As you hit the beach, explore all the gorgeous parklands, and check out everything else Kauai has to offer, you’ll quickly work up quite the appetite. Fortunately, it’s easy to satisfy all your cravings at the many excellent eateries all around the island. The hard part is figuring out which ones to work into your visit, so you don’t miss out on the most popular eats – but we’re here to help. Just use this guide on the top 20 restaurants in Kauai to zero in on the fan favorites.
Beach House Restaurant
Located right next to Lawai Beach, the Beach House Restaurant serves as a top lunch and dinner spot – and a popular wedding venue as well. Every dish starts with fresh, local ingredients, so they can build Hawaiian delicacies, like Poke Tacos, Furikake Dusted Ahi, and Wasabi-Buttered Fresh Island Fish.
Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Hidden within the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Tidepools awaits the chance to treat you to Hawaiian cuisine and fruity cocktails in a delightful tropical setting. Thanks to their focus on fine dining dishes made with steak and fish, their most popular offerings include Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi and Prime Center Cut Filets.
Merriman’s Fish House
Farm-to-table fare, friendly service, and live music performances come together to make Merriman’s Fish House a great spot in South Shore to settle down for dinner. Using the freshest local ingredients and time-honored recipes, they whip up truly tasty dishes, like Smoked Taro Hummus, Lamb Chops, and Tempura Kauai Shrimp and Fish.
A hidden gem in North Shore, Bar Acuda serves up tantalizing small bite plates made with fresh fish, produce, and other ingredients from all over the island. Their menu changes regularly, but regularly features decadent creations, like Seared Sea Scallops, Kailani Farms Baby Greens, and North Shore Honeycomb, plus plenty of imaginative cocktails.
At Jo2 Restaurant, they brighten up the East Side with their Hawaiian, Japanese, and French fusion dishes made with artistic flair. As a reflection of their creativity, their menu changes on the regular, but you can often find delights like Kauai Organic Tomato Sampler, Seared Hawaiian Hapu, and Vegan Mango Cheesecake.
Built in honor of the surfing legend, Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s Kauai goes for the gold in the creation of their Hawaiian dishes. With a trip to this Kalapaki Beach eatery, you can enjoy decadent dishes of all kinds, including Crab Wontons and Slow Roasted Prime Rib. No matter what you order, just be sure to visit their famous salad bar to bring your meal together.
Whether you visit Tahiti Nui for their Wednesday night luau and buffet, zip on over for their weekend brunch, or stop by to enjoy items off their all-day menu, you’re in for a treat. Although this North Shore eatery gets a lot of attention for its appearance in the George Clooney film, ‘The Descendants,’ the real magic is in their food. Not sure what to get? You cannot go wrong with the Rib Eye Beef Poke Bowl, Huli Huli Chicken, or Garden Pesto.
Located in the Koa Kea Hotel, Red Salt takes fresh island seafood and produce to great heights with their innovative preparations. With its many decadent layers, including lobster claws, foie grass, and ground sirloin, their Red Salt Burger is definitely the star of the show. Beyond trying that, get on over for breakfast to enjoy their Lobster Benedict and Lemon-Pineapple Souffle Pancakes.
Lava Lava Beach Club
An East Side favorite, the Lava Lava Beach Club lets you grub on awesome farm-to-table creations in a low-key beachside atmosphere. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they proudly serve up all the most popular Hawaiian dishes, including Surfin’ Pig Omelet, Fritto Misto, and Chinese Five Spice Rubbed Ahi. Don’t miss your chance to elevate your meal with items off their wine list and cocktail menus as well.
Kauai Bakery serves as the East Side’s answer to cravings for baked goods and coffee of all kinds. Despite the wide range of offerings in their bakery case, the line often goes out the door for their malasadas and manapuas alone. Available in a wide range of flavors, these amazing treats promise to keep you full from morning to night – and always go great with a fresh cup of coffee.
Hanalei Bread Co.
When traveling along North Shore, you can count on Hanalei Bread Co. to satisfy your cravings for baked goods made fresh each day. They even go beyond fresh baked bread and pastries by serving up a full menu of remarkable foods, like Apple Ricotta Toast, Caprese Sandwich, and their ever popular Frittata of the Day.
A prime destination for brunch in Kapaa, Kountry Kitchen goes big on the best island flavors by using fresh, local ingredients from the Makaweli Meat Company, Kealia Farms, and other quality vendors. While their omelet specials are the star of the show (Hello, Polynesian Omelet!), their huge menu features every breakfast and lunch dish imaginable.
Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co.
You can rely on Kalaheo Café & Coffee Co. to get you ready for all your South Shore Kauai adventures. You can fuel up any time of the day with their exquisite breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, like their decadent House Baked Cinnamon Bread French Toast. Plus, get an extra kick with your favorite coffee drink made hot or iced while you wait.
Whether you’re exploring the East Side or South Shore, you can zip on over to Bubba Burgers for a filling meal. At their two locations, they focus on building burgers, hot dogs, and chili rice to remember. If you’re unsure what to get, do yourself a favor and try their Teriyaki Burger.
Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs
Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs goes all out in adorning their specialty Polish sausages with all the best South Shore flavors. Their hot dogs start with relish made from tropical fruit, and then gets the garlic lemon sauce of your choice plus Auntie Lilikoi’s Hawaiian mustard, of course. You can choose a basic mustard instead, but who wants to do that? To complete your experience, get their shave ice on the way out the door.
With excellent options like Poke Nachos and Candied Ahi on tap, seafood is the name of the game at Hukilau Lanai – a true East Side treasure. If you prefer a little comfort food, they have that, too. Their lasagna, mushroom meatloaf, and pork tenderloin never fail to hit the spot. While you dine in style, live musical performances promise to keep you well entertained through your visit.
While it might seem like an average food cart, Porky’s Kauai satisfies everyone’s cravings for delectable Hawaiian treats. Their Pineapple Sausage is absolutely to die for, although you’ll also surely enjoy their ultra-cheesy grilled cheese sandwich. Want to stick to the basics? Not a problem. Go with their 100% all beef frank instead.
Hamura Saimin Stand
When nothing else will do but rich, flavorful noodle soup, you can turn your attention to the Hamura Saimin Stand. Beyond saimin, this East Side noodle shop has everything from won ton soup to udon plus yummy pork manapuas. On Wednesdays, you can get their malasadas while their incredibly popular Lilikoi Chiffon Pie is available every day of the week.
Koloa Fish Market
Fresh fish, plate lunches, and deli snacks are always up for grabs at the Koloa Fish Market. Although you’ll undoubtedly hear their scrumptious poke bowls calling your name, it’s also well worth standing in line for their plates piled high with mac salad, tossed greens, and your fish, chicken, or pork of choice. If you’d like to grill up your own creations, just get their fresh fish and take it to the beach.
Brick Oven Pizza
Well known for their beloved Super Pizza, Brick Oven Pizza goes big on the Italian flavors in everything they make. In addition to their specialty and custom pizza pies, this South Shore favorite offers a chance to grub on chicken wings, calamari, and smoked meats of all kinds. They even have oysters on the half shell on a seasonal basis, making it well worth checking in on the regular.
With this list of the top 20 restaurants in Kauai, you can get your fill of all the best food and drinks across the island. Although it might be tempting to stick with just a few, challenge yourself to try them all to go on an incredible culinary journey between all your island adventures.