While not quite as established as its western Kona counterpart, the dining scene in Hilo, Hawaii has made significant strides over the last few years to improve on the high-end front, opening plenty of impressive establishments to make the eastern side of the Big Island more attractive to foodies. But with the high percentage of locals living in the island’s largest city, plenty of smaller, more hole-in-wall surprises have cropped up in response to the increased dining activity – and that’s good news for travelers seeking dining options off the beaten path. If you find yourself in this cultural hub on the Big Island, you owe it to yourself to seek out the following eateries to make the most of your culinary adventures during your vacation.
Known as the home of the Hawaiian favorite loco moco, this classic Hilo diner boasts more than 30 varieties of the classic dish in addition to plenty of mainland and Hawaiian mainstays. Committed to the community and maintaining its walk-up or drive-in experience, there’s plenty to love at Cafe 100 when seeking out comfort food.
Puka Puka Kitchen
270 Kamehameha Ave
Hilo, HI 96720
Open: Monday 11 AM – 2:30 PM, Tues-Fri 11 AM – 2:30 PM, 5:30 – 8:30 PM, Saturday 7:30 AM – 8:30 PM
With exception food and service expected from hometown eateries, Puka Puka Kitchen offers generous portions of Hawaiian classic dishes. Fresh seafood, chicken, beef, and vegetables from the Big Island itself makes up much of the menu, providing comforting classics for a quick lunch or dinner.
Surf Break Cafe
17 Haili St
Hilo, HI 96720
Open: Mon-Sat 7 AM – 3 PM, Sunday 8 AM – 2 PM
Sandwiches, melts, and burritos are a staple at Surf Break Cafe, a small, locally-oriented diner emphasizing coffee, donuts, breakfast, and lunch items. With fresh ingredients, local coffee, and homemade dishes sure to satisfy your hunger, Surf Break Cafe is a breezy respite on your way to the beach or back.
A great spot to grab a quick craft cocktail or local brew, the wings, burgers, sandwiches, and breakfast standards make for a comforting alternative to the high-end dining options throughout the Big Island. A local’s favorite, Hilo Town Tavern keeps things simple, delicious, and affordable – what more could you want?
Boasting some of the best hot dogs you can find anywhere in the United States, Saucy Dogs offers creative alternatives to the standard dog. Fresh-baked buns, Big Island-made dogs, and plenty of options for toppings and extras, there’s something to satisfy everyone who’s ever enjoyed a decent hot dog.