Big Island Roundup
New options, old favorites and a lot of rental-car miles in between.
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POTTERY TERRACE BUILDING // 75-5995 KUAKINI HIGHWAY, KAILUA-KONA // (808) 327-0209 //LUNCH MONDAY-SATURDAY 11:00 A.M.-2 P.M. PUPU DAILY 2-5 P.M.; DINNER NIGHTLY 5:30-9 P.M.; SUNDAY BRUNCH 9:30 A.M.-2 P.M. // FREE PARKING, MAJOR CREDIT CARDS
On the Kona side of the island, you’re always looking for a decent restaurant that isn’t resort-priced.
Jackie Rey’s is an aggressively friendly restaurant, designed for locals. Located right outside Kona town, it’s brightly colored—mango orange, starfruit yellow, lime green, all lit up.
When we got there, Jackie Rey’s was packed. Tuesday was “Angry Lobster Night,” when you could have a 1-1/4-pound lobster dinner for $29.95, the lobster from the cold ocean-water lab just down the road. But get there early, because, by 7:30, they may be already out of lobster.
The menu aims at foods for all moods, everything from $12.95 bacon-cheddar burgers to $29.95 steak and shrimp special. You can get Korean-style shortribs—a little too sweet in the marinade—with tempura vegetables. Or a thick slab of ahi, served over noodles and vegetables, with a dexterous ginger-shoyu glaze, and a palate-waking crust of wasabi.
Portions are big here. We barely made it through the lilikoi sorbet with fresh papaya for dessert.
Jackie Rey’s makes no pretense of being haute cuisine, but it’s the kind of place where you can have a hearty meal for a decent price in a relaxed setting. And that says a lot.