With all the beauty that Kauai has to offer, it’s easy to overlook the restaurants. But the island has some of best Hawaiin cuisine along with your other typical foods. Kauai has plenty of restaurants in all areas offering beachfront dining and breakfast buffets to casual fares and fine dining accommodations.
Check out the best places to eat in Kauai with this guide. They will have your taste buds saying Aloha! We have you covered no matter the time of day you fly in. If you’re looking for Hawaiian delights, local plates, and snacks include fish tacos, poke, loco moco, shave ice, malasadas, and some of the freshest coconut shrimp you’ll ever try.
Having lived in Kauai for some time now, I’ve tried a variety of places, and these are the top spots whether you’re looking for breakfast, dinner, or lunch.
Best Dinner Places In Kauai
Kintaro Japanese Restaurant
Location: 4-370 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Travelers staying on the east side and in search of Japanese cuisine will find Kintaro in Kapa’a town. It requires reservations in advance, or otherwise plan on getting there when they open at 5:30 pm. I have seen lines out the door and wrapping around the parking lot.
They offer an array of Japanese food, including hibachi grill. Known for their sushi, they also offer wontons at each table that are some of the best I have ever had. That in itself is a meal. The matcha (green tea) mud pie is a must. If you don’t have room, take it home. It’s always busy, so try all the food you can if you get the chance to eat here.
Location: 9852 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, HI 96796
Visit Wranglers Steakhouse after a long day at Polihale to get a good meal. The meat is supported by a local ranch, and they offer a variety of steaks to choose from, as well as burgers and salads. This place will have you feeling like you just stepped back into the old West. Come for the ambiance and stay for the food.
The Pulehu Steak is their specialty, but you can always get the classic burger. The calamari and crab cake are some good appetizers to try before the main course. We like that it combines Hawaiian taste with classical American foods. It’s ideal for an outdoor romantic dinner.
Japanese Grandma Restaurant
Location: 3871 Hanapepe Rd, Hanapepe, HI 96716
There are many places for delicious Japanese food on the island. Japanese Grandma’s Cafe is another awesome restaurant found in Hanapepe town, home of Lilo and Stitch. As you stroll through the town, save time to stop by.
After you walk over the swinging bridge, don’t miss the place. They offer lunch and dinner with plenty of sushi choices. I recommend tasting their Hanapepe roll and trying one of the poke bowls and bentos as well. They even offer a Keiki (kids) menu for families.
The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant
Location: 5-5016 Kuhio Hwy C, Hanalei, HI 96714
The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant can be found on the north shore of Kauai and is one of the best restaurants in Kauai for its fresh seafood. It’s not just any restaurant since it has a sushi lounge and a fish market too. You can’t make reservations so get there early since it’s very well-known having served locals and travelers since the 1970s.
For main entrees, you can choose from foods like fried shrimp, Hawaiian chicken, and New York cut steak. For dessert, I recommend you try the Hawaiian butter mochi. It’s delicious and you won’t regret choosing it.
If you prefer to cook back at home, pick up some meat up at the Fish Market. You can find everything from seafood to veggies and steaks. Sushi fanatics will love their Sushi lounge.
Mamahune’s Tiki Bar
Location: 3-5920 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Visitors staying at the Hilton Garden Inn or by it can find one of the few Tiki bars in Kauai. Nothing screams the tropics more than Mamahune’s tiki bar. This fun place sits with some of the best views on the Coconut coast. You can feel the ocean breezes while sipping on your favorite cocktail.
Chef Rafael Camarillo has come up with an amazing menu and drink list. Try the Macadamia Mai Tai for a wonderful taste buds experience. Pair it with the Huli Chicken sandwich or macho nachos. Take home a souvenir glass to remind you of the great times you had in Kauai.
Best Lunch Places In Kauai
Brick Oven Pizza
Location: 2-2555 Kaumualii Hwy, Kalaheo, HI 96741
If you’re on the southwest side of Kauai, Brick Oven Pizza can be found in Kalaheo. It has been in business since 1977, family owned and operated. This is a friendly place where you feel like family the minute you walk in.
We classify it as a very authentic sit-down pizza joint that not only offers excellent pizza but has wings too. We recommend trying their Ohana special for a perfect combination. Check out the snickers dessert pizza for a mouthwatering delight.
Kauai Island Brewery
Location: 4350 Waialo Rd, Eleele, HI 96705
Who doesn’t want to grab a few drinks and some pupus (appetizers) while on vacation? If you’re on the south side, visit the Kauai Island Brewery in Port Allen. Stop in at the island’s oldest brewery for some local microbrews and my favorite the KIBC nachos. If you can’t decide on one beer, try a flight from a lineup that features Napali Pale Ale and Au’Rye IPA. You’re in Hawaii so sit back and enjoy local tastes.
Another beer place worth visiting is the Kauai Beer Company. This east-side restaurant is a great stop for a quick beer or two and lunch. They offer a nice menu, including a keiki and vegetarian options. If beer isn’t your thing they do have other drink options, including wine and kombucha.
Location: 5392 Koloa Rd, Koloa, HI 96756
The Sueokas Market and Snack Shop is one of the most affordable places to eat in Kauai. Situated along old Koloa Town, Sueoka’s Market provides guests with amazing meals making it worth the drive.
Take a trip through the tunnel of trees and head into Loloa Town for a mouthwatering burger or plate lunch special. They have been serving Kauai for over 90 years, so they must be doing something right!
Check their weekly specials for deals on Shoyu Chicken and Pot Roast. This little gem won’t leave you broke and you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $15 per plate, so it’s a good deal.
Location: 2100 Hoone Rd, Poipu, HI 96756
Near Brennecke’s beach park, Puka Dog offers beachgoers with delicious hot dogs. After building up an appetite from swimming or catching some waves, stop in at Puka Dog for a hotdog like no other.
They have a lilikoi mustard that will knock your slippas off. You can add some garlic sauce, hot, mild, and whatever you want. Throw in a mango or pineapple relish, and you have your Puka Dog. Wash it down with a lilikoi lemonade, buy a T-shirt, and wear it. If you walk in with the t-shirt on you get lemonade for life.
The Shrimp Station
Location: 9652 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, HI 96796
If you’re looking for tasty shrimp in Kauai, The Shrimp Station is the spot. You can find the restaurant off Kaumualii Highway in Waimea. The fresh shrimps are local and delicious. They have you covered, whether you want garlic, cajun, coconut shrimp, or shrimp tacos. Take some to go as you head up to Waimea Canyon for a nice picnic.
Another honorable mention in Waimea includes Da Booze Shop. They serve plate lunches and food off “da grill”. Try a chicken cutlet or chicken katsu. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed and it certainly earns its spot as one of the best places to eat.
Location: 4-1105 Kuhio Hwy Suite #123, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Diamond’s Pizza in Kapa’a may not look like much, but this family-owned business has a lot to offer. They have kamaaina specials and even offer frozen pizzas to take home or back to your resort. If you have access to an oven you can pick one up and bake it at your leisure. This place does not skimp on toppings either.
With a wide variety to choose from as well as their specialty pizzas (supreme is my favorite), you can get exactly what you want. They can also do a BBQ drizzle that may sound strange but is worth a try. A new place means new experiences. They don’t deliver but you can pick up curbside.
Domino’s and Pizza Hut are other honorable mentions for quick pizza choices that deliver and are in Lihue, but we always recommend going local.
Location: 1354 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Olympic Cafe’ is further into Kapa’a town. They offer outside dining that overlooks historic Kapa’a, and portions here are huge so be hungry. The cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Try the Kalua pork burrito, and you will not be disappointed as it’s one of our favorite options. The stir fry is also pretty good. It uses fresh veggies and patrons can add chicken, shrimp, and tofu.
Parking is around the back or if you can find a spot up front. Its ideal location puts it 1-2 blocks away from Kapa’a Beach Park, which is a perfect spot to walk off your meal.
Best Breakfast Places In Kauai
Aloha Liege Waffles & Espresso
Location: Food Truck Court, 3483 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766
Aloha Leige Waffles & Espresso Truck is located off Rice Street in Lihue. Stop in for a waffle-like no other you have ever had.
They are open until all the waffles are gone, so get there early. The Leprechaun is a brain teaser. There isn’t anything green in color about this waffle, but the fruits and whipped cream will certainly make your mouth water and have you feeling over the rainbow.
Don’t forget if you aren’t seeing what you like, you can also build your own waffle to your delight. The coffee is great too and its a perfect stop for grabbing a quick bite.
Location: 4379 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766
Rainbeau Jo’s can also be found around the same area in Lihue. This is a much better alternative to any Starbucks you’ve probably had. The minute you walk into this colorful shop (or food truck if you see it), you are greeted by none other than the owner himself Beau! His lovely wife is behind the counter with smiles for everyone.
This place is an experience all on its own. The coffee is out of the world good, and whoever thought that coffee and ice cream were a perfect match is my new best friend.
I love the Funky Monkey. It’s a mix of peanut butter, 3 espresso shots, ice cream, bananas, and chocolate. They also offer pastries and bagels to go with your coffee. You can sit outside and enjoy the morning but beware that they close at noon, so get your fix early.
It’s the best spot on the island to view a parade too. Sit outside, drink a coffee shake, and watch the parade go by! You also get a cute sticker on your cup that you can put on your car or phone case.
Tip Top Motel, Cafe and Bakery
Location: 3173 Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766
The Tip Top Motel, Cafe and Bakery is right in the middle of Lihue, close to the Līhu’e Public Library and the Lihue Airport. This is not your normal diner but also a motel, cafe, and bakery in one.
Stop here for a more hearty breakfast or brunch. They are open every day but closed Mondays. Here you can have the famous “oxtail” soup although there isn’t real oxtail in the soup. Loco Moco is another popular choice.
Get a plate lunch, and you won’t be disappointed here. Mac salad and rice are a staple on plate lunches. It attracts tourists and locals with its traditional fare. If you’re just arriving into Kauai from the airport, it’s a good place to stop by.
Passion Bakery Cafe
Location: 4-356 Kuhio Hwy #121, Kapaʻa, HI 96746
Passion Bakery Cafe is just off Kuhio Highway just as you enter Kapa’a town. Stop in on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday for a fresh, delicious malasada. Try one with cinnamon and sugar, then one with any one of their flavored creams. We highly recommend it!
Add in a coffee to go, and you have yourself a great start to your day. They also serve larger breakfasts such as loco moco plates. Meat eaters will enjoy their Hamburger Steak.
Kalalea Juice Hale
Location: 4390 Pu U Hale Loop, Anahola, HI 96703
Kalalea Juice Hale is located at Pu U Hale Loop in Anahola and is a pit stop that you can’t miss. Stop in here for a smoothie, delicious acai bowl, or both. They are organic with fresh fruits and granola. It may sound healthy, but it has an out of this world taste.
Not to mention the views at the scenic spot are great. We tried one of their freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, and it certainly lived up to the hype. It’s a small locally owned business.
Kilauea Bakery and Pizzeria
Location: 2484 Keneke St, Kilauea, HI 96754
The Kilauea Bakery and Pizzeria is one of the best places to eat breakfast in Kauai. Go to the historic Kong lung center, and this place has it all from muffins, turnovers, danishes, cake, and cookies. You can grab a quick snack on your way to the Kilauea lighthouse.
They also have homemade pizzas for a lunch or dinner stop. The breakfast stromboli is a must. They offer gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options as well to accommodate travelers of any diet. Their drink menu is extensive, from smoothies to coffee including macadamia nut milk.
Best Desert Places In Kauai
Location: 3610 Rice St, Lihue, HI 96766
Duke’s Kauai is named after the infamous surfer Duke and has become a local staple. There are several locations throughout Hawaii, but the location in Kauai is nestled at Kalapaki Beach. It’s one of the many restaurants in Kauai that offers picturesque views, in addition to live entertainment.
Start off with a cocktail fresh out of a pineapple and end with the Hula Pie. Remember Hula Pie is ice cream so if you take it home be sure to put it in the freezer and not the refrigerator. I made that mistake once and had Hula soup the next day but still ate it.
You can also get Hula Pie at Keoki’s Paradise located on the South side of Poipu. Duke’s and Keoki’s are owned by the same company and offer a similar dining experience.
Wishing Well Shave Ice
Location: 5-5080 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714
If you don’t know what shave ice is, well it’s basically a Hawaiian dessert made up of flavored ice. If you’re coming to Hawaii, you need to try it, and there are plenty of stands that sell it. At the beginning of Hanalei Town, you can visit Wishing Well Shave Ice for one of the best places to get shave ice.
This little hidden gem is one of my favorite spots for it. Their syrups are some of the best. Pick up a travel-size Koloa Rum to add to your shave ice for an added kick.
Whatever your belly wants you can easily find a place to eat in Kauai. You can snack out or fine dine since there isn’t a shortage of places on the island. My top three quick food places are Rainbeau Jo’s for that coffee milkshake, Duke’s for the Hula Pie, and Diamond’s for my pizza fix. There are plenty of good grinds on Kauai so no matter your choice, you won’t be disappointed. For a steak dinner, Wranglers Steakhouse is a perfect option.
Don’t forget for those budget-friendly options try Sueoka’s or if you really want to penny pinch stop for a Puka Dog. Koloa Rum also offers FREE daily rum tastings. On certain days they will teach you how to make a Mai Tai, and the tasting is a fun experience.
Written by: LeeAnn Reed