Monico’s Taqueria

Monico's Taqueria — Where to Go for High Caliber Mexican Food Served with a Smile
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When you’re craving fish tacos, meaty nachos, and saucy enchiladas, you can always count on Monico’s Taqueria to come through for you. Born from a lifelong foodie and Oaxaca native, this East Side Kauai treasure promises to leave you feeling wholly satisfied with your meal. Plus, you can trust that their friendly service, low-key atmosphere, and live music will take your dining experience to the next level at every visit.  

- The Local Expert Team

Made by a lifelong foodie for his fellow foodies, Monico’s Taqueria is a clear local favorite on the East Side of Kauai. At this quaint Mexican restaurant, a steady stream of locals and tourists come through the doors hour after hour in search of a fantastic meal. And they find it, too, with a quick look at the modest yet wholly satisfying menu.

Although it’s just two pages, you can find everything from seafood tacos to al pastor enchiladas. Other proteins on their menu include shrimp, scallops, carne asada, and chicken plus the fresh catch fish of the day. They even happily use veggies in place of the meat without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. And since they’re made without lard, their beans are even vegetarian, but their rice does have chicken stock.

No matter what you order, you can bet on your dish showcasing Chef Monico’s skills in the kitchen. As an Oaxaca native and foodie through and through, Monico always goes big on flavor and presentation. He builds each dish using fresh, local ingredients and time-honored recipes passed down through the generations. Then, he plates them up with artistic flair, so you always feel like you’re enjoying a five-star dining experience.

Although it might taste like fine dining, the eatery always boasts a low-key atmosphere that makes you feel right at home in an instant. They even regularly invite local musicians to come down and play to keep you well entertained while you enjoy your meal.  

The friendly service is second to none as well, even though it often gets quite busy in the evenings and on the weekends. Upon walking through the doors, the staff provides a warm welcome and then inquires about where you’d like to sit. You can choose to sit outside amongst the palm trees or in their chill dining room.

Their most popular dishes include:

Seafood Tacos
When you want delicious comfort food with a twist, you cannot lose by choosing their Seafood Tacos. Each soft corn taco shell gets filled with fish, shrimp, and scallops before the shredded cabbage and pico de gallo goes over the top. Mild jalapeno crema brings it all together at the end. Along with your tacos, you get rice, beans, and a scoop of guacamole.

Camarones a la Diabla
For a truly spicy kick, you need to try their Camarones a la Diabla. They start this dish by sauteing shrimp in olive oil, and then dousing it in a spicy chipotle sauce. Alongside that, you get beans, rice, and guacamole plus flour or corn tortillas on the side.

Monico’s Special
Monico’s Special puts a fantastic spin on surf and turf, taking all the flavors you love to great heights. When you order this dish, you get fresh catch fish, shrimp, and a scallop sauteed alongside local veggies galore. Then, it all lands on a jalapeno crema and chile de arbol sauce. On the other side of the plate, you’ll find carnitas covered in pico de gallo plus rice, beans, and guacamole. Flour or corn tortillas come alongside, so you can wrap it all up and then go to town.

If you’re looking to get a discount on their appetizers, beer, and margaritas, plan your visit for happy hour, which runs from 3 pm to 5 pm each day. During that time, they’ll provide you with their happy hour menu with all the deals listed in one spot. You can then just fill up on all their appetizers or just order one to whet your appetite for the main course.

Insider Tips:
-No substitutions are permitted, so what you see on the menu is what you get.
-They only allow one check per party, so plan accordingly when dining in large groups. Unlike many other restaurants, they do not add a gratuity charge to the total, no matter the party size.
-Parking is limited next to the restaurant, but feel free to park in a nearby lot and walk on over.