3 Must-Try Dishes in Hilo, Hawaii

Big Island Guide Travel Guide

The eastern side of the Big Island isn’t as populated with luxury resorts and restaurants as its neighbor to the west in Kona, but dining is still serious business in Hilo. As the island’s most populous city, it’s natural that great chefs from Hawaii and beyond would settle here and bring a vibrant dining scene with them – which should be met with delight for those visiting the Big Island’s eastern shores. Luckily enough for hungry visitors, there’s no shortage of unique dishes to try during a stay in Hilo, but these are some sure-fire favorites:

Moon and Turtle

51 Kalakaua St
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-0599
Open Tues-Sat 5:30-9:00 PM

Pla Rad Prik
Carefully prepared local, fresh-caught fish of the day is the main feature of this authentic Thai dish, but the folks at Moon and Turtle make it a point to spice up the traditional recipe with a delicious twist only Hawaii can provide. Garnished with green onions, minced garlic, and an assortment of local spices, the Pla Rad Prik at Moon and Turtle will satisfy even the most finicky foodie.

Hilo Bay Cafe

123 Lihiwai Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Open Mon-Thurs 11:00 AM-9:00PM, Fri- Sat 11:00 AM-9:30 PM

Mushroom Pot Pie
A filling and generous option, the mushroom pot pie at Hilo Bay Cafe is a must-try for visitors to the Big Island. Cooked with yellow curry and encased in a handmade pastry crust, this dish can be livened up with your choice of chicken or shrimp (we’d recommend the shrimp) to round out your dinner. Featuring locally-grown mushrooms and a fresh salad, the only thing that could improve the mushroom pot pie is a glass of crisp white wine.


135 Kalanianaole Ave
Hilo, HI 96720
Open 11:00-10:00 PM

Crab and Avocado Melt
A go-to eatery since 2009, Ponds has made a splash on the Hilo dining scene. While you’ll have no trouble finding something to fit your taste on their varied menu, the highlight here is easily the crab and avocado melt. Fresh-caught, island-sourced crab, local avocado, and delicious swiss cheese sandwiched between two pieces of rye bread is the perfect lunch option for a trip through the Big Island’s eastern side.

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