One faithful night we had what was easily our best meal on Big Island, and quite possibly one of the best on Hawaii, or anywhere else for that matter! Moon and Turtle [51 Kalakaua St Hilo, HI 96720] is a small and thoughtful restaurant. There is a clear focus on good local ingredients and intense flavor combinations in an intimate, yet relaxed setting.
Make sure to call ahead for reservations, there are only a handful of tables. Each night there is a different menu always posted on facebook. Unbeknownst to us, we visited during happy hour when not only the drinks were discounted, but the whole menu was 15% off. The restaurant was certainly affordably priced beforehand, but a real steal with this deal for what you’re getting. We ordered two appetizers, shared a main course, and dessert…everything was flawless. Starting with soup, a beer cheese soup made with local kona lavaman brew, cheddar, jack, puna goat cheese, and everything bagel croutons.
Honestly, I wasn’t all about ordering this kind of soup, thinking it might have been typical. Jeff wanted to try it, and I’m glad because it was anything but ordinary. The creamy broth was out of control bursting with rich cheesy flavor, the perfect consistency, and amplified by the super tasty croutons. Next up were the mahi katsu sliders: flash fried (not greasy at all) locally caught fish, crisp lettuce and tomato, just dripping with a zesty sweet chilli mayo on the fluffiest potato roll.
We devoured these morsels of pure perfection, almost licking the plate clean. The appetizer round was 10/10, and our main course would not disappoint. A gorgeous local aweoweo fish fantastically seasoned and paired with slices and chunks of heart of palm, hamakua mushrooms, black tree fungus, and crispy cubes of saimin noodles…perfectly exotic ingredients to our palates, epically delectable with so many textures and tastes lightly slathered in a gravy.
My goodness. I loved how the fish was sliced, it made meat extraction easier from the bone. As stuffed as we were, there was no way I wasn’t going to get dessert here when everything was so magical. The lilikoi pie was a slice of heaven, perhaps one of the happiest places I’ve ever been.
I swear it, that thick whipped cream, the dense tartly sweet lilikoi custard, and perfectly strong butter crust, absolute heaven. One of the best desserts I’ve ever had. The only problem was…we shared it. If you only have one night in Hilo, make sure you have reservations at Moon and Turtle.