Top 10 Hole in the Walls
Have you ever been visiting somewhere and come across a little restaurant with a huge line but were skeptical because of the look of the place? Well that's what these Hole in the Wall spots are here on Kauai. Rest assured you won't be disappointed with any of them! Let's start from the bottom and work our way to number 1!
10.) North Shore General Store : If you think eating good food at a gas station isn’t an option, the North Shore General Store just may change your mind. This little spot that's connected to the Chevron in Princeville is a great spot for pizza and burgers among the many other options they have. All burgers are made with local North Shore Kauai beef and all pizza's/calzone's are made with fresh dough and local products. Try the Braddah’s BBQ Burger ($7.49); It's enormously delicious and loaded with two strips of crisp bacon, two beer-battered onion rings, barbecue sauce and cheese. You can't beat a spot where you can fill up your car and get an amazing breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same spot.
9.) Tip Top Cafe: Located right in the center of Lihue, Tip Top is truly a gem and local treasure. This hidden gem has been open for over a 100 year so they must be doing something right! Tip Top has a lot of local food options like the amazing Loco Moco, which they serve all day, and their famous macadamia nut pancakes that are the size of your head. If you're feeling adventurous try the Oxtail soup. It sounds scary but it's really very delicious. When you leave this restaurant you will feel like you have made new friends since almost everyone in the place seems like they know each other and they probably do.
8.) Snack Shop (Sueoka's Store): Located in the middle of quaint little Koloa town, you would probably miss this great little yellow hole in the wall that's attached to the Sueoka's Grocery Store. This a great spot if you are on a budget and headed to the beach and want to grab some food before. There are no tables to eat there so it's always take out, be it teriyaki burgers, fish and chips or mixed plates. For better or worse, all the food tastes home-cooked. It's as inexpensive a meal as you'll find anywhere on Kauai. Cash only.
7.) Koloa Fish Market: Just down the road from the Snack Shop you will find Koloa Fish Market, always with a line streaming out of the door. Don't be deterred by this as the service here is exceptionally quick. This is another all cash, take to the beach for a picnic spot. The menu here is very basic, so much so it's written on a white board on the left as you walk in. Any other options are located in front of you in the cold case. The poke here is some of the best on island and I highly suggest the avocado ahi poke. If you are wanting a plate lunch try the lau lau and kalua pork plate, it comes with rice noodles, ahi poke, white rice and lomi lomi salmon. Be prepared to be super full if you don't share with someone.
6.) Po's Lihue: This place is as old school as it gets, serving a simple menu with great prices and loved by all locals because of that. The favorite of many patrons is the Deluxe Box Lunch, which comes with 7 different kinds of meats and fish along with mac salad, tsukemono and rice all for about $8.50. You can't beat that on Kauai. This is a super filling meal - it can be shared and still fill two people - or if you're super hungry by all means eat it all yourself. Located on Rice Street in Lihue, just behind Ace Hardware. Come and grab your plate lunch and take it to the beach for a great view and ono food combination.
5.) Da Crack: The name of this place couldn't be more accurate as it's literally a small window in between Kukuiula Market and Outfitters Kauai. Serving great Mexican food options while keeping it "healthy" and simple is what they do at the Da Crack. It's a create-your-own-meal kind of menu, whether a burrito, taco or a bowl, however you want it, they will make it for you. The most popular item here are the fish tacos, as it should be with fresh fish from the island daily cooked with amazing seasonings and all the fixings you want or don't want. The prices are reasonable and this is another grab and go spot as there are only a couple of benches out front to eat.
4.) Pono Market: This Kapaa staple has been around for almost 50 years and is well known by locals and visitors alike. They are known for everything they make here, from the musubi, plate lunch, poke, sushi to the famous Manju. Manju is a Japanese sweet treat usually made from flour, rice powder and buckwheat and a filling of anko (red bean paste), Pono Market fills theirs with apple, coconut and sweet potato as well as the regular anko. If you can, I suggest calling ahead as there is always a line and they often run out of items after the lunch rush. This is another grab your food and head to the beach spot.
3.) Hanalima Bakery: These folks know what they are doing when it comes to pastries and food alike, located in the heart of Puhi just across from Kauai Community College. If you ask most locals they would agree this is the best bakery on island, and not just the sweet treats but the grab-and-go rolls they offer. It's hard to say what the favorite here is, but I know a lot of people love the ham and cheese rolls, crab rolls and the flying saucers. If you have never tried one you must! They also make amazing cakes, burritos and sandwiches for lunch and all sorts of tasty sweet treats. Just a heads up - they aren't open on the weekends and often the favorites listed above run out by 10 or 11 am so get there early to get the best options of sweet and savory goodies.
2.) Hamura Saimin: Three words to describe this Lihue landmark.. Cheap, Tasty and Addictive! They are always super busy here at Hamura's, but it's worth the slight wait. There's not much to the menu, pretty much saimin noodles with varying ingredients, and grilled beef or chicken teriyaki sticks. The popular choice is the "Special Saimin" with roasted pork, wontons, fish cakes, hard-boiled egg, and veggies. Get this and a couple beef and chicken sticks and you have a great meal in front of you. Make sure to save room for their amazing lilikoi chiffon pie. You won't be disappointed. This is a cash only restaurant. There is seating available, but not much and it's a choose your spot and we will come take your order kind of place.
1.) Duane's Ono Char Burger: We have arrived at the number 1 hole in the wall and it is a Kauai institution located on the main highway next to the Post Office in Anahola. There is always a line here so I recommend getting here early or just being patient as it's worth the wait. Obviously known for their amazing burgers, Ono Char can't be beat on taste and the prices are fair as well. They keep the menu simple with the base being a 1/4 pound burger with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a sesame bun, then you can add whatever toppings you like, from pineapple, teriyaki sauce, to avocado. They make it any way you like. They also offer other options like sandwiches and shrimp and fries. All options here are fantastic so get what you are in the mood for and either eat there if there is a table or take it to your favorite Kauai spot.