Here's some Kona Restaurant Recommendations

And now on to one of my favorite topics...

I'm salivating just thinking about all the food....

In all reality, my tastes tend to run more towards the budget end of the spectrum- but there is good food available in the lower price ranges in Kona.  By no means have I eaten everywhere, but I'll list some of our favorites (in no particular order) below.  As I stumble onto new providers of epicurean bliss, I'll add them to the list.

Note: It's 2005 now and I haven't updated this in a couple years... Sadly, a couple great places are gone, but happily, there are some other spots new and old which I've tried, so I've added them to the list... 

 

Manta ray (manta birostris)

A Manta Ray enjoys a plankton buffet drawn by diver's lights (note the diver in the lower right of the picture to get an idea of the manta's size).

Kona Brewing Company:  Great pizza, great beer.  Say no more.
Kona Mixed Plate:  Very popular plate lunch place for the locals. Fish, Bulgogi, Korean Chicken, etc.
Drysdales:  these guys have pretty decent food in the say 7-12 buck range.  It's sort of a sports bar/resort type of spot in Keauhou shopping center.  Their  nine buck burger probably is the best burger I've had here yet, but there are some others that are close. 
Cassandra's Greek Taverna:  I've eaten there a couple of times, Pat really likes it.
Costco:  The ultimate cheap meal in Kona!  Sample foods in the grocery section then go to the lunch counter for pizza, dogs or a chicken bake.  I doubt any restaurant in Kona serves the number of people their lunch counter does each day.
Daylight Donuts:  Go there for a Sputnik.  It's hard to describe, sort of a fried pocket bread ground beef spicily flavored thinga-ma-bob.  With lettuce, tomato, onions and cheese it's a meal in itself for $3.75.
Lulu's:  Good burgers, chicken wings and finger foods.
Sunset Grill:  These guys put out a great looking sandwich and very good burgers at a reasonable price.  They're located in behind Lava Java down on the waterfront.
U-top-it:  Another very interesting spot behind Lava Java.  They do crepes, breakfast items and also put out a very good burger.
Royal Jade Garden:  My favorite Chinese food.  The food counter is set up like many mediocre mall Chinese fast food joints, but the food quality is excellent.
Royal Thai Cafe:  A very good Thai restaurant which opened recently and is expanding already.
Tres Hombre's:  Decent Mexican food (sorry, nothing locally compares to some of the great places that were popping up in Oregon the last few years) with very generous servings.  Nothing else in town in the 10-15 buck price point fills me like this place.
Aloha Angel Cafe:  A nice little cafe in the Aloha Theater up in Kainaliu.  It changed hands a couple of years back and they've added to the menu and are now open for dinners.  Semi-upscale, but casual.
Phillysophical Deli: Located in Kainaliu.  They put out a decent Philly cheesesteak sandwich and have one of the largest loco mocos in the island.  Good sandwiches, with a bit of personality mixed in.
Ocean's Sports Bar:  Pretty decent food, best on tap beer selection in Kona from what I've seen.  Located down in the Coconut Grove Marketplace.
Manago Hotel:  Located in Captain Cook in a hotel that's been there for years, their pork chop dinner is famous amongst the locals.  Can't say as I've been there for dinner, but I thought I'd mention it because of it's reputation.
Coffee Shack Deli:  A very nice little Deli just south of Captain Cook.  This spot has the best view of any eatery in Kona (even better than, I kid you not, Wendy's at the Keauhou shopping center).  Their sandwiches have great breads which they make everyday. 
Keei Cafe:  Took me years to get there, but this place is probably one of the best restaurants, if not the best, in Kona.  I'd heard lots of good things and we finally went, it was great. Now we go at least a couple times a year. They were in a little 9 table hole-in-the-wall and last year expanded into a spot in Kealakekua that is quite fabulous - It'll give most (none that I've been to yet can match it) of the fancy resort places a run for their money  as far as atmosphere and food quality, but the menu tops out in the low 20's.  This is no longer the best kept secret in Kona, you'll need reservations.
Cafe Pesto:  Located up in Kawaihae and over in Hilo.  Great pastas and such and has quite the following.
I'll lump the chain places into one little post:  Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gumps, Outback Steakhouse.  They're all pretty good, reasonable priced and have good service.  Bubba Gumps apparently is known to have a good breakfast too, not a lot of good breakfast spots in Kona any more.
Hawaiian Style Cafe:  Located in Waimea. If this place wasn't almost 90 minutes from my place I'd be eating there 2-3 times a week. (Note, I'm avoiding excess carbs these days - down 40 lbs - so haven't been there in a while, but still hear great reports) Delicious and absolutely huge servings.  Fred Flintstone  would eat here!  A plate lunch place for those with serious high metabolism disorders.  The island's largest Loco Moco, burgers start with a pound of beef, great breakfasts (you get your choice of pancakes or toast on the side - if you take pancakes...you probably won't be hungry 'til the next day).  Most meals are only 5-7 bucks and I haven't seen anything in Hawaii that can touch this place for value.
The Vista at the Country Club:  Located in Keauhou on the way to the new Sheraton, this place is not well known.  I've only been there once, but it was nice, quiet (a local trio played light music), good food and great service.  If you want a nice slightly upscale meal without a crowd, consider this place.
Senior Billy's:  This small restaurant in Captain Cook is located at the old Senior Billy's y Grandma's.  Used to be a fast food type Mexican restaurant, now is more of a sit down place.  Very decent Mexican food.  Our favorite Mexican food place over here these days.
Paparoni's Pizza:  This is a small pizza and Italian eatery in Captain Cook.  Good pizza, saves us south Kona residents a trip into town.  They're part of the Captain Cook Bakery Company which is known for it's banana bread and good inexpensive sandwiches.

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