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 des
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
On Kauai, if you're lucky enough to win an invitation to a potluck, baby luau, or beach party, don't think twice—just ac

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. Eating House 1849

    $$$ | Asian

    Hawaii's culinary superstar, Roy Yamaguchi, has moved his signature Hawaiian-fusion-cuisine restaurant on Kauai's South Shore to an updated...Read More

  • 2. Hamura Saimin

    $ | Asian

    Folks just love this funky old plantation-style diner—locals and tourists stream in and out all day long, and neighbor islanders stop in on...Read More

  • 3. Gaylord's

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Located in what was once Kauai's most expensive plantation estate, Gaylord's pays tribute to the elegant dining rooms of 1930s high society...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Lihue Barbecue Inn

    $$ | Eclectic

    Few Kauai restaurants are more beloved than this family-owned eatery, a mainstay of island dining since 1940, with a menu that runs from traditional...Read More

  • 6. Plantation Gardens

    $$$ | American

    A historic plantation manager's home has been converted to a restaurant that serves seafood and meats with a Pacific Rim and Italian influence...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Wrangler's Steakhouse

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    Denim-covered seating, decorative saddles, and a stagecoach in a loft helped to transform the historic Ako General Store in Waimea into a West...Read More

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