Hawaii 2024: 5) Culinary Highlights

Hawaii 2024: 5) Culinary Highlights
The scenery from The Coffee Shack.

Trying great local food and restaurants is one of the highlights of a family trip. We tried several local cuisines, and each place was worth mentioning.

In Hawaii, the general advice is to "start early." The day begins early across the islands, not just in National Parks. Many coffee shops and breakfast spots open around 6 am. Island Vintage Coffee, located in Waikoloa Village (near my hotel), was a convenient place to kick off our day with delicious acai bowls.

In Hawaii, many coffee shops double as fantastic breakfast spots. "The Coffee Shack" is particularly popular for its stunning views and reasonably priced dishes. However, to avoid the crowds and fully appreciate the serene scenery, it's best to arrive early in the morning. It was the best place to charge our energy when we visited the southern part of the island through Route 11.

"Kaya's Coffee" on Route 11 was another delightful find. I discovered that their cinnamon rolls are the perfect morning treat.

On Route 19, "Waimea Coffee Co." stands out. I highly recommend their breakfast burritos.

Many coffee shops in Hawaii also offer excellent coffee farm tours. We visited "Greenwell Farms" and were pleasantly surprised by the experience. Expecting a brief 10-15-minute walk, we instead enjoyed an informative one-hour tour filled with fascinating history and insights into the coffee-making process; it was my first time seeing raw coffee beans.

"Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill" was outstanding in Kailua Kona. There should be many other great diners in Hawaii, but this spot truly felt like an authentic experience of local cuisine rather than just another tourist eatery.

In Hilo, "Pineapple's Island Fresh Cuisine" was my choice. It might appear to be a hyped tourist spot, but the food was genuinely great. My only regret was that we were too full to try their signature Pineapple Pow drink.