Where to Eat in Kauai: Food Guide

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Planning a trip to the Garden Island and wondering where to eat in Kauai?

Once we booked our trip to the garden island, finding the most delicious spots to eat in Kauai was our next order of business.

Aloha!

We ate at all of the following Kauai restaurants and local eateries during our 7 Days in Kauai. We stayed in an Airbnb in Princeville, so many of our dining experiences took place nearby. Every day when we left Princeville, we’d try something new for breakfast or lunch.

Normally, if I don’t enjoy an establishment, I won’t mention it. Unless it was truly horrifying and I think you need to stay away. Cause what I may have not enjoyed, you may love as you make your own discoveries.

Eating out in Kauai can be expensive, all depending on what you like to eat. So if you rented an Airbnb or another vacation-type rental with a kitchen, you may want to pick up a few things at the nearest supermarket.

Tasty Itinerary Tip: Eat dinner on the early side. As everything begins to shut down once it starts getting dark.

When we are on vacation, we indulge and savor every bite. It wasn’t hard to accomplish this eating in Kauai. You only live once.

Where to Eat in Kauai | Featured Image

Covid-19 June 27, 2021 Update:

Effective July 8, 2021, Hawaii will no longer require a negative COVID test from VACCINATED Domestic Travelers. Travelers will have to upload their CDC-issued vaccination cards to the state’s Safe Travel Program.

Stay up-to-date and read more info here.

Where to Eat in Kauai, Hawaii

North Shore Kauai: Places to Eat in Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bread Company

hanalei bread company, princeville kauai

Start your day off with coffee and breakfast at Hanalei Bread Company. The aroma of baked goods will lure you in and you’ll be resisting the urge to order everything.

I couldn’t resist not having something with their fresh-baked bread. Their avocado toast was divine. Whole wheat bread, topped with buttery avocados and watercress, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. The plate is big enough to share between two people.

Hubby loved his brekkie sandwich which basically is an egg, bacon, and cheese on a croissant. The quality of ingredients is what makes a sandwich like this delectable.

The homemade granola with fruit and milk almost had me and I swore that if I returned, I’d have to try it.

iced coffee and succulent at hanalei bread company
Iced Coffee from Hanalei Bread Company

Hanalei Bread Company is also a great spot for lunch. If you’re planning to spend the afternoon at the beach, they have a pre-packed picnic you can take with you.

Hanalei Bread Company| 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy #4, Hanalei, HI 96714 (Google Map It) | Website

Bar Acuda

food from bar acuda restaurant in kauai | pinterest marketing image

As I started to organize this post, I asked hubby, “if you had one place to recommend to a friend where to eat Kauai from our last trip, where would it be?” His response, “oh, that place with the tapas in Hanalei was excellent.” I smiled, loving that we get to share these experiences together.

Our dinner at Restaurant Bar Acuda is our favorite. This is the one place I found repeatedly throughout all my Kauai research that is a must. After eating here, I understand why. This is also the only reservation we made in advance and I highly recommend a reservation.

Bar Acuda serves tapa dishes. All plates are sharable and prepared with local ingredients.

Aside from their standard menu, they have specials. We jumped at trying two of them, I had a whole tuna ceviche to myself and then we shared this amazing cucumber salad with feta and crunchy spiced chickpeas. I still think of this salad.

From the menu, papas ajos (not pictured) and lamb riblets. It goes without saying that after a phenomenal meal, we could not and would not miss dessert. We topped our meal off with the mango cheesecake and the chocolate pot de creme.

If there is one night that you’d like to splurge a little, I’d save it for Bar Acuda. The specials change all the time, so what we ate may not be available when you dine there. However, this is the one place to be adventurous and order a few things from the menu.

Bar Acuda | 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714 (Google Map It) | TripAdvisor | Reservations Highly Recommended

Tahiti Nui

kathy enjoying a mai tai at tahiti nui

Our 2nd favorite spot, Tahiti Nui. We ate here a couple of times during the week, always late at night. The atmosphere here is casual, friendly and possibly the most nightlife you’ll find in Hanalei Bay. If you are in search of the best Mai Tai, Tahiti Nui has you covered!

My only regret is never being hungry enough to order one of the main entrees. We sat next to a pair of couples one night and their dinners came out, my eyes popped out its head. Beautifully plated fish dishes that look rich in comfort and colorful purple mashed potatoes.

I was well invested in the Mai Tai’s though and I enjoyed their coconut shrimp twice. Hubby had the Huli Huli chicken pizza and tried the ribeye beef poke, which he fell in love with.

I can’t get him to eat poke back home because he does not like fish. I always say the poke bars here in LA should have a beef option, so he can have the meat and I can have the raw fish. Tahiti Nui is ahead of everyone else.

Tahiti Nui also has a weekly Luau. For $80 pp (adults) you get an open buffet, a show, and Mai Tai’s on the house for the first hour. I’m in! It’s on my list for my next visit to Kauai.

Tahiti Nui | 5-5134 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Don’t Miss: Best Beach Drinks That Never Fail

AMA Restaurant

Ama Restaurant in Princeville, Kauai | Pinterest Marketing

Ama is next door to its sister restaurant, Bar Acuda. Here you will find ramen noodle bowls, steamy buns, and cocktails.

We ate at Alma on our first night. The menu was interesting and we got seated right away on their beautiful terrace that faces the lush mountains behind it.

Hubby and I had the ramen bowls for dinner. I won’t forget the delicious ahi tuna that I ordered with mine. The star of our dinner was the Bao Buns. Steamed buns with fried chicken topped with slaw and some other magical sauces. Just bring me another order of those buns!

Here I ordered my 1st Mai Tai of the vacation. Though tasty, it had its own unique twist. What I did love was the mocktails offered on the cocktail menu, since hubby is sober, he was able to enjoy one of their tropical non-alcoholic drinks.

The food here I remember being delicious, but I wish hubby and I had shared a bowl of ramen instead of each having our own. We were too full to try their housemade doughnuts.

Ama Restaurant | 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy, Wailele Bldg, Hanalei, HI 96714 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

The Hanalei Gourmet

This no-frills bar and eatery is open for lunch and dinner. We ate at Hanalei Gourmet a couple of times and watched as locals sat in the back corner of the bar, claiming it as their local watering hole. I loved the laid-back Aloha vibe here.

The food here is I’d say is comforting and nothing fancy, but tasty. I tried fish and chips one night and another night clams in white wine sauce, each clam was the size of my hand. If you feel like a burger, this is a great place to have one for dinner. Every day they have the catch of the day. Plenty of fish options on the menu.

Ask the waiter about their local beers.

Hanalei Gourmet is one of the few places open after 9 PM. On some nights they have live music, which we enjoyed.

5-5161 Kuhio Hwy Space 5, Hanalei, HI 96714 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

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North Shore Kauai: Places to Eat in Princeville

Piazza Restaurant

pizza dinner from Piazza restaurant | Pinterest Marketing Pin

If you’re in the mood for Italian, Piazza is a great spot. They have a beautiful location with a great bar and there is a fantastic view of the kitchen.

It’s not the cheapest place to eat Italian though. When you’re staying in Princeville, you’re in the middle of multiple vacation resorts and high-end hotels. Many of the restaurants cater to tourists. Piazza does a great job serving great food and tourists.

It’s not the cheapest place to eat Italian though. When you’re staying in Princeville, you’re in the middle of multiple vacation resorts and high-end hotels. Many of the restaurants cater to tourists. Piazza does a great job serving great food and tourists.

Their pasta is made in-house. My shrimp-scampi tasted amazing, the pasta was just overcooked. After living with Italians for over 20 years, I’ve learned to eat it slightly al-dente and I prefer it that way. That didn’t stop me from eating my meal, it was delish. But, if you like your pasta al-dente make sure to ask for it that way.

Hubby ordered pizza and it got a thumbs up from him. We were just amazed at the prices of pizza everywhere we went on the island. I saw a slice of pizza for $8 at another location.

I give the tiramisu a thumbs up!

Piazza | 4280 Kuhio Highway 05, Suite F100, Princeville, HI 96722 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

North Shore Kauai: Kilauea Restaurants

Kilauea Fish Market

food from kilaeuea fish market | pinterest marketing pin

After landing in Kauai, we picked up our rental car and drove straight to the North Shore. We were in awe with Kauai almost immediately and were too busy taking in the beauty of the island during our drive, we forgot about lunch.

I checked what was nearby our path and Kilauea Fish Market came up as a tasty option. This is a casual place for lunch not far from Kilauea Lighthouse and Anini Beach. They serve delicious food at great prices.

The ahi tuna tacos with the works were filling and oh so yummy. That sauce that came on the side of the peppered pork hubby ordered was delish. You’ll find great quality fish options.

Kilauea Fish Market | 4270 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

A Week in Kauai, Hawaii

What to do 7 days in Kauai? Take a plane or helicopter tour. See Wailua Falls. Go Mountain Tubing, and more. Read how we spent our week in Kauai exploring some of the best highlights of the garden island.

East Side Kauai: Great Places to Eat in Kapaa

java kai coffee in kauai | pinterest marketing image

Java Kai Coffee

Oh, Java Kai, you have my heart. We have a hat and a mug to commemorate those great coffee memories and the light breakfast favorites.

In the photos above, I fell in love with a bagel smothered with cream cheese, pesto, and tomato.

Throughout my week there, I had a few things with pesto. I think pesto is a thing Kauai – it was on every menu! Anyways, never had the combination before and I was in love. Plus, everything is always better when made with high-quality, local ingredients.

Another day, we had their sunrise brekkie which came with half a papaya stuffed with fruit, granola, and strawberries. Hubby always loves a good breakfast sandwich.

We stopped here for iced coffees and lattes more than a few times during the week. It’s a busy place, so expect lines during certain times of the day. The staff here is super friendly and we begged the manager to open a Java Kai in Los Angeles.

If you are staying in Kapaa, Java Kai will become part of your daily ritual.

Java Kai | 4-1384 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Kountry Kitchen

kountry kitchen in Kapa'a kauai | pinterest marketing image

If you’re looking for a local spot for breakfast, you have to go to Kountry Kitchen. This place was filled with tourists and locals. They’ve been open since 1975 so they are a staple on the East Side of Kauai.

Think of Kountry Kitchen as the local diner serving local favorites like the loco moco and macadamia nut pancakes. They specialize in breakfast and brunch with a few unch options thrown in.

As soon as you’re seated, you’re welcome with a yummy slice of warm cornbread. The menu is overwhelming, as in, it ALL LOOKS GOOD. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day, so it’s difficult for me not to try it all. We ate here a couple of times, even once trying their loco moco. If you get the pancakes, say yes to their homemade coconut syrup.

The Loco Moco is comfort food in Hawaii and something you should try if you enjoy eating like the locals. It usually consists of rice, ground beef, an egg and then is smothered in gravy. This rich plate is enough for 2 people to share.

delicious breakfast plates from Kountry Kitchen

We stopped at their cafe on the way to the airport. I had their homemade waffles topped with roasted pineapples. I still think about their waffles. Their waffles are made to order, are perfectly crisp, airy, and delicious. The toppings are just a plus.

They use Spam containers as receipt holders at Kountry Kitchen
They use Spam containers as receipt holders. Cute touch.

Kountry Kitchen | 4-1485 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Bubba Burger

Bubba burgers with onions and fries in Kauai • TastyItinerary.com

There is a point during every vacation I start craving a burger. What is it that you crave?

After spending time at a beach, we found Bubba Burgers with a line out the door with locals and tourists. We figured they must be some great burgers. Let me tell you, they are! Move aside In-n-Out.

It’s a casual burger joint. Order at the counter and they’ll call you when it is ready. The staff behind the counter was super friendly.

You can find Bubba Burgers at 2 locations on Kauai. (They used to have a 3rd in Hanalei but it is now permanently closed.)

Bubba Burger | Kapaa & Poipu (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Wailua Shave Ice

Do not miss treating yourself to a shave ice treat. There are a number of places that you’ll find driving around, but we decided to try Wailua Shave Ice.

Wailua Shave Ice Food Truck | 4-1306 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

What to Pack for Hawaii

Here are the top 20 things to take with you on your Hawaii vacation. Printable Hawaiin Packing List included.

South Shore Kauai: Poipu Restaurants

Puka dog menu surfboard

If it wasn’t for Anthony Bourdain, I don’t know if I would have ever discovered Puka Dog on my own. This is one of Bourdain’s favorite eats and I needed to see what the fuss is about.

A hot dog or a polish sausage is wrapped in Hawaiian sweet bread, dressed in Puka Dog’s secret sauce and one of their delicious relishes, and Auntie Lilikoi’s Hawaiian Mustard.

Their most popular relish is the Kauai Special, a mango relish. I got one with the mango relish and the works.

The hot dog is good. We enjoyed them. However, I don’t know if I’d run back to have them again.

If you’re in the area and want to try one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Hawaiian eats, definitely give Puka Dog a try.

Puka Dog | Poipu Shopping Village | 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr, Koloa, HI 96756 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Da Crack

Da Crack take-out window

What a name and logo! This hole-in-whole Mexican take-out joint impressed us. At Da Crack, you’ll find fish tacos, burritos, and the like.

After a quick yelp, we had this for lunch one day. I was starving, so I ordered an ahi tuna burrito. It was HUGE, so amazing and so filling.

This is another cheap eat that is worth trying and if you’re in the mood for Mexican.

Da Crack | 2827 Poipu Rd, Koloa, HI 96756 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Monkeypod Jam

Monkeypod Jam Kauai • Where to eat in Kauai • TastyItineary.com

Monkeypod Jam, you had me at your cute wall-art and quirky name. Guess what we found inside? JAM. Lots of amazing, homemade Kauai JAMS.

You can taste all the jams. Believe me, I did. We ended up purchasing some jars for me and as gifts for the family. Guess what? You can order the jams on their website. If you can’t make it to Kauai, have a bit of Kauai shipped to you.

Watch a video of all the jams they have packaged and ready to go here.

They also have coffee, breakfast, and other yummy treats.

2-3687 Kaumualii Hwy, Lawai, HI 96765 (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Other Kauai Eats You Should Look For

Pono Market in Kapaa

We were told by locals this is where to eat in Kauai for some true Hawaiian eats. Unfortunately, we never got to try it, so I’m handing off the info to you. Let me know how it is!

Poke

Do not miss out on the poke as I did. I kept putting it off because I was not in the mood and never got to try it. I hear the poke in Hawaii is out of this world.

Sushi

It’s easy for me not to make this a priority when hubby does not eat fish. That’s why you do not see any sushi restaurants on this list. Make sure to ask locals for the best Sushi spot.

Food Trucks

They are all over and for some reason, we made it to only the shaved ice. Every time we were hungry, there weren’t any food trucks around. Next time I”m there, I’m making it my mission to try more food trucks.

Fruit Smoothies

You’ll come across many smoothie stands while driving.

Fruit Stands

If you see someone selling local fruit, stop and see what’s in season. I totally fell in love with the local papayas. Tasted nothing like the ones I find here.

Supermarkets

So many local treats and you can find poke there too. Locals were lined up for the poke, so that says something.

Farmers Markets

We missed the one in Hanalei on Saturday mornings due to rain. Check here for information on farmer’s markets throughout the week in Kauai.


There is still so much of Kauai to explore and many places to eat that did not make my list. My trip to Kauai may have been my first, but it most definitely won’t be my last. I do plan to return and continue discovering new Kauai eats. I will update this food guide as I do.

What sounds good to you? Where will you eat in Kauai? I’d love to know where you like to eat in Kauai.


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When I’m not daydreaming about my next vacation, drinking coffee, or playing with my dogs, you can find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook for more posts and stories! Would love to hear from you!

10 thoughts on “Where to Eat in Kauai: Food Guide”

  1. I just ate breakfast, and now I am already hungry just from reading this post! That bagel with the cream cheese, tomato, and pesto sounds to die for. I also love your face so much in those pictures. AHAHA. We recently found lactose-free cream cheese so I am allll about the bagels again.

    The Monkeypod Jam mason jar wall art is adorable. I feel like mason jars were all the yuppie rage at one point and then semi-died out, which was sad. I am so glad that places are still embracing them.

    Da Crack pretty much sums up how I feel about tacos….for real. Until I look at the picture….gahaha. That logo is amazing!

    Seriously going to get a mid-morning snack now…

    Reply
    • I never had that combo on a bagel before and it was so good. I still have to replicate it back home. Probably in the Spring when hubby plants tomatoes again. The tomatoes from the market I just not the same.

      Funny because they had that cute wall art but then the jam was not in those vintage mason jars. They were just regular jars, but the jam was damn good. There are still many eateries here that serve drinks and stuff in mason jars, so I still see them all the time. I do think the fad is over. I have my very own mason jar glasses with handles that I barely ever use lol

      Da Crack still cracks me up lol

      Reply
  2. Unlike Christine, I haven’t eaten breakfast, so I’m kinda drooling and dying over here. I. am. SO. HUNGRY. Shrimp scampi?!?! Don’t even remind me of the delish one I had earlier this week. PIZZA??? I also had that earlier. Italian cuisine will always be my favourite. RAMEN?!?! That’s just a glaring reminder that I have been craving pho and sushi for like a solid 3 weeks…. Basically, I should just book a flight to Kauai asap :’)

    Reply
    • Italian cuisine is at the top of my favorite foods. I was surprised to find some yummy Italian in Kauai, so I had to share. I love Pho! I hope you got to eat some already, if not gooooooo.

      Reply
  3. Totally swooning over a bagel breakfast sandwich. I actually used to ask our place in NY to make mine on a croissant if they had fresh ones!

    I so feel you on the food moments with hubby! Food is definitely our love language – we keep a top ten meals ever list and it’s very, very serious!

    Reply
    • Hubby loves his croissant breakfast sandwiches too more than the bagels. I have to admit, NY bagels are the best. I guess I was more impressed by the ingredients on this bagel than anything. It was definitely a good combo.

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  4. It sounds like you guys had a very yummy time in Kauai!! That tiramisu looks very yummy and I like that pesto is a big thing there! I love pesto! I never would have thought to combine it with cream cheese though. Very interesting. That bread company place also sounds amazing. I could have lived off that avocado toast!
    I like that the hot dog place has a veggie dog! Those relish options sound pretty fun. I want to try one!
    And I’ll definitely have that shaved ice! Looks delish!! Good thing I just ate ice cream.?
    When you go back, if your hubby isn’t interested in a repeat trip, call me!?

    Awesome post as per usual! You captured the food well in your photos!?

    Reply
    • Who would have known that pesto would be popular in Kauai? I can’t remember if it was in Oahu. I felt like I saw a pesto option everywhere we went. Thought it was odd but delicious, of course.

      I found that there were a ton of veggie options. I think you wouldn’t have a hard time finding menu options to fit your diet.

      Omg, the shaved ice was so good! Nothing like the snow cones we get on the streets of NY. It was like the shaved ice was so fluffy. Delish.

      And thank you for the comments on the photos. I was putting this post together and thinking, “I need to start taking better photos of the food.”

      Reply
  5. Dang, all of this food looks amazing! I am sitting here drooling wishing that I had something tasty to eat, preferably one of the dishes you’ve shown here. I think I found the incentive to want to travel to Kauai.

    Reply

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