The Prince of Poke is proud to call Kona home. Chef Nakoa Pabre is the proud winner of the prestigious Sam Choy’s Annual Poke Competition in 2013 and 2014 and the winner of The Best of The Best – Best Poke Bowl title in 2016 thanks to his “boat to bowl” mantra. He brings his vision of delicious local seafood and island favorites to Umeke’s Poke Bowls and Local Plate Lunches in Kona. Here he serves up only the freshest fish and island favorites, mixed with special sauces and perfectly layered on fresh hot rice. Simple, delicious, and oh so good, you are guaranteed to come back for more!
Umeke’s is a casual, deli-style eatery tucked into a small shopping center on Hualalai Road in Kona. Walking up to the counter you get your choice of meat, from local steak to chicken to a wide selection of delicious pokes like spicy Tako with kimchee, spicy Ahi, avocado, or Ahi Shoyu (the day’s selections are fresh and can vary).
Your choice comes served with steaming hot rice that perfectly complements the cool, fresh flavors of the fish. Add furikake – a Japanese seasoning – to give your rice some extra oomph, and then dig in! The portions are huge, the prices are reasonable, and the fish was most likely swimming in the deep blue waters off Kona earlier that morning.
True, you can get poke almost anywhere on the Big Island. But at Umeke’s you get only the freshest fish thanks to Chef Pabre’s relationships with the local fishermen. Plus, he only uses the best parts from the best catches. And as good as his poke is, it isn’t even his top seller! Thanks to using only the best local beef and his secret teriyaki sauce recipe, Da Pipi Bowl (beef served either teriyaki style or with Hawaiian salt and pepper) takes that title.
Other popular bowls include Da Opae Bowl with its fresh shrimp from Kaua’i, served grilled or with kimchee for a fun kick. Pair your lunch with a delicious Umeke’s lemonade, made from Chef Pabre’s secret family recipe and sure to quench your thirst on a warm Hawaiian day.
While Umeke’s offers simple outdoor seating, those looking for a more sit-down dining experience can enjoy similar dishes at Chef Pabre’s new restaurant, Umeke’s Fish Market Bar and Grill, just around the corner in Kona. So whether you grab a poke bowl on the run while you explore the Big Island or join him for dinner, you can’t get better local seafood anywhere else. Stop by the counter Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and see for yourself!