Paul’s Place

Paul's Place – Enjoy Tasty Big Island Cuisine Served in an Intimate Hilo Eatery
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

For a taste of delightful Big Island cuisine, set your sights on Paul’s Place in Hilo. Homecooked fare is the name of the game, as is friendly service always. Their Hilo eatery is ultra-tiny though, so make your reservations far in advance or risk missing out.

- The Local Expert Team

When you want Big Island cuisine served with a smile, Paul’s Place is the way to go. At this cozy Hilo eatery, they make every last item from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. Then, they serve up their creations hot and ready to enjoy while you chill in their ultra-tiny dining room. The whole experience feels like dining at a friend’s home, making it an absolute must whenever you’re visiting the island.

With only three small tables in their dining room, it’s almost impossible to get a seat upon walking in. Even if you’re willing to wait, they’re not likely to get a spot open before the next reservation comes in. More often than not, their reservations go out three months or more, after all, keeping them super busy year-round. So, if you want a chance to dine here, you had better book your spot well before you even have your tickets to the Big Island.

Although it takes a lot of planning, booking a table here is well worth the trouble. There’s no other way to get a taste of the pure deliciousness served up by Chef Paul or experience their eatery’s homey ambiance. On the scheduled date of your visit, you’ll want to arrive about 15 minutes before your reserved timeslot. That way, you’re ready to get seated as soon as your table opens up.

Upon walking through the doors, your server will send a warm aloha your way, and then let you know the expected wait time. Then, they’ll go back to caring for their currently seated guests while you get comfortable up front. Once your table is ready, they’ll come back up front to lead you to your spot. You can then get started with a tasty drink while you browse the rest of the menu.

Since they’re a small eatery, you can expect a rather abbreviated menu. Every last item is as good as the last, however, so you cannot lose no matter what you select. They make every item from scratch, too, and only use the finest local ingredients. Then, once it’s all expertly prepared, they artfully arrange the items on the plate to leave you impressed at first glance. Rest assured that their dishes taste just as good as they look, too, leaving you happily going for bite after bite.

Come by for a taste of the:

Belgian Waffle
If you want to enjoy local fruit and honey to the fullest, start your day with the Belgian Waffle. This simple dish begins with a scratch-made waffle. Then, they top it with syrup before adding plenty of fresh tropical fruit. After that, a drizzle of local honey elevates its flavors even more.

Fish Bowl
The Fish Bowl lets you savor all the best ocean flavors in every last bite. They make this dish by sautéing fresh fish in a sauce made using tomatoes, onions, garlic, and capers. Once that’s perfectly cooked, they put it over a bed of al dente pasta.

For a unique take on the bacon, lettuce, and tomato formula, get the SS BLT, for sure. They create this dish by creating a classic BLT sandwich. Then, they take it to the next level by adding in the SS or smoked salmon, plus a delicious pesto sauce. A bright and flavorful side salad lands alongside to add even more greenery to the mix.

Although they post their regular hours, they do not always stick to them. Thankfully, as long as they have reservations on the books, they’ll be there to serve their patrons. The only real problem with this then is that if they’re not in the restaurant, they’re not answering the phone. So, if your call just rings and rings, try to call back at a different time, or day until you’re able to reach them to make reservations.  

Insider Tips:
-All their tables only have two chairs each. So, if you’re dining with four in your party, then you’ll need to book two tables. They cannot accommodate larger groups than that as a result of their limited space.
-Can’t get ahold of them by phone? Send over an email with your reservation request.