As with every Hawaiian island, Kauai’s cuisine is defined by fresh ingredients, global-inspired flavors and colors so vivid they’re usually reserved for rainbows. Whether it’s fine dining, local plate lunches or just-picked fruit from a roadside stand, fresh is always in season on the island of Kauai.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine—a decades-old cooking movement that focuses on island-grown ingredients—can be sampled at restaurants like Merriman’s Fish House and Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill, where you’ll dine on freshly caught mahimahi, wahoo and other fruits of the sea. In Koloa, Red Salt is another acclaimed, upscale option.
Reserve a night during your trip to feast on kalua pig and taro at an authentic Hawaiian luau, which you can do at several venues from Kapaa to Poipu.
Shave Ice is a distinctly Hawaiian dessert that can be found at stands around the island, while Kauai-based Lappert’s Hawaii ice cream shop is among the island’s favorite ways to stay cool. And be sure to sample fresh produce and locally made food products at Kauai’s Sunshine Markets (the local name for farmers markets), held throughout the island in towns like Lihue and Hanapepe.
Nestled in sunny Poipu Beach, Keoki's Paradise is famous for its fresh seafood, local island cuisine and exotic drinks served in a jungle-like setting.
A tribute to legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, this popular restaurant and barefoot bar offers fresh island fish, prime steaks, live Hawaiian entertainment and stunning ocean views.
Chef Zack Sato creates an array of delightful preparations featuring locally-grown, organic produce and fresh-caught island seafood. Located steps from beach, poolside at Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort.
This resort beckons with 50 oceanfront acres of exquisite beauty. Celebrate the sun in a water wonderland with an adult pool, river-pools, a waterslide and saltwater lagoon, golf at Poipu Bay, savor delicious island flavors at resort restaurants, refresh at Anara Spa in a tropical garden setting.
Right on the beach. Food,friends and FUN! Casual family dining. Lunch, dinner, and happy hour. Steak,burgers, salads and fresh local caught seafood.
Anara Spa offers treatments in private rooms or bungalows, each opening to its own tropical garden. An abundance of treatments rooted in traditional healing customs and island-fresh botanicals may be found here. Anara Spa provides a Hawaiian spa experience like no other.
Located in the Ko‘a Kea Hotel & Resort, relax and renew in one of five luxurious treatment suites at The Spa at Ko‘a Kea. MAE#2492
Indulge in the Makai Lounge and restaurant in Lihue that overlooks the pool and Waipouli Beach for a fun dining experience. Makai Lounge features exotic tropical drinks and a creative pupu menu that includes Hawaiian creations sure to please.
A day at Halele'a Spa revitalizes your every sense. Here, a menu of exotic treatments promise blissful diversions, enhanced by essences of local fruit and flora.
Eat Like a Local
Consisting of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and everything from kalua pork, Korean barbecue, chicken katsu, beef teriyaki, or mahimahi, the plate lunch is a staple of local food.
No matter what island you’re on, grab a shave ice to cool off. These finely shaved snow cones are served with colorful flavors on the top with a choice of ice cream or azuki beans on the bottom.
“Pupu” is the Hawaiian term for appetizer, and every local restaurant in Hawaii offers a wide range of creative pupu platters to dine on, from poke dishes to sushi.
Treat your sweet tooth to a hot malasada (a Portuguese doughnut). Although Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu is popular on Oahu, ask any local and they can tell you their favorite bakeries on each island to find these fresh and tasty treats.
For big appetites, try a “loco moco,” which is a hamburger steak and egg over rice, covered in gravy. You can find loco moco served throughout the islands, but Café 100 in Hilo on the island of Hawaii is said to have originated the name.