Happy almost Thanksgiving! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write this. I kept putting it off and now here we are almost in December (I went to Hawaii in June, lol). Oh well, Hawaii is a popular winter destination, no? So maybe this will still be somewhat relevant. Honestly, I wasn’t super impressed with the food on the Big Island. There’s definitely not as much variety on the Big Island compared to Oahu. But, there are a lot of FANTASTIC poke places. Poke will never quite be the same once you’ve had poke in Hawaii. So, most of these favorites (not all) are poke shops. Hope you guys enjoy! If you’ve never had poke…TRY IT. I have friends who hate raw fish (sashimi) but love poke. The way they marinate the fish makes a big difference. And when you have super FRESH fish as well…well, doesn’t get much better than that 🙂
Umeke’s Fish Market: This was actually my first meal on the big island–went back a couple more times after that. The poke here is bomb. They have quite a few options to choose from, and the fish is super fresh. If you’re not into raw fish, they’ve got other options on their menu as well–terriyaki chicken, katsu, beef, etc. There’s definitely something for everyone here. As for the poke, each poke bowl comes with one choice of poke, 2 scoops of rice, and a side dish. I tried the Avo and the Sweetie, and both were delicious and very fresh. The Avo is more creamy in texture, whereas the Sweetie is soy-sauced based, so it’s slimier/runnier. The sauce that they put in both is just the right amount, so that you get a decent kick of flavor without losing the taste of the fish. And the scoop sizes are quite generous! Highly recommend getting the mac salad as a side!
Da Poke Shack: This is hands down my favorite place on the Big Island! For food, that is. The fish here is super fresh and marinated perfectly. They use just the right amount of sauce and seasoning to bring out the flavor of the fish. And they have a pretty good selection of poke mixes. Highly recommend the Dynamite and the Wet Hawaiian. Lines can get long but it’s totally worth the wait! We saw them bring in a 160 lb fish while we were eating…so you know the fish here is fresh!!
Punalu’u Bake Shop: The malasadas here are delicious! For those of you who don’t know what malasadas are, they’re basically donuts made from Hawaiian sweet bread. They’re best when warm, so I recommend eating at least a couple while you’re there. There’s a pretty good variety here. I highly recommend trying the Original and the Lilikoi Glazed (passion fruit). The Guava was decent as well. You’re bound to find something you like here. Prices here are very reasonable and the workers are all very friendly. Wonderful experience, overall 🙂
Scandinavian Shave Ice: Came here 3 times in 3 days so that, by itself, should already tell you something about this place 🙂 Got the pink lady shave ice combo the first time (I think that’s what it’s called…the only flavor I remember in the combo is pink lemonade lol), and it was delicious! You get a generous amount of ice, and they do a great job with the decorative toppings. Remember to check in on Yelp to receive a free topping! My favorite shave ice combo was the Lava Flow, which had strawberry, pina colada, and an ice cream center. The flavor of ice cream is your choice, but omg it makes the shave ice taste so much better! And it was already pretty good without. Keep in mind that you don’t have to get a combo. You can always pick your own flavors!
On The Rocks: So happy that this was my last meal on the Big Island. Up until we tried this place, we hadn’t had much luck with the sit-down restaurants in the area. I feel like the best places on the Big Island are the small poke shacks. But this is probably my favorite sit-down restaurant. The view, the service, and the food were all great. You’re sitting facing the beach. Actually, half of the seating area is actually on the sand. There’s live entertainment (at least when we were there for dinner), and the overall ambience is just great. I highly recommend getting the Lava Flow. It’s like a Pina Colada with additional strawberry flavoring. SO good. Not too sweet and not too strong. Totally worth the $8 price. For my main dish, of course I had to have poke for my last meal! I got the poke bowl, which came with a very generous serving of rice, a pretty good serving of tuna (not nearly enough to balance out the rice though), and some veggie sides to balance out the whole dish. It was delicious!
And that’s a wrap! Hope you guys enjoyed. And hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend 🙂