15 Amazing Places To Eat In Hilo Worth The Money

The restaurant scene in Hilo is an underrated highlight of Big Island. Without the resorts of the Kona side, Hilo dining has bubbled under, developing local favorites that are packed with charm and celebrate huge flavors.

If you’re staying in Hilo or visiting for the day, you’ll want to bring your appetite. Start with breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes, move on to lunch at Hilo Bay Cafe, and finish with local seafood at Moon and Turtle.

15 Amazing Places To Eat In Hilo Worth The Money

And that’s just day one! The next day you’ll have a whole new list of places to visit.

Ready to get eating in Hilo? Discover the most amazing places to eat in Hilo worth the money with our complete guide (see also “Amazing Things To Do In Waikiki“). 

1. Hilo Bay Cafe

First things first — when you get to Hilo Bay Cafe, take a moment to soak up the views. Located right on top of Hilo Bay, the restaurant offers visitors a sweeping ocean panorama.

It’s one of the best views in Hilo and you can enjoy it as you tuck into delicious Pacific-fusion food.

Hilo Bay Cafe uses local ingredients to create a varied menu. The sushi is excellent, and the fusion-style mains are bursting with fresh flavors. Linger after dinner with a specialty cocktail and an evening view of historic Hilo.

2. Moon And Turtle

While the majority of Hilo restaurants lean towards casual, you’ll want to brush off your best outfit for a trip to Moon and Turtle. Or, at least, ditch the beachwear.

Known as one of the best restaurants on Big Island, Moon and Turtle has a friendly and elegant atmosphere that makes it perfect for date night.

Moon and Turtle offers a menu that changes with the seasons, but if there’s one thing you can expect to find it’s quality fresh fish. Make sure to book a table in advance — this spot is popular with locals and tourists.

3. Ponds In Hilo

Named for its location overlooking the popular Ice Ponds, Ponds in Hilo pairs excellent views with an expansive menu.

Favoring American-style fine dining, Ponds offers a variety of seafood dishes plus fantastic meat-based mains, for a diverse dining experience that will please a crowd.

With an attentive staff and an atmosphere inspired by the glorious setting, Ponds feels like a place to celebrate. Look out for the themed evenings, when you can enjoy the best of Ponds at a lower price.

4. Cafe Pesto

Cafe Pesto sits along the historic Bayfront, but there’s more than just a great location to this popular Hilo eatery.

Known for a quaint and friendly atmosphere and a creative menu, Cafe Pesto is a restaurant with plenty of charm (and really good food). 

There’s a lot of good stuff on the menu at Cafe Pesto, but we have to speak in favor of the wood-fired pizzas. If you think pineapple is made for pizza, then you’ll love the Luau.

But if you prefer to go your own way, Cafe Pesto has a massive topping selection to create your own.

5. Pineapple’s Island Fresh Cuisine

It’s hard not to be inspired by Hawaii, and Pineapple’s Island Fresh Cuisine is a restaurant that celebrates its surroundings.

We’re talking local ingredients, big flavors, and hearty portions that will keep you going as you explore historic Hilo. 

There’s a really fun vibe to Pineapple’s bolstered by the bistro-style setting and large menu.

With gluten-free and vegan items, the menu at Pineapple’s is a real crowd-pleaser. We recommend bringing a big appetite, but if you aren’t feeling hungry, at least stop by for a cocktail.

6. Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

With two locations — one in Kona and one in Hilo — Jackie Rey’s has become a real Hawaiian favorite. That’s partly thanks to the atmosphere. Jackie Rey’s embodies that feeling of ohana, meaning every diner feels right at home.

But the food at Jackie Rey’s is also worth celebrating. Serving popular American dishes with local and organic ingredients, Jackie Rey’s is elevated casual dining.

We also love the easy-to-navigate wine menu. Can’t quite decide what white will complement your risotto? The staff will be more than happy to help.

7. Miyo’s

Hawaii is known for its incredible Japanese food, and if that’s what you’re after in Hilo, head to Miyo’s. Serving Japanese homestyle favorites with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Miyo’s is a favorite of both locals and tourists.

Miyo’s draws from traditional Japanese dishes and family recipes to create an exciting menu based on local produce.

The best way to enjoy Miyo’s is by bringing a big appetite and ordering combos from across the menu. Pair with a selection from the sake menu, for an authentic experience.

8. The Seaside Restaurant And Aqua Farm

Take a moment to stop and enjoy the view before heading into the Seaside Restaurant, a local favorite just outside Hilo. Overlooking the ocean, this secluded spot hides a restaurant that’s always full of diners looking for incredible seafood.

The sushi at the Seaside Restaurant is good, but the star of the show is the entrees. We recommend the blackened ahi, although there isn’t really a bad choice.

A reservation is a must, so make sure to book if you want to experience the Seaside magic.

9. Restaurant Kenichi

When you want something filling, comforting, and delicious, it’s hard to beat ramen. And if you’re looking for good ramen, it doesn’t come much better than Restaurant Kenichi.

The build-your-own ramen bowl service allows you to construct a meal that’s perfect for you, with quality ingredients ensuring every option is good.

If you aren’t in the mood for ramen, tuck into some local favorites from the entree menu. Served as a Hawaiian plate with rice and salad, the Korean chicken wings are a popular choice.

10. The Booch Bar

A healthy eating restaurant designed to make you feel as fresh as a Hilo morning, the Booch Bar is a popular local spot for anyone with dietary requirements.

But it’s also just a good place to visit for foodies who enjoy fresh ingredients and healthy foods that fill you up.

We recommend visiting the Booch Bar for breakfast, although their lunch sandwiches are pretty hard to resist. Whatever time you visit, make sure to leave with a growler of their Big Island Booch Kombucha.

11. Vibe

Looking for something plant-based? Vibe in Hilo is a vegan-based cafe with a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu that promotes fresh flavors and healthy ingredients.

It’s also very social media-friendly, if you were looking for a place to eat that satisfies the stomach and the eyes.

The menu varies frequently, but you can expect a mixture of salads and burgers whenever you visit. Stop by in the morning for an acai bowl and a coffee, or try their signature toasts and a fresh beet latte.

12. Ken’s House Of Pancakes

We couldn’t mention places to eat in Hilo without talking about Ken’s House of Pancakes. It might not be your traditional restaurant, but it’s the place to go in Hilo for breakfast or brunch. 

Ken’s House of Pancakes has become a Hilo landmark, known for massive portions and service with a smile. For a traditional Hawaiian taste, try the macadamia nut pancakes.

The portions are big enough to share, but the flavors are so good you’ll want it all to yourself. 

13. Hula Hula’s

Found in the Grand Naniloa Hotel, Hula Hula’s is a laid-back restaurant and bar known for serving good food and even better drinks.

The menu leans towards classic fare, but the bold flavors are delicious and the portion sizes are decent. If you fancy a snack, Hula Hula’s serves fantastic appetizers.

The cocktail menu isn’t massive, but this is a place that celebrates quality over quantity. We recommend the lilikoi mule, with a touch of bubbly tang, or the Hula Mai Tai. Enjoy with a side of calamari, and relax!

14. Two Ladies Kitchen

Something a little different, Two Ladies Kitchen isn’t the place to go if you want a meal. But if you have a sweet tooth and a craving for Japanese candy, this mochi shop is a must-visit.

Two Ladies Kitchen is all about the mochi. These Japanese rice flour desserts come in a range of flavors and colors, making them a treat for the eyes and the mouth.

Choose a flavor, enjoy your mochi, and come back for more! The Two Ladies Kitchen takeout boxes make great gifts, but you’ll struggle not to eat them all before heading home!

15. Moonstruck

Inspired by French patisseries, head to Moonstruck when you want a sweet treat to start the day right. Every item is handmade daily and you can choose between a mix of European classics and Hawaiian-inspired cakes.

The lilikoi cheesecake is a particular favorite. They also serve a selection of savory bites. With only a small indoor eating area, we recommend getting a selection to go aso you can enjoy them while overlooking the oceanfront.


Food on Hilo is primarily about big flavors in friendly atmospheres. As it doesn’t draw the crowds (or the resorts) of the Kona side, you can expect slightly better prices.

But the quality remains high. Look for local ingredients served in a laid-back atmosphere.

Julia Wright
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