Puka Puka Kitchen

Puka Puka Kitchen: Best Bento In Hilo
The Bottom Line:

Puka Puka Kitchen is a little restaurant serving big flavors in downtown Hilo. Get ready for a flavor fusion of Japan, Hawaiian, Middle Eastern, and Indian fare. A local favorite, the menu features colorful and delicious grab-and-go Bentos, fresh fish, meats, salads, Pita, and more. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

This could be one of the best-kept secrets in all Hawaii. Puka Puka Kitchen is a little restaurant serving big flavors. Located in downtown Hilo on Kamehameha Ave, look for the yellow sign with a black cat and get ready for a magical treat. They know their way around their little kitchen, and it shows. Experience a flavor fusion of Japan, Hawaiian, Middle Eastern, and Indian fare. You see, Hawaii has a very strong and interesting food culture. It is based on the rich history of immigrants relocating and making the Islands their home. Throughout the years, the language and the food merged together creating something extraordinary. The food fusion created at Puka Puka Kitchen is the perfect example of this.

The locals know where to eat good food, and this hot spot is busy all the time. Puka is Hawaiian for “hole” and this is exactly how the locals describe this eatery. They call it a little Puka, or hole in the wall. There isn’t much room inside to dine, but the Puka Puka team has everything they need to prepare and pack up your meal to go. Seriously, they know how to send you out the door smiling. There are only five tables inside and a few outside dining areas. That’s it! If you do stay and eat inside in their no fuss or frills dining area, there are windows from the ceiling to the floor that allows you to view the beautiful palm trees and landscape in the distance. No worries, this food is so good, you won’t care about where you eat it. Plan ahead and have a picnic at an outdoor park near Hilo Bay, underneath the shade of a tree, or eat in your car on the way to another beautiful Hawaiian destination.

The Puka Puka Kitchen menu almost seems bigger than their building. Some folks ask how they can create such lavish amounts of food. It is like magic, many say. One of the most popular menu items is bento. Bento is a term used in Japan meaning, “packed with foods.” They are beautifully arranged grab-and-go meals inside containers featuring vibrant eye-catching color combinations. Everything looks like a talented artist who carefully prepared and designed your meal. The delicous food is fresher than fresh adding to the wonderful presentation. Salmon, shrimp, ahi, scallops, lamb, chicken, rice, Saba, noodles, salad, pickled vegetables, falafel, curry salad and so much more. They even have Spam! 

The Puka Puka Kitchen Plate Menu includes:
Vegetable Don Plate
Ahi Don Plate
Sautéed Ahi
Chicken Katsu
Barbequed Chicken

You have to try the house-sauteed garlic rice. It is the perfect complement to any meal and always steals the show! The curry rice and tuna katsu are a favorite with Hilo residents and for good reason. The perfect touch of curry spices things up and creates a wonderful, warm, and earthy flavorful sauce. It’s sweet and savory at the same time! If you love pitas, this is the place for the best pita you’ll have in your life. Freshly baked puffy light pitas are overstuffed and loaded with fresh, locally sourced ingredients like ahi, chicken, lamb, and falafel. Plus, all pitas are served with your choice of house-made French fries, sauteed garlic rice, or green salad with a delicious dressing that will wake up your senses. You won’t go hungry or unhappy, that is for sure. You might even have leftovers to enjoy later in the day.

Puka Puka Kitchen was listed as one of Sunset Magazine’s Best Restaurants in Hilo, Hawaii’s Culinary Gems. Don’t leave Hawaii without stopping by and digging in! 

Insider Tips:
-Puka Puka Kitchen has plenty of free parking outside the entrance.
-They have a daily speed line featuring $6.00 bowl specials.