It’s another What I Ate Wednesday, and this week it’s all about Waimea, Kaua’i! We spent most of our time on Kaua’i in Waimea, so we got quite a sampling of their fare. We had some great food! For anyone visiting during COVID, however, I’ll have to note that opening hours, and even days, were very unpredictable.
At the moment, you really can’t trust the hours you find online! My best advice is to go to the restaurant you want yourself, or better yet, call and ask if or when they’ll be open. And have a back-up plan! Many restaurants closed at 4:00, which was a challenge even for Steve and me, and We like to eat early in real life! Despite that, here are the best places we ate in Waimea!
Oh my stars, y’all. Steve and I eat a lot of pizza—on travel and in real life. Up to now, we thought the Hawaiian pizza we had in Whitianga, New Zealand, was the best in the world. (The secret is in the crushed pineapple, instead of chunks.)
We have been corrected. The Hawaiian pizza from Da Pizza Place at Waimea Plantation Cottages is the new champion. The pineapple and ham were awesome and all, but the secret ingredient here is the sweet crust! It’s hand-tossed, so not too thin and crunchy, nor too thick and bready. It was like a Hawaiian bite of Heaven, y’all. I don’t know if I will ever be so impressed with pizza again.
More here: The 10 Best Reasons to Visit Kauai
This little roadside stand in Waimea saved the day! Randomly, on a Tuesday at 4:30, none of the restaurants that were recommended to us were open! We had walked past this place because we wanted to eat in the air conditioning (this one is open-air, with limited outdoor seating), but we walked back and got an order to-go so we could eat it on our lanai instead!
Steve’s shrimp burger and fries hit the spot, and my coconut shrimp with rice and homemade papaya-ginger tartar sauce was just what I needed! And check out just how many shrimp I got in one order!
Keep eating: How to Enjoy Dining Out Solo
Wow! This place is a sure winner. We both got the Kaua’i acai bowl, but they have all kinds of acai combinations, smoothies, juices, and more! It’s small and has a definite surfer, relaxed vibe (so not like Steve and me!), but service was friendly, and I can’t wait to go back!
Read next: The Most Exotic Foods in the World
We were told this was the best restaurant in town, so we had to try it out. You might think, “Why would you go to a western restaurant in Hawaii?” Because it’s not inspired by the wild west. It’s inspired by the Hawaiian cowboys, called paniolo! All their beef comes from a local ranch, and their fish special that night, panko-crusted ono, was also locally caught! The meal was amazing, but it was surpassed by dessert: Hawaiian bread pudding with vanilla ice cream!
More to come: The Best Hiking Kauai
This restaurant is located inside Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Parks, and they serve hearty fare for hikers and sightseers alike. We stopped in for a vanilla latte our first day in the park, but the next day, we made sure to go for lunch!
Steve got the loco moco, which is a classic Hawaiian breakfast served with a locally-raise beef patty, two eggs over easy, a mountain of rice, and house-made brown gravy. I went for the egg strata, which is like a casserole mixed with eggs, veggies, and cubes of sourdough, covered with a creamy tomato sauce, and served on top of mixed greens with ranch dressing. It really hit the spot after our steep 5-mile hike on the Kukui Trail!
Their menu is not listed online anywhere, so in an effort to be as helpful as possible, I’m posting it here for you!
More here: The Ultimate Kauai Bucket List
I love this little shop! The owner’s grandparents immigrated from the Philippines to work on Kaua’i’s sugar plantations, so her “roots” are in the sugar! We got a bagel, mochi banana bread, and a smoothie to help fuel our hike that morning.
More here: The Best Food in the World
On our last morning in Waimea, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast here. But not too hearty! I say that because they, thankfully, have “Mini Loco” on the menu. If you’ve ever had the Hawaiian favorite Loco Moco, or seen it here on the blog, you know it’s a pretty huge meal! Their regular Loco Moco comes with two hamburger patties, two eggs, two heaping scoops of rice, and plenty of gravy. The “Mini Loco” comes with just half of that. Perfect for me on a day we didn’t hike!
Steve got the Kenny Omelette, made with three eggs, bacon, sausage, and two scoops of rice. Apologies for the to-go containers. Due to COVID and short staffing, the restaurant was exclusively doing take-out or outdoor dining in to-go boxes.
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