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“Great food in Hilo” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hilo Bay Cafe

Hilo Bay Cafe
123 Lihiwai Street, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
808-935-4939
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Ranked #19 of 206 Restaurants in Hilo
Cuisines: American, Japanese, Hawaiian, Contemporary, Bistro
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Livingston, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great food in Hilo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

We stopped here on our way back from spending a day at Volcanoes National Park. This restaurant, though informal, offers a high level of creative cuisine.

We arrived dressed in our hiking gear, but this was not a problem. We ordered appetizers and entrees, but not desserts. Our starters were quite nice- a well-made aji poke and a caesar salad with very fresh greens. Then our main courses arrived. We had a braised lamb shank which was fall-off-the-bone tender but very nicely carmelized on the outside. We also had a shrimp dish that included a capellini accompaniment incorporating arugula and boar sausage, an unusual but tasty combination.

We would certainly return here if our travels bring us to Hilo again.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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584 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Saint Paul, MN
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Not quite as great....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

... as the reviews. It was lunchtime, a weekday and even at 1:00, the place was packed. I was psyched for a great meal given the stellar reviews here and in Fodor's. Service was warm and friendly but not attentive but then again, the place was very busy and the waitstaff was hustling. Those of us at the bar waited forever to get a menu and then another forever to order. The barbeque pork sandwich with cheese was no better than okay. On the other hand, the Asian slaw salad was tasty. Given what I read here, I should have selected something different because they're all raving and I'm not.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

Despite its unassuming appearance, this is a fabulous restaurant - even the kids menu had impressive dishes on it. Definitely worth shlepping to the random parking lot to find it.

Visited July 2012
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Portland
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Fantabulous”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012 via mobile

We he enjoyed a tremendous meal today. Located in a strip mall, this cafe is an unexpected gem!! The menu has just enough options. I ordered the beef carpaccio (which I order any time I see it on a menu) and a Caesar salad; my companion, the salmon sandwich. The beef carpaccio came with horseradish cream - this cream was frothy and to die for. The presentation of each of our dishes, as well as the dishes I saw others being served was phenomenal. Even regulars showed up for lunch; always a good sign.

The only reason I have 4 stars instead of five was because I noticed that a regular customer was served more quickly than other guests; his ticket skipped the queue, and, while the staff were very professional, they seemed to need someone to bus tables. Due to their own inefficiency in turning over tables, they could not get new patrons seated.

That being said, I would return in a heart beat.

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Honolulu
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Every great review is correct!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

Wonderful meal again at this outstanding restaurant in a strip mall just outside of Hilo town. Make sure to make reservations as they are busy..........but you won't feel rushed when you are there.

Some interesting draft beer selections, wine by the glass and bottle with suggestions of food pairings. We had the herb braised beef brisket and the eggplant napolean. Both were wonderful and enought for my wife and I to finish as lunch the next day when we flew back to Oahu.

My wife and I have dined at the Hilo Bay Cafe numerous times when visiting Hilo. It is a MUST DO when we are in Hilo.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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