If you really want to have a culinary tour with wine pairings, white table clothes and cooking classes — visit Italy or France. The foodie scene in Kauai is much more relaxed, and more about refueling before your next outdoor adventure.
Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or snacks for a road trip around the island we sussed out several spots, and discovered a few new favourites.
Red Salt at the Ko’a Kea Resort – We stayed at this resort for a couple of days, so it made sense to try out this award winning restaurant for breakfast. Whether it was the omelet or the avocado toast with fried egg, we were not disappointed and we came back two mornings in a row. The coffee was to die for and needed no cream or sugar to enjoy!
Little Fish Coffee – We went to the location in Poipu (always with a long line-up), but there is also one in the old town of Hanapepe if you are staying in the Waimea Region. The Pakala Acai Bowl and the Breakfast Bagel Sandwich were packed with flavour, and they set us up properly for our day of adventure. We were also schooled on how to properly pronounce Acai (ah-sah-EE)
Puka Dog – Although given international recognition by the late Anthony Bourdain, it is the combination of local flavours that make this a must-try Hawaiian treat.
At Puka Dog, they bake their own version of a classic Hawaiian sweet bread, with a hole to perfectly fit a Polish sausage. Then, your choice of spicy garlic lemon sauce is added and it’s topped with a tropical fruit relish — resulting in a sweet and savoury bite.
Chicken in a Barrel – Smoked BBQ with chicken and ribs are cooked in a drum barrel for a unique taste and super tender meat. We added sides of coleslaw and cornbread for a real authentic BBQ. We went to the restaurant on the Waimea Plantation, but there are 4 locations to choose from around the island.
We had shopped at the Ishihara Market for snacks, but we have since been told by a few locals that they also have the best Poke bowls on the Island. This gives us a reason to go back!
Duke’s – Strangely enough, there are not a lot of restaurants on Kauai with ocean views, so Duke’s is a good choice to watch the sunset over Nawiliwili Bay and the mountains beyond. The food and live music were pretty good too!
Merriman’s – They are known for their local farm to table produce and meats. The tomato salad with fresh pulled mozzarella was definitely a highlight and I am still thinking about it. The pizza was the obvious choice and we were not disappointed. The Lilikoi Mojito was also pretty special in both the look and taste.
JoJo’s Shave Ice – After a hot afternoon on the trail or beach, a Shave Ice hits the spot! With lots of flavours to please everyone, we hit on a couple that quickly became favourites – Rainbow (Strawberry, Banana, Vanilla with Macadamia Ice-cream) and Lilo and Stitch (Blue and Red Raspberry). What makes their shave ice so great, is that they make their own syrup using cane sugar along with homemade cream toppings.
On a side note, JoJo’s gives all of its profits to fund free camps for Hawaiian youth who would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience such a camp. Kudos!
We also visited a local grocery for snacks and found many treats that are not available in Canada.
We found the restaurants on Kauai to have a great relaxed atmosphere that perfectly suited a vacation of adventure.