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You may or may not already know that I am a lover of desserts and a purveyor of puddings.

It doesn’t matter what shape or form they take, just as long as they’re sweet. And if they also look incredible, well then I’m sold. 

From seeking out the best ice cream in Sausalito, to finding chocolate heaven in Paris, I’m on a mission to find something deliciously sweet wherever I go. 

And our trip to Hawaii was no different, resulting in a quest for the best dessert in Hawaii. Here’s what I discovered…

Hula Grill Waikiki, Honolulu

On our last night in Waikiki, we decided we would push the boat out a bit and go for a mid-range dinner at one of the local beach restaurants. When we found out that the Hula Grill offered perfect beach side views, we were sold on it.

The dinner itself was absolutely delicious. We’d opted for the meatiest of dishes after asking the waiter what he’d recommend.

However, despite the food being incredible, I was thinking the usual “What’s for pudding?”, which is why my Dad always calls me “Pudding” (yes, even today).

My waistline probably doesn’t thank me for it but luckily I’ve found the best post travel detox so I was all set to find out what the sweetest thing on the menu was.

And along came the Hula Pie…

Best Dessert in Hawaii - Hula Pie, Honolulu

Phenomenal in size, super creamy and oh so chocolatey, this dessert was incredible. It even had its own branded plate!

Sadly I had to share it with my other half. Ahem, I mean luckily I had to share it with my other half otherwise they would have been wheeling me out of the restaurant in a dessert coma.

Hula Pie – I give you 4 out of 5 stars. A bit of fruity topping instead of the nuts would have seen you receive 5 stars, just saying!

Insider Tip: If you also want to check out the Hula Grill, be sure to book in advance as tables get snapped up quickly. We booked a table for 6pm a few hours before as everything else had already been taken… and this was on a weekday! Whilst we were waiting for our table to be ready, quite a few couples and families were turned away due to there being no room for them. So definitely book your table to avoid disappointment.

Hilo Bay Cafe, Hilo

During our travels across The Big Island, we found ourselves staying a few miles up the road from Hilo at Arnott’s Lodge. We’d booked a sunsets and stargazing tour to Mauna Kea with them and so we got some money off of our stay there.

The other great thing about Arnott’s Lodge is that you can rent bikes there too for just $20 each!

Knowing that we wanted to treat ourselves to another delicious meal (and amazing Hawaiian dessert), we hired a couple of bikes and made our way down the sloping hill towards Hilo itself. The bay area is the tourist trap of Hilo with lots of hotels and souvenir shops around, but the good part to that is the amount of restaurant choice on offer.

Similarly to Waikiki, we wanted another sea view so the Hilo Bay Cafe ticked all of the right boxes for us.

We both opted for a burger dish for dinner as it was a late lunch for us – these burgers were divine. Juicy, succulent meat and fresh bread – just perfect! But as usual, it was the something sweet I was after.

On the menu, I spotted a dish called the Chocolate Lava Cake served with kona coffee ice cream. Not having a clue what this would be like but knowing I wanted to try it as we were on the island of volcanoes after all, I was getting excited at the possibilities!

My other half, my better half, instead chose the Mango Cheesecake, which did also sound very appealing.

Enter the desserts…

Best Dessert in Hawaii - Chocolate Lava Cake, Hilo

My cake was not at all what I was expecting.

Was it chocolatey? Yes.

Was it tasty? Why, yes it was.

Was it shaped like a volcano? YES, YES, YES!

It looked so cool arriving on the plate and I couldn’t wait to tuck in!

Chocolate Lava Cake – I give you 4.5 stars. I would have paired it with fruity ice cream such as blackberry or raspberry to match the sauce instead of coffee ice cream, but maybe that’s just me.

But I have to say the star of the show really was Scott’s mango cheesecake.

Best Dessert in Hawaii - Mango Cheesecake, Hilo

It was as delicious as it was beautiful and clearly a lot of effort had gone into how pleasing it looked. For me, this dish summed up the essence of all the best Hawaiian desserts.

Tropical fruits, check.

Bright colours, check.

Hawaiian flowers, check.

This dessert had it all.

Or perhaps it was just the fact that this pudding didn’t belong to me?

But that aside, definitely 5 stars to the mango cheesecake! I would not have changed a thing about it and wish I had ordered the whole thing for myself.

Insider Tip: We opted for a late lunch at the Hilo Bay Cafe as part of the afternoon menu, which may have explained why it was so quiet there. But I expect this restaurant fills up for the evenings, especially with how many hotels are nearby, so you may want to book ahead just in case.


I love a dessert that looks incredible as well as being delicious and so these desserts in Hawaii were definitely ones to be remembered.

So tell me, which dessert will you seek out first? Pop me a note in the comments…

Are your tastebuds tingling? Share the food porn now!

5 thoughts on “A Quest for the Best Dessert in Hawaii

  1. lincalinca says:

    Those desserts do look appetizing! Good that you can share it with your loved one, my hubby isn’t into desserts, so he doesn’t really eat any, and I have to eat them on my own 🙂 But I usually order main course and a dessert, no appetizers, otherwise there is no room for the sweet things!

    1. They were so delicious!! Oh really? Well, in some respects I guess that’s more for you… but yeah, sharing desserts is quite a nice thing to do. I’m an old romantic really! 😉

      Oh and I’m the same!! Main + dessert all the way… I’d eat dessert all dinner long if I could!

  2. Julie Cao says:

    These are some ono deserts! I was at Hula Grill every week for two months but I have never tried Hula Pie, and how thoughtful they have their own plate for this delicious desert. I also found the cake in Cheesecake Factory (the one at Kalakaua Avenue not far from Hula Grill) is incredible, my friend and I brought take out cakes every week. Have you tried any deserts there too?

    1. I’m glad you agree Julie! They were seriously delicious, or as you say “ono”!! That cheesecake sounds incredible – I didn’t make it there, but I think I’ll have to now. We’re hoping to come back to Hawaii soon, so will add it to my list!!

      1. Julie Cao says:

        There are too many delicious deserts in Hawaii and cheesecake only a tiny part of it, but if you/bf go on your birthday, Cheesecake factory will give you a free cheesecake. I wish to return to Hawaii too. Hope we can meet there and try all the desserts 🙂

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