578 Hinano St., Hilo
There are only about 8 seats at Chef Igarashi's sushi bar, and you will have to line up for them (reservations book up months in advance). Igarashi focuses on perfect, incredible fresh sashimi and sushi—that he doesn't dress up with much beyond rice, wasabi, and shoyu—in short, get the omakase.
Moon & Turtle
51 Kalakaua St., Hilo
Earning rave reviews for its daily changing, farm-to-table, ocean-to-table small plates, this sweet little spot justifies a trip if you're not staying in Hilo (also consider a stop here for dinner on your way back from Volcanos National Park). The plates are truly inventive, blending the best of Hawaiian ingredients with Asian flavors, and they always sell the best of what's available, which translates to only having enough for a few of some plates. (The chef-owner Mark Pomaski got his training from Roy Yamaguchi, so the mastery makes sense.) Make reservations, though you can usually grab seats at the bar.
Two Ladies Kitchen
274 Kilauea Ave., Hilo
People drive from all over the Big Island for the now world famous mochi that have been made here for the past 25 years (keep in mind that they're not open on Sundays or Mondays). Helmed by Nora Uchida and her aunt, Tomi Tokeshi, they make mochi as Uchida's grandmother did, preserving not only the recipe but the culture of the Japanese in Hawaii, too. The treats are delicious and beautiful, and as one would expect, the flavors are a mix of local and far-flung: You'll find lilikoi (passionfruit), pineapple, persimmons, ginger, etc.; they also stuff the traditional white rice flour with fresh strawberries, which sadly can't be transported to the mainland.
Island Naturals Market & Deli
1221 Kilauea Avenue, Hilo
This local grocery has the most comprehensive selection of healthy eats on the island. It also conveniently has multiple locations: in Hilo and Pahoa on the east side of the island, and Kailua-Kona on the west, plus a kiosk at the University of Hawaii. The stores are a nice option if your hotel suite/Airbnb is equipped with a kitchen, and you’re looking to eat/entertain there for a meal or two. Each Island Naturals Market & Deli store sells an array of organic groceries (including many gluten-free and vegan-friendly products) from shelved goods like pastas and sauces, to fruits and veggies from nearby farms, line-caught fish, and grass-fed beef. You can also stock up on breakfast items and organic wine and beer here. If you’re not interested in doing any cooking, the deli has easy already-made meals, or you can order custom sandwiches, smoothies, and juices, or grab a treat and Kona coffee from the in-house bakery.
Hilo Farmers Market
Mamo St. & Kamehameha Ave., Hilo
There is no shortage of markets on the Big Island, but if you only have time for one, make it this farmers market in historic downtown Hilo, at the corner of Corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue. The Hilo Farmers Market began in 1988 with four farmers who sold their harvest out of parked trucks. Today, it’s open daily year-round (but the main market days are Wednesday and Saturday), and more than 200 farmers and crafters come to sell a variety of produce, tropical flowers (orchids and anthuriums are the main draw), and giftable items like handmade jewelry and artisanal wooden bowls. Be sure to sample the in-season fruit, be it coconuts, strawberry guavas, white pineapples, or thimble berries. Other specialties include island jams, jellies, hot sauces, honey, macadamia nut butter, and (of course) Kona coffee. There are also a number of vendors serving breakfast and lunch, from breads and pastries to Thai and sushi.
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