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. Red Salt

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Smart, sophisticated decor, attentive and skilled service, and an exceptional menu that highlights Hawaiian seafood make Red Salt a great choice...Read More

  • 2. Dani's Restaurant

    $ | American

    Kauai residents frequent this eatery near the Lihue Fire Station for hearty, local-style food at breakfast and lunch; it's a good place to try...Read More

  • 3. Eat Healthy Cafe

    $$ | Vegetarian

    A restored plantation cottage surrounded by tropical foliage is the casual setting for this island café. The menu emphasizes local and organic...Read More

  • 4. Joe's on the Green

    $ | American

    Located at the Kiahuna Golf Course, the casual atmosphere and generous portions at Joe's makes it a refreshing alternative to the pricier hotel...Read More

  • 5. Kalaheo Café & Coffee Co.

    $$ | American

    Folks love this busy roadside café—especially for breakfast, though it's good for lunch and a simple dinner, too—for it's casual atmosphere...Read More

  • 6. Kalapaki Joe's

    $$ | American

    Both locations—in Lihue's Kukui Grove and in Poipu—appeal to sports fans who like a rip-roaring happy hour as the appetizer menu is extensive...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Kountry Kitchen

    $ | American

    If you like a hearty breakfast, try this family-friendly restaurant with its cozy, greasy-spoon atmosphere, and friendly service; it's a great...Read More

  • 9. Kukui's Restaurant and Bar

    $$ | Eclectic

    The meals at Kukui's feature Hawaiian, Asian, and contemporary American influences, and the open-air setting makes it a pleasant place to dine...Read More

  • 10. Little Fish Coffee

    $ | Café

    For a wholesome breakfast or lunch on the West Side, this friendly, funky, and fun—right down to the marking pens that allow you to leave your...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Plantations BBQ & Bar

    $ | American

    This casual eatery is located in the equally laid-back Waimea Plantation Cottages; it's a great place to sit with a cocktail and watch the sun...Read More

  • 14. Eggbert's

    $ | American

    If you're big on breakfasts, try Eggbert's, which serves breakfast items until 2 pm daily. This longtime eatery has high volume, so seating...Read More

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