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

Hilo Bay Cafe
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Ranked #5 of 233 Restaurants in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: American, Contemporary, Fusion, Sushi
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Local cuisine, Bar scene, Special occasions, Business meetings, Scenic view, Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
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.
Livingston, New Jersey
Level Contributor
43 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great food in Hilo”
5 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank stephenddiamond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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970 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    525
    279
    99
    44
    23
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Saint Paul, MN
Level Contributor
144 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Not quite as great....”
3 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Samcat1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 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
Helpful?
Thank Lance H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland
Level Contributor
124 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Fantabulous”
4 of 5 bubbles 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.

Helpful?
Thank narcisse07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honolulu
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Every great review is correct!”
5 of 5 bubbles 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 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank ChuckBraden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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