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.

Japanese Grandma’s

Japanese Grandmaʻs
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


Gopāl’s Creperie 

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


Bar Acuda

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


Papalani Gelato

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



Red Salt

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


Kaua‘i-grown chocolate

Available at multiple farms and stores. 


Local libations

If you’re checking bags, pick up some Nani Moon Mead. 

4-939 Kūhiō Highway, Kapa‘a, (808) 651-2453, nanimoonmead.com