Last Updated September 2020! We’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in The Big Island that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).
Note: You can ignore the date on this post going forward. We’ll update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new restaurant recommendation, change, or closure.
Local Restaurants on The Big Island Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats
We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.
⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)
- Barefoot Zone ⭐️ – Come as you are to this vibrant counter-serve, dairy-free cafe. They flip gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free crepes wrap them around savory cheesy or sweet fillings. Other dishes include acai and pitaya bowls, tropical smoothies, plant-based burritos and quesadillas, vegan sushi rolls, and local organic healing teas.
- Laulima Food Patch – It’s hard not to feel healthy when you walk in this cheerful, counter-serve spot. They serve build-your-own Hawaiian rice bowls with mostly dairy-free options. They also have several vegan and gluten-free selections to choose from.
- Hawaiian Licks ⭐️ – Hawaii has its very own dairy-free and vegan ice creamery! Their selection includes many local favorites, like Lilikoi, Ginger Mac Nut, and Ka’u Coffee. But they also scoop many popular classics, like Cookie Dough and Mint Chocolate Chunk. The flavors rotate daily, but they usually have about eight coconut milk-based varieties on hand.
- Nicoco Hawaiian Gelato – Their main scoop shop is in Pāhoa, but they opened a second one in Hilo. This local gelateria is purely vegan and gluten-free, and churns coconut milk-based gelato in over 400 rotating seasonal flavors. You can read more details in the Pāhoa Listing below.
- Sweet Cane Cafe – Their smoothie menu is massive, and mostly dairy-free with macnut mylk and coconut milk generously used throughout. They also blend dairy-free acai and pitaya bowls and squeeze sugar cane juice. For eats, they regularly offer vegan and gluten-free baked goods, and serve a couple of vegan entrees (Caesar salad and bagel sandwiches at last check). But several additional menu items can be made dairy-free.
- Vibe Cafe ⭐️ – This vegetarian cafe is mostly vegan, with a vegan option for what looks like everything on the menu. They offer six different milk beverages for their unique menu of lattes and coffee drinks, and serve quite an expansive menu for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. It includes toasts, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and so much more. For dessert, vegan ice cream, milkshakes, and affogatos are available.
- Nicoco Hawaiian Gelato – Lalita told us about this local spot that churns vegan, gluten-free, coconut milk-based gelato in over 400 rotating seasonal flavors. “It’s without a doubt the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many in my 50 years as a vegan. The owners are super sweet folks, too, and now have [two]shops, with their delicious fresh-made (and gluten-free) waffle cones, milk shakes, and so on (Ashley creates beautiful custom vegan ice cream cakes!). Their products are available from several other select local retailers, as well, and they pop up at various events.”
Most Popular Chains on The Big Island for Dairy-Free Diners
There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.
This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations
We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.
Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!
This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.
There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.