Ready for some island food? Me, too! I am always up for fresh-caught fish, locally-grown veggies, and acai bowls tasty enough to make you forget how good they are for you. Here are the best places to eat on my favorite island: Kaua’i.
The Fish Express, Lihue
This was our first stop after picking up our rental car! We were seriously hungry and needed to rev our bodies a little bit to get ourselves psyched for a 5-mile hike and the drive to Hanalei. This is a very popular spot, but it’s more of a to-go place, as there is no seating inside or out. But the fish is fresh, the poke is awesome, and the bentos are great, too!
More here: What We Ate on Our First Trip to Kaua’i
Hanalei Colony Resort, Hanalei
Our stay at the Hanalei Colony Resort was the stuff of dreams. The rain on the tin roofs, ocean views and sounds, and gorgeous back porch (or lanai) made our time there memorable. Waiting for us when we arrived was a box of guava macadamia “Kaua’i Kookies,” which were the perfect accompaniment to the Kauai coffee we could make ourselves in the room, as well as with the coconut macadamia nut milk latte I had at the coffee shop inside their art and jewelry gallery on the property.
More details here: Staying at the Hanalei Colony Resort, Kaua’i
Hanalei Bread Company, Hanalei
I was pretty impressed with this bakery right in the heart of Hanalei! The line was out the door (and kept growing after we secured our spot!), so we knew this one would be a winner. Steve got the club sandwich on multi-grain bread, and I got the “brekkie” sandwich, which consisted of a brioche bun filled with fluffy eggs, bacon, white cheddar, arugula, and aioli. I highly recommend it for breakfast or lunch, but they close at noon, so make it an early lunch!
One more observation: Kaua’i seems to think slices of bread should be at least twice as thick as anywhere else. I was so there for it!
More for foodies: Every Single Post about the Food I’ve Eaten in the World
I’ll be honest with you, this one was a bit of a disappointment. Their touted ocean views were hidden behind windows that needed a quick clean, the ambience was sorely lacking (it could have been any bar, anywhere in the world), and while the service was friendly and quick, the food was not that great.
I did like the tempura veggie roll appetizer, which came out like a sushi roll (I was expecting something more like an egg roll, but this was even better), so there was some redemptive power in that, but both Steve’s fish tacos and my fish sandwich seemed to be made with frozen fish sticks instead of fresh fish. I’m no connoisseur, but I do know flavorless fish when I taste it.
A better option would have been in Hanalei town, just a few miles down the road, but it was a Sunday, so many restaurants were closed all day. And with COVID, restaurant hours were really quite unpredictable. We went with the easiest option that we knew would be open, but we learned our lesson!
Read next: Exotic Foods of the World
Java Kai Kaua’i, Kapa’a
This was a fun stop after a hike to Ho’opi’i Falls! Kapa’a town is a cute, surf town, and their laid back vibe is infectious. I specifically sought out a place with acai bowls, and this one popped up in my search. They also have a killer Kaua’i Cubano! Steve’s came with purple potato salad (chips or salad were also available for those feeling less adventurous!), which was absolutely delicious.
If you’re more interested in something caffeinated or sweet, there’s a little something for you, too! They have a solid coffee menu, including their Maui Anu frozen coffee (made with chocolate, coconut syrup, and milk), and their lilikoi lemon bar with the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie crust was amazing. We recommend it for breakfast, lunch, or supper!
More here: What You Have to Try on Each Hawaiian Island
Sunrise Coffee, Lihue
We had passed this food truck in a permanent spot off the main road a couple of times, so on our way around the island from Hanalei to Waimea, I knew we had to check it out! Steve and I both got white mochas—his hot with toffee flavor, mine iced with macadamia nut flavor and oat milk! They also have acai bowls and some food options, but they sometimes run out, so go early if you can!
We stopped here after a beachy, 4-mile hike near Shipwreck Beach, and since you might already know how much Steve and I like Asian food, this Thai and sushi spot seemed perfect! While Steve’s orange chicken may have originated from a package of frozen chicken nuggets, my sushi was fresh and delicious! I got the Poipu roll, which seemed fitting. It was a tuna and avocado roll topped with macadamia nuts—my new favorite sushi topping! The rice was not real sushi rice (not seasoned), but we’ll blame COVID for all shortcomings, right?
Keep Eating: The Best Hawaiian Food You Have to Try
Kauai Coffee Company, Eleele
On our way from Waimea back to Lihue Airport, we stopped in at our favorite coffee farm: Kauai Coffee! We bought a ton (not quite—but almost!) of bagged coffee to take home with us, but we also made sure to get a special treat to fuel ourselves for the flight. Steve got a caramel blended coffee (like a milkshake or frap), and I got the blended white decadence—white chocolate AND caramel! But who can stop there? We also got a brownie bar. So worth it!
For non-coffee drinkers, you can find something here, too! They offer smoothies, popsicles, baked goods, and more!
Want more about Hawaii? Check out my dedicated Hawaiian Islands Page!
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