For a land jacketed by the ocean on all its sides means there are plenty of fish in the sea – that you can eat!
Especially in a place that is known for its seafood, asking for vegetarian or vegan food somehow appears rude, no?
An island devoted to its tuna and shrimp, you will not find a single restaurant in Big Island that doesn’t say – ‘Today’s Catch’.
And the moment we declared that we don’t consume meat or seafood, we were often met by shocked expressions that I’m sure meant to otherwise say, “Why wouldn’t you?!”.
Jokes apart, we had a lovely time in Hawaii and we enjoyed the food more than we thought we would.
And Mai-Tais, needless to say.
Given the current pandemic, a handful of highly rated restaurants remained closed, but we managed to hit a good amount of vegan and vegetarian restaurants around the island, regardless.
To all those travelers and tourists who are wondering where you can get vegan food or which restaurants serve vegetarian options in the Big Island, we have got you covered.
Here’s a list of all the places where you can find delectable vegan and vegetarian food in the Island of Hawai’i.
And don’t forget to check out the map at the very end of this post for additional details of all the places mentioned below… and then some. 😉
1. Shaka Tacoz – $$
In the Kona region of Big Island, at the foothills of Mauna Loa, lies an unassuming little food truck that is known for serving the best tacos in the Big Island of Hawai’i. You will hear its name and fame as you step out of the plane and into the land of Hawaii.
A must visit tourist spot, Shaka Tacoz offers you a view of the south Kona coastline along with a decent vegan spread. Their quesadillas were fantastic and so were their homemade sauces.
You can dine-in, take-out or have an outdoor seating with a view of the coastline while you eat.
If you do choose to eat outside, you will often be greeted by one (or five) gold dust day geckos who will stare at your food like hungry puppies. Fun fact- they are known to have a sweet tooth so keep your sweet sauces and juicy tacos and basically everything away from these guys.
2. Menehune Coffee Company – $$
Located in the ground floor of Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, this place serves the best açaí bowls on the island.
This is a breakfast you must not miss while you vacation at Big Island. It is a bowlful of goodness and health. You will find layers of granola topped with açaí smoothie and crowned with pineapples and bananas.
And, coconut snow!
They also serve aromatic 100% Kona coffee here. This is another must-have in the Kona region of the island.
3. Ken’s House Of Pancakes – $$
A 50 year old establishment on the east side of the Big Island, Ken’s House of Pancakes serves local favorites and a grand menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner, 24 hours a day.
This Hilo-based restaurant is very generous in quantity and reasonable in price. Their pancakes are delicious and the macadamia nut toppings magically binds all the flavors together.
Plus, it’s a great spot to catch low flying airplanes since the Hilo airport is right across the street.
If you are not in a mood to dine-in, you can get a meal to-go and have a picnic at the Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens about 5 mins from the restaurant.
Pancakes and parks, it’s like meant to be.
4. Original Thai Cuisine – $$
Located at the centre of Kailua-Kona, Original Thai Cuisine is run by a mother and her two daughters. They, do not have a large variety of vegetarian and vegan options, but they will be willing to customize your dishes according to your preferences.
So, do not forget to ask them.
If you are not in the mood for island food, Original Thai Cuisine is a great place to get affordable and excellent Thai eats.
5. Herbivores – $$
This place was a button. Quaint, snug and fantastic food in the centre of a parking lot.
Herbivores is located in Kona and serves a purely vegan spread.
Their food is made to order, ridiculously healthy and, such huge portions! Their menu is so vast you will find yourself buying almost everything on it.
The food was so delicious we gobbled up our meal within minutes.
We definitely recommend their breakfast burrito and the smoothies and their vegan cookies and their.. you get the idea.
6. Ka-Lae Garden – $
Another family run business, this Thai restaurant, is one of the few restaurants that were open early along our drive to the Volcanoes National Park.
The ambience was very warm and they have plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.
They only offer takeout now due to COVID19, so order ahead to avoid waiting times.
There aren’t many restaurants around this area, so we recommend stopping here for food, if necessary.
7. Sweet Potato Kitchen – $$
A modest place with a very healthy menu, Sweet Potato Kitchen is a sweet little restaurant located in a small town.
This restaurant serves 100% organic, 100% vegan and 100% gluten-free COMFORT FOOD!
I know. It was surreal!
And the food was oh-so-good! Waffles, rice plates, french toasts, and uttapams – the list is just endless.
A vegan house with a hawaiian touch, this.
8. Kamana Kitchen – $$
Indian food on the Big Island of Hawaii? Why not?!
Kamana Kitchen serves Indian food with a dedicated vegan section in its menu.
This place serves good food, has good customer service, and is currently enforcing very strict mask policies.
9. Copper Bar – $$$
This one is a must try if you really want to indulge in some $$$ food. This high profile restaurant overlooks the ocean at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Waimea.
You will need to reserve beforehand because the place gets fully booked very soon.
We reserved a table for dinner and ordered vegetarian laksa, sushi and cauliflower fritters. The food was exceptional and we inhaled it all instantly!
We recommend going there in the evening to enjoy the food with a view of the sunset and have a stroll down the coast post dinner to see the Manta Ray feedings at night.
10. What’s Shakin’ – $
This is another cute shack located at the north of Hilo. It serves farm-to-café food including a range of smoothies, vegan dogs and wraps.
And do try their chilled coconut water too!
11. Lilikoi Cafe – $$
This was definitely my favorite of the lot. Lilikoi café is a hidden gem, located in the town of Waimea.
We ordered a small meal that included a vegetarian lasagna and some avo-mango salad.
And their Lilikoi coffee was definitely a treat to the tastebuds.
Every. Bite. Was. Soulful.
Definitely a 10/10 from us.
Well, there you have it!
11 great places to experience vegan and vegetarian food in the Big Island.
And here’s a map of all the places we went to including some cafés, shave ice parlors and chocolate factories to experience a little more of the touristy side of things on the Big Island of Hawai’i.