Big Island restaurants
As with other Hawaiian islands, fine restaurants on the Big Island often serve "Hawaii regional cuisine," an early-'90s phenomenon pioneered by such chefs as Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, Sam Choy, Beverly Gannon, and Peter Merriman. Its hallmark is a commitment to fresh, local ingredients, often used in haute or healthy renditions of local favoritesgrilled short ribs, poke (marinated raw fish), kalua-style shredded porkthe original (greasier) versions of which are typically sold for $7 a plate at take-out joints. Vegetarians and people watching their cholesterol should proceed with caution: Big Island food tends to be salty and oriented to red-meat eaters. The majority of upscale restaurants on the Big Island are located on the Kohala Coast, many of them in five-star hotels. However, the agricultural area of Waimea (an hour away from Kohala) hosts two of the island's best, the namesake restaurants of Hawaii chefs Thiebaut and Peter Merriman. Along the spectacular scenic drive of the Hamakua Coast, you can find esoteric gems like Tex's Drive-In. Hilo, the largest town on the island, has midrange (and delicious) restaurants, like the Hilo Bay Café.