This is the type of restaurant I love. A local institution with lot of character, with tasty, reasonably priced food. The place looks like it hasn't been updated in years, has a bit of a dingy feel to it, but in my opinion, that just adds to the charm. This is a family run, local joint that's been operating since the 20's. In fact, the matriarch of the family is in her late 90s or early 100s (depending on who you ask) and still greets all her guests when you come in. What a way to start your meal.
The food is basic, Japanese fare (someone described it to me as Japanese worker food) with some Hawaiian items like ribs and pork chops thrown in for good measure. Portions are good sized and reasonably priced. If you are in a hurry, a lot of locals pop in for take out Bento boxes and lunch specials.
We went with a couple of combination dishes that came with rice, sashimi, chicken, tsukemono (salted and pressed cabbage) and sunomono (sweet sour cucumbers), tea, etc. I have to say, it was excellent. Maybe we got an especially great piece, but the ahi sashimi was so fresh and delicious, my wife and I agreed that it was the best pieces of sashimi we'd ever had.
Overall, this is an excellent choice if you like local joints that have great food at reasonable prices, but don't expect super-professional service or frills.
Favorite Dish: Our Ahi sashimi was incredible.
Although there are countless restaurants in Kailua/Kona, the opportunity for fine dining with ambience simply does not exist in this little town nor does there seem to be anything in the nearby towns.
That is not to say that you cannot get a decent meal, that's one thing about all of Hawaii, there really are no BAD restaurants if we judge them based on food, taste and value.
The last time we stopped in Kealakekua was probably around 9 months ago and that was for an ice cream sandwich. It was excellent. And that is the only honest review which I can make.
We had flown over from Honolulu to visit and stay with friends. He is the Harbormaster for the Port of Hilo and she is a real estate lady who alsos is on the Board of Trustees of th Lyman Museum in Hilo.
In one short visit, I saw the house that my Father had lived in and the hospital where I was born. Beats a little grass shack.
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True Hawaiian food has become stereotyped, revamped and just does not seem to be quite the same as I remember. All of you will probably go to a luau or have been to one. If you were born and raised in the Islands, you have to have poi, poi and more poi. Many think of it as a cross between wallpaper past and pinky gray paint. The average tourist does not really get to the finer points of poi, the nuance of flavor and how to blend the poi in concert with lomi-lomi salmon, chicken luau, sweet potato, poki, pipikaula and the traditional kalua pig. See my Hawaii page for kalua pig preparation.
I'll eat anything, as long as it's Chinese.