Before heading out on vacation one of the first things that we do is research good places to eat. Since we have been to Kauai several times over the years, we thought we would share our list of the best food on Kauai. Although we haven’t been able to check out every place on the island, here is a list of places that we have tried and would recommend to our family and friends. So here they are, in no particular order.
*** Unfortunately due to lockdowns related to COVID-19 some of these businesses might not yet have re-opened or might have closed permanently. ***
Little Fish Coffee – Hanapepe and Poipu
We discovered Little Fish on one of our first trips to Kauai. We had stopped in their original location in Hanapepe to check it out and we were looking for something to drink. Everything on the menu sounded good and looked good so we ordered some coffee and some food. Turns out the coffee was really great and the food memorable. Years later, I still remember that first Monkey Nuts smoothie I had.
Since then, they have opened a second location in Poipu, and, it’s busy! The lineup at the Poipu location can easily be 20 deep at times. They are pretty efficient and the line does move fairly quickly.
If you do make it there, certainly give some of our favorite things a try. These are the Monkey Nuts smoothie, of course, their cinnamon schmear on a bagel, the breakfast bagel and the Pakala bowl. Don’t forget to grab some coffee which is roasted on the Island and a great way to start the day!
The hours at their Poipu location are 6:30 am to 3 pm – be forewarned, there can be lineups at 6:30, it’s that popular. And, the Hanapepe location is open from 7 am to 3 pm.
Kiawe Roots – Koloa
Their philosophy is simple techniques, simple ingredients, unique flavors. And boy, do they deliver.
If you are looking for a recommendation, go for the Huli Huli chicken. The portion is huge (1/2 chicken), and some of the best chicken we’ve ever had.
They are open for Brunch 11 am to 3 pm, Happy Hour 3 pm to 5 pm and Dinner 5 pm to 9 pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Mondays and Tuesdays, they are only open for dinner.
Street Burger – Kapa’a
After a recommendation from a blog reader, we finally did make it to Street Burger. And, it definitely did not disappoint. The food is high quality and made with local ingredients. All burgers are grilled over wood making it a unique and superior product. Everything is made in house, including their ketchup. Which is probably the best we’ve ever had. If you like beer, they have plenty of options on tap.
Also, the fries are exceptional. Fried to a perfect golden brown, crispy and perfectly salted. Go hungry, the portions are huge. We stopped by on our way back from hiking the Kalalau Trail and weren’t able to finish our plates.
If you get the chance, stop by Tuesday to Saturday between the hours of 11 am and 10 pm.
Kauai Juice – Kapa’a, Poipu & Kilauea
Hands down best kombucha that we have ever tasted! We have been known to purchase growlers worth of it while on the island. Our favorite flavors are the Lilikoi Lychee and Dragonfruit Pineapple. Kauai Juice also has cold press juices that are very good. We especially like the Glow and the Minta Colada.
Don’t forget to try an elixir when you stop by. The Ginger Snap is the best. It’s made with ginger, lemon, honey and cinnamon. It’s a great pick me up when you aren’t feeling 100%.
All their stores are open 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday. Their Sunday hours vary by location.
Anake’s Juice Bar – Poipu
On a hot day or after a hike, nothing hits the spot quite like Anake’s Acai Bowls. Refreshing, sweet, filling and simply the best we have had on any of the Hawaiian Islands. Our favorite is the Funky Monkey. They also have tasty sounding smoothies and fresh juices.
This place is popular both with the locals and the visitors. It’s in the back of the Kukuiula Market; just follow the sound of the blenders!
Anake’s is open from 8 am to 5 pm every day.
Da Crack – Poipu
Go hungry! The burritos there extremely large. It’s another place that very popular so there can be a lineup at times. Don’t be afraid, it’s worth the wait. Da Crack is also a favorite of the locals. In fact, it’s not until a local told us that we had to give it a try that we did. Order the ahi burrito and add cabbage to it. It’s a dynamite combo you can’t get anywhere else. The chicken burrito is also very good. They also have tacos, bowls and nachos. Everything is pick your own protein and fixings and made to order.
They are open 11 am to 8 pm daily.
El Pastor Taco – Kapa’a
This little gem is a food truck in Kapa’a Town and serves great tacos. We first heard about El Pastor Taco on the Food Network and decided to check it out. And, we’ve been back several times since. The food is great, portions large and reasonably priced. Get two tacos, a fish one and an el pastor one, you won’t be sorry.
They are open 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday – closed on Monday.
Pizzetta – Koloa
Pizza or pasta aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when in Hawaii, but a kalua pork and pineapple pizza should be. At Pizzetta, they call it The Real Hawaiian. Since it’s not actually on the menu you have to ask for it. Trust us, they will definitely know what you are talking about.
Pizzetta has great Happy Hour specials from 3 to 5:30 pm daily. Their appetizers and drinks are a great price during that time! Give their bruschetta a try, it’s really good. Most days you can probably get a table without reservations, but to avoid being disappointed it’s probably safest to do so.
They are open from 11 am to 9 pm daily.
Hanalei Bread Company – Hanalei
If you find yourself on Kauai’s North Shore, looking for coffee and a bite to eat, check out Hanalei Bread Company.
From espresso and cold-pressed coffee, made with Hawaii-grown and roasted beans, they will provide enough power to paddle up Hanalei River.
Looking for breakfast and a sweet treat? They’ve got you covered. Their breakfast sandwich is a winner, likewise the avocado toast is great and all their pastries are amazing.
They are open from 7 am to 5 pm, 7 days per week.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill – Port Allen
After looking at the list of beers on tap, it was too hard to pick just one so a flight was a better option. Turns out all the beers we tasted were good but the The Fonz IPAaaaaaaaaaaaaaa and the Lilikoi Ale were our favorites.
A local had mentioned that the Kalua Pork sandwich there was good so that’s what we ordered. Turns out that was an understatement, it was the best pulled pork sandwich that we’ve ever had. And, the fries are really good too. They too focus on local fresh ingredients and make almost everything in-house.
If you are looking for high quality pub food on Kauai, this is a great option. They are open 11 am to 9 pm daily. If you find yourself in the area, do stop by.
Makai Sushi – Koloa
Also in the Kukuiula Market, Makai Sushi is another hidden gem. We had walked by several times never thinking of stopping by until we saw another blogger mention how fantastic it was. So, obviously we decided to give it a try. And, it has now been added to our list of fav Kauai foods. It is outstanding.
They are open 11 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday. And, weekends from 11 am to 5 pm.
The Beach House – Koloa
We stopped by late afternoon, during Happy Hour thinking we would try some mai tais and a snack but we liked it so much that we ended up staying to watch the sunset. The Beach House has one of the best sunset views on the island.
During happy hour, from 2:30 to 4:30 daily, the pupus (appetizers) are half price and their famous Monkeypod mai tais are $10.
Everything we had there was are great! We tried the lobster deviled eggs, the garlic truffle oil fries, the pumpkin patch ravioli and the Szechuan stir-fry green beans. Since these were all half price, we took full advantage! We will definitely be adding this place to our list for next visit!
Kalaheo Cafe – Kalaheo
You will find Kalaheo Cafe in the lush mountains of upcountry Kalaheo. It’s a locals’ favorite and they have plenty of local awards on the wall. One fun fact that we noticed was that they estimate their clientele to be 75% local.
We stopped by for breakfast, but they do also offer lunch and dinner menus.
As you walk in, you are greeted by a case full of tasty treats. As you can probably guess, we had to try one of them. We opted for the knuckle. It’s a cross between a croissant and a cinnamon roll. Very tasty.
For our meals, we opted for omelettes. They were very tasty and a generous size. They were also served with hash browns and a small grilled corn muffin. A very nice touch!
They open at 6:30 am, perfect for early risers and close around 2 pm. For night where dinner is available, they re-open at 5 pm.
Porky’s – Waimea
If you do a quick search for the top places to eat on Kauai, Porky’s comes out on top. They only have 4 menu options so how can that be? We had to find out for ourselves. After a day in Waimea Canyon, we decided to stop in and give it a try. We ordered the Number One which is a grilled pineapple infused pork sausage topped with handcrafted, slow roasted kalua pork, fresh cut pineapple, grilled onions, porky’s bbq sauce (sweet or sweet & spicy), all inside a toasted cheese french roll. And, it was THAT GOOD. The pork was fantastic and the sweet spicy BBQ sauce pushed it over the top. So, if you are in the area, do give it a try.
Their Waimea shop is open Monday to Friday from 11 am until 4 pm. And, Saturday from 11 am until 3 pm.
Fun fact, Porky’s started as a food truck that was so successful that they decided to open a restaurant in Waimea.
Tidepools – Poipu
Although we have never had a full meal here, we did have cocktails and some outstanding desserts so we thought that it was worth a mention. To eat in the dining room, you definitely need some reservations, unless you want to sit in the lounge.
Tidepools is another restaurant that is always top of list when you search for good places to eat on Kauai. Judging by how good our malasadas and the lava cake were, it’s probably safe to assume that you wouldn’t be disappointed with a meal there.
The lounge opens at 5 pm daily and the dining room at 5:30 pm.
Holey Grail Donuts – Hanalei
We had been following Holey Grail Donuts on Instagram for a little while. While planning our latest trip to Kauai, we knew we needed to check it out. They are located in food truck in Hanalei and open Tuesday to Sunday morning from 7 am to 1 pm. Their donuts are organic, vegan and made with taro and fried in coconut oil.
If you decide to go, be prepared for a bit of a wait. All donuts are made to order and there can be a bit of a lineup. The menu tends to change every week. The day we stopped by the options were as per the menu below.
We decided to get one of each kind. After a few minutes of wait, got our box of donuts. Not only are the donuts beautiful to look at but they were delicious.
Nom – Kapa’a
Upon recommendation for a local photographer, we stopped by Nom for brunch. Nom had been a successful food truck for a few years and in 2018, they opened in their current space. Everything is locally sourced, made from scratch and delicious. And, there is a definite southern influence to all the dishes.
They are open from 8:00am-2:30pm, Wednesday thru Monday. It is quite popular so there might be a bit of a wait. But, if you aren’t in a rush, it’s well worth the wait. And, go hungry, the portions are big!
Java Kai – Kapa’a
There’s no shortage of great local coffee shops on Kauai. Java Kai not only serves up great coffee (roasted in house!), but they crank out fantastic breakfast, acai bowls and have a full display case of sweet treats (give the Aloha Bar a try). We recommend hitting them up before, during or after riding on the Kappa Bike Path. It is just feet away from the pathway, with ample seating inside an out and has something to satisfy any type of craving. Or, if you’re just looking for great coffee on the East Side.
Their hours are from 6 am to 7 pm.
Looking for more information before going to Kauai? Check out some of our other Kauai posts.
- Kauai Travel Tips
- Best Happy Hour on Kauai
- 7 Day Budget Friendly Kauai Itinerary
- Favorite Kauai Beaches
Finally, if you have any food recommendation for us, comment below so we can check it out during our next visit to Kauai.
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