Hilo Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Hilo

April 14, 2018 Nobuko Falco

The landscape of Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is diverse. Beaches of black, gray, brown and white sand give way to mountains and dramatic waterfalls. Hilo's Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo is the only U.S. zoo in a tropical rainforest. A day trip away are snow-capped Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, with observatories near 11,000 feet on both mountains, and Kilauea Caldera, an active volcano. Back in town are a farmer's market, restaurants, shopping and banyan trees planted by celebrities and politicians.
Things to do in Hilo

1. Paul's Place

132 Punahoa St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-6308 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff American, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch +1 808-280-8646
Excellent
93%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 219 reviews

Paul's Place

Reviewed By Greg S - Watertown, New York

We had great recommendations for this little spot through our travel book, so we made sure we went. This was our first meal in Hilo...and we didn't really realize how small it truly is. 3 tables! So if you are short on time, plan ahead and get a reservation. We went in and put our name in for about 2 hours later...which worked out well, giving us time to thoroughly explore the Hilo Farmer's Market. Our meals here were amazing - definitely recommend the eggs benedict with the non-traditional hollandaise sauce. My wife had the Belgian waffles with fruit, which were also delicious. To add - the hosts are amazing. We were there the day of the missile scare and were really unsure of what to do. We popped back in prior to our reservation to ask for advice on what to do, and they helped us feel a whole lot better about the whole situation. Definitely go if you can - they do also do lunch.

2. Moon and Turtle

51 Kalakaua St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2805 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Credit Cards Japanese, Seafood, Asian, Hawaiian, International, Fusion, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner SGD 13 - SGD 33 +1 808-961-0599
Excellent
72%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 277 reviews

Moon and Turtle

We feature a frequently changing international menu with a pacific emphasis and focus on locally sourced ingredients.

Reviewed By Panajody

One of the deservedly trendy places in Hilo, Moon and Turtle has a small (four small plates and four large plates) and interesting menu that is Asian/Hawaiian fusion. The cooking is expert and imaginative. The ingredients are virtually all local and of the highest quality.

The service is warm, friendly, and discrete, with a smile.

Reservations are a must!

3. Suisan

93 Lihiwai St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4611 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible Hawaiian, Gluten Free Options Lunch +1 808-935-9349
Excellent
62%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 342 reviews

Suisan

Reviewed By ArataTa - Ryugasaki, Japan

There are so many varieties of Poke they have. We ordered Poke bowl, unfortunately rice was run out in front of us. Waited 10 minutes or so during that, line was getting very long. But it was quite good even looking from the general raw fish eater (like me). My recomendation is soy source taste yellow tail and tuna.

4. Pineapple's Island Fresh Cuisine

332 Keawe St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2932 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Bar, Seafood, Polynesian, Hawaiian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +1 808-238-5324
Excellent
62%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Pineapple's Island Fresh Cuisine

Reviewed By MickDidi - Eagan, Minnesota

I don’t give many 5 ratings, but we had such a fun time, Pineapples is getting a 5! The Pineapple Pow drinks were fun, tasted good and were a good quantity - you don’t always get all three with beachy drinks. The food was well plated, generous in quantity, made with fresh ingredients and well seasoned. There were many thoughtful vegetarian options and we tried the island style tacos with veggies, the kombocha pumpkin curry and the lettuce cups with veggies and tofu. We all liked our choice. The setting is fun - not an ocean view, but you get the Hilo vibe. It’s a bustling place and the conversation noise is nice. They also had music the evening we were there. We went early - 5ish - and there wasn’t a wait but it was basically full. Friendly wait staff and well timed food. We didn’t feel rushed at all. Just a fun evening in Hilo!!

5. Hawaiian Style Cafe

681 Manono St, #101, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-6435 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe, Polynesian, Hawaiian, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 808-969-9265
Excellent
63%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 633 reviews

Hawaiian Style Cafe

Reviewed By KentOlsen - Hilo, Hawaii

I have eaten at Hawaiian Style many times. The food is always good, and one of the best steaks I've ever had was right here. Come hungry and plan to take food home.

6. Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill Hilo

64 Keawe St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2486 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Takeout American, Bar, Seafood, Healthy, Hawaiian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Drinks SGD 20 - SGD 46 +1 808-961-2572
Excellent
64%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 177 reviews

Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill Hilo

Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill is a casual local's joint featuring fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and a variety of salads at affordable prices. The restaurant (named after our daughter) is the culmination of much hard work and the dedication of ourselves and our crew. We invite you to be our guests and experience great food and old fashioned hospitality, island style. Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill (Hilo) is located in the Historic Kaikodo building in downtown Hilo on the Big Island. The building was constructed in 1907 as the Hilo Masonic Lodge Hall. The Kaikodo restaurant space, that houses Jackie Rey's, was formerly the Bank of Hilo and there still exist the bank vault where we hide misbehaving children (just kidding). The restaurant also has a beautifully crafted 150 year old English bar and 200 year old Chinese wood/glass doors in our dining room. Come dine with us and experience true island hospitality in a historic setting. Angie and Paul-Proprietors of your Local Ohana Grill. Established in Kona 2004 and 2016 in Hilo.

Reviewed By Foodie E - Ottawa, Canada

This was a great experience, causal or formal dress you will feel comfortable. The nightly special was an amazing fish dish, beautifully plated and served perfect temperature. And the steak dish was cooked to perfection. Excellent Mai Thai's! You feel relaxed and recharge by the end of dinner.

7. Naung Mai Thai Kitchen

86 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2906 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner SGD 10 - SGD 22 +1 808-934-7540
Excellent
58%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 170 reviews

Naung Mai Thai Kitchen

Naung Mai Thai Kitchen has a long standing reputation for serving the best Thai food in Hilo. This quintessential "hole in the wall" has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Located just blocks from the Hilo Farmer's Market, the chefs gather the freshest ingredients, choosing organic and local products whenever possible; the results are simply delicious!

Reviewed By TomSchlagel - Mystic, CT

We really enjoyed this colorful, little restaurant in Hilo. We had the pumpkin curry and the sweet & sour stir fry. They were both excellent and we ordered them medium heat and they were perfectly spiced! The service was fast and excellent and we really enjoyed this restaurant. We would definitely return.

8. Sombat's Fresh Thai Cuisine

88 Kanoelehua Ave, Waiakea Kai Shopping Plaza, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4670 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 808-969-9336
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 338 reviews

Sombat's Fresh Thai Cuisine

Reviewed By Kahupoo

I’ve tried all the Thai restaurants on Hawaii island and dozens in Honolulu and around the islands. Each is very different. They all make Pad Thai and Beef Salad and none taste alike. Sombat is a genius with spices. Try her Coco soup, her Beef Salad, actually try anything she makes and you’ll see. The flavors will take you on a culinary trip that continues long after you swallow. For a taste sensation, try her Cashew Chicken. The sauce should be a controlled substance. If you are in Hilo and you miss a chance to try Sombat’s cooking, you’ll just have to come back another time. It’s a must try.

9. Puka Puka Kitchen

270 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2836 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible Asian, Hawaiian, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 808-933-2121
Excellent
55%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 200 reviews

Puka Puka Kitchen

Reviewed By Craig P - Seattle, Washington

Dropped in for lunch. 5 adults, We had falafel plate, Japanese curry salmon salad and shrimp plate. Servers was very good. Waitress very attentive and helpful. Everyone enjoyed the food. Very much a local local lunch place. I would recommend a visit.

10. Lucy's Taqueria

194 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2990 Takeout, Seating, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards Mexican, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 808-315-8246
Excellent
63%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
4%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 391 reviews

Lucy's Taqueria

At Lucys we try to give you a great all around experience, as well as some good food. We use the freshest ingredient from right here in our backyards to the best of our abilities, supporting our local farmers, ranchers, and fellow business owners. We serve lunch, dinner, and breakfast all day. We have a full bar, as well as ten draft beers on tap. Come in a take a look, or eat, or drink, or eat and drink.... and join the party

Reviewed By Jim L

I love Mexico. Not the resort side of Mexico, but the every day side where simple taquerias spill out onto sidewalks on a sultry evening. Although indoors, Lucy’s brought back some good memories. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed with a fun décor. The menu has lots of variety with mix and match combinations. (I was pleased to see unique Mexican items like chicarones, Horchata and Jamaica tea on menu.) I had a very tasty Al Pastor Burrito. My only regret was not spending more time in Hilo to test out the rest of the menu!

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