Here are some good places for eating experiences:
Local eatery. Hawaiian Style Cafe, Waimea. This low-key breakfast joint is an obsession with those who have tried it. Lines of locals form on weekends, and the place closes when it runs out of food. The Loco Moco (eggs, hamburger and gravy over rice) is the “local food” you are looking for. (808) 885- 4295.
Romantic dinner. CanoeHouse, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. A beachside location, indoor-outdoor seating, live Hawaiian music and plenty of fresh fish make CanoeHouse the place for a romantic splurge or special occasion. https://www.maunalani.com
Sunset hangout. Hau Tree bar, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The Hau Tree bar will make you want to return to Hawaii every chance you get. A small, thatched-roof bar that gazes out upon a wide crescent of white sand. You can sit and talk … or just sit and dream. The mai tais are darn good too, and they match the colors of the sunsets. https://www.princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel
Out of-the-way find. Sushi Rock. Hawi is just about at the end of the road, before the asphalt gives way to deep canyons and inaccessible valleys. But before dropping into the tropical abyss, Sushi Rock is the place to stop. Imaginative preparations, local and mostly organic ingredients and a casual atmosphere make Sushi Rock a locals’ favorite. https://www.sushirockrestaurant.net
Vegan/vegetarian. Brown’s Beach House, Fairmont Orchid. If vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free is your thing, try Brown’s Beach House. Carnivores need not worry, but the bayside setting and dishes such as crispy curry tofu with eggplant and shiitake mushrooms will make your herbivore friends happy. https://www.fairmont.com/orchid
Toes-in-the-sand bar: Huggo’s on the Rocks, Kona. Strike up a conversation here and you’ll find yourself swapping stories with locals. This is the place to grab a brew and watch the dolphins jump offshore. A sister property, Lava Lava Beach Club, is scheduled to open at Waikoloa Beach Resort this summer. https://www.huggos.com
Burgers: Village Burger, Waimea. It occupies an unassuming corner of a shopping center food court, but the grass-fed local beef burgers are divine. Village Burger gets most of its ingredients from within a five-mile radius, making everything fresh, fresh, fresh. https://www.villageburgerwaimea.com