort area. If you are looking for a extra special night out here are some of the most highly regarded upscale restaurants on the island:

Merriman’s Waimea:

In the charming town of Waimea, Merriman’s is a gem that epitomizes the farm-to-table ethos. Founded by Chef Peter Merriman, this restaurant is a destination for food lovers who appreciate the art of sustainable dining. The rustic yet elegant setting complements a menu that bursts with fresh, local flavors. Enjoy the Curried Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi, or the Kahua Ranch Lamb. At Merriman’s, every dish tells a story of the land and the hands that cultivate it.

Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge:

At the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Ulu Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge offers an unparalleled dining experience with panoramic ocean views that take your breath away. The atmosphere is both sophisticated and serene, perfect for a romantic dinner or a special celebration. The restaurant’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients is evident in every meticulously crafted dish. Imagine indulging in Hawaiian Kampachi, its delicate flavor enhanced by expert preparation, or relishing a Spicy Tuna Roll that exemplifies the finest in sushi artistry. Ulu isn’t just a meal; it’s a culinary journey through the rich waters and fertile lands of Hawai’i.

Brown’s Beach House:

At the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast, Brown’s Beach House invites you to dine by the shore, where the gentle sound of waves sets a soothing backdrop to your meal. This beachfront restaurant is renowned for its romantic ambiance and island-inspired cuisine. Enjoy a beautiful evening as you enjoy Kona Kampachi or  a Kona Coffee-Crusted Filet Mignon, a dish that marries local flavors with culinary sophistication. Every moment at Brown’s Beach House is designed to delight, making it a must-visit for those seeking an unforgettable dining experience.

Sunset over the ocean

Huggo’s:

In the center of Kailua-Kona, Huggo’s and, the more casual, On the Rocks have been favorites on the waterfront for decades, offering diners a blend of casual elegance and stunning ocean views. Both restaurants showcase the island’s vibrant food scene, where the menu celebrates the best of local seafood and produce. Envision yourself enjoying the Fresh Catch of the Day, perfectly grilled and bursting with flavor, or their signature Teriyaki Steak, a nod to the island’s diverse culinary influences. For a special event or romantic dinner, Huggo’s isn’t just about the food—it’s about the experience of dining with the Pacific Ocean at your feet, creating memories that linger long after the meal is over.

The CanoeHouse:

At Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, The CanoeHouse offers a dining experience that’s as enchanting as its setting. The oceanfront location provides a stunning backdrop for a menu that harmoniously blends modern Hawaiian and Asian-Pacific cuisine. Start with pickled vegetables or Maitake mushrooms and end with delicious Ube Cheesecake. The CanoeHouse is more than a restaurant—it’s a celebration of Hawai’i’s culinary heritage, beautifully presented in every dish.

Manta:

Perched at the iconic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Manta provides a sophisticated dining experience that pairs perfectly with its panoramic ocean views. The ambiance is refined yet welcoming, making it an ideal spot for both intimate dinners and family gatherings. Enjoy Kona Abalone or Mac Crusted Mahi Mahi, cooked to perfection and infused with local flavors. At Manta, every meal is a celebration of the island’s bounty, served with elegance and flair.

 

These restaurants not only provide exquisite meals but also emphasize the island’s natural beauty and local culture, making each dining experience truly unique. Savor the creativity, passion, and authenticity that define the island’s upscale dining scene, and let your taste buds experience a journey that is as enriching and beautiful as the island itself.

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