When it comes to restaurants, tapas bars hold a special place in our hearts. These eateries are perfect for couples, families, or groups of friends because they allow everyone to sample lots of great food without overindulging.
Bar Acuda is a quintessentially Hawaiian restaurant that blends upscale dining with a casual island atmosphere. Most of the tables are on the covered lanai, so you can enjoy the Hawaiian breeze and gaze upon the natural splendor of Kauai. This bar is a somewhat intimate space, with relatively minimal seating that fills up fast.
Bar Acuda really leans into the “great food” aspect of being a tapas bar. Best of all, because the vibe is all about sampling, the menu rotates throughout the year. The owners are also dedicated to using as many local ingredients and flavors as possible. That commitment to Hawaiian elements also extends to the bar menu, where signature cocktails include locally-grown macadamia nuts and lilikoi puree.
Some tapas menu mainstays we love include:
Grilled Lamb Riblets
Everyone who samples the lamb says that it’s cooked to perfection. You may not get too many bites, but each one is worth writing home about. Even on a table with four or five signature dishes, the lamb will always stand out as the star of the show. The riblets also come with Sicilian aioli and roasted garlic.
This dish is traditionally a Mexican meatball soup, but Bar Acuda just removes the soup and serves the meatballs with a tangy tomato sauce. The meat is a mixture of locally-raised bison and pork, so it’s lean and packed with flavor.
This dish rotates the most based on the local fish populations. However, you can’t be in Hawaii without tasting some fresh island seafood. The mixture of textures and flavors is unique and incredible, as the chef pairs the fish with cannellini beans, smoked bacon, and sunflower sprouts.
North Shore Honeycomb
Honeycomb can sometimes be an acquired taste, but the chefs at Bar Acuda know how to handle their ingredients. Locally sourced, this honeycomb pairs well with Humboldt Fog goat cheese, Fuji apple pieces, and a house-made brioche roll. Lightly sweet and deliciously decadent.
You better leave room for dessert because Bar Acuda knows how to make a world-class Hawaiian-style cheesecake. This soft and velvety dish includes vibrant textures, thanks to sliced almonds, coconuts, and a graham cracker crust. It’s so good you won’t want to share.
-Because Bar Acuda is such a top local attraction, you’ll need to book your reservations early. The restaurant allows you to book up to one month in advance, and the largest party size is eight.
-Even though the plates are small, the prices are not. The quality of the food at Bar Acuda is superb, but be aware that each order will add up quickly. Groups of four or more should adjust their budgets accordingly.