Dining Out Ideas - Part 1: Hale O' Honu'ea favorites close to home
You're on vacation but you're staying in our town house, so maybe you plan to grocery shop and eat in or picnic everyday. But maybe you want a night off, a night out, or to have someone else take care of you? The Island of Hawaii abounds with many delicious dining options to suit every budget. We'll mention some of our "go-to" spots here; you'll find that they are mostly geared towards a taste of the Island, enjoying fine dining without breaking the bank, and family friendly dining.
Within Mauna Lani Resort
Napua at Mauna Lani Beach Club
You can take a mid-day sun break for lunch at the restaurant, or if you can't drag the kids off the beach - order take-out burger, fries, and smoothie and eat right on the beach. Come back in the evening for a beautiful sunset dinner and enjoy the twinkly lights and taste Chef Kioni's creations of the most delectable, local and natural fish and farm produce, the freshest fruits from trees and grass-fed beef from Big Island pastures.
From Napua's website: "Today, Hawai‘i imports 90% of its food. In spite of a rising “eat local” movement, most of Hawai`i’s visitors are eating food from where they come from, instead of food from here on the Island. (Owner) Brandon and (chef) Keoni have worked hard to source everything Napua needs from within the Honoka`a to Mauna Lani area - in other words, what they see along their drive to work."
The Shops at Mauna Lani
The restaurants in The Shops at Mauna Lani are an easy choice as they are only a half mile walk or cruiser bike ride away. Whether you want to have an open air dining experience entertained by local musicians (check the website "Entertainment" link for dates and times of the Dinner and a Show evenings), enjoy a happy hour, or celebrate and have a date night out - restaurant options at the Shops at Mauna Lani offer everything from a Ruths Chris Steakhouse (and they do have both happy hour and late night specials) to Under the Bodhi Tree (vegetarian with full vegan options).
One of our favorite dining out options is to visit Tommy Bahamas, Ruth's Chris, or Pele's Wok for happy hour dining and order numerous small dishes to share "tapas-style" - this is a great option early in your trip when you're still on mainland time and your stomach is rumbling for dinner at 4pm! Don't forget to save room for dessert (but be fore-warned that a single dessert at Tommy Bahamas is enough for our family of 4 to share!)
Another option right in the Shops is to get picnic items from the Deli and take them to a local beach - we often do this at Honaka'a or at the Beach Club.
Hotel Dining at the Fairmont or Mauna Lani Hotel
Just as close, the Fairmont Orchid offers several dining options, all with wonderful views of even beach side. Check out the "Dining Offers" page for their happy hour offerings, keiki menu (children 5 and under eat free), or even their Romantic Dining for 2 or Ohana Sunset Dining if you're looking for the ultimate celebratory special dinner event.
Finally, the Fairmont also offers a full luau evening which is an incredible evening of entertainment, history, culture, and dining all rolled into one - check their website for details and dates.
The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is currently under renovations (re-opening January 2020), but when they do re-open, expect their dining to rival that of the Fairmont Hotel.
Puako (just north of Mauna Lani)
There is usually a malasada truck parked right at the top of Puako road on the makai (ocean-side) of the Queen K highway. They often have fresh coconut water or avocados too!
*Note: as of September 1st the Puako General Store is closed, but it is expected to reopen as a dive shop/mercantile soon. We'll update this blog when it reopens and we've had a chance to visit it again.*
Puako is a small residential neighborhood and doesn't have restaurants, but I'll mention the Puako General Store here as a great place to stop for picnic lunch on your way to Beach 69 .
This is one of our favorite island days, as it's so close by and Beach 69 has shade so you can spend a whole day here... if you have provisioned your day with enough food!
Waikoloa Beach Resort Dining
So many choices at Waikoloa Resort! Hands down, our favorite lately is::
Lava Lava Beach Club: what's not to like? toes in the sand dining? beautiful sunsets? The only concern we've ever had here is getting a table, so take advantage of the Call-Ahead wait list (see their website for what this means - it's not a reservation, but it helps cut down the wait time).
Queens Market Place: Here's another open air shopping mall where you'll find everything from the excellent deli inside the ABC (Hawaiian grocery and sundries store), to the food court, to the excellent local-focused breakfast through dinner offerings at DayLight Mind, to the ultimate movie experience dining in front of the big cinema screen at Waikoloa Luxury Theaters.
Kings Shops Waikoloa: Time your visit to the Kings Shops to coincide with a free event that interests you - whether it's feeding the koi fish, enjoying live music, checking out the farmer's market, ukelele lessons, "talk story" or a short hula performance. The Kings Shops is home to Roy's Waikoloa. If you've never dined at one of Roy Yamaguchi's restaurants this is your opportunity. Known as one of the founding members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine Movement, this is a dining experience not to be missed. Even for family dining! The keiki menu here is honestly the best this health-minded parent could ever hope for, and both my children loved it!
More dining ideas to come! stay tuned :)
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