This is a place well worth visiting whilst on Big Island. Situated right on Honokohau Harbor, Kona, a great feature of this casual restaurant is the outdoor dining deck that looks out over the boat moorings. The harbor is a popular place for sport fishing on the Big Island, and many come in pursuit of giant marlin and tuna, which can be found here. Fresh and local is the theme of Bite Me – The owners have six fishing boats, and the local catch of the day is a reliable favorite dish.
Local friends had recommended the place, and I had taken the 50-minute drive from Honaunau to seek it out. As I walked through the door and was welcomed by Tim, the friendly manager, I noticed the fish fillets in the display cabinet. It all looked super-fresh and enticing – especially the ahi. I was delighted to learn that this was the catch of the day. The walls of the café were covered with photographs of memorably-sized catches, and an enormous (life-sized?) fiberglass marlin, as well as a surfboard or two.
The service was initially a little slow but as soon as the waitress realized I had not been attended to she responded promptly. I ordered the ahi, and the meal arrived without delay. It was by far the BEST ahi I have ever eaten! Cooked to perfection, it melted in the mouth. It was grilled and served with a simple, light sauce that complemented the natural, delicate flavor of the tuna. I chose a fresh and tasty vegetable medley of squash flavored with garlic and a perfectly cooked cob of corn as sides. It tasted like a meal that I might have cooked at home myself but twice as good and I didn’t have to do the dishes!
Locals and visitors come from far and wide to patronize this place. ‘Bite Me’ has been in operation for five years. Along with the six fishing boats, they also have a ‘play’ boat that offers dolphin tours and fishing charters. The bar looks like a local meeting place and they offer a huge selection of Hawaiian, domestic and international beers as well as wines and sake. They even have ‘buckets’ of beer. It’s definitely a local meeting place.
The staff are very friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed. Tim the manager described his ‘art’ of making a marlin disappear – he uses every part of the fish, leaving nothing to waste. He is known for his (famous) smoked fish dip. He gave me a taste and – wow – it was something else! It is worth a visit there just to pick up a tub of this local taste sensation. ‘Bite Me’ is also known amongst locals to have the best Ahi Poke (raw tuna tossed in sesame oil and seasoned with sea salt and spices) on the island. They are also renowned for their Bit Me Sake Bloody Mary, and are serving breakfast now between 6-11am.
They certainly have a way with fish at ‘Bite Me’. It is wonderful to dine at a place where the food is sourced locally – as it says on their website ‘if I was any fresher I’d be swimming!’ I am a great fan of eating as close to the source as possible – to help reduce transportation of food and the costs and environmental and health impacts associated with importing foods. Apparently foreign seafood sourced from developing countries is cheaper and taking over the US market, and has often been found to be contaminated with bacteria and chemicals. ‘Bite Me’ states on their menu that “All of our fish are caught exclusively in Hawaiian waters. Our fish have not been imported, gassed, frozen or hormone injected.”
Definitely give ‘Bite Me’ a try – you will be going back for more of the fresh, local taste.