10--ISLAND FISH & CHIPS
We loved: the location.
We didn't love: Most of the food choices are fried.
Island Fish & Chips, Kings' Court, Waikoloa; (808) 886-0005, http://www.waikoloabeachresort.com
Spend a lazy afternoon watching the sun sink into the Pacific from the luxurious overstuffed chairs and couches of the Luana Lounge, an indoor-outdoor bar and lanai at the Fairmont Orchid hotel on the Kohala Coast. And don't worry too much about the price. Just make sure you arrive between 5 and 6:30 p.m., when a happy-hour special means pupus (appetizers) and drinks are half-price. Then, for an afternoon at least, you can pretend you have a trust fund and spend every day lazing at expensive resorts. While you're here, stroll the grounds and visit the beach — hey, you're a guest! Our menu favorites were wings ($15, but $7.50 during happy hour) and spring rolls ($10, but $5 during happy hour.) Don't miss the chocolate beignets (think New Orleans), warm and wonderful, made with Kona chocolate sauce and topped with butterscotch ice cream ($9).
We loved: the view and ambiance.
We didn't love: the absence of a sign on the main highway indicating the hotel's location.
Luana Lounge at Fairmont Orchid, 1 N. Kaniku Drive, Kohala Coast; (808) 885-2000, http://www.fairmont.com/orchid.
Our panel of experts agreed: Don't miss Café Pesto. And we second the recommendation. Café Pesto, a light and airy café with branches on the Kohala Coast and in Hilo. have a well-deserved following. They offer healthful, diverse menu items, interesting flavors, pretty presentation and affordable prices. There are salads, pastas and a variety of hand-tossed pizzas; our favorite was the Southwestern ($13.95), a thick-crust pizza heaped with tomatoes, fresh cilantro, barbecued chicken and Big Island goat cheese. The atmosphere is pleasant too. Fresh flowers decorate tables, there's an upbeat soundtrack, and Hawaiian furniture and posters add tropical flavor. We recommend a lunchtime visit, when prices top out well below our $20 limit; at dinner, some entrees are as high as $36.
We loved: the bright, pleasant atmosphere.
We didn't love: waiting for a table.
Café Pesto, Kawaihae Harbor, South Kohala Coast; (808) 882-1071; or 308 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo; (808) 969-6640, http://www.cafepesto.com
13--BAMBOO RESTAURANT & BAR
Hawaii: 20 Big Island meals for less than $20
Faced with pricey restaurants, what's a budget-conscious visitor to do? Local food experts dish on the best deals for 'ono kine.'
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