acai bowl from little fish coffee, poipu, kauai, hawaii
Americas,  International Travel,  Travel

The 10 Best Places to Eat in Kauai

One of the things I was most looking forward to when we visited Kauai was all of the incredible food! Did I design our entire Kauai itinerary around great poke spots? Maybe! In between waterfalls, beaches and canyons, I was on the hunt to find the best places to eat in Kauai, Hawaii.

And Kauai certainly did not disappoint! We ate incredibly well on the island, enjoying Hawaiian favourites like fresh seafood and pineapple, as well as new finds, like malasadas, and a few surprises, like out of this world burgers.

Check out the best places to eat in Kauai below and don’t miss my 5 day Kauai itinerary to help you plan your trip!

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But are these really the best places to eat in Kauai?

They are! Well, at least they are the best places to eat in Kauai in my opinion. “Best” is always going to be subjective. You and I may not like the same things.

And, of course, being a visitor to Kauai, I only got to try so many places. As you’ll see on the map, most of the places are along the southern shore, closer to where we were staying. I’m sure there are hundreds of other delicious places on the island that I didn’t get to eat at.

Don’t agree with my picks or have some additions to my list? Awesome! Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to go back to Kauai some day and try the best restaurants you suggest.

Map of the best places to eat in Kauai, Hawaii

Best breakfast in Kauai: Little Fish Coffee Poipu

Little Fish Coffee Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Breakfast at Little Fish Coffee Poipu in Kauai, Hawaii

Little Fish Coffee is a coffee stand in Poipu that also serves up smoothies, acai bowls, sandwiches and breakfast. This place is popular! We arrived early on a Saturday morning and the stand was lined up. But the line moves pretty fast and you have lots of screeching roosters to keep you company!

We enjoyed delicious and fresh acai bowls, hearty breakfast sandwiches and fancy coffees. Instead of a regular coffee, Colin opted for a specialty coffee that had so much espresso in it one sip had me jittery. But all in all, I highly recommend this place for breakfast or a quick snack.

Local restaurant in Kauai: Bobbie’s Restaurant

Bobbie's Restaurant, Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanapepe, Kauai’s Biggest Small Town, is home to a couple of great food options, including the low-key Bobbie’s Restaurant. This place is no frills but definitely feels like you’ve discovered a local, lunchtime eatery.

I went for the Korean fried chicken and mac salad. The chicken was pretty good, but my travel companions enjoyed their meals a bit more. I wasn’t a fan of the mac salad but I think that’s more to do with my tastes, as it was a popular item. And the best part? A huge lunch serving is just $12!

Best Mexican food in Kauai: Da Crack

You might miss Da Crack if you’re not looking for it but trust me, you don’t want to miss this place. As the name implies, this restaurant is barely more than a crack in the wall. It’s a takeout window where you can order some delicious Mexican food in Kauai.

I ordered fish tacos, Colin got a pork burrito, and his mom and aunt went for burrito bowls. We were all completely blown away by the taste, quantity and value. Lunch was less than $15 each!

Delicious smoothies in Kauai: Anake’s Juice Bar

Right next to Da Crack, hidden at the back of a grocery store, is Anake’s Juice bar. I had read about this place in another travel blog and it did not disappoint. I got a delicious fruit smoothie and drooled over the acai bowls I saw while waiting in line.

Next to the juice bar was a little pop up bakery where I picked up a lilikoi (aka passionfruit) cream cheese croissant that was also so delicious! I’m not sure if that bakery is always there but if it is, get the lilikoi croissant!

Best dessert in Kauai: Aloha Sweet Delights

malasadas from Aloha Sweet Delights, Kauai, Hawaii, best places to eat in Kauai

I mentioned Aloha Sweet Delights in my 5 days in Kauai itinerary post, so you know it had to get a mention as one of the best places to eat in Kauai. Aloha Sweet Delights is the place to go to get fresh malasadas, sweet Hawaiian donuts!

We picked up a box of malasadas and a pineapple fritter on our way to Waimea Canyon. I was told you have to hit up Aloha Sweet Delights early before they sell out. We dove into our treats partway through our canyon road trip and they were so soft, sugary and delicious!

Great BBQ chain in Kauai: Chicken in a Barrel

Chicken in a Barrel is a popular chain in Kauai for good tasting barbecue and an alarming number of drinks on tap. We visited the location in Waimea after driving through the canyon and really enjoyed lunch there.

Our group tried a few different things and really loved the chicken and the fries. The location we visited was also on a beautiful resort with beach views, which made lunch even better. However, be warned that Chicken in a Barrel can add up (and I don’t recommend getting the sampler platter: small portions for too much money).

Best poke in Kauai: Ishihara Market

seafood poke from Isihara Market, Kauai, Hawaii

seafood poke from Isihara Market, Kauai, Hawaii

My favourite poke in Kauai was from Ishihara Market. When you first walk in, this place looks like your average Asian grocery store. But at the back is a beautiful counter of fresh seafood for a DIY poke bowl. I sampled quite a few poke options in Kauai and my favourite was from Ishihara Market. The fish was fresh, flavourful and well-priced!

Best burgers in Kauai: Kenji Burger

Kenji Burger was one of our favourite meals in Kauai – we liked it so much we went to another location on our way to the airport! This burger bar makes Asian/Hawaiian inspired burgers, sides, salads, rice bowls and sushi burritos.

We all opted for the Hapa Burger on our first visit – a juicy burger topped with Japanese BBQ sauce, pineapple slaw, bacon, cheese and onions – and absolutely loved it. On our second visit, the server recommended adding an egg to the Hapa Burger and it was even more delicious! And don’t sleep on the furikake fries!

Fresh fish in Kauai: Koloa Fish Market

Koloa Fish Market, Kauai, Hawaii

Koloa Fish Market is a popular spot in the Poipu area for delicious poke and other Hawaiian dishes. When we visited in January 2022, you lined up outside, ordering through a window and then taking orders to go.

While their poke was quite good, Ishihara’s poke is still my favourite. But it’s worth trying the Koloa Fish Market version too! We also got their Korean fried chicken meal which was delicious – and a steal at only $10!

(The other) best dessert in Kauai: Orly Patisserie

We stumbled upon Orly Patisserie after finishing lunch at Kenji Burger in Lihue and it was the happiest accident of our trip. The entire bakery was filled with beautiful pastries featuring fresh, local ingredients. It took all my self-control not to order one of everything!

Colin choose a big cookie that was still warm and I went with a lilikoi and chocolate mousse cake. Despite being so full from lunch, I devoured my cake. It was the most phenomenal dessert! I only wish we had discovered Orly earlier in our trip so I could’ve visited more than once.

Tahiti Nui, Kauai, Hawaii
It’s not a Hawaiian vacation without a tropical drink!

5 Kauai restaurants to skip

The following five restaurants were pretty disappointing and I personally wouldn’t recommend them. However, as I mentioned above, everyone has different tastes. Just because I didn’t enjoy a place doesn’t mean you won’t!

  • Tahiti Nui: We ate at this restaurant in Hanalei when the food trucks we had originally planned to eat at turned out to be closed. The food was just fine, but it was super overpriced and the service was seriously lacking. I was charged $4 to add half an avocado!
  • Japanese Grandma’s Cafe food truck: I was so excited to see a Japanese Grandma’s Cafe food truck parked behind our resort, as we didn’t have a chance to try the original location in Hanapepe. But sadly, I was hugely disappointed. I ordered a sushi roll and chicken karage; both were expensive and not very tasty. Here’s hoping the original cafe is better!
  • Lappert’s Hawaii: I had read that Lappert’s ice cream was supposed to be some of the best in Kauai. So Colin and I both got cones but we were underwhelmed. It was just okay. Save your money for shave ice!
  • Bubba Burgers: After our success at Kenji Burger, Colin was excited to try the quirky Bubba Burgers restaurant. But we should have just stuck to Kenji. The Bubba burger was pretty ordinary and it took forever to place our order.
  • Beach House Restaurant: Our resort was across from Beach House Restaurant, a very fancy restaurant in the Koloa/Poipu area. Not having the fancy outfits required for a reservation, we opted to order a dish to go. We ordered pot stickers, but they gave us pumpkin ravioli. I had to go back and, luckily, they gave us the pot stickers we had ordered for free. But the service was a bit icy – I was made to feel bad for their mistake. On top of that, the pot stickers were overpriced and not very tasty. Funny enough, the ravioli we mistakenly got was actually pretty good!

Must eats in Kauai, Hawaii

Besides the best places to eat in Kauai above, you’ll want to make sure you try all of these Hawaiian foods while in Kauai:

  • Poke
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Acai bowl
  • Spam misubishi
  • Malasadas
  • Shave ice
  • Kauai coffee
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Lilikoi (passion fruit) 
  • Lomilomi salmon
  • Huli Huli chicken
  • Loco Moco (burger patty on rice with egg)
  • Kalua pig
  • Saimin (similar to ramen noodles)
  • Manapua (similar to a BBQ pork bun) 

And you don’t want to miss a Hawaiian luau, of course! 

best places to eat in Kauai, Hawaii

Where else to eat in Kauai, Hawaii?

Below are some restaurants I had on my shortlist that we sadly didn’t get to while we were in Kauai. But I’ve heard they’re delicious! If you’ve eaten at any of these places, let me know what I’m missing.

  • Koloa Mill Ice Cream
  • Kauai Poke Co. Food Truck
  • Coconut Corner
  • Holey Grail Donuts
  • Rainbeau Jo’s
  • Porky’s Kauai
  • Kountry Kitchen
  • Pink’s Creamery
  • Hamura Saimin
  • Cafe Tumeric
  • JoJo’s Shave Ice
  • Eat Healthy Kauai
  • Midnight Bear Breads
  • Puka Dog

Plus so many more fish markets, farmer’s markets and yummy spots all over the island. I guess the only thing to do is go back to Kauai one day and try them all!


Are you drooling yet? Where would you most want to eat in Kauai?

 

Share my list of best places to eat in Kauai, Hawaii! 

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