Travelers spending their precious vacation time on the Big Island are wise to learn about recommended restaurants. Even small local chains are often more fun dining experiences than are the massive, pricey resort restaurants – and at the very least they’ll help budget-conscious travelers with their food budget. Hawaii has one such small, local chain that’s popular for good reason (as compared to, say, KFC or McDonald’s). Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar has a great Japanese and pan-Asian menu, with a fun, festive atmosphere that is downright contagious. If you don’t have a fun experience at Sansei’s, you’re really not letting yourself be part of the mood of the place.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar is in the Queen’s Marketplace area of Waikoloa Beach. This popular resort area has several off-resort restaurants, including Charley’s Thai Cuisine, that are both less expenisive and more interesting than the standard hotel fare. There are also Sansei restaurants on Maui and Oahu, so this relatively new (winter 2008) Waikoloa Beach restaurant was able to start off up and running, without the usual trial-and-error effects of grand openings.
The sushi is fantastic. There are, of course, the usual California rolls and spicy tuna rolls, but there are
alsomany, many creative option using locally caught ahi, ono, and other fish native to the Pacific. Hawaii aquaculturalists and farmers on the Big Island both benefit from the “buy locally” philosophy, and eager, happy tourists benefit from the great entrees as well. The seafood is fresh and delicious, and early bird specials make meals here even more affordable. Diners who don’t like sushi or seafood, have no fear (although why are you vacationing in Hawaii, then?) – the beef teriyaki, macadamia nut crusted pork, and tempura vegetables are all quite good.
Now, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar is no secret little hole-in-the-wall. It’s recommended by most Big Island Waikoloa Beach Resort concierges, and locals love it too: Reservations are strongly recommended, particularly during peak travel seasons. We had an hour wait when, foolhardy as we are, we tried to stroll right in. Learn from our mistakes: Make reservations, and try to get there for happy hour, when most sushi is as much as 50% off. Amazing deal, amazing sushi. That, plus the fun atmosphere, really add up to an amazing night out in Hawaii.