Hawaii’s Big Island is home to a variety of restaurants that deliver gorgeous mountain views alongside delicious cuisine. Few, however, are more iconic than Merriman’s Big Island. As the flagship restaurant of the acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman, this establishment is known for its locally-sourced ingredients and stunning scenery.
Serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, this upscale restaurant has a strong reputation in Waimea and throughout Big Island.
No matter what you order for lunch or dinner at Merriman’s Big Island, you’ll want to treat yourself to a glass of fine wine or a handcrafted cocktail. The margaritas are not to be missed, although you also should be pleased with your Manhattan or Negroni. Several local brews are also available, as is a delightful pineapple cider from Ola Brew.
The cheerful environment at this restaurant is nearly as enticing as the food and drinks that the restaurant serves. The decor is sunny and vibrant, much like Hawaii itself. Outdoor seating is available and especially compelling during sunset.
A few of our favorite menu items at Merriman’s Big Island include the following:
Kalua Pig & Sweet Onion Quesadilla
Although listed as an appetizer or lunch, this option will suffice as a full dinner for some restaurant visitors. A memorable take on the typical quesadilla, it is loaded with aged cheddar and also features kim chee and mango chili sauce.
Rosemary Grilled Eggplant Sandwich
An excellent lunch order for vegetarians at Merriman’s Big Island, this satisfying sandwich bursts with flavor — made possible by the inclusion of sriracha aioli and fresh basil. Other highlights include chevre from Big Island, as well as locally grown tomatoes.
Macadamia Nut Crusted Fresh Catch
A unique take on the catch of the day concept, this delectable dinner selection incorporates broccolini from HL Farms, as well as exotic Hamakua mushrooms and a miso reduction.
Grilled Octopus & Pacific White Shrimp
If you’ve never tried octopus before, now is the perfect time for a culinary adventure. After you’ve cleaned your plate, you’ll wonder why you never sampled it before. At Merriman’s Big Island, both grilled octopus and shrimp are served with white beans, spinach, preserved tomatoes, and citrus butter.
Coconut Creme Brulee
If you have a sweet tooth, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to this exquisite, distinctly Hawaiian take on a dessert classic. Featuring macadamia nut shortbread cookies, it’s sure to please even if you’re full after dinner or lunch.
If you’re an adventurous diner with a desire to explore local flavors, you’ll love everything about Merriman’s Big Island.
-Don’t be too concerned about finding something tasty if you’re limited to vegetarian or gluten-free dining. The gluten-free menu, in particular, is impressive, with several favorite dishes distinguished by an easy-to-spot GF indicator. You’ll need to work a bit harder to find the perfect meal that lacks meat, but a few enticing options are available beyond the usual salads.
-Reservations are strongly recommended for Merriman’s Big Island— particularly if you intend to visit during peak dinner hours. Thankfully, these can easily be made in advance on OpenTable or by calling the restaurant. The earlier reservations are made, the better, as this in-demand restaurant often books up well in advance.
-Merriman’s Big Island definitely has a classy atmosphere, but formal attire is not actually required. That being said, many guests find they enjoy the experience that much more if they dress up a bit for a sophisticated night out.