Huggo’s – Waterfront Dining with Stunning Views and a Casual Vibe
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Taste sea-to-table cuisine right on the ocean at Huggo’s. With a casual vibe and great food, you’ll want to make this restaurant your regular haunt while in Kailua-Kona.

- The Local Expert Team

Originally a gathering spot for local fishermen craving good steak and conversation after a day on the water, Huggo’s remains true to its roots as a dining oasis in Kailua-Kona for those looking for great food and fun.

Founded in 1969, Huggo’s began from the joint efforts of Hugo von Platen Luder and his wife Shirley. They chose a prime spot on the Kona coast to establish their restaurant, Huggo’s, where it stands today. Not wanting to let anything fall to chance, the couple operated their sportfishing charter to ensure the restaurant’s kitchen had the freshest catch available daily. Their son Eric von Platen Luder took over the restaurant in 1982 and continues to operate it today. Huggo’s has proven so successful, that it has spawned numerous sister restaurants in the area, also owned by the family.  

As a family-owned and operated restaurant for more than 50 years, Huggo’s has a high standard for service, atmosphere, and food. To maintain its quality, Huggo’s has a limited menu that changes based on seasonally available produce and seafood. So, you’ll get the freshest meals possible from the chefs who creatively use the best ingredients on hand.

Despite its reputation for steak and seafood, vegetarians and vegans feel welcome. The menu clearly labels foods that are vegetarian and vegan. By substituting tofu for fish, some of the seafood dishes can be prepared for vegetarians. Those who eat gluten-free will also find ordering from the menu easy with clear labels on each gluten-free item.

Due to the sea-to-table format of the menu, the options tend to vary seasonally. However, you will still find many standout favorites served all year long, such as Huggo’s Signature Teriyaki Steak and the Classic Mai Tai.

Try one of the perennial favorites on Huggo’s menu:

Huggo’s Signature Teriyaki Steak
Since 1969, people have come to Huggo’s for the Signature Teriyaki Steak. The recipe remains unchanged to this day. You can enjoy the same steak that brought fishermen to the restaurant after work. The marinated steak includes local Asian greens and steamed rice on the side. Try this dish at least once to get a taste of Kailua-Kona’s history.

Haupia Cake
The Haupia Cake technically serves one, but this towering cylindrical coconut dessert can easily provide filling desserts for two to four people. To create this popular dessert frequently recommended by staff, the kitchen layers haupia, coconut cake, and coconut cream. Whipped cream with toasted and shredded coconut covers the entire cake. Whether visiting Huggo’s for a special occasion or just craving a satisfying dessert, you should order this cake to close out your meal.  

Ahi Sashimi
Sashimi relies on the freshness of fish to taste good. At Huggo’s the ability to use ahi tuna caught just a few hours before makes serving high-quality sashimi possible. With this appetizer, you may choose more traditional sashimi or a Cajun-spice seared variation. Both come with pickled ginger, wakame, and wasabi. This appetizer will give you a true taste of the importance of the sea-to-table experience at Huggo’s.

Caesar Salad
Starting with locally grown romaine lettuce, the Caesar Salad at Huggo’s makes the most of this simple side. The Caesar dressing provides the garlic-spiked pungency provides a flavorful punch to the salad. Fresh parmesan cheese, croutons, and frico round out the dish. The frico, a wafer of toasted parmesan cheese, really adds flair to this dish. Diners think the frico on the salad tastes so good that it should be its appetizer.

Classic Mai Tai
You may already love the classic Mai Tai, but did you know Huggo’s created this drink in 1969? You still can get the only made-from-scratch version of this on the Big Island at Huggo’s. The ingredient that sets this Mai Tai apart from those served elsewhere is the inclusion of the secret-recipe almond syrup used to provide a subtle nutty essence to the cocktail.  

Stop by Huggo’s for a cool, casual place to eat with oceanfront views and great food on the Kona Coast.

Insider Tips:
-Arrive early to get a table in time to enjoy dinner while watching the sunset over the water.
-Visit the cocktail lounge, hBar, for Happy Hour specials before the dining area opens.
-Get a table next to the water after dark to watch for manta rays swimming toward the lights of the restaurant from the reef.