A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted to share with you my personal insights for those travelling to Kona, for the Ironman World Championships for the first time, and maybe even for those who have been before.
In this week’s episode, I am going to share with your favourite places on the island to eat, drink and be merry. These are the places that I hit up every year I go back to Kona, and I have been going to Kona every year since 2014. I bloody love it.
Now, like I have always mentioned on my show, these are indeed my experiences, so I am pretty sure that many of those who I know, who also go back to the island on a regular basis, may have some other really cool places to share. I highly recommend those who are listening and have other suggestions to please comment on my Instagram @tarshtalks or at the end of these notes in the comments section. Here I can connect with you directly.
I thought to myself, what is the best way for me to share all these super cool places with you, and then it struck me, why don’t I just go in the order of how we eat meals…..breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Just note that many of the places I mention, you can pretty much go to them for any meal you like.
Lets get started and I hope you have eaten already, because by the time we get to the end of this show, you are going to want to eat nearly everything that I have mentioned ha ha ha…..or you will have at least taken some notes.
Breakfast. I need to admit to you all now, I don’t eat breakfast. I don’t even eat before an Ironman. Yup I know, OMG how on earth, but you know what, 13 Ironmans in, it works for me.
On the island however, as it is light early and it is already so warm, there is no way I can pass up an Acai Bowl. …….and the best place, in my opinion, and in my experience is – Basik Acai cafe.
These guys make the most delicious acai bowls and they also do smoothies, they have plenty of options, and sizes. They are priced between $5-$10 USD, they have vegan, gluten-free options and they are vegetarian-friendly. They have a number of extra options for an additional cost.
I better warn you though, this place gets mega busy, so expect a little bit of line. It is a small place too. The location can be seen from Ali’i drive. For those visiting the island this year for the world champs, the best way for me to describe it is, if you are heading down towards digme beach from the top of Ali’i drive, it is on the left hand side, and it is just before the big grass area where Ceramic Speed and the bike mechanics set up for the week. It is just as you enter the main hype of Ali’i drive. You will pass Bill fisher Condos on your righthand side. I would say the best thing to do is google Basik (with a k) Acai and you will see the location. They are open Monday to Sat 8am – 3pm and Sunday 9am – 3 pm.
Staying with breakfast places, let’s move more into town. Close your eyes and picture the ocean and hear the sounds of the waves…………you there? okay open your eyes now and let’s walk further down the road, ocean is on your left-hand side, and the restaurants are on your right. Now with all these places, you can go there for any meal you like lol. Breakfast, Lunch, dinner and snack joints so I will just cover each of them as I virtually take you down Ali’i drive.
– Fosters Kitchen – https://www.fosterskitchen.com/
I love this place. I’ve been going to Fosters Kitchen in Kailua-Kona, since it opened its doors at this location. I have introduced this place to my Betty sisters in 2017 and then again went there to have post celebratory Kona dinner friends.
Okay so important stuff – there are two happy hours each day – the first one is between 3-5pm and then again between 9-10pm. The food is all fresh, locally sourced and is super delicious. This is a pricier place, so I recommend keeping this place for post race celebrations.
If you do have a large group attending, I suggest booking a table in advance. The views again are brilliant. Think upstairs, open air restaurant, in the evenings you can watch the sunset and experience the cool breeze from the ocean to help you to keep cool.
Next up we have
Huggos Restaurant and Huggos On the Rocks https://huggosontherocks.com/
Set on the beach side of Ali’i drive, think of sand under your feet with pretty awesome views. Huggos restaurant, I have only eaten breakfast there and attended the famous Breakfast with Bob. This is also the place where we all party post the Ironman race. I have been known to dance the night away bare feet in the sand, whilst drinking lots of drinks. Last year, my friend Emily and I started the dancing. We indeed had a ball. Now to also add, this is where I also attend the Thank God I am not Racing Party (TGINR) which is the night before the actual race. It is put on my Bob Babbitt to raise funds for his charity – Challenged Athletes Foundation and is invite only. After attending the previous few years, I am looking forward to this year! And as long I get there early, I will get this years TGINR medal and a trucker! (I missed out last year on the medal as I got there too late).
Oh one more thing to note for those who are spectating, Happy hour is daily from 3pm – 5pm.
– Fish Hopper Seafood and Steaks https://www.fishhopper.com/kona/
This place for me has the best clam chowder. I know, how can one eat chowder in the heat of Kona, but somehow you find a way. Lol. The service is great, people are lovely. A place one must go at least once. The views of the ocean from the restaurant are fab, pending if you can get a seat closest to the sea. Also, if you want to eat here post your morning swim down at Digme beach, I definitely recommend the breakfast menu. OMG they not only do eggs, but the French toast (yum) or the pancakes……the list is endless!
Island Lava Java https://islandlavajava.com/
Island Lava Java is one of the most renowned places on Ali’li drive for food. I personally love a good breakfast there. The views are amazing. If you manage to get a table at the front of the restaurant, you will have uninterrupted views of the ocean and the sunsets in Kona are off the charts insane.
During the weeks leading into Kona race day, Lava Java have a really cool breakfast menu which they name after the pro triathletes. It really is quite a cool place and one where you should all go at least once! If you are going, you may indeed see me there, on more than one occasion.
Daylight Mind Coffee Company https://www.daylightmind.com/
This is where you will find me mostly during the day of race week, as I have a travelling Stomp the Pedal store. Yup that is right. I don’t set up in the expo. I cannot afford that, so for now I carry all my stock that I want to sell in Kona, in my backpack, ride around the place and set up at Daylight Mind Coffee Company, where I work, drink coffee and meet up with friends from all over globe. The views are also spectacular and usually it is nice and quiet. The coffee is also nice and the staff are generally pleasant and they do have a great food menu as well. If you pop in you are likely to see many of us on our laptops working away, interviewing athletes or doing deals.
Da Poke Shack – http://dapokeshack.com/
I wonder how many people actually know what Poke is? I know before going to Kona in 2014 I had no idea what Poke was, but once I had it, it became a must have meal at least twice on the island. So what is poke? Poke is basically diced raw fish. Mainly locally caught ahi tuna.
Da Poke Shack has limited outdoor seating. It is open from 10am, and it is recommended that you go early rather than later. They tend to sell out daily. They have quite the variety as well. You will also be faced with a line, depending on when you go.
In my opinion Da Poke Shack is my absolute favourite and the best place in Kailua Kona to get it from. It is always fresh, NEVER FROZEN.
Kona Brewing Company Pub & Brewery – https://konabrewingco.com/come-visit
This is definitely a place everyone should experience at least, especially if you love a good beer. The folks here are super friendly. The place is really cool. I actually have only been here once, and it was my girlfriends back in 2017. We had fun though.
All of the places that I have mentioned, are just a few of many available on the island but the ones I visit the most during my time on the island. There are heaps of other places, like Bubba Gump, a really nice Thai Restaurant that sits on the curbside of Ali’i drive. Oh and there is a super cool Japenese place that I have eaten twice. You know what I could talk for days, so drop me a note, if you have want to know more.
If you want more information or have a question, please comment below.
Thanks for reading!
Copyright Tarsh Wendt 2021
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Hey, I'm Tarsh! Passionate, fun-loving Aussie now based in London. Founder of activewear label Stomp The Pedal, podcaster, motivational speaker and multiple Ironman triathlete. Thanks for visiting my site!