Best Outdoor Restaurants on the Big Island, Hawaii

I don’t know about you, but my family hasn’t been eating in restaurants very often this past year. But when have gone out, our choice is always outdoor spots. They feel safest to us during these Covid times. In the spirit of outdoor dining, I put together a list of my favorite outdoor restaurants here on the Big Island. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means – so much of Hawaii is outside! – but these are our tried and true favorites. Enjoy!

1. Papa Kona Restaurant & Bar

Located right in the heart of downtown Kailua-Kona, this open-air restaurant features an ocean view that will make all your mainland friends jealous. The food is fantastic, and the customer service is even better. Their Kona coffee is roasted right on site (can you say FRESH?!), and you can even grab a bag of Kona coffee to take home with you. Their breakfast food is my favorite. Seared ahi benedict and an ocean view to start your day? Don’t miss it.

2. Fosters Kitchen

A great family-friendly restaurant! Their Kona location is exclusively outdoors while the Waikoloa does have some outdoor seats, but not many. Our favorite for a yummy meal that isn’t overly fancy but still better than grabbing a pizza. Their breezy second-floor Kona location allows for an ocean view from nearly every table! Highly recommend their flatbread pizzas and BBQ plates. The seasonal dragonfruit cocktails are also not to be missed!

3. Kohala Burger & Taco

Okay, so this spot isn’t technically outdoors, but it is VERY list-worthy because it’s food made to grab and head to the beach. Kohala Burger & Taco is the hole-in-the-wall gem of a restaurant that you’ve been looking for. Grab a burger or fish taco plate, a pineapple dole whip, and some fries. Then drive the few minutes out to Spencer’s Beach to enjoy your lunch ocean side.  Thank us later 😉

4. Island Lava Java

A hidden gem and our go-to breakfast spot! There is both a Kailua-Kona location and a Waikoloa location. Our favorites are the eggs benedict made on their from-scratch croissants and the pancakes with macadamia nuts and coconut syrup! If you go to the Waikoloa location, we recommend heading out to Hapuna Beach or Anaehoomalu Bay for a post-breakfast ocean dip.

5. CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani

For a fancy night out, CanoeHouse is our top restaurant choice. This oceanfront, open-air spot just got a multi-million dollar facelift as part of the Mauna Lani Hotel renovation project. The Warayaki is a dish I could eat over and over again for the rest of my life. And the Keahole Lobster is the perfect dish to enjoy while watching whales breach in the ocean during the winter months. Reservations required.



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