Close By: less than 10 Miles
Tin Shack Bakery – Akeakamai Loop Pāhoa, HI 96778
The Tin Shack is an eclectic “open air” coffee shop/bakery just off the main road in Pahoa. They offer excellent breakfasts, breads and pastries, and coffee and tea drinks. The Eggs Benedict plates are really delicious. The ambiance is a bit like the name, it’s literally a tin roofed building. Our favorite for coffee and breakfast. $5-$10 Breakfast/Lunch Entrees
Kaleo’s Bar & Grill – 15-2969 Pahoa Village Road Pahoa, HI 96778
Kaleo’s is a local american/hawaiian comfort food hot spot. Nicer that most restaurants around. Great for both lunch and dinner. Nightly entertainment. This place is popular in the evenings (not a bad idea to call ahead for a dinner reservation), especially on a Saturday night. Prices are reasonable and the food is excellent. I always want to try everything on the menu. Really good Prime Rib on the weekends and the NY steak is good too. Don’t skip their Panko fried Calamari appetizer – incredibly fresh, buttery tender, and super tasty. $15-$30 Entrees
Paolo’s Bistro – 333 Pahoa Village Road Pāhoa, HI 96778
Super authentic Italian cuisine with delicious homemade pastas. Many reviews say Paolo’s would be a great Italian restaurant in NY or Italy, so amazing in right in Puna. They only serve water so bring your own beer or wine. $13-$25 Entrees. Menu (808) 965-7033
Ning’s Thai Cuisine – 15-2955 Pahoa Rd Pāhoa, HI 96778
Great local Thai restaurant in Pahoa village with Thai curries, noodles, soups, and rice dishes. Really flavorful and fresh. Our favorites are the Green Papaya Salad, the Pad Thai, any of the curries, and the Tom Ka Gai Coconut Soup. But everything is good. $10-$15 Entrees. Express Waiter’s Delivers from Ning’s. Menu (808) 965-7611 Closes 9pm
Luquins Mexican Restaurant 151448 Kahakai Blvd, Pāhoa, HI 96778
Everybody loves Luquin’s. The food is good and the beer is cheap. It’s not fancy or gourmet. Just solid comfort Mexican plates. They have really tasty beef. Luquin’s raises their own cattle and you can taste the difference from their ground beef tacos to the fajitas. Luquin’s also has a small bar and sometimes has live music. If you visited Luquin’s in Pahoa Village in the past, they’ve moved to a new location just past the roundabout before you get into the old village. $10-$25 Entrees. Menu (808) 333-3390 Closes 9pm
Pahoa Fresh Fish – 15-2670 Pahoa Rd Pāhoa, Hawaii 96778
If you ask locals, they will always mention Pahoa Fresh Fish & Chips. People drive here from all over the east island. Almost zero ambiance, basically a few plastic tables in a butcher shop, but some of the most incredible fresh fish and chips ever. The fish here is super fresh, and they have a great selection that changes daily of cod, mahi mahi, tuna, ono, and more. It’s a great take out option. Close to home. $10-$18 Entrees. Menu (808) 965-8248 Closes 6:30pm
La Hiki Ola Kava bar – 15-2950 Pahoa Village Rd Pāhoa, HI 96778
La Hiki Ola Kava Bar has a good selection of in-house Kombucha and Jun tea’s. While La Hiki doesn’t serve any alcohol it does serve the trendy and intoxicating Kava root drinks. La Hiki has a very eclectic vibe, and often has music, usually pretty good music at that.
L&L Hawaiian Barbeque 16-586 Old Volcano, Keaau, HI 96749
L&L is a Hawaiian fast comfort food chain that can be found all over the Hawaiian Islands, and even on the mainland. You’ll find all the usual comfort food suspects here, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Beef, Burgers, Chicken Katsu, Kailua Pork, Loco Moco’s. Prices are reasonable, and portions are pretty big. It’s not gourmet, but it’s not bad. L&L has little to no seating, and is primarily take-out. $7-$12 Entrees Menu 808-982-6668 Closes 9pm
Blane’s Drive Inn 127 Orchid Land Dr, Keaau, HI 96749
Blane’s is the closest restaurant to Pali Hale, it’s right across Hwy 130, turn right off Paradise Dr, and then Left into Orchidland Dr. It’s a local comfort fast food very similar to L&L with all the usual Hawaiian comfort food suspects here, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Beef, Burgers, Chicken Katsu, Kailua Pork, Saimin Noodles, Loco Moco’s etc. Very inexpensive and food is not bad, main thing is it’s very close. ExpressWaiter’s does deliver from Blane’s. $5-$12 Entrees Menu (808) 982-9800
Short drive: 15 to 18 miles
Hilo Bay Cafe – 123 Lihiwai St, Hilo, HI 96720
(May be closed during Covid call ahead) With sweeping bay views and great Hawaii Regional Cuisine, this casually sophisticated restaurant could be stuffy. But it’s not. Here you’ll find a diverse crowd feasting on an eclectic omnivorous menu, including gourmet versions of comfort food, such as Hamakua mushroom pot pie. The sushi is fresh, with creative rolls and a vibrant sashimi salad featuring generous slabs of ahi. $15-$35 Entrees
Ken’s House of Pancakes – 1730 Kamehameha Avenue Hilo, HI 96720
Local comfort food breakfast diner with Loco Mocos, Omelets, and Macadamian Nut Pancakes and Ken’s famous coconut, passion fruit, and Guava syrup assortment. They have everything here, but if you’re hungry and looking for good breakfast this is the place. They are open 24/7 and serve lunch and dinner as well. $10-$20 Entrees
Cafe 100 – 969 Kilauea Ave Hilo, HI 96720
This is the diner that invented the Hawaiian Loco Moco (Eggs over ground beef and gravy on rice). What else can I say. If you want to experience a Loco Moco from the original, this is the place. Café 100 is an outdoor ”fast diner” with local dishes, Loco Moco’s are their specialty but they have all the local Hawaiian comfort foods for lunch and dinner as well. Order at the counter, and seating is covered indoor/outdoor no-frills “fast food” style. Not much to look at, but inexpensive and good. They offer all day breakfast, lunch or dinner. $5-$15
Verna’s Drive In – 1765 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
If you are looking for the place local’s love for fast comfort food, Verna’s is it. Hawaiian and American fast food staples, Verna’s is my personal favorite for a greasy burger and fries or a good Hawaiian comfort food plate. There’s no “tropical ambience”, it’s like a Hawaiian “Der Weinerschnitzel”, and there is usually a small line, but it’s worth it. Order at the counter, seating is covered indoor/outdoor no-frills “fast food” style similar to Cafe 100. Catty corner from Ken’s House of Pancakes. Inexpensive and really good. $5-$15
Jackie Reys – 64 Keawe St, Hilo, HI 96720 Phone: (808) 961-2572
This “fine casual” restaurant in downtown Hilo features Hawaiian/American dishes that lean on the healthier side than the typical Hawaiian fried comfort food establishments. Fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and a variety of salads at reasonable prices. The restaurant is in the Historic Kaikodo building built in 1907 as the Hilo Masonic Lodge Hall and was the original home to the Bank of Hilo. There is still a classic old bank vault and an incredible crafted 150 year English bar inside the restaurant. Good food, nice night out, and nice atmosphere. Menu $15-$35 Entrees
Sweet Cane Cafe – 48 Kamana St. Hilo, HI 96720 Phone: (808) 934-0002
A guest favorite for acai and pitaya bowls, Sweet Cane Cafe specializes in fresh sugar cane juices and organic locally sourced fresh Island dishes and smoothies. Menu
Open Mon thru Sun 9:00am – 4:00pm. $15 – $20 Entrees
Paul’s Place Cafe – 132 Punahoa Pl, Hilo, HI 96720
Paul’s Place is notable for it’s delicious breakfast and lunch, but famous for its size: it is tiny with only three tables and eight seats – reservations are absolutely required, and you have to be prompt or they’ll give your reservation away to the next on the list. But going thru the reservation adventure is worth it. From the Belgian waffles to the eggs benedict, to the fresh caught Fish Bowl, Sandwiches, and Salads – everything is fresh, locally sourced and delicious. 808-280-8646 Reservation Required.
Open Tue thru Sat 7:30am – 2:00pm. $10 – $15 Entrees
Moon and Turtle – 51 Kalakaua Street Hilo, HI 96720
Unique asian fusion dishes. Popular place and small, call ahead. Sharable dishes $10 – $25
Uncles Awa Bar and Farmers Market – 6860 Kalapana Kapoho Beach Rd Pāhoa, HI 96778
(Wednesday Night Market is currently closed during Covid and should reopen when its safe to do so)
Plan your Wednesday around getting to Uncle Robert’s in Kalapana in the early evening for the “market”. It’s the very popular wednesday night “old Hawaiian” social event in Puna. Everyone is here. It’s a farmers market with many food vendors and varieties, arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment from the Awa Club band and dancing all night, a bar, and more. Great fun, good food, good people, good entertainment. At the end of the “Red Road” (hwy 137) in Kalapana 5pm to 10pm only on Wednesday nights. Entrees $5-$15
A little farther: 19+ miles
Volcano Winery – 35 Pii Mauna Dr, Volcano, HI 96785
Not a restaurant, but if you’d like to do some wine tasting before dinner, after visiting Volcano National Park, or just for a nice afternoon outing, Volcano Winery is a unique and fantastic Hawaiian Wine tasting experience in the town of Volcano very near the park. A fun and delicious collection of Hawaiian inspired estate wines with and fruit wines, the signature collection includes Wines blended with local Jaboticaba Berries and even a honey wine infused with macadamian nuts. Fantastic and unique winery that has something for everyone, including a Kauai cigars, and a Tea tasting flight for non-drinkers. Tell them Mike and Bo from Pali Hale say “Aloha” (808) 967-7772
The Rim Restaurant at the Volcano – 1 Crater Rim Drive, Volcanos National Park, HI 96778
(May be closed during Covid call ahead) A special restaurant with an amazing view of the Kilauea crater at Volcanoes National Park. If there is lava at the summit (as of June 2019, since May 2018 there is not active lava at the summit) book a reservation at dusk to see the lava glow at night. If there is no lava at the summit then we recommend to book a reservation prior to dusk, to see the crater with daylight. The Rim is popular, reservations are highly recommended, a few days ahead if possible. Request a view table most tables have a great view. The Rim is a little pricier than most of the restaurants on the east island. Lunch Entrees $14-20, Dinner Entrees $20-40 (808) 930-6910
Delivery to Pali Hale
Express Waiters is a new local food delivery service (like a Hawaiian version of Doordash or Grubhub) for Hilo and Puna area restaurants serving Keaau and Pali Hale. A wide selection of restaurants including some of our favorites. Delivery and service fees to Pali Hale typically run $13-$15.
Visit www.ExpressWaiters-OnlineOrders.com. To browse a menu, click a restaurant logo to the left. You may either call us at  930-5556 and tell us what you would like to order, or simply click desired items into your cart. To further customize items or for special request, please click customize item in your checkout cart at top of screen. Our staff will accommodate all requests as best possible.
We charge a $.99 delivery fee for a 5 mile radius from the restaurant and .75 per mile after that. A service fee is based on the amount ordered with a $6 cap, except Panda Express and Cafe Pesto (no cap). Gratuity for your mobile waiter is not included and is left to the customers discretion.
There are many great farmers markets around the Big Island. Our two favorites: Maku’u and Uncle Roberts, are quite close to Pali Hale. Maku’u is less than 5 miles from Pali Hale and is probably the best day market on the island, and Uncle Roberts Night Market is a Hawaiian party no-one should miss. The Hilo Farmer’s market is perhaps the most famous on the Island and is not far either, so we’ve included it as well.
Maku’u Farmer’s Market
Maku’u market has become one of the biggest, and more fun and festive Farmer’s Market on the Island. Arts, Crafts, Jewelry, Food, Music, from 200+ vendors. This is our favorite day-time Farmer’s market, and we rarely miss it.
15-2131 Keaau-Pahoa Hwy (Hwy 130)
Uncle Roberts Night Market “Weekly Festival”
(Wednesday Night Market is currently closed during Covid and should reopen when its safe to do so)
Music, food, jewelry, and arts and crafts plus great live music and dancing. Uncle Roberts is cross between a block party and a weekly festival. Equal part locals and tourists, it’s a real old Hawaiian get together in Kalapana. The music from the Awa Band is excellent and will have you smiling all night. The food is great, the music is great, and the atmosphere is true “Aloha”. Good to plan your Wednesday around getting to Uncle Roberts and staying late. Park in the $3 parking lot at the end of the road rather than on the side of the road/hwy.
12-5038 Kapoho Beach Rd, Pāhoa, HI 96778
Wednesdays 5pm til late (9pm-11pm)
Hilo Farmer’s Market
Over 200 local farmers, artisans, crafters, and food vendors sell their produce, crafts, gift items and tropical flowers in an outdoor atmosphere that recalls back to the old “plantation” days of early Hilo. This famous Farmer’s Market is located at the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in historic downtown Hilo, open Saturdays and Wednesdays 6am till 4pm all year round.
Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
Saturdays 6am – 4pm
Wednesdays 6am – 4pm
Other Big Island Farmers Markets
Shave ice (aka ‘Ice Shave”) is a traditional Hawaiian ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. Although Shave Ice resembles a snow cone, it’s quite different than a snow cone and much better. Where snow cones are made with crushed ice, shaving ice produces a very fine snow-like ice and flavored syrups are added to the ice, and absorbed by the shaved ice. Shave ice in Hawai’i is often flavored with local ingredients such as guava, pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit, li hing mui, lychee, kiwi fruit and mango. Hawaiian shave ice is traditionally served in a paper cone or plastic cup with multiple flavors and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or adzuki bean paste at the bottom of the cup. Sweetened condensed milk drizzled over the top is sometimes called a “snow cap”.
Low Store – 27mi from Pali Hale – 123 Lihiwai St, Hilo, HI 96720
Low Store is a Tropical fruit stand a General store and a Patio cafe just past the Botanical Gardens on the northern end of the Pepe‘ekeo 4-Mile Scenic Drive, Low Store serves tasty, inexpensive wraps, burgers and their signature ‘island nachos’ with kalua pork (mmm, my favorite), mango salsa, avocado, fresh veggies and cheese. Save room for some shave ice, add a scoop of ice cream! We always stop here after walking the Botanical Gardens or the Onomea Trail, before we head on to Akaka Falls.
Paradise Shave Ice 4U – 12mi from Pali Hale
Paradise Shave Ice 4U is a Shave Ice Truck, and it is -usually- parked at Reeds Bay Beach in Hilo. Check their instagram to see their latest location https://www.instagram.com/paradiseshaveice4u/. When in Kurtistown they are at the intersection of Hwy 11 (to Volcano) and Puko Street. Take Hwy 130 toward Hilo, and left onto Hwy 11 / Belt Road toward Volcano for 1.5 miles and and it will usually be parked on the right side. They are also usually at Uncle Roberts on the Wednesday evening night markets. Paradise Shave Ice makes some great shave ice and certainly has the most flavors, 72 flavors last time I looked. Being a truck, they may be there, they may not. If they are certainly stop and enjoy a shave ice!
Kula Shave Ice – 57 Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720
Awesome fun and delicious shave Ice shop located in downtown Hilo, right at the Hilo Farmer’s Market. Great locally sourced flavors and add-ons. Elaborate and fun Shave Ice dishes, these guys are Shave Ice masters. Nice to stop after shopping at the Hilo Market.
Hawaiian Brain Freeze Shave Ice and Ice cream – 1263 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
Another great shave Ice shop, located in downtown Hilo.
Poke is a traditional Hawaiian raw fish dish with similarities to sushi – but more flavorful due to the tasty marinades. Poke is traditionally Ahi, but other fish are sometimes offered. Poke can be served by itself, as a side dish, or an entree. It is not traditionally served over rice but you can find it over rice in a “Poke Bowl” and mixed with many other ingredients. Poke Bowls have become popular on the mainland in recent years growing the popularity of Poke outside of Hawaii. Real Hawaiian Poke is all about the marinade, where as Poke Bowls on the mainland, sauces are added mixed upon order. Traditional Hawaiian Poke marinade is maui onions, Inamona (a condiment made of roasted, salted candlenut), Limu, soy sauce, green onions, or sesame oil. Creamy and spicy marinades are also available – and my personal favorite. You can find Poke at most local restaurants that offer local dishes, and most supermarkets have a “Poke Counter”. Here are a few place we like go for Poke or pick up for home.
KTA Market – 50 E Puainako St, Hilo, HI 96720
KTA is a great local grocery store (the best local grocery chain) and they have a really popular Poke “take out” section in the back of the store, to the right of the butcher counter. Their poke is made fresh daily, is delicious and very reasonably priced. Their poke is also previously flash frozen for safety (typical practice with Sushi). The marinades are described on the label. We often stop at KTA and grab a few trays of Poke to eat at home. Very basic, but good, fresh, and very reasonably priced.
Suisan Fish Market – 93 Lihiwai St – Hilo, HI 96720
Suisan Fish Market is the local fresh fish market. They buy daily from the commercial fishing boats at the harbor around the corner. If you wish to buy fresh fish, this is the place and you can even have the next door cook your fish for you. But we’re talking Poke, so they also have a great Poke counter. It’s not fancy, it’s a fish market, but the poke is super fresh, excellent marinade, and very tasty. Great stop after walking thru the Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens and Coconut Island next door. Very basic, very fresh, very tasty.
Poke Market – 41 Wainuenue Ave Hilo, HI (808) 961-5915
Super small, super good poke. Amazing flavors, many people say this is the best poke around. More fancy flavors and varieties, reasonable price. They close at 3pm and sometimes run out early so call ahead.
Hawaiian Style Cafe – 681 Manono St, Hilo, HI 96720
Hawaiian diner with a wide selection of all the local Hawaiian comfort foods, and daily Poke specials. Not fancy (nothing really is in Hilo), but great local menu, with Poke options.