Kaua‘i Guide: 7 Places to Eat ‘Ono Grinds
Grab a bento, indulge in locally made gelato and more. Plus, where to get the best omiyage for friends and family back home.
Photo: Mallory Roe
For lunch, grab a bento bowl brimming with fresh veggies and fish or organic tofu. For dinner, sushi chef Shinji Ueki slices up edible artwork.
3871 Hanapēpē Road, Hanapēpē, (808) 855-5016, japanesegrandma.com
The Saddle Room
Hit up this cute gastropub for Kaua‘i beef and Ni‘ihau lamb burgers served with addictive garlic fries and commendable Moscow mules. Visit the meat counter for prime cuts to barbecue at home.
4491 Halepule Road, Waimea, (808) 338-1218
Photo: Lora Lamm
This Kapa‘a food truck serves lovely vegetarian and gluten-free crepes. Savory options include creamy avocado and kale, and gingered lentils with goat cheese. For dessert, the “notella” is a house-made chocolate and macadamia nut spread studded with banana.
4-1620 Kūhiō Highway, Kapa‘a, (808) 635-2164
Lamb riblettes? Smoked trout? Humboldt Fog cheese drizzled with Kaua‘i honey? Hard to choose what to eat at this classy tapas joint—everything is good. The wine list and handcrafted cocktails are inspired, and, on occasion, you can quaff your thirst with soursop mint juice made from local fruit.
5-5161 Kūhiō Highway, Hanalei, (808) 826-7081, restaurantbaracuda.com
Creamy gelato and sorbetto made with Kaua‘i fruits and nuts hit the spot. But the real scoop at Papalani’s is the ice-cream sandwich—rich gelato squished between chocolate chip cookies or Hawaiian sweet bread.
Two locations: 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Road, Po‘ipū, (808) 742-2663
3366 Wa‘apa Road, Nāwiliwili, (808) 246-2060
Deviate from Kaua‘i’s typically casual fare at this modern dining room hidden in the Ko‘a Kea resort. Edible gold and foie gras come with the $50 blow-your-mind burger, and, for breakfast, the pineapple lemon soufflé pancakes are worth the wait.
2251 Po‘ipū Road, Kōloa, (808) 828-8888, meritagecollection.com/koakea/dining-at-red-salt
Place your order for the Lāwa‘i mushroom with local oyster ’shrooms, or the Fig ’n’ Pig, a Neapolitan pie topped with kālua pork and fig jam. This shiny food truck squeezed beside Larry’s Music is good for breakfast, too. Try the creamy polenta with Parmesan and a fried egg.
4-1306 Kūhiō Highway, Kapa‘a, (808) 634-3061, scorpacciatakauai.com
Aloha ‘Āina kūlolo
Made with Kaua‘i taro and so ‘ono! Find it at Ishihara Market.
9894 Kaumuali‘i Highway, Waimea, (808) 338-1751
Taro Ko chips
Walk up to the back door of this old plantation house where the owner is frying up thin slices of taro and sweet potato for crispy chips—plain or dusted in li hing mui powder.
3940 Hanapēpē Road, Hanapēpē, (808) 335-5586
Available at multiple farms and stores.
If you’re checking bags, pick up some Nani Moon Mead.
4-939 Kūhiō Highway, Kapa‘a, (808) 651-2453, nanimoonmead.com