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“Hidden gem in Hilo”
Review of Hilo Bay Cafe

Hilo Bay Cafe
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Ranked #6 of 246 Restaurants in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: American, Japanese, Hawaiian, Contemporary
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Contemporary restaurant with emphasis on innovative cuisine using fresh, local, and organic ingredients--a Hilo town favorite gathering place. Full food and beverage service with indoor and outdoor lanai seating and large room for special events. Much of the restaurant has expansive views of Hilo bay, Mauna Kea, and Hilo town. Full bar, original recipes, artisan sushi, and keiki menu. Large parties are welcome. Come as you are or come as your best dressed self--we appreciate both! Reservations recommended. *For current menus, please visit our website, as TripAdvisor does not give businesses the capability to update menu content.*
Reviewed October 24, 2012

Had dinner here a couple of times when passing through Hilo. The restaurant is in a non-descript strip mall near the airport, so it is easy to miss but worth the visit if you are in the area. Service was very good, as was the food. Lots of variety on the menu - the Blue Bay burger is definitely recommended.

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Thank extradenticle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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818 - 822 of 1,175 reviews

Reviewed October 22, 2012

This place doesn't have much curb appeal- it's in the shopping center with a Wal Mart. But the decor and bar are modern and the menu is ample. When I asked about gluten-free options, our server immediately said she could accommodate me and asked if I had any other allergies. She said they can accommodate almost any food allergy. The fish dish was great as was their ginger margarita. Service was fast and friendly. I recommend reservations on a weekend night.

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1  Thank deanne m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

We have eaten here many times, mostly for lunch but a few times for dinner. Usually the food is wonderful and we know to make a reservation to ensure a good table. On this visit I really wanted to give it an "Excellent" rating, but I was disappointed. We were seated immediately upon arrival by a charming hostess on a very busy Friday night. The waiter described the specials and we decided to go with three of them. My husband selected two of the special appetizers, beef carpaccio and smoked salmon two ways, and I ordered the grilled squab with spinach and mushroom risotto. The carpaccio was excellent and the salmon dish had both smoked salmon and a delicious salmon potato cake with a bacon tartar sauce that was amazing. He was delighted. Unfortunately I wasn't as lucky. My entree arrived beautifully plated with a generous portion of risotto and two squab. The risotto was dressed with truffle oil and was melt-in-you-mouth delicious. The squab however, was dry and tough - both of them! If you are going to offer squab as a special, you better know how to cook it properly. I tried a few bites of each and that was all, I couldn't eat it. If the risotto has not been so exquisite, I would have sent the meal back. The waitress who picked up our plates did notice the squab was uneaten and I told her it was too tough. I like this restaurant very much but I wish they were more consistent in their quality.

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Thank PMcKinsey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

My wife and I went here while on our Hawaii vacation. We had actually reviewed their menu on-line before going here ..... and thus we knew that they served some "lighter fare", which is what we were interested in for a change -- so I ordered the chicken pot pie, and my wife simply had the blue-burger. So I suppose we never gave them the opportunity to "wow" us. Nevertheless, what we did have was good tasty food -- just not something exceptional.

As for the location, it's in a strip mall, but still, it is nicely decorated inside with a modern, chic ambience -- but just a bit cramped because it is not a large place.

My most prominent memory of this place is none of the above, however, but rather our reception and seating experience. We did not have reservations, so when we arrived and asked for a table, the hostess hesitated, and then said ..... "the only table that I have available right now is this one right behind me" -- definitely the least desirable table, in an open high traffic area right behind her reception podium. Okay, so be it. There were several other empty tables at the time, but I presumed those to be for couples who had made reservations.

There were two other couples that followed us in shortly thereafter, neither of which had reservations either (I could easily hear all of the welcoming conversation because of where we were seated). Then to our big surprise!!! .... there was no hesitation by the hostess whatsoever -- none! -- as she said "right this way", and led both of them to tables in a much nicer location in the restaurant. We sat there in dismay !! What was so different about us, or what had changed so dramatically within 5 minutes after our arrival, that these other empty tables were now so easily available -- recall what she had just told us (or should I say, lied to us). Obviously, we were not happy with her, to say the least -- I could use stronger language.

So an "average" rating is generous I believe ..... good food, offset by a really bad hostess experience.

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3  Thank Weston66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

So my friend starts apologizing before we get there as this little gem is in a strip mall and she knows what a foodie I am. I say no worries, I loved it from our first step in. The energy was positive, the food I saw sitting on the tables and drinks being consumed got me all excited. Our waiter was great and there were no many good things on the menu I had a very hard time deciding.. I went for the evening special of NY steak-in Hawaii???? Yes indeed I wanted to try the grass fed beef and I tell you it melted in my mouth. But first we had to order cocktails and I tried their a special of the night, vodka with jalapeno juice and it was fabulous. The peppered beef carpaccio (I told you I wanted to try the grass fed beef) was more than I expected. So tasty and seasoned perfectly. We split that great quinoa salad and devoured the molten chocolate lava cake. The food was gone before we thought of pictures. Sorry, you will have to go there yourself.

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Thank DonnaNPG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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