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Did You Know That These Big Island Restaurants Have Been Featured on TV?

Local cuisine is part of what makes visiting or living on our islands so special, and, in our opinion, one of the finer things in life is enjoying good food. But do you know what the next best thing to enjoying good food is? Watching good food being enjoyed on TV. We’ve compiled a list of some of the Big Island’s most notable restaurants that have earned their time in the spotlight over the past few years.

Whether you’re a regular customer to these local joints or visiting Hawai’i Island for the first time, we hope this article inspires you to continue to support local businesses, because the stories of how each of these restaurants came to be are undeniably unique—and that speaks volumes to how special our community truly is.

Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate

Kaaloa’s Super J’s

Kaaloa’s Super J’s was featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, Episode “Hidden Treasures” (season 3, episode 8) that highlights the most popular item on the menu: the pork laulau, a traditional Hawaiian delicacy and comfort food.

Somebody Feed Phil

On Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil, “Hawai’i” (season 4, episode 5), Phil discovers his love for huli chicken at the mobile Hawaiian restaurant, GJ’s Huli Chicken, ventures to downtown Kona where he finds traditional Japanese hand food at The Feeding Leaf Kitchen & Okazuya, and visits Kahua Ranch for an exclusive dining experience prepared by one of Merriman’s Big Island’s chefs, using meat from the ranch itself. 


GJ's Huli Chicken
Huli Chicken Lunch Plate via GJ's Huli Chicken
The Feeding Leaf
Image via The Feeding Leaf Kitchen & Okazuya
Kahua Ranch
Image via Kahua Ranch

Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives with Guy Fieri

Famous restaurateur Guy Fieri takes on the Big Island in season 28 of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives with these popular downtown Kona staples. From traditional poke at Umeke’s to the famous Furikake Chicken at Broke Da Mouth Grindz, Fieri leaves our island community impressed with what we brought to the table. These episodes can be streamed on Hulu.

Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill
Season 28, Episode 13

Foster’s Kitchen
Season 28, Episode 14

Rebel Kitchen
Season 28, Episode 15

The Heartbreaker via Umeke's
Foster's Kitchen
Image via Foster's Kitchen
Rebel Kitchen
Coconut Curry Ono and Shrimp via Rebel Kitchen

Island Lava Java
Season 28, Episode 16

Kanaka Kava
Season 28, Episode 17

Original Thai Cuisine
Season 28, Episode 19

Broke Da Mouth Grindz
Season 28, Episode 20

Island Lava Java
Image via Island Lava Java
Kanaka Kava
Pupu Platter via Kanaka Kava
Original Thai Cuisine
Image via Original Thai Cuisine
Broke Da Mouth Grindz
Image via Broke Da Mouth Grindz

Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations

This jam-packed episode of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, “The Big Island,” (season 7, episode 2) takes us on a journey with host Andrew Zimmern across the island to taste the best our local cuisine has to offer and can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.

Loco Moco at Cafe 100
Loco Moco via Cafe 100
KTA Lomi Salmon
Lomi Salmon via KTA Superstores
Short N Sweet Bakery
Hawaiian Sweet Bread via Short N Sweet Bakery & Cafe
Seaside Restaurant & Aqua Farm
Lamb Chops via Seaside Restaurant and Aqua Farm
Kuhio Grille
Lau Lau via Kuhio Grille
Randy's Huli Chicken and Ribs
Huli Chicken via Randy's Huli Chicken and RIbs

Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship

Holiday Baking Championship
Maria on Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship

Short N Sweet Bakery and Cafe

Short N Sweet might be the only restaurant on the Big Island to be featured on two different TV shows! Owner and baker Maria Short debuted on the popular cooking competition, Holiday Baking Championship, for its 6th season just last year, which can be streamed on Hulu. Her time was unfortunately cut short on the show, but she certainly made our island proud.

$40 A Day with Rachael Ray

World-class chef Rachael Ray paid a visit to the Big Island to try some of the tastiest food across the island on season 1, episode 5 of $40 A Day.

Bamboo Restaurant & Gallery
Image via Bamboo Restaurant & Gallery
Tex Drive-In
Image via Tex Drive-In

I don’t know about you, but I’m heading to one of these local gems after watching these mouth-watering episodes! We’re so lucky to live in a place with such delicious culinary specialties that attract celebrity food critics and cooking shows alike from every corner of the country.

Which restaurant is your favorite on this roundup? 

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