A stone fireplace and homey decor welcome guests to Kilauea Lodge. // © 2016 Kilauea Lodge
Feature image (above): The Rim at Volcano House provides tantalizing views of Halemaumau crater. // © 2016 Aqua-Aston Hospitality
With its steam vents and lava flows, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a sizzling destination that works up an appetite. Usually, clients are so captivated by the attraction that they don’t want to venture very far away for a meal.
Happily, several good eateries are located within 1 mile of the Hawaii Island park. The following options let visitors grab a bite, then resume their volcanic explorations with full bellies.
Stop by this vegetarian lunch spot for ultra-healthy soups, casseroles, quiches, salads and desserts. Sandwiches come on yummy three-seed bread. Run by artist Ira Ono, it’s part of Volcano Garden Arts, a lovely eco-friendly estate that also features an art studio, a gallery, gardens, trails and a rental cottage.
Set in a 1938 YMCA building, this welcoming inn lays claim to a charming dining room. Co-owner and chef Albert Jeyte channels his European roots to create treats such as hasenpfeffer and sausage with sauerkraut. Whenever possible, he uses local meat and seafood. Try the slider combo that consists of little burgers of antelope, buffalo and beef.
A wood-fired oven distinguishes this cafe. Diners rave about its cauliflower with bechamel sauce and truffle mac nuts. The baby back ribs with ohelo berry barbecue sauce please plenty of patrons, and the strawberry arugula salad couldn’t be fresher. For cocktails, order the smoked rosemary Old Fashioned.
Thai Thai Restaurant
Authentic Thai cuisine warms visitors in the cool, upcountry climate of the volcano. The long menu includes an outstanding green curry, basil stir fry, Pad Thai noodles, spring and summer rolls, satay and different types of soups and salads. The chefs do a great job of using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
The sights are as mouthwatering as the tastes in the Volcano House dining room, with its picture-perfect views of Halemaumau Crater. Many travelers are willing to pay a few extra bucks for a meal in this unique setting while savoring the likes of Hilo coffee-rubbed lamb; pan-seared fresh fish; and herb and macadamia-nut pesto pasta.
For clients who prefer their Thai cuisine to go, look no further than this bright-green food truck. Its chef works with area-grown products while creating carry-out masterpieces. Among its many highlights are spicy-sour Tom Yum soup, Massaman curry, green papaya salad and stir-fried eggplant.