Dining at Merriman’s Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii
Merriman’s Waimea Hawaii is a perennial favorite when combing restaurant awards for the Islands of Hawaii, with Chef/Owner Peter Merriman being a three-time finalist in the prestigious James Beard Awards for Best Chef, Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
We walked in the door just before the restaurant opened, and found the staff reviewing the night’s menu with Executive Chef Neil Murphy. Being perfectly attuned to our assistance, Manager Stephanie Peikert (pictured top right) immediately jumped to greet us, made us feel welcome, and made it clear that she was pleased that we were going to be dining with them tonight.
After the staff finished their brief meeting, we were ushered to our table where we were delighted to look out the window upon the restaurants fresh herb garden, and enjoyed watching one of the staff as she was watering and caring for the garden.
The bus boy was quick with our water, and very soon we were greeted by our waitress for the evening, Robin Rector (pictured above white shirt/tie). After a little small talk, we learned that Robin was originally from Alaska, went to college at Western Michigan, and has happily found her way to Hawaii where she is clearly very happy to be.
As Robin began to recite the evening’s specials, we could tell that she was certainly experienced, but more important to me, she was clearly passionate about her employer’s careful attention to using only the best, and preferably locally grown, organic Hawaiian ingredients.
Robin was very patient as we all struggled with the many options available, and she expertly guided us all to choices that gave us all a sense of anticipation for our meals. The minute Robin left the table, we all unanimously, and simultaneously commented on what a great waitress she was.
With Bob and Karen Schroeder (pictured seated), our friends from Michigan, we began to enjoy:
- House-made Bread with Local Goat Cheese & Pineapple-Strawberry Jam.
- Vine Ripened Lokelani Tomatoes.
- Merriman’s Original Wok Charred Ahi.
- Grass Fed Hawaii Island Filet Mignon.
- Ponzu Marinated Mahi Mahi
- all accompanied by a delightful, earthy Pinot Noir.
Carol (pictured top left) and I enjoyed a fabulous meal, a memorable experience, and being able to share it with our great friends was just the perfect icing on the evening.
If you find yourself on the Big Island of Hawaii, then we highly recommend that you go out of your way to put Merriman’s Waimea on your itinerary. You will greatly enjoy the 3,000 foot ascent to Waimea, and even more, you will greatly enjoy the finest of Hawaiian cuisine, accompanied by great hospitality from the Merriman’s team.
Disclosure: this dining experience was provided courtesy of Merriman’s Waimea Hawaii.