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The best poke on the Big Island

By William Whelan

Ahh, poke. A true delicacy. No, we’re not talking about the fast-casual “poke” that took over on the mainland 5 years ago. Traditional Hawiian poke is something to behold, a pre-marinated mix of silky soft ahi best with hot rice & furikake. There are hundreds of variations. Every island & every family has their own style, but every good poke is made with pride. The Big Island represents with some absolutely incredible poke shops, so without further ado here’s our list of favorites:

Island Style Grindz – Formerly known as Kawaihae Kandyz up in Hawi, these guys took their business mobile with a new name & food truck. Family owned, they make the best wonton poke nachos around. We also love their poke bomb inari pockets, grilled kalbi, Korean chicken, & furikake mahi. Their locations vary from week to week, but if you see the blue truck PULL OVER, you can’t go wrong with these grindz. Check their social media to find out where they’re setting up for the day. (https://www.islandstylegrindz.com)

Bite Da Eye – Food truck located in the Sears Auto Center parking lot. This place is far off the tourist circuit, but serves outstanding poke & true Hawaiian food made with local ingredients. Kalua pig & squid luau are on the menu some days, some days they only run fresh fish. Check their Instagram for the latest details. (https://www.instagram.com/bitetheeye)

Poke Market, LLC – New little spot in downtown Hilo. Don’t let that fool you, this is possibly the best poke on the Big Island. The shiitake salmon & classic spicy pokes are both nuts. Outstanding quality fish & creativity put these guys at the top of our list. (https://www.pokemarkethi.com)

Kona Seafood Market – New up-and-coming seafood market in downtown Kona. Their pokes are clearly old-school family recipes that really hit right when you’re craving fish. This also the spot for other fresh local fish- opakapaka, monchong, mahi mahi, ono & more are available. (https://www.kona-seafood.com)

Poke Shack – At one point these guys had the best rating on Yelp in the entire United States! Located on Ali’i drive, they offer several kinds of poke, sides, & other traditional Hawaiian dishes like laulau. Perfect spot to grab lunch & a few beers after a dip at Magic’s or Kahalu’u. (https://dapokeshack.com)

Kona Grill House – Formerly known as Sundried Specalties, this little market serves killer poke. Try a scoop or two with the fried lobster cake & a slice of lilikoi cheesecake for dessert. This is our favorite place to stop for lunch after a morning of snorkeling in South Kona. (https://konagrillhouse.com

Umekes – The big name in poke in Kona. Umekes has grown from a small hole-in-the-wall shop to their slick new location on the Brewery Block. They have all the classics- spicy, avo, shoyu, Hawaiian, kanaka, & a changing poke-of-the-day. Their kimchi cucumber & spicy crab salad are both outstanding. Check out their new space & have a buffalo soldier (or three). (http://umekesrestaurants.com)

Suisan Fish Market – Started in 1907 by fishermen in Hilo, Suisan now supplies most of the island with fresh fish. The market at their Hilo location has some excellent poke, plus tons of other fresh catch fish options. Try the dried poke if you like beef jerky. (https://www.suisan.com/our-services/fish-market)

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Manta Ray Night Dive

What a truly amazing experience!! Nearly an hour of down time with dozens of large mantas putting on an incredible show. Jenna, and Captain Kevin made it a pleasant and safe trip. This is a must do while staying on the Big Island.

RichGiff on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:32:39-10:00

RichGiff on TripAdvisor

What a truly amazing experience!! Nearly an hour of down time with dozens of large mantas putting on an incredible show. Jenna, and Captain Kevin made it a pleasant and safe trip. This is a must do while staying on the Big Island.

One of the Top 10 Dives in the World!

Believe It, it really is one of the most phenomenal dives we have ever done! Laying on our stomachs on the ocean floor around the "campfire" was unforgettable as the beautifully graceful Manta Rays soared directly above our heads, over and over. They performed ballet moves with each other, sometimes as many as 4 at a time feeding on the plankton.

Susan R on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:33:00-10:00

Susan R on TripAdvisor

Believe It, it really is one of the most phenomenal dives we have ever done! Laying on our stomachs on the ocean floor around the "campfire" was unforgettable as the beautifully graceful Manta Rays soared directly above our heads, over and over. They performed ballet moves with each other, sometimes as many as 4 at a time feeding on the plankton.

Excellent

We have been diving the BID on multiple dives over multiple trips and we keep coming back to them because of the high quality service that they provide. Definitely a step above the usual dive shops.

Dreamer6739 on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:37:50-10:00

Dreamer6739 on TripAdvisor

We have been diving the BID on multiple dives over multiple trips and we keep coming back to them because of the high quality service that they provide. Definitely a step above the usual dive shops.

Manta Night Dive Lives Up to the Hype

I recently went on the sunset reef dive & manta ray night dive. I was a little hesitant about my expectations because I heard so many great things and didn't want to be disappointed. Cannot say enough great things about the company, captain and DM - highly recommend and will dive with them again.

ulintza on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:38:42-10:00

ulintza on TripAdvisor

I recently went on the sunset reef dive & manta ray night dive. I was a little hesitant about my expectations because I heard so many great things and didn't want to be disappointed. Cannot say enough great things about the company, captain and DM - highly recommend and will dive with them again.

Excellent Staff

We had a great two tank dive with BID last week! Our dive master Amy was excellent all the way around and our captain Rob was not only a great captain but very knowledgeable about Hawaii and even served hot chocolate on the way back to the Marina.

bridgetsheahan on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:39:31-10:00

bridgetsheahan on TripAdvisor

We had a great two tank dive with BID last week! Our dive master Amy was excellent all the way around and our captain Rob was not only a great captain but very knowledgeable about Hawaii and even served hot chocolate on the way back to the Marina.

Incredible

It was so amazing that it made me feel like a kid again - this is coming from someone who has traveled a lot. I talked to other divers who described the Black Water Dive, and I wish I would have done that one instead of the twilight dive.

Steve9172

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:40:19-10:00

Steve9172

It was so amazing that it made me feel like a kid again - this is coming from someone who has traveled a lot. I talked to other divers who described the Black Water Dive, and I wish I would have done that one instead of the twilight dive.

Great Dive Experience

Great dive experience underwater and while on the boat. Experienced staff gave all of the direction and assistance needed but did not "over-guide" the trip as is often the case.

Compass0726 on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:40:52-10:00

Compass0726 on TripAdvisor

Great dive experience underwater and while on the boat. Experienced staff gave all of the direction and assistance needed but did not "over-guide" the trip as is often the case.

An Amazing Souvenir

I booked the night Manta Ray snorkeling tour. It was simply awesome. In addition of the amazing experience to observe the Manta rays in their natural environment, the crew was just perfect, always helpful and offers us a warm hospitality. I definitely recommend this tour.

tomlecube on TripAdvisor

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:41:47-10:00

tomlecube on TripAdvisor

I booked the night Manta Ray snorkeling tour. It was simply awesome. In addition of the amazing experience to observe the Manta rays in their natural environment, the crew was just perfect, always helpful and offers us a warm hospitality. I definitely recommend this tour.

Two Tank Dive

This is the dive shop to go with for great service and knowledgeable staff. I went out for a refresher dive since it had been 9 years since my last dive. Becca was great and by the end of the second dive I felt comfortable being back in the water.

BryonB690

Big Island Divers
5
2019-05-07T11:42:13-10:00

BryonB690

This is the dive shop to go with for great service and knowledgeable staff. I went out for a refresher dive since it had been 9 years since my last dive. Becca was great and by the end of the second dive I felt comfortable being back in the water.
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