#147 of 0 The Big Island Restaurants

Lilikoi Cafe

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Lilikoi Cafe: Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options Abound at Waimea's Hidden Gem
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Lilikoi Cafe brings healthy, light fare to Waimea, with local ingredients emphasized whenever possible. Vegetarians and vegans adore this restaurant, which provides plenty of great meat-free dishes. Stop by for a light meal prior to an adventure in the Waimea area — but don't neglect to set aside room for dessert.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

When you need a light meal in Waimea, you can’t go wrong with the Lilikoi Cafe. This casual location serves a variety of soups, sandwiches, and salads, plus enticing breakfasts to get each day off to a healthy start. Nutritious, yet satisfying, the meals offered here provide a nice break from the area’s heavier cuisine. There’s no better option for fueling up prior to a hiking adventure or other outdoor excursion.

The cafe’s location behind the Parker Ranch Shopping Center might not seem impressive, but there’s more to this establishment than meets the eye. If you’re willing to miss out on the impressive views offered at other local restaurants, you’ll be rewarded with fresh cuisine, friendly service, special dietary accommodations, and reasonable prices — a tough combination to find on the Big Island.

Visitors with dietary restrictions appreciate all that the Lilikoi Cafe offers. The menu is packed with vegetarian options, proving that meat is not an essential component of a satisfying meal. Several gluten-free dishes are also available, as are desserts that will appeal to gluten-sensitive visitors. The French-trained owner knows how to make every dish delectable, even when the recipe seems simple.

Every meal is better when enjoyed with a cup of coffee or one of the cafe’s fresh-squeezed juices. A small selection of soft drinks is also offered. No matter what you order or which beverages you choose, you’ll want to take a little time to appreciate your meal and the casual, yet warm environment that this charming little cafe provides.

A few of our favorite menu items include the following:

Breakfast Burrito
This vegetarian burrito will delight anyone who desires a savory breakfast but is usually forced to compromise with meat-filled menus. Not only is this burrito packed with eggs and tofu, but it also contains sweet red peppers and the perfect amount of garlic.

Three Salad Combo
The Lilikoi Cafe provides a variety of salads, but choosing just one can be surprisingly difficult. Why leave anything out? This combo opportunity makes it possible to enjoy a variety of fresh flavors and veggies from the deli. Local ingredients are incorporated whenever possible.

White Tuna Sandwich
Elevate your ‘typical’ tuna sandwich with unique ingredients that may seem odd at first glance — but are actually capable of bringing out the best of the tuna. Incorporating raisins, pinenuts, apples, and onions, this sandwich goes above and beyond. Like every sandwich at the Lilikoi Cafe, it also comes with a delicious green salad. 

Chicken Kamuela
If you want something a bit more hearty than the cafe’s salads or sandwiches, this is a great option. Named for an alternative Waimea moniker, this meal feels true to the town. Basmati rice, vegetables, and pineapples are central components of the meal, as is a delectable mushroom cream sauce.

Triple Chocolate Espresso Cake
The meals at the Lilikoi Cafe are light enough to leave plenty of room for dessert. This is great news, as the sweet treats at this establishment are not to be missed. Selecting the perfect option will be tough, as the cheesecake, bread pudding, and cobbler are all exquisite. There’s nothing like this chocolatey wonder, however, which is best enjoyed alongside a cappuccino. 

Discover a true hidden gem at the Lilikoi Cafe, which provides a wonderfully fresh and healthy alternative to the food court at the mall. Stop by for a quick breakfast or lunch before you conquer the most exciting activities in the Waimea area.

Insider Tips:
-While enjoying a meal onsite is always a great option, the Lilikoi Cafe also provides convenient takeout. Its deli setup means that it’s well-positioned to provide a meal (or dessert) on the go.
-A few outdoor tables are available. While the view might not initially seem impressive, it’s sometimes possible to view Mauna Kea observatories from this vantage point. Quiet seating and a few potted plants make this a surprisingly enjoyable space to enjoy a quick lunch.