The Big Island of Hawaii boasts a delightful culinary scene that certainly emphasizes seafood thanks to its location in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. And naturally, you can prep, cook, and serve fish and shellfish in a dozen different ways, including in the delicious form of sushi and sashimi.
If you love sushi, then you will enjoy a rich variety of options on the Big Island. Here, there is a big range of restaurants that showcase the flavors and artistry of this Japanese cuisine. From traditional rolls to innovative fusions, from small hole-in-the-wall casual eateries to premier resort sushi bars, the Big Island has it all.
Just take a look at the following quick snapshot of some of the very best sushi-specializing restaurants you’ll find on this Hawaiian island:
1. Ebisuya Sushi
Located in the general downtown area of Hilo on Kilauea Ave, Ebisuya Sushi is an excellent example of a beloved hole-in-the-wall sushi spot. This is a small mom-and-pop business located at the end of a colorful shopping center full of other small businesses. It’s an unassuming place and its large open interior dining area even more so. Think very casual and with an older Hawaiian-Japanese feel. But once you sit down, tuck in, and order up your favorite sushi rolls, it’s easy to see why this place is often filled with others.
Ebisuya Sushi features a sizeable menu that boasts all the classics like your Spicy Salmon and California 6-piece rolls. They also have some pretty delicious signature rolls like the Train Wreck, which comes as a deep-fried cream cheese California roll topped with spicy Ahi, green onion, aioli, and unagi graze. Also, this is a BYOB restaurant. So go ahead and grab your favorite saki, wine, or six-pack at the market and come enjoy it alongside your favorite sushi rolls.
2. Izakaya Shiono Kona
Maybe you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale? If so, then consider a visit to Izakaya Shiono Kona. This authentic Japanese restaurant is located in Kailua-Kona near the end of Pawai Place where it dead ends at Kona Brewing Company. This is one of several restaurants under the esteemed Sushi Shiono business umbrella whose owners have built their reputation on serving the highest quality entrees.
Izakya Shiono Kona gets their fish primarily from local fishermen that head out right from Kona’s docks. However, they also fly in premium fish from Japan every week to really round out their menu. The restaurant also locally sources beef and many of the vegetarian ingredients they use. Favorite entrees here include The Hear Attack which combines a classic spicy tuna and cream cheese roll with even spicier jalapenos and serves it deep fried and the Black Garlic Ramen bowl that features fresh home-made noodles served within a Tonkotsu-based soups and topped with two savory slices of char situ, green scallions, kikurage, and mayu garlic sauce.
3. Luana Lounge
Located within the Fairmont Orchid Resort, Luana Lounge is a great choice for when you want to enjoy good sushi with an outstanding view. True to its name, Luana Lounge is set up as a very relaxed, open-air eatery. We hesitate to use the word restaurant and it certainly does not fit the mold of what you’d expect from a restaurant or even a bar. Here, you’ll find a set of comfortable lounge chairs under an overhang that opens up to a massive second-floor porch where the rest of the plush patio chairs and dining tables sit. From this height, you can easily lean back and enjoy incredible views of the ocean and the lush tropical landscaping between it and you.
Luana Lounge is the one place on this list of best sushi spots that isn’t primarily a sushi place. Here, you will find a nice array of smaller plate items that include flatbreads, chicken wings, and in-house desserts. That said, they do have some delicious sushi menu items like the Nalu Sushi Roll that combines crab, avocado, and cucumber into a roll and then tops it with spicy tuna, crispy Maui onion, tobiko, spicy aioli, and a sweet soy glaze. So go for the atmosphere and stay for a fresh, crunchy roll.
4. ULU Suhsi Lounge
ULU Sushi Lounge may also have “lounge” in its name, but it’s certainly a much different feel. Here, sushi is at the heart of the menu and the dining area, both indoor and outdoor, has the look, feel, and grace of an upscale Japanese grill. The extended patio for this restaurant is within a stone’s toss of where the Pacific Ocean waves break on a short beach area.
This location boasts an extensive menu of premier nigiri, sushi, and sashimi. Whichever item you order, you can expect the very best in ingredients, presentation, and service as it’s brought to you. If you’re not sure what to order, we recommend going for the Chef’s Assorted Nigiri which includes five of the very best selections of the evening.
5. Sushi Shop Kyotoya
Last but certainly not least, there is Sushi Shop Kyoto in Kailua-Kona. This is an even smaller hole-in-the-wall spot than Ebisuya Sushi as they don’t even have an indoor dining area. Instead, you’ll go up to a window to make your order for takeout or to dine at one of the few outdoor tables just in front of the business. But don’t let this casual setting deter you. Sushi Shop Kyotoya has been around for many years now and is well-liked by locals for delivering consistently delicious sushi rolls.
Learn More About Premier Hawaiian Eats
As you can see, sushi is big on the Big Island — but it is certainly not the only type of cuisine that’s outstanding here. This is a very multi-faceted place with a multitude of dining options ranging from finger-licking food trucks to tuck-in-white tablecloth restaurants. Learn more about all that the Big Island has to offer, including other hot seafood spots, by visiting our other pages and get excited about your upcoming trip to the Hawaiian islands.