Travel

Kauai-Places to Eat, Drink, and Repeat

We’ve eaten at quite a few different places on Kauai, here are some of our favorites!!!

Kauai has some of the best food and coffee we’ve ever had. We’ve visited the island three times now, and each time we have had a different dining experience. What we’ve learned is that it is definitely worth it to include a healthy budget for meals, as there are so many great restaurants, and the food on the island is amazing. The following isn’t a full list of places we’ve dined, but it does include our favorites!

To begin with, lets talk coffee. We are avid coffee drinkers, and during our first two visits to Kauai, we enjoyed the Kona coffee offered by our resort. However, this last visit to the island we budgeted for meals, and while we usually aren’t big breakfast eaters, we are big coffee drinkers.

Imua Coffee Roasters (Kapaa)
As I mentioned in posts #1 and #2 of our Kauai Travel Series, we enjoy staying at Aston Islander on the Beach.  Lucky for us, the best coffee on the island (that we’ve found anyway) is located in the strip of shops right beside the parking lot. If you love coffee, and want an amazing cup to enjoy while watching the sunrise over the ocean on a quiet beach, Imua Coffee Roasters is your place.

Imua Coffee Roasters is a quaint little coffee shop with the friendliest barista’s and most decadent coffee we’ve ever had, on the island and stateside. They have daily specials and are decently priced all around. They also have some great pastries to choose from. The owners are extremely friendly and take great pride in all aspects of their shop.  The baristas take care in creating the drinks and they are beautifully presented. There is a nice covered outdoor seating area that is a great place to start your morning, after catching the sunrise of course.

When I asked the owner what sets them apart from other coffee roasters, this is what he had to say: ‘Our approach to roasting is one which emphasizes a faze of the process which enhances the inherent minerals and sugars in the bean, optimizing flavors without coating the bean in a layer of carbon, which is so typical in a dark roast. We roast only premium grade beans and all our coffee is either Fair Trade or direct trade.’

Imua Coffee Roasters is an up and coming small business and is now selling their coffee online! We are extremely excited about this, as we have often talked about how much we miss their coffee. We will definitely be budgeting to visit their coffee shop every morning on our next visit to the island to enjoy the drinks, sunrises, and friendly conversation.

No matter where you are staying on the island, make sure to stop by Imua Coffee Roasters for a cup of coffee and friendly conversation. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Art Cafe Hemingway (Kapaa)
Our first full day in Kapaa we decided we wanted a fresh and healthy breakfast to start us off right. After parking and walking past a few options, we stopped at Art Cafe Hemingway, and we weren’t disappointed in the least. Art Cafe Hemingway is a quaint little cafe right along the Kuhio Hwy. We sat on the front deck and enjoyed the beautiful Kauai weather while resetting ourselves and getting into vacation mode. The staff was very friendly and laid back, and the atmosphere was calming with a little stream that flows right beside the building.

The menu was a bit different than we were used to, but fresh was what we were after, and this place delivered that and then some. The food was healthy, fresh, and full of flavor. The orange juice was fresh squeezed, the eggs weren’t from a mixed box, and our dishes were adorned with fresh herbs. If you are looking for ingredients such as Gouda, Goat Cheese, Muesli, and Quiche, this is your place!!!

Masa’s Sushi Restaurant (Lihue)
When we arrived on Kauai this last visit our luggage had been delayed and we had about an hour to kill before we could expect it on the next arriving flight from Honolulu. So we got our rental car and found us some grub. We were both craving some good fresh sushi, so we asked Google what was close to us and found Masa’s Sushi Restaurant, and we weren’t disappointed.

Masa’s is most definitely a local joint, and when we were there there was a group of locals who stopped in, bringing their own beverages to share. The menu was plentiful for food but lacked in beverages offered, which makes sense why the locals knew to bring their own. The sushi was fresh and delicious. The staff were probably the owners, and they were kind and welcoming. The prices were reasonable as far as sushi goes. Definitely a hidden gem.

The Dolphin (Hanalei)
The Dolphin in Hanalei is a beautiful restaurant right on the river that you need to visit if you love fish and sushi.  This was another repeat restaurant of ours as the sushi was just too good to have once.

The sushi at the Dolphin in Hanalei was amazing. I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a pic before snagging a piece!

The staff was friendly, the atmosphere right on the water is calm and beautiful. There is some seating at picnic tables on the lawn that you can enjoy, or you can eat at tables under an awning or at the bar.  The prices were what we’d expect for sushi, and were comparable to other restaurants we’d eaten at on the island.  Definitely worth the stop!

Porky’s Food Cart (Waimea)
If you want a local specialty, Porky’s is the place to hit up.  Porky’s takes the hot dog to a whole new level with their original creations and bursting flavors.  They toast the roll, the dog, and the toppings.  You seriously can’t beat it. The dog I chose was topped with fresh pineapple and BBQ pulled pork which also was grilled and crispy.  It was seriously a perfect combination of flavors that were enhanced and bursting because of their prep. Every review I’ve seen on sites has given this place 5 stars.  This is a must stop when on Kauai.

Trees Lounge (Kapaa)
Trees Lounge is located in the strip of shops right by our resort Aston Islander on the Beach, which makes it a convenient stop for us when we stay, but its also a popular place for the locals.  We enjoyed some amazing ribs one night while we listened to some great live local music.  They have a lot of local’s perform during the week with a wide variety of different genres. The staff was upbeat and friendly and the prices were reasonable for dinner prices.  It can get busy during the later hours, but that’s part of the fun!

Tahihi Nui (Hanalei)
There have been a lot of movies that have been filmed on the island of Kauai. One of our personal favs is The Descendants featuring George Clooney.  In the film he has a few drinks at the bar at Tahiti Nui in Hanalei. We decided to find this gem on our last visit to Kauai, and we weren’t disappointed! While we didn’t have any of the food, it looked and smelled amazing with dishes adorned with large portions were coming from the kitchen, and we were sorry we had just chosen to eat elsewhere. The drinks were strong, but the atmosphere was great. There is indoor and outdoor seating, with the bar being inside. The best part of our visit, aside from sitting at the same bar George Clooney had sat at, was the local musician playing the evening we were there.  The music was amazing, and he was a great performer and kept the crowd engaged. He even let a visitor come up and sing with him during one of his songs. We will definitely be coming back here for food next time we visit the island.

The hubs sitting at the same bar George Clooney sat at during the filming of The Descendants

The Olympic Cafe (Kapaa)
The Olympic Cafe was one of those places that we had passed by several times and kept saying we wanted to eat there, so we made a point to before we left, and we are glad we did! The prices are very reasonable, and the amount of food you get is enough for several people! Don’t be afraid to order a meal to share here! The cafe is located on the top of a building on the Kuhio Hwy in Kapaa and is open on two of the four sides. We enjoyed a breakfast meal here, and the staff was friendly and food was flavorful. It wasn’t too busy for breakfast but we’d seen it busy several times going by, so make sure to plan accordingly! This seems to be a hot spot in Kapaa!

Dukes in Lihue (Lihue)
We spent some time in Lihue this past visit, and we were extremely impressed with the meals we had at Duke’s. We enjoyed it so much, that between checking out of our resort and flying out that evening, we decided to return to Duke’s and enjoy our final meal, and the atmosphere, before departure.

The staff was extremely friendly, service was prompt and professional. The prices were what we expected for dinner prices and the quality of the food we had. We will definitely be making our way back to Duke’s when we return to the island!

Duke’s is located right on Kalapaki Beach. While there are several levels of seating available, we were fortunate enough to sit beach-side both times we dined there. The fresh fish sauted and macadamia nut and herb crusted was fresh and the flavors were amazing. The flavors literally exploded in your mouth and we couldn’t help but eat slow and savor each bite. Seriously, it was amazing.

The day we left the island we enjoyed their fish taco special. The tacos were full of flavor and the food was exceptionally fresh. For dessert we enjoyed the world renowned Hula Pie.  Don’t miss out on this dessert!!!

Amazing Hula Pie from Duke’s Restaurant in Lihue.

As you can tell, when we find a place we enjoy, we return. We are coffee and food lovers, and we were extremely thankful we had the funds to eat some great local food on our last trip. If you are able to budget for it, you won’t be disappointed by the local grub on Kauai!

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