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Hilo Bay Cafe Fare Moves East in New Location

Posted October 24, 2013, 03:33 PM HST Updated October 25, 2013, 05:22 PM HST
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Grilled asparagus salad with pan-seared salmon. Shoestring fries with truffle aioli in background at Hilo Bay Café. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

What’s in a name, anyway?

Quite a lot, if you happen to be lured to a restaurant by a label that inspires images of ocean views and swaying palms.

Hilo Bay Cafe, a popular dining destination once located over two and a half miles from the sea, opened its new location today in a raised structure perched near the ocean, next to Queen Liliuokalani Park.

Hilo Bay Café boasts sweeping ocean views at its new location. Image courtesy M's photography.

Hilo Bay Café boasts sweeping ocean views at its new location. Image courtesy M’s photography.

Formerly occupied by restaurant Nihon, the interior space has undergone a near-total transformation. New floors and lighting bring a modern flare, but the biggest change by far has been the removal of several walls that had previously divided the restaurant’s bar and banquet room.

That choice not only increased the amount of light flooding into the restaurant, but served to dramatically improve diner’s views of Hilo Bay. The new dining room can accommodate approximately 120 people, nearly double the seating capacity of the old location.

Hilo Bay Cafe's new dining room features a brightly renovated interior. Image courtesy M's photography.

Hilo Bay Cafe’s new dining room features a brightly renovated interior. Image courtesy M’s photography.

The restaurant also features a banquet room seating around 60, and the brightly refurbished kitchen has been crafted to handle the needs of both regular diners and banquet guests.

Hilo Bay Cafe’s new menu has taken on a decidedly eastern flare, with made-to-order sushi available at lunch and dinner, along with menu items like sake-mirin-soy pork belly over rice, and chirazushi (sushi rice with assorted seafood and toppings).

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Apart from the new additions, several customer favorites like French onion soup and the restaurant’s popular “Blue Bay Burger” are still available. The menu’s overall evolution throughout the day also remains the same: sandwiches and small entrees for lunch, followed by an afternoon snack menu, and then larger entrees in the evenings. An extensive keiki menu is available.

Asian-inspired pork belly, in a sushi roll, at Hilo Bay Café. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Asian-inspired pork belly, in a sushi roll, at Hilo Bay Café. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

The dessert offerings have also been updated, with items like a banana chocolate tart, and a staff favorite: deconstructed cheesecake parfait.

Hilo Bay Café is now located at 123 Lihiwai St, Hilo, HI. Phone: (808)-935-4939.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. till 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. till 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Prices range from $8-16 for lunch, and $12-30 for dinner.

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