If you could visit just one of Chef Peter Merriman’s restaurants, it should be his flagship Waimea location. Merriman’s Waimea has been praised by Honolulu Magazine as the “Best Big Island Restaurant” for 15 consecutive years. 15 years. Insane. And yes, the food is indeed delicious. Chef Merriman defined what became known as Hawaii Regional Cuisine, along with other notable chefs, including Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, and George Mavrothalassitis.
Merriman’s Waimea is located in upcountry Waimea and is about 45-minutes from the Kona International Airport. We stayed at the Mauna Lani Bay during this particular visit, and so it was a short 25-minute drive away for us.
We actually had reservations for Merriman’s during our last visit to Kona. We made the mistake of cancelling. Not this time.
Just before the dinner crowd showed up. The calm before the fine dining storm.
The warm house bread basket with a side of butter and Hawaiian sea salt.
Warm Crusted Big Island Goat Cheese Chèvre. This was a surprise. Literally, we were surprised when this showed up at our table. We actually ordered the Hawaiian Ahi Poke with Crushed Avocado, Ogo, Maui Onion, and Molokai Sweet Potato Chips. But I guess our waitress heard Chèvre. We ate the Chèvre and actually really enjoyed it. And about the poke, all was okay, because the next day we made a poke stop at Da Poke Shack.
Merriman’s Original Wok Charred Ahi with a local cabbage slaw and shoyu-citrus sauce.
My steak entree featured Hawaii’s Lowline Cattle Company Grass Fed Beef with jalapeño whipped potatoes, grilled Waimea asparagus and was topped with a Waimea Churned Herb Butter.
She tried the Macadamia Nut Crusted Monchong with Hawaiian Homes garlic broccolini, roasted Hamakua mushrooms and a miso-sake reduction.
And for dessert…we started with the Caramelized Coconut Crème Brûlée with macadamia nut shortbread cookies…
…and ended with Merriman’s famous Crispy Molten Hawaiian Chocolate Purse. It’s made to look like a Lau Lau, at least I thought so (our waitress agreed). It featured red alae Hawaiian salted caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I could eat twenty of these. Not kidding.
A gift to take home…I would tell you what’s inside, but I’ll leave that surprise for you to find out on your own.
65-1227B Opelo Rd
Waimea, HI 96743