One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying out the food! We’ve now spent a lot of time in Hawaii, so we’ve been able to put together the list of our favorite Big Island vegetarian restaurants. My ideal situation is staying at a place that has a kitchen so I can cook the majority of our meals, but then go out to eat as a treat. This way we save some money, enjoy eating out when we do it, and I don’t have to find a restaurant to eat at for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
When planning a trip, the first thing I typically do is look at Trip Advisor, Yelp and sometimes Happy Cow to find the top vegetarian restaurants in the area. I like having a list of places I want to try near places we are staying or visiting.
After spending multiple months on the Big Island, here’s a list of the restaurants we’ve liked the most. It’s by no means comprehensive, as we’ve only spent a few days in Kona as an example, but there is a nice selection from all across the island.
If you’re visiting Hawaii, you’ll also want to check out our Big Island Packing List for our suggestions of what to bring with you.
This map shows you all the restaurants listed below in Hilo, as well as Hilo area attractions we recommend.
Conscious Culture Cafe
If you know me, you will know why this is my favorite place. They serve kombucha on tap, sauerkraut, tempeh tacos, smoothies and large salads. Yup, this place is my dream. If you don’t like fermented food, don’t worry, they have other options too. The vibe is relaxed and the bathrooms are beautiful.
Tina’s Garden Gourmet Cafe– Come with your friends, or make some new friends ;). This place has MASSIVE portions. It’s also quite busy, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait. I believe the only chef is Tina, so things take longer. Get Tina’s famous Tom Kha soup an appetizer soup and split with everyone (if you are with one other person, be warned, it is large!). Her curries and spring rolls are delicious as well.
Other Thai food: Naung Mai Thai Kitchen and New Chiang Mai Thai Cuisine (see photos below). There are plenty of Thai restaurants in Hilo, we haven’t tried them all, but really liked New Chaing Mai because of the amount of veggies and organic tofu they serve.
Island Natural Deli– This is a natural food store with a really delicious buffet serving hot food and a salad bar. They also have a lot of pre-made food to go: perfect to grab for a beach day or hiking. We love their curry tofu salad. We also shop here for groceries. Some of the prices are quite high (it’s an island after all), but the sales make it affordable.
Prabha’s Indian Restaurant– I didn’t know what to expect of this modest Indian restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the flavors and unique dishes like breadfruit curry (turns out breadfruit tastes like potatoes). Their website says they are non-GMO (that’s a plus in my book, I hope it’s true), and they are fully vegetarian with some vegan dishes.
This beautiful pizza place is in the heart of Honokaa. If you are craving some pizza, come here after viewing Waipi’o valley (a must!). We had a pizza and olive tampande with garlic bread. The flavor and toppings on the pizza were delicious, the crust…not so much. It made me want to go to Italy and get some real wood fire pizza. But, the newly built restaurant is great for large groups and it had very friendly service.
Simply Natural– Another popular Honokaa spot. Once again, I wasn’t the biggest fan, but this place has a bunch of good reviews. This place has some unique open-faced melt sandwiches. I got the veggie melt, but didn’t like the sweet sauce that was on top. Also, don’t go there expecting a bathroom, you have to walk a few blocks to the grocery store if you need one.
Under the Bodhi’s Tree– Near many of the gorgeous Kona side beaches, this is a little oasis of healthy food. They serve smoothies, juices, yummy breakfast options (egg scrambles, french toast, pancakes, oats), salads and main dishes. You are sure to find something you want! The prices aren’t cheap, but you will feel nourished and ready for the beach! It’s 14 minutes from Hapuna, a beautiful beach with white sand, life guards and full facilities.
Island Natural’s Deli Bar (see above, same as Hilo, but in Kona).
We went to this 100% vegan restaurant for breakfast. I’m normally not a fan of fake cheese, but we both thought the food was tasty. Get a banana chocolate chip bread to go!
This Thai place was delicious! We loved the mango curry, and the fact that they had a lot of vegetables in their dishes. The owners were sweet and the service was fast (this may have something to do with the fact we went at 5:30pm).
Organic Acai bowls and smoothies, need I say more? Come here for a refreshing treat before or after the beach.
Of course, this list only includes the places we’ve been able to try that we liked. We’d love to hear more suggestions from readers for additional places to try for next time we come!