Welcome to Hawaii. These are some of my favorite restaurants and photos from my visit to Hilo, Hawaii in February 2019. Or jump down to my diary entry.
About Hilo, Hawaii
Hilo is a town located on the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
My friends and I bought a small condo here last year.
I can say that Hilo is green and wet and the people have all been friendly.
Best Restaurants in Hilo, Hawaii
All of my restaurant recommendations are biased towards the downtown area and a fast-casual atmosphere.
- Poke Market
- Mo’s Fish and Chips
- Conscious Culture Cafe
- Pandamonia’s Paletas
- Tetsumen Ramen
- Hawaiian Licks Ice Cream
Friendly owner. Delicious fish that sells out often.
I loved the scoops of purple Okinawan sweet potato with the salmon poke.
The fish here was great: tender, juicy, and a crispy breaded batter that wasn’t too thick.
I had the “Ono” which is a Hawaiian fish (and also what Tynan’s wife said the first time she saw him). The Mahi is also a good. The fries were average.
Each order of fish and chips comes with six pieces of fish. You can skip the fries and they will add another piece of fish.
Vegetarian vibes with friendly staff and an earthy feel. My favorite and only thing I ordered both times was Kela’s Platter: kimchi, scrambled eggs, cashew butter, and avocado over a bed of fresh vegetables.
Bonus: 10+ flavors of kombucha on tap. My favorite was the turmeric ginger.
The guys I am traveling with are sweets maniacs. Every chance they can get popsicles or ice cream, they double order.
This is their favorite popsicle spot.
It features over 30 unique flavors. $2 each, made with fresh fruit and cream.
We have made a spreadsheet charting each flavor in an attempt to try them all. My favorite is coconut cream.
A spirited Japanese-calling owner who walks around on wooden sandals. Surprising interior design. Delicious ramen. I really enjoyed my fried chicken curry plate here. Tender, juicy chicken.
Heavy scoops on the coconut cream-based flavors.
The owner moved here from San Francisco a few years ago and is considering franchising the brand. You can also find their ice cream in stores around town.
Things To Do in Hilo, Hawaii
Rainbow Falls Park
Easy to see right from the road. Pull in and get a scenic view.
Pro tip: Walk up the path and into the woods to see a fantastic Banyan tree.
Lava tube caves are very special. I had never been inside one before and I really liked it.
The majority of the hike into the cave was comfortable and interesting, with tall ceilings and a wide passageway. After 15 or 20 minutes of walking, we had to nearly get down and crawl. But it was never extremely claustrophobic.
I would recommend this hike to everyone. You should take a strong flashlight and make sure that you have shoes, not sandals.
Richardson Beach Park
Shallow water makes for easy snorkeling. Black sand beaches. Appropriate for the family.
There is a Main Street which we can walk to from our condo. Having a downtown area with restaurants and cafes nearby is a blessing.
I walked to one of the cafes. I ordered a breakfast platter with scrambled eggs, spinach, gluten-free toast, and a side of bacon. The service was pleasant. The food was unremarkable. (I haven’t reviewed it here.)
What was remarkable was the video playing on the television screen inside of the restaurant. Stacked DVDs with titles like “Birds of Hawaii” and “Underwater Adventures.”
The one playing is called VolcanoScapes 3. It features Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano, “the world’s most active volcano!” From the DVD description:
“Experience the agonizing struggle of those who live dangerously close to the Hawaiian Fire Goddess, Pele. The devastation and splendor of Pele’s most destructive eruption of the 20th century will captivate and amaze you.”
It was an arresting choice for background video over breakfast. To see houses on fire seemed like a strange way to wake up over scrambled eggs.
I ask the cafe staff about it. “We all knew what we signed up for when we moved here.” They told me about schools which were overtaken by lava. Farms they had worked on which are now covered 15 feet deep.
Later I saw wild chickens walking around the park downtown. Todd and I played frisbee here in the afternoon, which was fun and makes me happy. I like to throw the frisbee.
MEGA PHOTO BONUSES
We took a red eye flight from Las Vegas to Honolulu.
Tynan organized the whole apartment purchase situation. He also bought us this sweet minivan:
Fresh Flowers Everywhere
Many of the restaurants had beautiful fresh flowers like these at every table:
I like Hilo. Thanks to Tynan for help putting this together and being my tour guide in Hilo to show me all this stuff. I look forward to exploring more restaurants and activities in and around town.
Things I want to explore next time:
- Pohoiki, the newest beach in the world
- Kehena, a nude beach where you can also snorkel
- Macademia nut factory tour
- More nature hikes!
- The West side of the island, especially for the night-time manta ray dive or snorkel
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