This would be a 4.5 if we could give that rating, but we can't, so it's a 5 with some caveats.
First, the good. The food is very good, you definitely need to eat here if you're in Hilo. The family staff is friendly. And...Paul is someone you'd just want to hang out with for an afternoon if you could.
Now the frustrations. It's the tiniest place imaginable with space for 3 tables of 2, and Paul cooks for you in what is basically a home kitchen. So not many will get in. Making matters worse, they don't indicate anywhere that reservations are strongly recommended (if not required), so if you're dumb enough to try to walk in like we did, you'll be turned away or told the next available reservation isn't for 2 hours. When you do try to make a reservation, there's no way to do it online so you have to dig to find a phone number, then when you call the voicemail system says to contact them via Instagram to get a reservation. It's not an ideal setup.
But even with those frustrations, we definitely recommend you try to get in to eat at Paul's Place. I don't know if it's the best restaurant in Hilo, though that's not a super high bar. But it's definitely worth eating here if you can get a reservation.More