A Reunion with Cousins in Hilo

August 23, 2017, 11:18 AM HST (Updated August 23, 2017, 11:24 AM)


    My Big Island Now co-worker, Nate Gaddis, introduced Cousins Seafood and Bento to you a few years ago. It’s time for a family reunion.

    Cousins, located in Hilo, is still going strong, as I witnessed on a recent visit.

    The kitchen, as Nate noted, is still snug, but it is a marvel of efficiency. It is still not sit-and-linger sort of place. The only seating is for those waiting for orders, so best to be prepared.

    I didn’t mind the brief wait, though, as the staff is friendly and helpful.

    I have included photos of the menu so you can call (969-9900) and they’ll have it ready.

    Why the update about Cousins, you ask?  Well, try saying this, three times, fast: Ahi Poke Crunchy Tacos.

    Sort of a tongue-twister, right? But maybe by repeating it, when you go to Cousins’ Seafood and Bentos, you’ll remember what I suggested you order.


    If you like tacos and you like spicy ahi poke, it doesn’t get any better than when these two worlds collide. What a mix of textures and flavors—a crunchy shell filled with tender ahi poke, its mild spiciness cooled by crispy aioli cilantro slaw, sprinkled with cheese and onions. You get three tacos ($9.50) in an order. I ate two very quickly, paused for air and devoured the third.

    We also sampled the ahi plate and chose rice, salad and “macaroni” salad (a cold, creamy, pasta salad) as sides. Portions were very generous and we loved the teriyaki glaze and salad dressing.

    Also popular are their Spicy Ahi Poke Bowls ($6.95), which come with either brown or white rice.

    I’ll echo Nate’s enthusiasm for “pan-seared ahi and salmon steaks, garlic chicken, and garlic shrimp with lemon-butter and sherry.”

    Looking for some home cooking?  Try out the Slow-Cooked Pot Roast ($9.95), the Pork Chops with Gravy ($9.95) or the Fried Chicken ($8.25).  At my recent visit, their $5 bentos were flying out the door.

    Cousins is located at 14 West Lanikaula St., Hilo.  Open Monday–Friday, 6:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m., and Saturdays 7 a.m.–2 p.m.  Phone:  (808) 969-9900.

    Ahi Poke Crunchy Tacos at Cousins Seafood and Bento. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Bentos, ready to go at Cousins Seafood and Bento. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Ahi Plate at Cousins Seafood and Bento. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Did I mention Ahi Poke Crunchy Tacos at Cousins Seafood and Bento.? Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Cousins Seafood and Bento menus. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    More menus at Cousins Seafood and Bento. Photo credit: Marla Walters

    Marla Walters
    Marla Walters is a transplant from Humboldt County, California. She has a multitude of writing experience as a Wise Bread staff writer, cookbook editor, and blogger. She has also written for The Purple Fig and Molly Green.


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