5 Restaurants to Check Out on the Big Island in Summer of 2019

By Karen Rose

Several new restaurants have popped up on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 and early 2019. Here are our picks for new places you should try:

Magic’s Beach Grill

Magic’s Beach Grill. Photo: Karen Rose.


With a magnificent view of the Kona coastline, Magic’s Beach Grill is quickly becoming a favorite among Kona residents and visitors. Chef Dan Robayo creates fresh dishes that highlight local farmers and food producers. Menu items include the Kimchi Gumbo and the Kimchi Rueben sandwich. Another popular dish is the Ulu Fries with a trio of sauces that include malt vinegar aioli, spicy ketchup and mango mustard. Don’t forget to top off your meal with a slice of the Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie! Magic’s Beach Grill is located at 77-6452 Ali‘i Drive in Kailua-Kona and is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and brunch on Sundays.

Kuleana Rum Shack


Located in the Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa, Kuleana Rum Shack serves up fresh island dishes and handcrafted cocktails made with rum from their on-island distillery. The Rum Shack features authentic yet creative cuisine inspired by the melting pot of Hawaiian cultures. Try the Pipikaula Lumpia, Hawaiian salted beef dried in the sun, served with Swiss cheese, house-made kimchi and kochu-jang aioli. There are plenty of amazing dishes to choose from, but whatever you choose, be sure to save room for dessert. The malasadas (Portuguese donuts) are freshly fried to perfection and served with three self-serve injector fillings of chocolate, haupia and lilikoi. It’s the food your Hawaiian aunty made with an epicurean flare.

Nui Italian


The Hilton Waikoloa Village has brought authentic Italian cuisine to Hawaii Island, with Nui Italian Restaurant. Fresh from Italy, Chef Gino Cipriano serves up delicious, traditional dishes from his native country and turns food into art. Everything is fresh and superbly tasty — even the bread is beyond compare. One can’t go wrong with a genuine Italian pizza and the great selection of Italian wines. Nui has exceptional food with attentive service and true Hawaiian hospitality.

Ola Brew


Known for their tasty brews and ciders, Ola Brew now offers a menu of light but certainly not boring pub-grub to pair with your favorite suds. The flatbreads are perfect to share with friends, and the Poke Melt turns this traditional Hawaiian dish into an entirely new experience. The Poke Melt is made with locally baked focaccia bread and poke from The Poke Shack, which was rated the No. 1 poke spot in the world on Yelp. Topped with cheese and slightly heated just to melt the cheese, it’s the best tuna melt you’ll ever taste. Ola Brew is located in the Old Industrial area of Kailua-Kona.

Pele’s Wok Bistro & Bar

Pele’s Wok. Photo: Karen Rose.


The most recent addition to Shops at Mauna Lani on the Kohala Coast is Pele’s Wok Bistro & Bar. This Chinese-inspired restaurant elevates Chinese take-out to a whole new level. Committed to supporting local food producers, the chef pairs the best Chinese ingredients with locally sourced seafood and meats. The menu items are a bit pricier than your average Chinese food but well worth the extra expense. The quality of the dishes and the portion sizes make it a decent value. Be sure to try the Wok Tossed Brussels made with vinegar, honey, chili, sesame, garlic and fish sauce, and the Red Ginger Cake with Mango Ice Cream.

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