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Restaurants in Waimea, Big Island of Hawaii

Restaurants in Waimea on the Big Island

Failed attempts have been made as far back as King David Kalakaua to rename this community to “Kamuela”.  The residents of this up-country community, however, prefer Waimea and refuse to change.  Some map makers have addressed this issue by labeling its location with both Waimea (Kamuela), just in case you go searching for one versus the other.  Hawaiian Airlines, on its free map series, has chosen to go with the locals and simply labels it Waimea.  The US Postal Service, in an effort to reduce confusion between Waimea (96796) on Kauai, uses Kamuela (96743).

But, whatever you call it, it is located about a half hour’s drive from Kailua-Kona (more confusion ensues with Kailua, Oahu, which is why it is most often called Kailua-Kona…Kona being the name of the District).   Mention Waimea to a local and they will usually associate it with the home of the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) and Parker Ranch, even though there are several large ranches in the area.  Parker Ranch is the largest contiguous ranch in the US, so its understandable people think of it first.

Over the course of the last 20-years or so, Waimea has come a long way from its cowboy roots and is now a very appealing community with more and more professionals taking up residency.  A side benefit of this growth is the addition of some great eateries.  The article below is one of the better write-ups I have seen for the current state of restaurant choices and I thought I would share it with you.


Unfortunately, most visitors to the Big Island who are staying in Kailua, only see whatever is visible through the windshield of their rental cars as they make their way to the Kohala Coast to visit WaipioValley or on to Hilo.  If you have the time, a drive up Hwy 250, which runs northward from Waimea to Hawi along the Kohala Mountains is a beautiful drive.  When you cross the crest, on a clear day, you can see Maui on the horizon.

For those who find themselves enjoying the beaches at Kapaa Beach Park, Mahukona Beach Park, or the Koai’ e Cove State Underwater Park along the northwest shores, you may want to continue your drive north and return via Hwy 250, then make a left into Waimea when you hit Hwy 19 and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants reviewed in the article.

You may want to keep in mind that the Hawaiian Style Cafe tends to close early…when the food runs out or they just feel like calling it a day.  Their name says it all, its run “Hawaiian Style”.  But, if you get there early enough, come hungry because their portions are renown for being excessive, just the way the locals love it, and you won’t leave hungry. Its just one of the restaurants you’ll find in the town of Waimea…or Kamuela, whichever you prefer.

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