We spent the holidays on Big Island getting away from the seemingly hectic Oahu lifestyle. It was a great trip for the kids to experience the island, spend time with the family, and learn all about their ancestors.
In between all of that, we had the opportunity to visit a number of Hilo eateries, and have compiled a list of our top 10 kid-friendly restaurants in Hilo…the first of 2016!
Hawaiian Style Cafe
Hawaiian Style Cafe was a great find!
We walked into the cafe for breakfast hungry and left completely stuffed! We ordered several types of pancakes (their banana macadamia nut pancakes were amazing), and the kids loved their Sweet Bread French toast. Everything was delicious and the servings were gigantic. We also heard lunch and dinners was good as well. There is plenty of parking in the little shopping center and prices were very affordable ($10-12 for our plates).
Kid Foodie Favorites:Sweet bread French toast and banana macadamia nut pancakes
We ate here twice during our vacation since we had such a pleasant experience the first time! The restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall, next to Yogurtl, and and is popular amongst locals. Their portions are large and prices very reasonable. And not only do they have a huge menu, the food is tasty too! It’s located right off the main road (Hwy 11), so not that difficult to drive there or find. The kids wanted to eat Hawaiian food so we ordered the Kanak Attack for them to share which included a 1lb. lay lau…they finished the entire plate. The fried saimin was great, as well as their oxtail soup, and fried rice loco mock.
Kid Foodie Favorites:Kanak Attack (Hawaiian plate) and fried saimin
Nine out of ten locals eat at Ken’s House of Pancakes repeatedly. And whenever we visit Hilo, it’s the first stop we make before doing anything on the island. They have an unbelievably big menu which mainly consists of pancakes and over a dozen different syrups to choose from. Come hungry because portions are large. Costs are relatively inexpensive. Food and service are both good.
When the restaurant is busy, the only problem is parking since the lot is quite small.
Kid Foodie Favorites: Pancakes with lilikoi or coconut syrup or pineapple upside-down cake
This casual restaurant had great food and a great view of Hilo Bay over looking the water. It is located next to Suisan’s on the loop where Hilo’s major hotels are situated. We ordered their salmon-avocado sandwich which was mouth-watering. The kids loved the “house-made” mac and cheese and the fish and chips. The restaurant is tastefully decorated with glass pendant lights and modern seating. The service was prompt and wait staff very attentive; our waters and ice teas were never empty. A real gem in terms of location, service, and atmosphere.
Kid Foodie Favorites: House-made mac and cheese, fish and chips and their desserts
After an enjoyable visit to the Lyman Museum in Hilo, we headed to the Hilo Burger Joint to break our craving for burgers and relax our feet. Their burgers range between the $10-12 range and they have a large selection to choose from. There were a few board games to borrow by the front door, which kept the kids busy while we enjoyed our adult beverages and waited for our food to arrive.
We ordered the Fire and Ice fries for an appetizer to munch on, and boy was it tasty! The Big Island Burger and Blue Cheese Burger were both delicious. The grilled mushrooms and onions was a nice touch to both burgers and they were very large and juicy. The kids opted for chicken strips and fries. They had good service, the food was simple but tasty, and most importantly, we all enjoyed our time there. Would definitely return on another visit to Hilo.
Very lively place and very busy too! We had a table right next to the railing so it was nice for the kids to watch people walk by and it kept their attention for awhile. The restaurant caters mainly to tourists as you will find little to no “locals” dining here, and there isn’t a kid menu but lots of kid-friendly choices. The portions are huge so order according to your appetite; our children ordered and shared a BBQ sandwich and couldn’t even finish it. The teriyaki flank steak was tender and delicious with its teriyaki-butter gravy, the adults loved it. Prices were reasonable for what you get!
Kid Foodie Favorites: Cheese ball appetizer and BBQ sandwich with sweet potato fries
Located on the bay, Suisan reminds us of a typical old Hawaiian-style fish market. Very casual and has a laid back feel to it. My children love raw seafood, especially “poke”, which is a raw-fish salad served as an appetizer in popular Hawaiian cuisine.
We visited around noon on a Monday and the place wasn’t too crowded (meaning, there was no line out the door, which apparently is the norm). There were a few outdoor seats, but note, it is a fish market. You stand in line, and order from a selection of different seafood items on display. There’s also a window where you can order burgers, for those in your group who don’t like seafood. We suggest you purchase your items “to-go”, walk over to the park and enjoy the Bay view. Suisan is definitely one of the best places to go for fresh fish and and poke in Hilo.
Twenty minutes from Hilo is a town called Pahoa, which we frequent when we want some good Mexican food. They have great steak soft tacos in a casual open air atmosphere. The service was slow, but our server gave us the heads up before we ordered which made the wait seem shorter than expected. There are not a lot of choices for dining out in the area so we were glad to have a filling meal. Prices were more than expected but that seemed to be par for Big Island.
Kid Foodie Favorites: Steak tacos and steak quesadillas
If you’re looking for a taste of Hawai’i, head to Cafe 100, the “Home of the Loco Moco“. The loco moco is a local favorite and you will be happy and full when you leave. So many options and so affordable. If you are not a large eater, we recommend sharing a dish. A classic loco moco is made with white rice, hamburger patty, sunny-side up fried egg, and topped with brown gravy. Most restaurant just serve loco moco’s with the hamburger patty, but this place has about 8 different versions, including spam and fish. The kids wanted a Super Loco which was only $3.99 and yummy!
A photo posted by Cafe Pesto Hilo Bay (@cafepestohilo) on
We were craving wood-fired pizza and heard we needed to head down to Cafe Pesto. The place isn’t fancy, and very family friendly based upon the steady stream of families entering the restaurant that evening. It was very bright and upscale in appearance. The pizza we ordered was superior and worthy of a return visit. A little bit on the pricey side, but portions make up for it!
Kid Foodie Favorites: Coconut calamari, all pizzas and crab quesadilla
And there you have it – our list of top 10 kid-friendly restaurants you shouldn’t miss when you visit the Big Island! We had such a wonderful, relaxing time, that we cannot wait for our next trip back.