I am a big fan of eating local, fresh foods and Kauai has no shortage of options to let your taste buds run wild.
Whether you want to cook your own meals or let someone else take care of that – and the dishes too – learn where to eat on Kauai before you get there.
To help you narrow down all the options here are 7 places you don’t want to miss…
Best Local Fish Market: Kilauea Fish Market
If you are staying in an Airbnb or VRBO with a kitchen and are interested in making meals at home, I highly recommend stopping by a local market and purchasing fresh-caught fish.
We stayed at a condo in Princeville on the Northshore of Kauai and tried out the Kilauea Fish Market.
Although they prepare food there for you to sit down and eat – which we have heard is tasty, we opted to purchase the fresh catch of the day and found a recipe to try on our own.
We did this with Ahi Tuna, pan-seared it, and perfection!
Of course, there are other fish to choose from and even sushi, so a little something for everyone. Just find an easy recipe online and you should be good to go!
Where: Kilauea Fish Market 4270 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754
Best Burger Joint: Bubba Burgers
Kapa’a can get pretty busy traffic-wise, so if you want to wait out random traffic jams at a local restaurant, stop by Bubba Burgers like we did.
Their yummy old fashion burgers are made with Kauai grass-fed beef.
They have been around since 1936, so I’d say they know a thing or two about creating a good Bubba Burger.
If burgers aren’t your thing, don’t worry. You can get a salad, chicken sandwich or even a 100% plant-based burger.
Where: 4-1421 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746 and 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St Building L, Koloa, HI 96756
Best Food Truck: Al Pastor Tacos
I like to try fish tacos whenever I am close to the ocean because it doesn’t seem as appropriate when you are landlocked.
Al Pastor Tacos have chicken, pork, steak, shrimp, or even veggie if fish isn’t your favorite.
Just place your order at the window, sit down at a picnic table, have a chat with your fellow taco lovers while patiently waiting for your food.
Word on the street is they sell out early, so make this a lunch stop.
Where: 4-1620 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, Open Tuesday to Sunday 11 am to 5 pm
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Best Luau: Smith’s Family Garden Luau
No Hawaii visit is complete without going to a luau. The Smith’s Garden Luau on Kauai is not only a can’t miss dining experience but a cultural one as well.
Located in the Wailua River Valley, the Smith’s Family Garden is a tropical oasis to explore even if you didn’t plan on eating there.
But you SHOULD eat there!
Between the hula dancing, drum ceremonies and how your dinner is prepared will leave you with a better understanding of Hawaiian traditions.
This makes the roasted Kalua pig and teriyaki beef taste that much better!
Smith’s Garden Luau does have Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free options available so no matter what you decide to eat the whole experience will be unforgettable.
Where: 3-5971 Kuhio Hwy, Kapa’a, HI96746
Best Breakfast: Kountry Kitchen
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not start with a delicious omelet or freshly made Belgian waffles to get your morning going.
Need a little boost of energy? No problem! Kountry Kitchen serves coffee that is locally roasted by Kauai Roastery in Waimea.
If breakfast isn’t your thing – burgers, sandwiches and salads are served for lunch.
Conveniently located in Downtown Kapaa, you can make a pitstop on your way to a whale watching tour or refuel after a leisure bike ride on the Kauai Multiuse Path.
Where: 4-1489 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Best Drinks with a View: Beach House Restaurant
You haven’t experienced Hawaii until you sip on a Mai Tai while watching the ocean waves roll in.
Before our flight left from the Lihue Aiport, we had extra time and stumbled upon this hidden gem to have a couple of adult beverages.
Since we spent most of our time around Princeville and Kapaa, it was fun visiting somewhere new.
Beach House Restaurant also serves food for lunch and dinner, but reservations are required.
I would consider the restaurant a bit more of a fine dining experience, but when stopping in for only drinks, we thought the outdoor seating area was casual and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
Where: 5022 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
Best Desert: JoJo’s Shave Ice
The best way to cool off is with Hawaiian-style shave ice. JoJo’s uses cane sugar to make their homemade syrup, so even though it is a sweet treat, you are at least not eating mass-produced corn syrup.
If you want a bonus, order shave ice with ice cream at the bottom, so you get the best of both worlds.
We visited the location in Waimea after exploring Waimea Canyon State Park, but there are also shops in Kapaa and Hananeli.
You can be anywhere on Kauai and only be a short distance to the closest JoJo’s Shave Ice.
Where: There are 3 locations, 9734 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, HI 96796, 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714, 4-484 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Wrapping It Up…
Kauai has some amazing restaurants and eateries so even if you find a spot off this list I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Andrew and I do enjoy cooking our own local foods but we also want to be part of the friendly Hawaiian community during our visits.
That’s why it is important to take time to support these great small businesses on Kauai year round.
Where are your favorite places to eat in Kauai? Let us know in the comments…