Hawaii: Big Island

Consider this a temporary placeholder until I get the chance to put some pictures up--there is a backlog in processing them! Meanwhile, since several friends are headed to the Big Island shortly, I wanted to detail some of our favorite activities and eateries.

Big Island Favorite Activities


Kathy and I are both consumate divers and Hawaii is one of our favorites. Kathy learned to dive there and it was my first warm water diving opportunity. Highly recommended!

Big Island Favorite Eateries


Mauna Lani Brunch
This has to be one of the all-time great brunches I've ever had. If you happen to find yourself on the Big Island for a special occasion or a holiday, it is just scrumptuous. We happened to have Easter brunch there one year and I can't ever remember a better brunch.

Coffee Shack
The sort of place you dream of finiding on an island. The Coffee Shack overlooks Kealikakua Bay way up by the road, and it is truly and awesome view. This is a great place to stop on the way to visit the volcanoes. It's a house that is converted with a big porch/deck out back where you watch the views. Colorful Hawaiian geckos room the white picket railings to add a little more atmosphere, as if there wasn't enough already! The baked goods and coffee are fabulous.

Island Lava Java
Can you tell I love coffee yet? This is a fabulous little coffee place right down by the beach and a short walk from my favorite dive operator--Jack's. They have fabulous cinammon buns. I found it was fun to compare the different styles of breakfast pastries among these various coffee houses.

Kona Starbucks
What can I say? I love Starbucks too, and this one is my absolute favorite in the whole world. The bakery goods are better here than at any other for some unknown reason.

Cassandra's Greek Taverna
What a spot, what a view! This restaurant overlooks the pier in Kona, and is up on the second story so you have a great vantage and lots of interesting activity to watch. Their Greek food is also excellent. This is a good one to plan on if you are shopping in Kona because its at one end, so you can wind up there when you are tired of walking and done shopping for the day.

Kona Brewpub
Best pizza on the island (ranks up there in the world frankly) and a microbrewery to boot. The only real issue with the Brewpub is finding it the first time. Go around behind the tire store and keep going back up into that industrial area until you think you are lost.

Killer Taco
Another semi-hard-to-find tucked up in an industrial park. This is just a great place to get a quick taco or burrito for lunch. To give you an idea, its next to a car stereo installer. OTOH, there is a great bakery (French Bakery) and a candy maker (Kailua Candy Company) along the way, so if you are looking for a little something to bring back for friends, eat lunch here and stop at one of the other two.

Kailua Candy Company
Very tasty treats to bring back for friends. Beats the usual waxy chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Canoe House
A fantastic higher-end restaurant on the Mauna Lani property. Excellent seafood and steaks. You need to visit the Mauna Lani at some point anyway, if you aren't staying there as the grounds are beautiful. Why not stop here for dinner or perhaps go to the hotel for brunch?

Grand Palace Chinese
Located at the King's Shops, the food here is excellent very authentic Cantonese. I think it's the best on the island and holds up very well even to a lot of Northern California Chinese. Service is very fast, which is nice if you don't want to wait around for it.

Merriman's
Extremely good food, always busy, you will need a reservation.

Volcano House
Okay, I'll admit it, the food here is not great But the place itself and the views are worth the trip and putting up with their steam table banquet food.

Bubba's
Kona's best burger joint. Sometimes you just have to have one! I rate them as slightly better than an In and Out Burger, which is saying something.

O's Bistro (aka Oodles of Noodles)
This is one of my favorites on the Big Island. It went slightly upscale when the name changed, but the food is still fabulous. Kind of an Asian Fusion Noodle thingey that is so tasty and satisfying.

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All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.