Kauai Restaurants

On Kauai, if you're lucky enough to win an invitation to a potluck, baby luau, or beach party, don't think twice—just accept. The best grinds (food) are homemade, and so you'll eat until you're full, then rest, eat some more, and make a plate to take home, too.

But even if you can't score a spot at one of these parties, don't despair. Great local-style food is easy to come by at countless low-key places around the island. As an extra bonus, these eats are often inexpensive, and portions are generous. Expect plenty of meat—usually deep-fried or marinated in a teriyaki sauce and grilled pulehu-style (over an open fire)—and starches. Rice is standard, even for breakfast, and often served alongside potato–macaroni salad, another island specialty. Another local favorite is poke, made from chunks of raw tuna or octopus seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, onions, and pickled seaweed. It's a great pupu (appetizer) when paired with a cold beer.

Kauai's cultural diversity is apparent in its restaurants, which offer authentic Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, and Hawaiian specialties. Less specialized restaurants cater to the tourist crowd, serving standard American fare—burgers, pizza, sandwiches, surf-and-turf combos, and so on. Poipu and Kapaa offers the best selection of restaurants, with options for a variety of tastes and budgets; most fast-food joints are in Lihue.

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  • 1. Kauai Grill

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Savor an artful meal created by world-renowned chef Jean-Gorges Vongerichten, surrounded by a dramatic Hanalei Bay scene that's positively stunning...Read More

  • 2. Restaurant Bar Acuda

    $$$$ | Spanish

    This hip and pricey tapas bar is a top place in Hanalei in terms of tastiness, creativity, and pizzazz. Owner-chef Jim Moffat's brief menu changes...Read More

  • 3. Hanalei Gourmet

    $$ | American

    This spot in Hanalei's restored old schoolhouse offers dolphin-safe tuna, low-sodium meats, fresh-baked breads, and homemade desserts as well...Read More

  • 4. Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza

    $$ | American

    Open from 6:30 am, the bakery serves coffee drinks, delicious fresh pastries, bagels, and breads in the morning. Late risers beware: breads...Read More

  • 5. Makana Terrace

    $$$$ | American

    There's no doubt this spot is pricey, but you're paying for the view—sit on the terrace if you can—and for an attentive staff. The menu is simple...Read More

  • 6. Nanea Restaurant and Bar

    $$$ | American

    This is the signature restaurant of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, and its casual, open-air seating is the perfect compliment to...Read More

  • 7. Neide's Salsa and Samba

    $$ | Brazilian

    The only restaurant serving authentic Brazilian food on Kauai, Neide's Salsa and Samba is also one of the most affordable establishments on...Read More

  • 8. Opakapaka Grill and Bar

    $$ | Fusion

    A trip to this oceanfront oasis requires a narrow, cliff-hugging ride along the exquisite North Shore coastline or a short walk from the condos...Read More

  • 9. Postcards Café

    $$$ | American

    This plantation-cottage restaurant has a menu full of seafood but also offers additive-free vegetarian and vegan options. Top menu picks include...Read More

  • 10. Bouchon's

    $$ | Japanese

    This second-story grill and sushi bar, previously known as Sushi Blues, has a pleasant ambience, with copper tabletops, lovely views of mountains...Read More

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