How to Navigate the Fine Dining Scene in Kona
Filled with high-end resorts and hotels, the Kona Coast is consistently listed among the top-rated tourist destinations not only in Hawaii, but around the world. And with such a heavily-visited, much-desired locale, the fine dining scene is sure to follow. There’s no shortage of memorable dining experiences throughout the Big Island, let alone the Kona Coast, so if you’re considering a Big Island vacation and want to take advantage of the top cuisine, look no further than the following fine restaurants:
A Big Island purveyor of continental cuisine, Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill perfectly blends American-style food with a tropical twist, but not at the expense of amazing seafood dishes. From tasty burgers to steak au poivre and linguini and fresh clams, Jackie Rey’s is a high-end crowd pleaser like no other on the island.
With one of the longest-tenured local chefs on the Big Island, Huggo’s remains a must-visit for great oceanside dining. Fresh-caught seafood, Big Island-steak, and locally-grown vegetables combine for a picture-perfect Hawaiian meal.
Nestled in a cottage south of Kailua-Kona, this French-style eatery is an incredible opportunity to experience fine French-style cuisine with an island flair. While the seafood selection is divine, the restaurant’s capabilities shine in the rabbit, duck, and veal – and that’s good news for a fine dining scene generally lacking in those departments.
Routinely listed among the best restaurants in Hawaii, ‘Ulu’s oceanfront setting within the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort is worth the visit alone. But the fish and seafood selections are overshadowed only by the attached sushi and sake bar, which is arguably the best on the Big Island. Working with more than 160 farmers and fishermen, ‘Ulu’s ingredients approach 75% locally sourced. And with private dining options, you’ll never find a more romantic setting for a special evening.
With similarly stunning views of the Pacific-facing Kona coastline as its neighbor in ‘Ulu, the Beach Tree Bar and Grill provides the same level of quality and service with a more relaxed setting and menu. Burgers, pizzas, and pastas adorn the menu, but specialty items include house-made pappardelle with hamakua mushrooms and parmigiano crema, ox tail ragout, and mascarpone with prosciutto pizzas.
Rapa Nui Cucina
81-6372 Mamalahoa Hwy
Kealakekua, Hawaii 96750
With a new location for this Big Island dining experience, Chef Rodrigo Villarroel’s Rapa Nui Cucina is a singular and unique approach to fine dining in Hawaii. Carefully selected and often home-grown ingredients make for delicious, simple cuisine made with extreme attention to detail and a passion that shines through. The menu changes weekly and the availability is extremely limited, so make your reservations well ahead of your visit to the Big Island.